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printed September 19, 2014
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Review: Huawei Ascend

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Screen

The Huawei Ascend uses a 3.5-inch display running 480 x 320 pixels. Considering the low resolution for a screen this size, I think the Ascend’s display did a fine job handling the Android interface. Icons looked blocky and text could be jagged, sure, but the screen is plenty bright and colorful. There is no automatic brightness, but I didn’t need to crank the screen up to its brightest level, at least not indoors. Outside, it was very difficult to read the Ascend’s screen, and nearly impossible to take pictures with the viewfinder. Still, it isn’t the worst display I’ve seen on an Android phone by far, and that’s enough faint praise for this inexpensive device.

Sound

Call quality on the Huawei Ascend was pretty good. I didn’t hear any significant audio problems during my test calls, and my callers heard me loud and clear. The earpiece volume could be a bit louder, but it was fine to use in a crowded shop or while driving down the highway. The speaker was loud, but not as abusively loud as I prefer. The speakerphone could not come close to the volume of the ringtones, however, and calls made over the speaker were difficult to hear with any background noise.

Signal

Though Cricket only sells phones in certain areas, the carrier does have roaming agreements that guarantee a 3G network signal from coast to coast. Here in North Texas, Cricket won’t sell me a new phone, but I had no problem connecting calls or using the data network. All of my calls went through just fine. Data was sluggish, but it was consistent. It crawled along happily without stopping.

Battery

Battery life on the Huawei Ascend was not bad. The phone easily lasted through a full day of testing with Wi-Fi enabled the whole time. I did not use GPS much for navigation, but I did use the camera often and the screen was always set to a high brightness. You’ll definitely need to charge the Ascend every night, but you could probably leave your charger at home and make it through a work day with no trouble.

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