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Review: Huawei SnapTo

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May 7, 2015, 11:00 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   @phonescooper

Huawei's SnapTo is a mild-mannered Android smartphone for budget-conscious buyers. This unlocked handset can be used with many prepaid services and offers a few unique features worth discussion. Here is Phone Scoop's full report.

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Is It Your Type?

The SnapTo from Huawei is meant for customers seeking a low-cost handset best paired with prepaid or month-to-month cellular service. Its average feature set helps keep the price down while still offering the base level performance most people expect even from inexpensive smartphones.

Body

The SnapTo is a good-sized phone that's rather plain as far as looks go. It's a black slab with square shoulders, straight edges, and a somewhat blunt shape. I'd say it's minimalistic, but I don't think Huawei was going for the minimalistic look. The SnapTo is George McFly before he meets his far hipper son: a little nerdy.

The only design choice worth mentioning is the faux leather rear shell. Other phones have attempted to pull off the leather look, but the texture of the SnapTo's back is subtle. I didn't realize it had a leather texture until I picked the phone up and brought it close to my eyes. "Understated" would be a good word here. The chrome rim circling the camera is the only part of the SnapTo that's not black.

Since the SnapTo has a 5-inch screen, it's right on the border of big. The measurements are almost identical to those of the Galaxy S6 and One M9, just for the sake of comparison, but Samsung and HTC's flagships are slimmer (and in an altogether different class). The SnapTo felt wide in my hand, but the weight is good. It's thicker than I'd like a phone to be, but not so thick that it causes any sort of usability trouble. It'll fit into most pockets just fine.

The construction is fairly good. Aside from the display, the phone is formed entirely by plastics. The rear shell fits onto the frame tightly, and all the seams are uniform. The quality isn't going to bowl you over, but it would be unfair to characterize it as cheap.

Body  

Glass covers the entire front surface of the SnapTo. Many phones have a uniform color to the glass and are able to hide the actual display when the phone is off (in other words, the front is entirely black). The SnapTo doesn't do that, and it's something I'd count against it. When off, the display is gray and easy to see. It is surrounded by a thick bezel. The phone has a pretty distinct rim where the glass meets the frame. This is to protect the screen when placed face down. It's noticeable, but not necessarily objectionable. There's a black-colored grille covering the earpiece and the user-facing camera is obvious to the eye. The SnapTo could have a snappier face, to be sure.

The side edges are distinctly flat. The phone won't stand on its sides, but they are flat all the same. I like that the left side is entirely smooth. The screen lock button and volume toggle are both on the right side. I had no trouble finding and using the buttons without looking. Travel and feedback are great. As is often the case, the headphone jack is on the top surface and the micro-USB port is on the bottom.

Only the Huawei logo and camera module serve to break up the otherwise matte black rear cover. The speakerphone is barely visible in the lower left corner.

There's a notch in the corner of the phone for removing the rear shell. The shell covers not only the back, but the side surfaces as well. I didn't have any problem prying it off. Most often when the rear cover is removable, so too is the battery. That's not the case with the SnapTo. An unremovable metal plate covers the battery and locks it in place; no swapping power cells for you. The phone accepts micro SIM cards and microSD memory cards. Both slots are accessible only when the shell off.

The SnapTo may not be the most appealing handset ever designed, but its simple lines and unassuming nature make it very approachable.

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