With the rise of companies like Huawei, Infinix, Oppo and much more, the price to performance and features ratio of budget smartphones has improved drastically. In today’s market, it is very easy to get a decently performing smartphone for under 20,000 PKR. Huawei’s latest entry to its Y-series of budget smartphones is another such phone with good specs and decent performance.
The good, bad and ugly
Huawei Y5 2017 really does stand out from the crowd, but with some price to pay. Here are some things that make this phone very promising to use:
- Good battery life
- Decent price to performance ratio
- Above average camera
- Smooth software experience
And here is where it falls back into the crowd
- Screen brightness (automatic screen brightness makes things too dark)
- Removable back but non-removable battery
- No Android Nougat at time of launch
Inside the Box
- 5V/2A Fast Charger
- Standard length microUSB to USB-A cable
- 3.5 mm in-ear handsfree
- Plastic screen protector
- Warranty information
Design and build quality
Hate big and bulky phones? Then you’ll love this phone. With a 5.2 inch screen and 150g of weight, the phone is very manageable in the hand. The phone has a plastic construction all around but it doesn’t feel cheap in the hand. The back cover is removable and has a very nice dot matrix pattern to facilitate gripping the phone in hand.
Removing the back cover gives access to the dual SIM card (micro and nano) and microSD card slot. The battery is screwed in the place and isn’t easily removable. The whole back cover fits nicely in the place and I am happy to report that there are no creaks and squeaks once it is firmly in place.
Apart from the usual placement of power button and volume rockers on the right side of the device, there is another button on the left side which Huawei dubs as Easy Key. It can be configured to perform certain actions or open apps by clicking, double clicking or long pressing.
Overall, the build quality is pretty good for a phone of this price and most people will be more than happy with what they are getting in this price range.
Huawei Y5 2017 has a 5 inch 720p Super AMOLED screen. Being an AMOLED screen, it has good color reproduction. It can get bright enough when you turn off automatic brightness, however, the automatic brightness setting seems to be a little off for my review unit. It does adjust the brightness automatically but it makes the screen much darker than required. It became a little annoying after a while when I had to keep readjusting the brightness to make sure that everything was easily visible. I hope that this is an issue with my review unit only and will not affect other devices.
Other than that small issue, Y5’s screen is perfectly fine for a phone in this price range. It offers good viewing angles and the text is plenty sharp to make sure there aren’t any readability issues.
Huawei Y5 2017 is running Android 6.0 Marshmallow with Huawei’s MIUI version 4.1. It’s a bit surprising that Huawei went with the older version of Android software with this phone but there’s a chance that this device will soon be updated to Android Nougat and latest of the version of MIUI.
MIUI 4.1 comes with a lot of improvements over the stock Android to provide users with a better experience while using the device. A couple of interesting additions like Apple-esque control center on the lock screen and an intuitive separation between notifications and control shortcuts help make the interface a little bit more simple and easier to use.
There are a number of other improvements to how the software works along with hardware to further enrich the user experience. With Y5 2017, Huawei has included an addition key which can be programmed to perform different actions depending on whether the key was pressed once, twice or long pressed. It can be used to perform actions like putting the phone on silent or launching apps quickly. Huawei has also included a phone manager which keeps track of available resources and helps ensure that the device keeps working at its full potential.
Performance and battery life
Huawei Y5 2017 comes with 1.4 GHz Quad-core Mediatek processor. Considering its target market segment, there shouldn’t be any expectation of record-breaking performance from this device. What it does well though, with its 1.4 GHz Quad-core processor and 2 GB of RAM, is to make sure that you never run out of juice while trying to go through normal day to day tasks. This translates into a smooth performance throughout the UX and there is barely any stuttering or slowdown while opening, closing or using apps.
The Geekbench and AnTuTu benchmarks score to reflect this observation with scores favoring a mid to low range device with plenty of oomph to run Android operating system smoothly.
With a power efficient CPU and 720p screen, the inclusion of a 3,000 mAh battery can only mean one thing — amazing battery life. I am pleased to say that Huawei Y5 2017 does not disappoint. It can easily last a day and a half on a single charge. Its screen on time is also consistently over 6 hours when using it for activities like surfing the web, playing games and watching videos.
Budget phone cameras are usually manufacturer’s favorite places to cut the cost from. Y5 2017, however, manages to provide a very decent camera experience for its asking price. Its 8 MP primary camera with f/2.0 takes pretty good pictures in good lighting conditions. The color accuracy is on point and the noise is withing bearable limits. The pictures are definitely good enough for capturing quick moments and sharing on social media.
The front of the device houses a 5 MP shooter with an accompanying LED flash. In a similar fashion to the back camera, front camera takes good pictures when provided with ample amount of light. Although it is equipped with a LED flash to illuminate the selfie, low light pictures still turn out grainy and lack the proper amount of detail. So while it can be used to take a few night time selfies, it’s best to try and find a nicely lit place before firing up the camera.
Huawei Y5 2017 is not meant to compete with a mid-range offering from companies like Samsung, HTC, and many other manufacturers currently competing in the market. It is designed with a specific category of people in mind — those who are looking to get the most out of their money. With a good screen, decent camera, good battery life and smooth performance, Huawei Y5 2017 is a very good option for people who are looking to buy on a budget. Coming at a price of 15,999 at launch, it is certainly worth a look while looking to buy your next budget smartphone.