Review: Huawei Premia 4G for MetroPCS
MetroPCS has done a commendable job offering phones running clean versions of Android, and the Premia 4G is no different. It ships with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. There is no user interface skin or overlay, though there are plenty of MetroPCS-branded applications and services on board.
The lock screen offers four shortcuts: to the camera, messages, phone, and to unlock the device. Out of the box, there are five home screens. MetroPCS has loaded them with its own apps, services, and widgets, but they can be customized any way you wish.
The pull-down notification shade provides shortcuts to turn off radios (such as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi,) as well as a button for the full settings menu. The main app menu is stock Android, and by default has apps arranged in an alphabetical grid. The main app menu cannot be customized, though you can drop apps into folders on the home screens to organize them to your liking. There are plenty of widgets available, as well.
In terms of customization, the Premia offers the same flexibility associated with most Android phones. It also happens to include three different themes. The themes change the appearance of the home screens and icons, but nothing beyond those.
The Premia has a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, and it was capable of providing all the get-up-and-go the phone needed. I didn't see any stutters, crashes, slow-downs, or performance problems of any kind while testing the device.
Calls and Contacts
The Premia runs the stock version of the Android 4.0 phone and contact applications. Pressing the phone button on the home screen brings you to the dialpad. You can swipe sideways to access the call log, and your favorite contacts. The call log provides some information about calls (time, duration) in addition to shortcuts for redialing or sending a text message to that number.
Contacts are automatically synced with your Google accounts and whatever other contact databases you might wish (LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.). Contact cards, direct dial, and direct message shortcuts can be placed on the home screens, which give you instant access to your most-oft-contacted contacts. You can also add contacts to your Favorites list — which is visible in the phone application and from a useful home screen widget.
The Premia comes with the same stock Android communications apps that are on all other Android devices. That means Gmail, email, SMS, Google Talk, Google+, and Google+ Messenger.
As with most MetroPCS phones released this year, the Premia ships with the Metro Block-It app, which, as the name implies, lets subscribers block unwanted calls and text messages, block private/blocked numbers, and enable a "do not disturb" mode. The service costs $1 per month after a one-week trial.
Similarly, the Premia can also use MetroPCS's "joyn" messaging service. joyn is a standards-based app that collects and merges messaging services, such as IM and SMS, and lets users conduct threaded text conversations. It makes it easier to share photo and video content when the user is on an active phone call. It also lets MetroPCS customers make free voice and video calls to other joyn users via Wi-Fi. I found the app easy to use, but it is limited in that it only works with other joyn users who are MetroPCS customers.