Huawei Ascend Y200 review

Huawei Ascend Y200 review

Huawei has recently launched devices in the Pakistani market. Huawei Ascend Y200 is the cheapest of the lot. Ascend Y200 is a reasonable phone despite targeting the mass market. Let’s take a look on specs before embarking on a detailed review:

  • Android 2.3 Gingerbread
  • 3.5” 480×320 pixels capacitive touch screen
  • 262k colors
  • 3.2 MP camera
  • 800 MHz processor
  • 512 MB ROM, 256 MB RAM
  • Wi-Fi b/g/n
  • Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR
  • MicroSD card support up to 32 GB
  • USB 2.0
  • GPS/ AGPS
  • Proximity sensor
  • Accelerometer
  • Ambient light sensor

Unboxing

Huawei ascend Y200 is packed in the standard rectangular box, it contains the usual contents, which are:

  • Huawei ascend Y200
  • Hands free
  • Data cable (which can be plugged in the charger)
  • Charger

Build & Design

Huawei Y200 has been built nicely and you don’t get the feeling of holding a cheap Chinese handset when laying your hands for the first time on the device. The overall built is good and the Chinese manufacturer has given attention to the detail as the edges have been rounded and the back cover design ensures that the phone won’t slip off your hands.

Y200 features a 3.5” 480×320 pixels capacitive touch screen with the ability to display 262k colors. There is a lot of real estate wasted at the top and bottom of the screen, which should have either been cut off or utilized in a better way. Huawei is written in caps at top of the screen which is just below the slightly protruded ear-piece grill. At the bottom of the screen are three touch-sensitive buttons viz. Back, Home and Settings while the Search button, which is usually present in Android 2.3 smartphones is missing.

The top of the phone features a 3.5mm audio slot and power button on the top-left, which is a bit strange as most phones feature a button on the top right. The bottom is empty except microUSB cable slot and a tiny hole which serves as mic. The right side of the device is empty while the left features a volume rocker which is hard to get used to as we have usually use phone with the volume and power control on the right side.

The back of the phone is a plastic cover which has been designed to ensure a better grip while also adding to the sturdiness of the phone as we are sure it will take some knocks before allowing some cracks to appear. On the centre top of the back side rests a 3.2 megapixel camera with two speakers slit on its right and directly under the camera is a printed Huawei logo sitting on top of Huawei written in all

User Interface

The user interface featured in Y200 is just fine; the lock screen features a lock icon in a circle at the centre of the screen which can be dragged in four directions to unlock the phone. Dragging to right unlocks the phone normally, dragging to left takes you straight to messages. Dragging the lock icon to top and bottom opens call records and camera respectively. Operator name followed by a digital clock and date is displayed on top of the lock screen. The status bar also appears on top of everything else which is helpful in case of various notifications.

The first look at the UI reminded me of Go Launcher as the animations while swiping screens is certainly present in Go Launcher’s animations. There are five home screens which can be swiped sideways. The central screen features a nice weather clock which although lacking the animation of HTC Sense Weather Clock is quite good, it can be instantly updated by tapping the refresh icon and a full screen version can be brought up by tapping anywhere on the weather portion of the clock. The weather data is provided by AccuWeather and hence when viewing more details it takes you to the Accu Weater website. Five locations can be set to get their weather which can be swiped sideways to be shown in the full screen weather preview. There are four stock shortcuts at the bottom of the home screen which are Menu, Email, Phone and Internet above this is another row of four icons which can be instantly changed by dragging and dropping.

The helicopter view can be brought by pinching on the home screen but it cannot be brought up by tapping the touch-sensitive Home button when on the home screen which is quite strange. The helicopter view serves as a preview only as nothing can be done when in this mode, even the order of the screens cannot be altered hence rendering it pretty useless. Tapping the menu shortcut brings up the menu which is divided in three screens by default while more are added as the app count goes up. The apps can be viewed by swiping sideways but we couldn’t find a search option to quickly search from a plethora of app, nor there was an option to arrange the apps in grid. There are two shortcuts on the bottom of the app list menu, one being the Home shortcut and other being a shortcut for Settings. Re-arranging apps is easy, when the Settings shortcut is tapped, all the apps go to a shivering state just like an iPhone and then can be dragged and dropped to re-arrange according to the user’s will, apps can also be uninstalled by tapping once when in shivering state and then tapping OK on the next screen.

The user interface leaves much to be desired, Huawei Ascend Y200 falls in the same category as HTC Explorer and Samsung Galaxy Y (Rs. 12,000-15,000) so it must take into account the brilliance of HTC Sense and that a user who has used HTC Sense earlier will be ready to pay a couple of grand more to get an infinitely better user interface instead of an unimpressive UI with a larger screen.

Huawei Ascend Y200 review

Connectivity

Huawei Y200 has all the connectivity options a user in Pakistan needs. Wi-Fi (b/g/n), Bluetooth and GPRS are all there. Bluetooth performs perfectly, GPRS connects without any issue and the speed totally depends on the operator being used but the Wi-Fi reception is not up to the high standards set by other features of the phone. I compared the Wi-Fi signals being picked by the phone with the signals being received by HTC Explorer and a Windows Phone device by HTC by laying all three side-by-side, the signals beings picked by Y200 were considerably lower than those being picked by both the HTC devices as Huawei Y200 showed one signal as compared to three on the HTC devices. Having said that there was no considerable difference in the internet speed, as I was able to download a 10MB file in almost identical time, hence the lower signal will matter only if I move further away from my Wi-Fi router where Y200 will not catch any Wi-Fi signal and my HTC devices will keep working fine. The built-in browser (Mozilla) is just fine and can be counted on to browse the internet.

Huawei Ascend Y200 review

Multimedia

Ascend Y200 performs reasonably well as far as sound quality is concerned, the sound is loud and clear and the hands free included in the package performs better than it looks, hence listening to songs can be fun and you can get a branded hands free if you really love to listen songs on your phone.

Huawei Y200 features a 3.2 megapixel camera with no flash. Snaps are taken by tapping the on-screen button as there is no hardware camera button. The pictures taken during the day are pretty good but those taken in dim light are below par as expected since flash is not there. Y200 has stock Android Gallery which offers features like slide show, sharing via Facebook, Google+, Messaging, Picasa, Bluetooth etc. and setting a picture as wallpaper or a contact picture. A hardware camera button would have been a nice addition.

Call &Messaging

The call quality is excellent, Y200 offers a crisp and clear sound when performing the most basic function of the phone i.e. call which is altogether forgotten in some of the devices available in the market today. The stock dialer is nice and the soft keys well-spaced. You can dial a number or start punching keys as the phone automatically searches for contact names and numbers as you are punching the keys, this search is fast and accurate.

The stock messaging app is nice but switching to an alternate solution like Handcent SMS or Go SMS Pro is recommended. The keyboard, however, has a distinct second grade feeling to it and should be revamped to match the quality provided in high-end Huawei devices and the keyboards provided by Huawei’s competitors. An alternate keyboard from the Android Play Store can solve this problem easily.

Contacts & SNS Integration

SNS integration is the second feature after UI which attracts users toward a phone, unfortunately there is a sheer lack of SNS integration in the phone. Contacts from different sources i.e. phone, Google, Facebook can be joined but you cannot view the aggregated  Social updates of the joined contact right from the contact itself, you will have to go to stream and see the separate updates. The lack of an impressive UI and SNS integration is a big turnoff.

The stock contact app is reasonable and allows joining of contacts but unfortunately does not suggests joining of contacts by searching the same phone numbers and names as many of the smartphones manufactured by other companies do. This only adds to the frustration when you are setting up your phone and have to manually join thousands of contacts, that’s why I did not sync it with my main Gmail account which has a contact book of over 1,000 contacts, I simply created another one and added a handful of contacts to avoid the hassle.

Apps

Huawei Y200 supports the Google Play Store completely and every app supported by its specifications can be installed. The streams app is a nice addition as it can be used instead of apps like Tweetdeck to aggregate updates from major social networks. Another nice app “All Backup” allows backing up of contacts, messages, alarms, email accounts, calendars, notepad, apps and even music playlists to SD card and then restoring them. This is a great feature and can be really helpful when switching from one Huawei phone to another. Backup can be scheduled and apps can be selected before performing a backup.

Instant upload is turned on by default; it automatically uploads new photos and videos to a private web album, so you will either need to set it to auto-upload only when Wi-Fi is available or disable it if you use a limited data plan.

Misc

The settings menu has icons reminiscent of older versions of Android. It is interesting to note that the model number mentioned in settings > about phone is U8655-1 instead of Y200 and information about the phone’s hardware is simply missing from this menu which poses a big question mark to Huawei’s claim of an 800 MHz processor.

Ascend Y200 did not disappoint as far as the battery is concerned and provided around two days of uptime when used with 5-6 hours of Wi-Fi connectivity per day. This is a real plus as other devices in the same price range fail to last longer than a day.

Sunlight legibility is pretty poor as the screen is reflective and needs to be considered when announcing the next version of the phone, which according to our understanding will be Huawei Y201 and will boast a 1 GHz processor with Ice Cream Sandwich i.e. Android 4.0. The screen is a thumb-print magnet and instantly catches prints; this should also be considered when launching the successor to Y200.

Conclusion

Huawei Ascend Y200 adds to the competition in the mass market Android smartphones range available in Pakistan. The build and design of the device is far superior to that provided by other Chinese-handset based companies but these are still early days and consumers will take some time to differentiate it from the low-end brands and rank it as one of the premium brands in the market.

Likes

  • Solid build and nice design
  • Android 2.3 Gingerbread
  • 3.5” 480×320 pixels capacitive touch screen
  • 800 MHz processor
  • 512 MB ROM, 256 MB RAM
  • Wi-Fi b/g/n
  • Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR
  • Crisp call quality
  • 3.5 mm jack
  • 12 months Airlink warranty

Dislikes

  • Weak Wi-FI antenna
  • Unimpressive UI
  • No SNS integration
  • Poor sunlight legibility
  • No Gorilla Glass protection
  • No dedicated camera key

 Pictures taken from Huawei Ascend Y200

Huawei Ascend Y200 Camera Result

Huawei Ascend Y200 Camera Result

Huawei Ascend Y200 Camera Result

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