Huawei recently launched the Ascend G510 smartphone in South Africa. LIRON SEGEV tries it out and is surprised by the performance of the entry-level device.
Allow me to introduce you to a mobile phone manufacturer that you already know but don’t know that you know. The company is called Huawei, pronounced ‚”Wha Way‚”, and they have been around for ages. If you have ever used a 3G dongle in South Africa, chances are pretty high that under the Cellular phone branding beats the heart of Huawei.
Recently Huawei revealed their Ascend G510 phone. My first impression of the device was that it is a pretty solid and you get a lot of phone for your buck. The device runs Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) on a Qualcomm Snapdragon dual-core 1.2 GHZ Corex A5 processor, but it does suffer a bit in the memory department by only having 512MB RAM. It does have 4GB of internal storage and has an expansion slot for a microSD to boost it up to 32GB. The total cost of the device is R1999 and for that price and the quality of device, I think it is a real winner at the budget handsets.
At the launch I was fortunate enough to win the Ascend G510. I charged it to see just what this handset can do. I was in for a surprise, as the G510 far exceeded my expectations.
When you think of entry level smart phones you expect a certain degraded experience, however the Ascend G510 stood up to the daily use and abuse and didn’t miss a beat. I very quickly forgot that it was a so called ‚”budget‚” phone as it preformed so well.
The Look and Feel:
The device measures at 134 x 67mm, is an impressive 9.9 mm thin and weighs only 150 g. That is pretty good and very comparable to top end phones.
The display is an IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen with 16M colours and at 4.5 inches it features a maximum resolution of 480 x 854 pixels with a 218 ppi pixel density. This means that whilst the phone is good enough for the regular use, it does loose some details.
The look of the app icons, photos and info does not suffer too much and when you increase the brightness level, the images just get that extra wow factor. I am very impressed with just how good the screen is and just how comfortably and solidly the device feels and fits into your hands.
The buttons on the device are all on the left side of the phone. This includes the Power and a Volume rocker. The soft keys on the bottom include a Back button on the left and the a Right click on the right and a Home button is in the middle. This takes a bit of getting used as I often tapped the wrong button. Habit I guess.
As they say: ‚”The best camera is the one that you happen to have on you‚” and this is yet another area that the Ascend G510 exceeded my expectations. The Ascend has a front facing VGA camera and a rear facing 5 megapixel camera. The Camera app is accessible right from the lock-screen minimizing the risk of you missing those precious.
The Camera app features various scene modes, filters and even a panorama mode. Great to see that the phone has a built in flash too.
The Video option is just ok at a VGA mode of 640 x 480.
I would have expected Huawei to simply have the default Android Jelly Bean interface, however they have opted for their own Emotion UI overlay. Thankfully it is still Android and you have the ability to make folders and drag and drop apps or widgets to wherever you like. The overlay allows you to change screen transitions.
There is still the ‚”quick pull-down‚” menu from the top of the screen where you can access the frequently used shortcuts to switch things like Bluetooth, GPS and WiFi on and off. You can also customise this tray and rearrange the icons for apps you want to have in the order you want to see them.
Another feature I like is the ability to change the apps on the lock-screen. You can add apps that you need to access quickly. I added Twitter and Email which I actually found rather useful when I want to ‚”quickly check something‚”.
The Battery Life
The device has a Li-Ion 1700 mAh battery. I managed to get to about 2pm on a semi-heavy usage day and at that point had to recharge. I have disabled 3G and GPS and only switched WiFi on when I was in a hotspot or in the office. I expect that this phone will do ok for someone who needs to text, email, a bit of Facebooking and some music. The fact that the phone has the standard micro USB charging port means that you can simply borrow someone’s charger to get a top up when you are running low.
Connection to the world
The Ascend G510 is designed with connectivity in mind. You can connect via 2G, 3G and WiFi. You also have the ability to create a hotspot and share your connectivity with other devices. The G510 also has NFC built into it so you can swap files with your friends and even has DNLA capability so you can share media files with other devices in your network. Powerful from such a small device.
So in conclusion
At the price of R1999, this phone is not only affordable but a serious player in the entry level market without feeling like you have a sub-standard device as you cant afford a ‚”real phone‚”.
This is one phone that you will not have to hide just because it is an entry level smartphone. The screen is decent, the capabilities to share are powerful and the ability to customise the phone makes the Ascend G510 an overall exciting package.
Great move by Huawei understanding the local South African market and providing a solution for a specific gap.
* Liron Segev is also known as The Techie Guy. You can read his blog athttp://www.thetechieguy.com or follow him on Twitter on @Liron_Segev
* Follow Gadget on Twitter on @GadgetZA
Hisense adds AI-cameras to handsets
Hisense has entered the AI-camera space with the Infinity H30, aimed at the mid-range market. BRYAN TURNER tests the new camera technology.
Click below to read the review.
While many know Hisense for its TVs and appliances, it has an impressive lineup of smartphones. Its latest Infinity H30 smartphone packs a serious punch in the mid-range market, including features like a low-bezel screen and AI camera.
Out the box, the phone comes with the usual charger, charging cable and earphones. There is a surprise in the box: a screen protector and a clear case. A nice value-add to the already affordable smartphone.
The polycarbonate plastic body feels premium, especially for a device in this price range. It has a colour changing body, depending on the angle at which it is held. The colour of the device we reviewed is called Ice Blue, and shimmers in darker and lighter blues. Aesthetically, this is a big win for Hisense.
The 6.5″ screen is a narrow-bezelled FHD+ display with good colour replication. Hisense is known for creating colour-accurate displays and it’s good to see it continue this legacy in its smartphones. The shape of the display is interesting, taking some design notes from Huawei’s Dewdrop display with what Hisense calls the “U-Infinity Display”. It makes the phone look really good.
On the rear of the phone, one finds a dual-camera setup with fingerprint sensor. On the bottom of the phone, there is a speaker, a USB Type-C Port and a headphone jack. The speaker’s placement on the bottom isn’t optimal and the sound is muffled if one accidentally covers the single speaker area.
The 4,530mAh non-removable battery is very capable, providing a good 12 hours of medium usage (checking messages every half hour and playing an online game every hour) until it reaches 20%. The battery capacity isn’t the only power feature of the device; it runs on the latest Android Pie operating system, which includes AI power-saving software measures to keep background apps from using battery.
It is a little disappointing to see the device came with some pre-installed games. Fortunately, one can uninstall them. Hisense makes up for this by issuing Android updates and security patches as the come out. This, coupled with the MediaTek Octa Core processor, provides a good user experience for playing games and multi-tasking.
The H30 has a whopping 128GB of on-board storage, and it can be expanded even more with a MicroSD card. The 4G-LTE capabilities are perfect for most high-speed broadband situations, with around 40Mbps download and around 10Mbps upload in an area with good cell service.
The 20+2MP rear camera configuration is good at taking shots on Auto mode, but pictures can be better after figuring out all the camera modes available. There is a professional mode for those who want to be extra creative with their photography. It also includes a baby mode, which plays various noises to make a baby look at the phone for a better picture. The AI mode can be enabled to make full use of the processor in the device, and fif the camera mode to be selected based on scenes photographed.
The 20MP front camera performs equally as well. This camera is the reason for the U-like shape at the top of the screen. The camera app has beauty-face filters, for those wanting a slimmer face or smoother skin.
Overall, the Infinity H30 is a prime example of a good phone in an affordable price range. The camera is very capable, and the AI processing helps what would otherwise be a regular camera. The aesthetically pleasing colour saves the day, and makes this mid-range device look like a high-end flagship. The device is retailing for R5,499 from most major carriers.
Nokia 9 PureView pioneers new camera tech
Nokia packed five camera-lenses into its latest high-end flagship, but does more lenses mean better pictures? BRYAN TURNER took it for a test run.
Nokia is not new to the high-end mobile photography market. In 2012, it led Mobile World Congress (MWC) with its 41MP Nokia 808 PureView. This year, Nokia returned to MWC with its next PureView handset: the Nokia 9 PureView.
Instead of pushing megapixels, the mobile device maker chose to focus on intelligent exposure and sharp focus quality. It achieved this with a set of five cameras on the rear of the device – the most ever on the back of a handset. All of the lenses are 12MP f/1.8 lenses, and three of them are monochrome. The five lenses work in tandem to blend the best parts of a captured image. This is achieved through software image blending, which has been trained to know what’s good and bad about the image.
Lighting is dramatically improved with a monochrome sensor. About 2.9x more light can be captured with a monochrome sensor when compared to a conventional sensor. Huawei showed off the advantages of integrating a monochrome camera with the P9.
Why three monochrome lenses?
Detail can be captured at three different lighting settings, one to absorb a lot of light, one to absorb a little less light, and one to absorb very little light. These photos can then be blended into one great photo, without the user having to worry about setting the camera’s exposure manually.
Only five lenses have been mentioned so far but the back of the device sports seven holes. The sixth hole is for the flash and the seventh is for the depth sensor. This sensor captures the depth of an image, so autofocus can be a little sharper and focus depth on bokeh images can be adjusted after the picture is taken. This adjustment feature is especially useful when a subject’s hair has been “bokeh’d out”.
Click here to read about the other features of the Nokia 9 PureView.