Next to high-end phones, I find that the under $100 prepaid price point is the most interesting part of the market to watch. Not long ago, it used to be that it was impossible to get a smartphone for less than $300 that didnít suck, then the HTC One V and Sony Xperia U came out.
The Nokia Lumia 520 breached the $200 barriers so now the goal posts have been moved again to the magic $100 mark.
Huawei breached the $100 point with their Y300 - for the price was a good deal but it had one weakness - it came with a really slow processor. It was usable but only just.
Now Huaweiís is following up the Ascend Y300 with the Ascend Y530. Itís a $89.99 prepaid phone available on Bell but compared to the Y300, itís got a bigger, higher resolution screen, more built-in storage, a front facing camera, auto focus, a newer version of Android and most importantly, a faster processor from Qualcomm. Letís check it out:
While not quite as solid as a top-of-the-line phone, the plastic bodied Y530 feels reasonably sturdy. The size of the gaps between each body piece are reasonable. Actually it has a nice heft. It reminds me of the Moto G (another impressive budget phone).
The back cover has a pattern on it. Behind it is the removable battery, MicroSD which can be replaced without pulling the battery and a full-sized SIM card slot.
Yes, this is a full sized slot. I mention it because at a glance it doesnít really look like one. And in case youíre wondering, yes, I managed to get a microSIM stuck on more than one occasion. I had to use a really small screwdriver to pull my cards out without wrecking the phone so watch yourself.
Oh, and donít even think about using a Micro/NanoSIM to regular sized SIM adapter.
Volume, Power buttons
Nothing to see on the right side
Speaker, Camera, Flash
In front is a 4.5Ē IPS display with a resolution of 854x480.
When it comes to sharpness, the way I see it, screens with PPIís > 320 are sharp while 260-320 is kind of sharp if you donít look really carefully. PPIís under 200 are blurry so the Y530ís ~220PPI screen sort of falls in-between pretty sharp and blurry.
I did find that I wished the Y530 had a few more pixels was when I was browsing the web or reading small text. When youíre surfing, youíll have to zoom a little more than you normally would. Itís too bad Huawei couldnít stick a 960x540 display in the Moto E.
In terms of brightness, viewing angles, outdoor usability the Y530 isnít bad. It actually has a fairly bright display - to my eye itís brighter than the HTC One M8 and LG G3 displays.
While there is a bit of contrast shift off-angle, itís typical of what youíll notice on most other displays. Black levels are not very deep - it really glows when youíre looking at something really dark.
Iím not 100% sure about this, but the Y530 feels like it has a glass screen. That said, it doesnít have the greatest oleophobic coating on it. It reminds me of the Alcatel OneTouch Idol Xís screen which is made from Dragontrail glass.
The Y530 has both rear and front facing cameras. The back camera has a flash and autofocus which is unusual for a phone at this price point.
Itís got a resolution of 5 megapixels. While it does okay outdoors, it struggles a bit indoors which to be honest, is par for the course for this class of phone.
When youíre indoors you have to use the flash pretty much all the time or else pictures will turn out blurry with a ton of noise.
While you can actually record HD video with the Y530 (1280x720), it can get choppy sometimes.
While Iím impressed that this sub $100 phone has auto-focus, a 5 megapixel imager and HD video recording, you should spend a little more and get something with a better camera if you plan on using the camera lot