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Review: Huawei Ascend

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The camera on the Huawei Ascend could be sluggish to spring into action. It usually took five seconds or more to offer a live viewfinder. Also, every time the camera started up, even after simply reviewing a photo I just shot, it gave me a message that said “Now Use SD Card.” Is that a request? Photos were saved to the included 2GB microSD card, nonetheless.

The camera app is very basic, and poorly designed. The app has a large border around the edges, which limits the screen real estate for the live viewfinder. A pull-out drawer of options on the right offers a minimal selection of image tweaks. You can adjust white balance or add a basic color filter (sepia, black and white, etc.), but there are no helpful shooting modes or advanced photo features, like panorama stitching. The camera does not even have auto focus.

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Image Gallery

The image gallery is a basic picture viewing app, with no frills or effects like you'll find on newer Android systems. You can view photos as a thumbnail grid, or individually. You can swipe from one photo to the next, but don't expect any transition animation. Also, as I mentioned earlier, there is no pinch-to-zoom gesture, so zooming is handled by the onscreen buttons. It wasn't hard to quickly zoom into close to check out fine details.

From the gallery, you get all the basic Android sharing options. You can send messages via email or picture message, or upload pics to online services like Photobucket or Picasa. New apps can add new upload capabilities to the phone, as well, so if you have a favorite service that isn't listed, there is surely an app that can help. You can also send image files to a PC using Bluetooth.

To edit photos, the gallery offers tools to let you crop or rotate your pics, but that's all. There are no advanced editing options on the phone.

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