Huawei Ascend Y300
The Huawei Ascend Y300 is the latest weapon in the company’s arsenal: it’s locked in an epic battle with the likes of ZTE, Samsung and Nokia to craft the perfect low-price smartphone. Its latest effort is a strong contender too, packing a in a four-inch display and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, all for just £60 when bought through Carphone Warehouse. Is it a bargain, or just plain cheap for a reason? We took one for a test drive to find out.
Huawei doesn’t stray far from its boxy black budget design with the Ascend Y300, but at least that means it holds few surprises. This is a solid handset with a sturdy frame, and a four-inch screen with a 480x800 resolution that’s crisp enough to read on or watch videos, and a few clever touches, including shortcuts to your most used apps on the lock screen.
Huawei’s steered clear of adding in too much bloatware though, and kept things to the core Google services on Android - and that’s just fine. Android 4.1’s suite of stock apps is nothing short of superb at this point, from the rock solid new Gmail app to Google Maps with free turn by turn navigation and the Chrome browser - and of course hundreds of thousands more apps are there to be had on the Google Play store. The Y300’s pretty nippy too: the 1GHz dual-core processor is enough to keep a fair few tabs going on Google Chrome, stream music from Spotify and even play a few games, though don’t expect all of the very latest 3D titles to be supported.
Forget about wafer thin technology - the Huawei Ascend Y300 is a bit of a brick, measuring a chunky 11.5mm deep. It’s also an ugly one, made up of smeary black plastic that keeps fingerprints under lock and key.
It’s hard to nitpick the hardware though when it costs so little, and is perfectly functional. More of a problem is the software - it’s Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, but Huawei’s broken it with its own absurd, Fisher-Price homescreen that lumps all your apps and widgets into one panel view, sort of like how iOS works. On top of that, the default on-screen keyboard is an unresponsive mess. Luckily these flaws are easily rectified with a new launcher and keyboard from the Google Play store - we suggest Apex Launcher and SwiftKey.