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printed July 30, 2014
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Review: Huawei Premia 4G for MetroPCS

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Screen

The Premia's display measures 4 inches across the diagonal and includes 800 x 480 pixels. In general, this screen size and resolution combo make for a decent display. The resolution may not match the HD displays on today's better devices, but neither does the Premia have a huge space to fill with pixels. The slightly smaller screen and resolution go well together. Pixels are still visible, but only if you hold the Premia six inches from your eyeballs. The LCD is plenty bright, but viewing angles were a disappointment. In order to see the screen outdoors, you'll need to set brightness all the way up.

Signal

MetroPCS's network was no match for the Premia, which managed to connect tightly no matter where I took the phone. The Premia held onto at least one or two bars even under the worst network conditions, and had no trouble connecting calls at all. The phone didn't drop or miss any calls, either. Data speeds depended heavily on which network the Premia latched onto: 1X or LTE. Over MetroPCS's 1X network, web sites rarely loaded. When LTE 4G was available, though, data sessions were pretty good.

Sound

Calls made with the Premia offered some of the best quality of any phone I've used on MetroPCS's network. They were free of extraneous noises and interference, had a warm quality to them, and sounded present. They were not nearly loud enough, though. Earpiece volume is sorely lacking. I was able to hear calls in a sedate coffee shop with the volume set all the way up, but just barely. When I made a call from a noisy bar, forget it; I couldn't hear anything. Calls sent to the speakerphone were just as clear as those sent to the earpiece. Volume was acceptable for quiet places, such as an office or home, but not loud enough in a car or anywhere people are talking. Ringers and alerts were loud enough to get my attention, but the vibrate alert was a bit weak.

Battery

With its lower-resolution screen and bargain processor under the hood, the Premia managed to impress me with its battery life. I had no trouble at all getting through an entire day and then some. It’s important to point out that the bulk of the time I spent testing the Premia was under MetroPCS's LTE 4G network. Bottom line: the Premia has excellent battery life for a 4G smartphone, besting superior devices such as the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S 4.

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