The first Intel-powered smartphone has finally launched, albeit only in the UK for now. Orange UK’s San Diego handset admittedly won’t be rivaling today’s top smartphones but with a competitive price of £200 or just over $300 USD, could it be a viable option for the budget-minded consumer?

At the heart of the handset is an Intel Atom Z2460 CPU clocked at 1.6GHz and 1GB of RAM. Other key specifications include a 4-inch LCD display that operates at 1,024 x 600, an 8MP camera with LED flash that’s capable of 1080P video recording, a micro-USB port and a micro-HDMI port. But the real question is, how does it perform?

Engadget recently spent some time with the smartphone and while they were impressed with the display and the battery, it did fall short in a few categories. Aesthetically, they feel that the phone looks extremely cheap. The fact that it runs a dated Android 2.3 Gingerbread operating system doesn’t bode particularly well either and the 8MP camera is supposedly disappointing.

CNET UK reports that Intel’s chip does deliver smooth web browsing and was able to best some other popular choices in a number of benchmarks. For example, the handset scored 3,721 in the Quadrant benchmark, higher than Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus and the LG Optimus 2X. But despite the processor’s achievements, they feel that San Diego is hampered by a clunky interface and too much Orange bloatware.

Odds are that this phone will never make it to the US but if nothing else, it gives us a glimpse of what Intel is capable of in the smartphone market.