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Huawei Ascend Y210 Peter Nalika

April 25, 2013
Huawei Ascend Y210
Huawei Ascend Y210

When you think of a low-end Android smartphone, you don’t expect much from it. The phones are usually riddled with tiny screens and slow processors, they hang every so often and the battery life is usually abysmal.

Huawei is on a mission to change this, and they have done just that with the new Huawei Ascend Y210. With a USD 85 price tag, you can have a 3.5-inch smartphone running Android Gingerbread with a resolution of 320 x 480.

Design and Hardware

The phone is well built, and at a first glance, you would mistake it for a mid-range smartphone. The device is a sleek matte black with a solid feel with the battery cover minimally designed with a granular feel to it. Its rear has a 1.9 MP camera neatly fitted onto it but as expected for phones in this category, they are bound to lack any LED flash.

On the left side of the device there is a Micro USB port, with the volume buttons fitted on the right. The bottom is blank but it has a small bump that creates an impression where the phone slides out, Huawei thought about efficient ergonomics to handle the phone well at this point. The power button and the 3.5mm headphone jack are positioned at the top.

The front side of the Ascend Y210 has a 3.5 inch 320 x 480-pixel HVGA display with the earpiece, an LED notification light and the Huawei logo at the top. At the bottom are the standard touch-sensitive Android buttons and a small microphone slot. As expected, there is no front-facing camera.

There is a micro SD card slot but to access that you have to remove the battery.

Competition

To put things into perspective, I scouted for a device of the same level with the Ascend Y210 from a Safaricom Store at Nakumatt Junction. The closest I could find was a Samsung Galaxy Pocket, which retails at USD 120. Here’s how the two phones stack on paper.

Huawei Ascend Y210
A comparison of the Huawei Ascend Y210 with Samsung Galaxy Pocket
(CIO East Africa Lab)

 

Despite having equal respect to all brands, on paper, the Huawei Ascend Y210 beats the Samsung Galaxy Pocket in hands down – it has a better display, a faster processor, faster data speeds and a bigger battery. All this for USD 35 less!

Software and the user interface

The device doesn't run on the latest Android Jellybean operating system but Gingerbread. However all essential features are still available on this platform, the Play Store, multiple home screens, Google Apps etc.

Social media apps run well on this operating system. In fact, users will be able to run some favorite applications and games without a hitch. I tested Angry Birds, Temple Run and Fruit Ninja and they were all playable. However high-end 3D games for instance NFS Hot Pursuit probably wont will even install.

Huawei installed the stock Gingerbread keyboard on this device, which is fast and extremely responsive. Users with huge hands would probably find it more comfortable typing and generally using the phone on landscape mode.

I did not expect much of the browser, I thought it would be sluggish and cave when opening heavier pages. This was a surprise; it gets the job done and is adequately responsive even for heavier websites such as CNN.

The HVGA resolution was okay when displaying content.

Camera

As with all phones in this price range, usually we expect an unambitious low-capability camera. The Ascend Y210 sticks to this principle, It has a 1.9 Mega Pixels camera that can capture a moment when need arises, though don’t expect too much of it.

It can hold its own outdoors with lots of light, but in a low-light indoor setting, the camera is not that useful since there is no LED flash. Here are some sample shots:

Photo 1
Photo 1
(CIO East Africa Lab)

   

Photo 2
Photo 2
(CIO East Africa Lab)

There is a video option though you would really have to be desperate to shoot a video using this camera.

Battery Life

The phone comes equipped with a large 1700mAh battery that would put most mid-range phones to shame. Battery life is the best feature of this phone I managed to get through a day and a half, using the device for calls, text messages, playing games on 3G and with syncing enabled yet I still had about 20% to go.

Wrap Up

If you’re in the market for an Android smartphone on a budget, this is the phone to get. Huawei managed to get just about everything right - the large display, fast processor and humongous battery trump the competition emphatically. For starters, the Ascend Y210 gets the job done and is quite a bargain.

Peter Passport

Peter Nalika

Peter generates technical content for CIO East Africa and the International Data Group News Service, he also contributes to PC World and Computer World. Peter is classically trained in computing and information management, and he is currently pursing an MBA program in Management Information Systems at the University of Nairobi,  @peternalika

 
 
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