The Ascend Y300 is the latest release from Chinese manufacture Huawei. Sporting a nifty dual-core processor, 4.0 inch screen and an up to date iteration of the Google Android operating system – Jelly Bean, does this budget handset live up to expectations? I’d say it does – read on to find out more.
Coming in at the sub £100 price point (as low as £60 on PAYG upgrade) the Y300 is an affordable handset with a robust specification to match, especially when compared to the current competition.
The design is minimal and understated. With rounded corners and an edge curved textured back, it certainly won’t be winning any innovation awards. However, if like me, you’re not into frills, then the more functional approach can be a refreshing change.
The handset is relatively fat at 11mm thick. It is not noticeably big in the pocket however, and does feel nice in the hand. The 4-inch 800×480 WVGA IPS display is easy to navigate with a single hand, unlike larger counterparts, such as the Nexus 4 or Galaxy S4.
On the back is a 5 mega pixel CCD camera accompanied by a bright enough LED flash. The power button is positioned top left with the volume rocker to the right side. On the front is a small notification light along with a 0.3 mega pixel front facing camera. The standard 3.5mm headphone jack sits top middle with the micro USB slot opposite.
Build and Screen Quality
The phone is predominantly made of plastic and is well constructed with all components and ports positioned in a solid housing.
The screen is bright and offers enough colour saturation for a pleasurable viewing experience indoors but can be difficult to see in direct sunlight outdoors. Although not the sharpest around, for the price range, it is more than up to the job. The capacitive nature responds well to touch unlike previous Huawei handsets like the Blaze and the popular G300, which I found could be a bit hit or miss.
Performance and Software
Internally the phone houses a dual-core snap dragon processor, 512Mb Ram and 4Gb of built in memory. The operating system is 4.1.1 Jelly Bean and is over layed with Huawei’s own Emotion UI software.
The Emotion UI runs smoothly but does away with the app draw and, for me, is too different from what to expect from Android. All widgets and apps run together on the multiple home screens, with newly downloaded app icons being scattered randomly throughout – not good. To get around this I installed Apex Launcher from the Play Store, bringing back the traditional app drawer and a more vanilla Android experience.
Huawei do offer a good selection of built in customisations, from themes to propriety widgets.
Moderately graphic intensive games run fine (Can Knockdown 3, Angry Birds, Pocket Rally tested), although don’t expect 3D intensive titles to work well, if at all.
The Li-Ion 1,730 mAh battery lasted a whole day of moderate use with a enough juice still available to last well into the next day.
The camera is more than adequate for taking shots on the move and sharing memories with family and friends, although don’t expect too much. The shutter is slow, the video capture isn’t up to much and in low light (like a lot of phone cameras), the quality suffers. The 0.3 mega pixel front facing camera did a surprisingly good job on Skype, albeit forced into landscape mode and with a relatively slow refresh rate.
Call quality is fine along with the external speaker, which although not terribly loud, is clear and doesn’t suffer from distortion.
For those who like filling up their app drawer may have to give the Y300 a miss. At a trivial 4Gb internal memory, the device is more suited to light users.
The Huawei Ascend Y300 is a pleasure to use. It’s basic design is nothing to shout about but it is what’s on the inside that really matters. Packing more than enough punch for everyday use and at a budget price makes it a strong contender in an ever crowded Android market.
Do you own the Y300 or are thinking about a purchase? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.