The Huawei Ascend Y3 – Bang For The Buck Indeed

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We reviewed the Huawei Honor 4C and the Y5 AKA Bee. On our plate today is the Y5’s younger brother the Huawei Y3. Priced at Rs. 9,999, the device is also referred to as the Huawei Bee and is available at all Singer outlets island wide.

We see the usual story with the packaging used by Huawei. A white cardboard box houses both the phone and other assorted accessories (charging cable, dock, earphones). The charging cable also doubles as a standard micro USB cable for charging and data transfer.

Measuring 122.6 x 63.8 x 10.9 mm, the device weighs around 118g. It’s basically a small, light smartphone that packs quite a punch for the price range. Why you ask? Well read on and find out

The top of the device houses the 3.5mm audio connector and the microUSB port. The front houses the front camera (2MP), ear piece and ambient light sensor. The bottom consists of hardware navigation (Back, Home, and Recents), microphone. The power button and volume rocker are both housed on the right side of the device whilst the camera is placed squarely in the top center of the device with a dual LED directly under it.

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Build Quality – A blast from the past

The Y3 boasts a 4” WVGA 480*800 IPS screen with a 218 ppi pixel density. Network and connectivity-wise, you get dual MicroSIM support with 3G support (but no LTE), WiFi and Bluetooth. The device also has 4GB of onboard storage with upto 32GB supported via a microSD card.

Powering up the phone, you are greeted with Huawei’s standard loading animation which also loads pretty fast.

Similar to Huawei’s earlier products that we reviewed, the low pixel density count doens;t really affect the usability of the device. Considering the price you pay, this element shouldn’t even be taken into consideration but we’re just saying. Text is clear and readable at both full brightness and at automatic brightness with minute smudging of text but then again like we said, take the price into consideration. Photos and video playback was generally clear and even the touch was quite responsive and as with previous models, this too has multi touch for upto four fingers.

The device ships with Huawei’s basic apps which include Kingsoft Office, weather, a flashlight, a mirror app and even a magnifier. In addition, the standard Google apps are also installed which include Google Play Music, Hangouts, Gmail, Drive etc.

Screenshot_2015-07-02-14-07-47As far as entertainment goes, the Y3 has the basics covered with an FM Radio and a media player capable of handling mp3, mp4 and flac files. The music player is ye average player. It looks good and gets the job done. The loudspeaker acts like any loudspeaker should; not overly loud, but just loud enough to notify you of incoming calls or messages.

Real World Performance

Now this is the interesting part. For under 10k, you get a pure quad core device. That’s right. The Y3 has a quad-core MediaTek 6582M CPU backed up by 512MB of RAM, all the better to help you get through your daily lives with.

Android 4.4 KitKat skinned with Huawei’s proprietary EmotionUI is what runs on the Y3. It’s fast, smooth and visually attractive too. Homescreen switching is very smooth and navigating within the app drawer is equally fast. Switching through too many apps at a stretch tends to make the device lag but that’s to be expected.

Screenshot_2015-01-15-02-02-00The Y3i is equipped with a 5MP camera with an LED flash. Here we meet the bane of the Y3; night/ low light conditions but then again, that is the bane of most smartphone cameras. The camera has a HDR mode but lacks an autofocus option, so you may want to pay attention and keep your focus on the subject to ensure your image comes out clear. Best Picture, Panorama and Watermark modes are also included in the Y3’s imaging software. They’re not too flashy, and get the job done. With regard to video, you can record 720p video but clarity depends completely on the environment in which you’re recording, so get some light just to be safe.

The Benchmarks – The true story behind a smartphone

By now you must have figured out that our benchmark for any device is Antutu. Firing up the old benchmark too around 5 minutes to complete and the results were handed to us. With a score of 16720, the Y3 is not too far behind the Y5 in terms of overall performance and is more or less on par with smartphones consisting of its current spec and in fact beat other phones in the price range too. Given that the Y3 has a 1730mAh battery, it would be foolish to assume that it would be able to last the day given the fact that apps such as Facebook and messenger are both battery and memory hogs.

Screenshot_2015-07-02-14-07-13As we stated in earlier reviews, the actual usage depends on factors such as screen on time, network signal quality and how much you actually use the phone and its apps.

Final Thoughts

Affordable, efficient and rather cute, the Y3 is Huawei’s attempt to give the user a device that is powerful, and also cost effective. At this price range, it again competes with the likes of brands such as Microsoft with their new Lumia and even Intex and Micromax which are gaining popularity amongst those looking for a really affordable smartphone.

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