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Monday
Aug122013

Review: Huawei Ascend Y300 on Bell and Virgin

Text and photos by Gadjo Cardenas Sevilla

While newer and more expensive Android flagship smartphones are going for bigger screens, more powerful processors and fancy colours while attempting hyper-intuitive user interfaces, it's great to see some vitality in the entry level of the spectrum.

Huawei's Ascend Y300 brings dual-core processor, 512MB of RAM, a 4-inch IPS display, 5 megapixel camera, a fairly recent build of the Android OS (4.1), voice control, and 4G-LTE connectivity for under $100. That's truly impressive.

What's more impressive is that the Ascend Y300 is a pretty solid all-around smartphone. Sure, the design is basic and simple but completely designed around functionality. The IPS display is a reasonable 4-inch screen and features a 480 x 800-pixel resolution with a pixel density of 233 ppi. I found the screen to be quite good indoors but somewhat too reflective in bright sunlight. 

Screen is responsive and I found no discernible lag while navigating and the 4-inch screen is a good size for navigating with one hand. The back of the Ascend Y300 is made of a peel-off cover made coloured in pearlescent white which is a bit nostalgic, since this was a colout Sony Ericsson liked using in some of their early premium celfones.

The back plate peels off to reveal a full sized SIM card as well as a microSD card slot which can take up to 32GB of extra storage. The Y300 itself comes with 4GB of storage but less than half is available since the rest is taken up by the OS and Huawei and Bell's own applications (which cannot be erased).

A 1730mAh battery is sizeable and is supposedly good for a standby time of 300 hours plus 300 minute talk time. The Y300 can last a day of calls, Twitter, Facebook, email and constant messaging via WhatsApp. It's refreshing to have a smartphone that has the battery life that approximates what we used to see with feature phones. 

The rear also houses the 5-megapixel camera and LED flash which is just okay and will take decent shots good enough for sharing online but maybe not great for printing out. Still, you get a variety of filters, a usable panorama feature and pretty quick response for an entry-level camera.

The power button and volume rocker of the Ascend Y300 are sturdy and solid which is something you quickly feel about the entire device. 

Huawei's got some apps that it is pushing in this device including various widgets for weather and social networks as well sa their own browser and mail program. I was able to set up all my Google services without a problem but was unsuccessful in connecting the device to my iCloud account despite numerous attempts at configuring this. 

Call quality is good and while this is a 4G device I often got the H+ signal as well as 3G around Toronto's downtown core. While my review unit was a Bell phone, I managed to use a Rogers and a TELUS SIM card for data which makes this a promising smartphone for travelers who need to quickly switch SIM cards.

After around a week with the Huawei Ascend, I became accepting of its limitations but was more impressed by what it offers at such an affordable price. The 512MB or RAM does slow things down a bit specially more intensive apps and the paltry onboard storage will become an issue once you add more apps, photos, music and other files.

Huawei got a lot of things right with the Ascend Y300 as an entry level smartphone. They are using a fairly recent version of Android with possible upgrades down the line, they bumped up battery life, added expansion and designed a solid and intuitive no-frills device while maintaining a fair price point.

Think about this, you'll likely be able to buy five or six Huawei Ascend Y300's for the price of a flagship Android smartphone from other makers. That's insane. Consider that most Android apps and all the phone functions including 4G-LTE data speeds are all available on the Ascend Y300 and you see just how aggressive this device is. 

 If Huawei can offer a compelling and affordable smartphone at the entry level, what is it capable of offering in the mid-tier or even the high-end of the spectrum and can it make the price affordable? Devices like the Ascend Y300 are what will ensure Android's adoption in the entry level of the market, from users that are transitioning from feature phones and in markets where $700 Android smartphones are a crazy luxury.

Rating: 4 out of 5

References (3)

References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.
  • Response
    Response: Pilgrim Jewellery
    Review: Huawei Ascend Y300 on Bell and Virgin - Canadian Reviewer - News, Reviews and Opinion with a Canadian Perspective
  • Response
    Response: Pilgrim Jewellery
    Review: Huawei Ascend Y300 on Bell and Virgin - Canadian Reviewer - News, Reviews and Opinion with a Canadian Perspective
  • Response
    Response: YOURURL.com
    Review: Huawei Ascend Y300 on Bell and Virgin - Canadian Reviewer - News, Reviews and Opinion with a Canadian Perspective

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