My last post on this phone has been the most viewed one on this site, so I figured revisiting after a year using the phone in the real world may be as well received. To quickly summarise the Huawei phone, here are the brief specs: Android Jelly Bean 4.1, dual-core 1GHz processor, 4.0” WVGA (480×800) display, 4GB onboard memory, expandable to 32GB, 5MP autofocus rear camera with LED flash, secondary VGA front camera, 1730mAh Li-ion battery, Bluetooth 2.1, MicroUSB 2.0, WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, Hotspot, DLNA. (most of the above may be double-dutch to you, but in simple terms it has mid to high range specs and capabilities for a ‘cheap’ phone).
So, how does all this translate into the everyday performance of the phone? In a word – it’s great. Start up of apps and general running speed is fine, ability to run apps is excellent – I would have had only 3 or 4 that failed to work and of course this may be the fault of the apps not the phone.
My previous comment about not being able to install apps on the external SD card due to the Jelly Bean system was incorrect of course – this I discovered after being frustrated with having to uninstall some to make the room to test new apps. All you need to do is to go to Settings : Manage Apps : then swipe to the left to change the heading from Downloaded to ‘On SD Card’. Select the app you want to move and tap ‘Move to SD card’ – simple and I don’t know how I missed it before! As a rule of thumb, I move non-critical apps only to SD, I wouldn’t move CoPilot GPS for example using the reasoning that it is a complex app that needs fast access to memory to run well and SD memory is slower than the built-in memory. The same reasoning applies to some games of course too.
Another tip is to occasionally tap the ‘Clear cache’ button at the top of the SD card screen too – cache is a temporary storage area that apps use to store ‘stuff’ (not important files) and this can grow like topsy over time. Seeing over 100Mb cache size isn’t unusual and anything to save space and speed up the phone a little is worth doing.
What else? My comments about the screen still stand – it is very hard to see in bright sunlight and forget seeing what you are pointing at in the camera when outside on a sunny day (you soon get used to guessing what you are pointing at and taking a few at a time to be sure of getting a decent shot) – but once you get used to it the Huawei can take some very good shots for a phone at this price. If you turn on ‘auto backup’ in Google+ your photos get saved in the ‘cloud’ for Mr Google to work some magic and subtly enhance them to make them even better, but more on Google+ photo backup in a later post!
Battery life is still very good, I frequently plug it into the charger at night with still 60% charge still left after running all day -even after making a few calls. However, leaving the GPS turned on and in use within an app does quickly deplete the battery so a car charger is definitely needed for all but the shortest trips. As previously mentioned, the GPS speed and reception is very good and we have used the phone many times and for many miles as the primary GPS – the poor old TomTom with it’s 2007 maps sits lonely in the bottom drawer now.
In summary then, I have to say that the Huawei is the best Android phone I have used – and I’ve used a few in my time, including devices from the likes of more well known brands as HTC and Samsung. My next phone will most likely be another Huawei, I’m checking out the G526 4G (LTE) 4.5″ model that can be bought for around $150 here in Australia unlocked which is a bargain considering the specs. If and when I take the plunge I’ll write another review!