Preview: Huawei Ascend Y201
It's robust, has reasonable screen resolution, and ...surprise! It has Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.
By Zara Baxter | Friday, 24 August, 2012
The Huawei Y201 is a replacement for the now discontinued X3, though it bears no real resemblance to that phone in anything except price. It has 4GB of inbuilt storage but, more importantly, it runs Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. It's currently the only phone in New Zealand under $400 to have such a modern OS, in fact.
It’s also, if anything, even more solidly constructed than Huawei's notably robust Y200. It feels rounded and comfortable in the hand, too.
Note that we tested a pre-release version, so not all comments below may be true for the final retail model.
The phone is slightly less responsive than Huawei's similarly priced phone handsets, such as the Y200 when it comes to navigation and apps. Some overly decorative transitions between screens get in the way of the overall functionality, but it’s speedy enough for most general purposes.
The keyboard also feels slightly smaller than the Y200, though uses the same method to magnify each key as you type to help eliminate errors.
Using the phone for facebook, email and web is crisp and pleasurable -- a 320 x 480 resolution for the 3.5in screen is reasonable at this price point, and shouldn't cause you to squint while trying to read emails.
Playing Angry Birds was no problem, but though I could install and open the demanding game Monsters Ate My Condo(My current phone power test du jour), actually playing was another matter. Still, I didn’t expect it to handle such powerful apps, so I didn't mind too much.
Android 4.0 offers folder sorting and similar functionality that makes it very easy to handle what apps you do have. You can place them, and the inbuilt widgets and apps, across any one of five home screens.
There's enough capacity on the Y201 (4GB) to store a good selection of apps, too, even before you add a memory card of up to 32GB.
I’d like the camera to have tap-to-focus, but it’s otherwise unremarkable and standard for a 3MP camera with no flash. Don't expect much more than fast web-worthy pics.
The final judgement of this phone comes down to its overall price, and at $279, it's only a little more expensive than the Y200 ($249), which makes it well worth considering for those with less than $300 to spend.