Huawei, the fourth biggest smartphone manufacturer at last count, is riding the Android wave to success. To its credit, the company has unveiled a host of cool devices to its credit, such as the world's slimmest smartphone and a 6.1-inch monstrosity that costs 'just' Rs 24,900.
Among the smartphones that this Chinese manufacturer has launched in India are Y300 and G510, budget offerings that compete in a segment dominated by the likes of Samsung, Sony and Micromax. Will these phones hold their own or wilt under the pressure of intense competition? Read our review before deciding for yourself...
Huawei Ascend G510 and Y300 feature 4.5-inch and 4-inch displays respectively, but the surrounding bezel makes them appear smaller than they are. So, in spite of huge real estate (for the segment), you get rather bulky handsets. Nevertheless, the two phones are not too big to hold and seem sturdy. The display quality of the screens is quite good, with decent viewing angles (IPS panels are known for this) and accurate colours. On the negative side, the pentile matrix is hard to avoid and pixels can be easily seen.
The two dual-sim phones are made entirely of plastic, hence do not have the premium feel. What hurts their prospects is that the build quality, though acceptable by any measure, does not match the levels of rivals like Sony Xperiatipo and Samsung's Galaxy phones.
Coming to the technical specifications, Ascend G510 has 854x480p resolution and 218ppi pixel density. The phone is powered by a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, backed by 512MB RAM. Ascend Y300, the smaller of the two, gives you resolution of 800x480p, with a decent 233ppi pixel density. It runs on a dual-core 1GHz processor, once again with 512MB RAM.
Below the screen, both the phones have the standard Android three-key layout. The duo share most other specifications, including connectivity options like 2G, 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1 and microUSB 2.0. Primary cameras of the two phones are rated at 5MP, while the secondary unit is of VGA resolution. Internal storage is also the same - 4GB. Battery capacity varies marginally, 1,730mAh in Ascend G510 and 1,700mAh in Ascend Y300.
Both the phones run on Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean), which is one of the smoothest operating systems out there. Huawei has used a heavily customized version of the OS here, named Emotion UI. This user interface does away with the app menu completely, putting all the apps and widgets on the homescreens. The number of homescreens in the phones increases with the number of widgets and apps you add; the option to create folders to keep the homescreens sorted is there too.
Emotion UI is quite unique, with a host of transition effects like flip, box etc. You can replace the apps at the bottom and access various toggles from the Notification Bar. While heavily customized, this UI is not too heavy and we did not observe any lag in the phone. However, downloading was too slow for our patience even on a rather capable 2Mbps network.
In order to assess the performance of the two phones, we put them through the Antutu benchmark. Ascend G510 secured an average score in the range of 6800, while Ascend Y300 notched up an average of 6200. This performance is acceptable, though dual-core CPUs are expected to do better. Nevertheless, the two have given us better scores than rival devices, which give them a slight edge.
During the review, we constantly felt that the bezel around the screen make the display of the two phones look smaller than they are in real, something which may hamper user excitement. Another thing to note is that the screen, though big, is not of the highest quality. However, you will find that most - if not all - phones in this segment have similar displays.
Rather limited 512MB RAM is another concern, since using several apps will obviously take its toll. However, the UI is quite light and phone remains responsive; we observed lag only when playing games that are known for stressing the chipset, or when too many apps were open at the same time. Otherwise, the phones remained quite fluid.
Battery life of the two phones is decent, providing backup for around half a day on a regular day. This usage includes a couple of hours of internet browsing, an hour of video playback, around three hours of music and half an hour each of games and e-books.
Considering preloaded apps like Facebook and WhatsApp, we feel Huawei is targeting youngsters with these phones. However, download speed of both the phones is painfully slow and we were disappointed with the performance (or the lack of it) on this front.
The 5MP cameras of the two phones are okay just for social media uploads. In both the phones, the captured images were a little grainy, but contrast was good and we saw good levels of detail. The camera app is quite simple and has provision for touch-focus.
Instead of naming rivals and comparing specs, the easier way to do a competition check in this case would be to see the overall strengths and weaknesses. Firstly, big screens and dual-core processors are not offered by other global brands like Samsung, Sony and LG in this segment, giving a big advantage to the Huawei duo. Ascend G510 and Ascend Y300 delivered satisfactory performance for the price and have a decent chance against rivals, provided buyers are comfortable going for a little-known (at least in India) brand.
Challengers from the stables of Micromax, Karbonn, Spice etc are a different deal altogether. They offer bigger screens than what these Huawei phones boast of and CPUs that are clocked at the same speed. Some, like Micromax Canvas 2, score better in terms of features like camera etc. While Huawei has proved its mettle globally, it does not really inspire the confidence that Samsung does, and is likely to be taken in the same league as Micromax, Spice etc only in terms of the brand value. But in terms of quality, the two Ascend smartphones do better than the competitor models by Indian brands in terms of Antutu scores.
Huawei phones are good, but they also have their disadvantages. The biggest bug is the slow internet download speed. We are not sure it is something that affected only our review units. But other than that, there is nothing that rivals have and these phones do not. Overall, we found Huawei Ascend G510 and Ascend Y300 to be decent smartphones for beginners, and would recommend them to buyers, provided they are okay with slow downloads.
Huawei Ascend G510 - Rs 11,000; and
Huawei Ascend Y300 - Rs 8,000
Source: Times of India