Huawei's latest entry to the budget end of the smartphone market is the Ascend Y300. Read our Huawei Ascend Y300 review to find out if we think this handset can deliver despite its cheap price.Updated on 15/07/13.
If you’re looking for cheap then the Huawei Ascend Y300 certainly delivers. You can get it from The Carphone Warehouse for £129 SIM-free. Or just £69 on pay-as-you-go plus a top-up. Take a look at our Sony Xperia SP review too.
It sounds like incredible value for money but this will only be the case if the smartphone can deliver in key areas. Visit: The 8 best smartphones: What's the best phone you can buy in 2013?
There's little to say about the design of the Ascend Y300 because the device is so plain looking. It's not an ugly phone but it's definitely taking a no-frills approach. You're not going to get this handset out of your pocket to wow your mates. But equally they're unlikely to grimace at the sight of it. Take a look at Google Android 4.3 Jelly Bean release date and features.
This oblong block of black plastic and glass looks like the textbook template of a basic smartphone.
Build quality is good, which is important for any phone. The Y300 feels solid and well built. Yes, there's a removable rear cover which is made of thin bendy plastic but we didn't really expect any more than this.
Huawei Ascend Y300: Video review
Huawei Ascend Y300: Hardware and performance
The Ascend Y300 is the first budget smartphone we've reviewed that includes Google’s Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) operating system, and a dual-core processor - a 1 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon to be precise.
Although performance isn't super slick, the Y300 doesn't have the kind of inescapable lag which is such a problem with budget Android smartphones.
Yes, it can feel slow but only occasionally when you first boot or unlock the phone, after which it tends to settle down. It also takes its time coming out of an app back to the homescreen sometimes.
We saw a result of 485 points in GeekBench 2, not a bad result considering there is only 512 MB of memory. A framerate of just 9 fps in GLBenchmark show it’s not cut out for games, and a time of 2496ms in SunSpider is slow but average for a cheap Android device.
Like the Ascend G330, the Y300 has a 4in screen with a 480 x 800-pixel resolution. A pixel density of 233 ppi is a good for a budget phone but viewing angle aren't great and we did find the screen difficult to use outdoors.
Storage is very limited. There's 4 GB inside but only half actually available for use. There is a microSDHC card slot for adding up to 32 GB but Google still won’t let you store your apps there. You're not going to fit many of the larger apps on the Y300.
Update: As pointed out by a PCA reader, Huawei has allowed some downloaded apps to be moved to the SD card.
There's nothing to get excited about in terms of cameras. However, the 5 Mp rear camera with an LED flash is better than you might expect considering the basement price. The camera is slow and won't take decent shots unless you're shooting in good light.
The front-facing 0.3 Mp camera provides an acceptable image but the refresh rate is poor.
Huawei Ascend Y300: Software
Huawei has done a good job in the software department on the Y300. On top of Android 4.1 is Huawei's own Emotion UI.
The first thing of note is the absence of any app menu. This is quite strange for Android and actually makes the interface more similar to the iPhone – especially when you have four docked apps at the bottom of the screen.
All apps are simply placed on the homescreen panels; the only difference to iOS is that you can also keep widgets there too.
We weren’t so keen on this layout but it's something you can easily adapt to.
Other tweaks are of a more orthodox nature such as adding a number of quick settings in the notifications bar. In this case, the list is customisable so you can make sure the ones you need the most are displayed.
Customisation is a plus point of Huawei's user interface. There are plenty of different lockscreens, themes and even screen transitions to choose, so you can customise Android to your taste.
Furthermore, profiles mean you can quickly change the Y300's settings for different situations. For example, night time, meetings, car or whatever you want. We also like the Me Widget which is like the Inception of the widget world, offering several widgets – time, weather, contacts etc - within one widget.
Huawei Ascend Y300: Battery life
Budget phones don't tend to offer good battery life. However, this was a strong point of the Ascend Y300. After more than 24 hours of (fairly light) use we had only used a third of the 6.4 Wh battery's juice. This was without using a power-saving mode which switches off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, screen animations, background data and haptic feedback.
This will be a two-day smartphone for most users while heavier users will need to, like most smartphone, charge it every night.