Huawei Ascend Y550 Review
Premium features at an affordable price
The Huawei Ascend Y550 is certainly offered at an affordable price and to be honest this smartphone may be undervalued. From the moment I picked up the Ascend Y550 I was pleasantly surprised and this continued as I examined its design, explored the user interface and put it through its paces online.
Some may say that this mobile phone is for first time smartphone users but I think that anyone who has been using an Android phone on less than KitKat will be blown away and you can find out why in my Huawei Ascend Y550 review.
When you pick up the Huawei Ascend Y550 you will notice that even though it has a plastic shell it does feel solid, suggesting that it should take the odd knock or too without any problems. Size wise it fits nicely into the mini category of smartphones and it is 9.5mm thick with a middle of the board weight of 153 grams.
The shell encases a 4.5” IPS LCD display with a resolution of 480 x 854 pixels at 218 pixels per inch. This is by no way the best resolution you will find on the market but as the screen is only 4.5” this isn’t really noticeable.
There are many built-in themes to choose from and these are wildly different from each other so you can really get a unique and personal look. The app icons are really clear and I had no problem at all finding the feature I wanted from the multiple home screens. If you tap the options button then you can also choose among other things transitional effects and these really project that premium smartphone feel.
The speakers, which really amplified music playback, are situated on the back but these have been carefully positioned so that when your are holding the phone your hand doesn’t cover them and muffle the sound.
Inside a 1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 processor with 1GB RAM powers the Ascend Y550 and there is a small internal memory of 4GB. This can thankfully be expanded upon with a MicroSD card of up to 32GB and you could always backup your files and photos via a Cloud based service such as Dropbox.
The only negatives that I could see in the design were that fingerprints do seem to stick to the display, although when using the phone the display is so good that they simply disappear. On the bottom of the phone you will find the typical back, home and option buttons and it is a shame that these are printed and do not light up but you soon get used to where these are positioned when using the phone under low-light conditions.
Phone Set Up
The initial phone set up of the Huawei Ascend Y550 gives you the decision to choose between one of two user interfaces. Both of these control the way you experience the Android KitKat v4.4 operating system and of course you can switch between the two UI’s at any time.
The Simple UI is for those who are new to smartphones and it is easy to use with large icons. The straightforward layout with a large button design is dead simple to use and any new smartphone use will have no difficulty getting to grips with it. In fact only the key apps are available so this mode really is for absolute beginners and technophobes.
For anyone else I recommend that you jump straight in with the Emotion UI which is perfect for previous Android users and has intuitive features with all of the apps kept on the home screens.
You could spend hours customising the look and set up further and there are many built-in widgets that can be added to the home screens such as weather, email and calendar widgets.
You will not find any revolutionary new features on the Huawei Ascend Y550 but just about everything you could want to use is available or downloadable from the Google Play app store. 4G and Wi-Fi are ready to power your online experience from sending emails to socialising on Facebook and from chatting on Skype to watching catch up TV on the BBC iPlayer. I fully tested the internet experience and I was surprised at just how quick and fluid the experience was.
Email attachments can be opened using a built in document viewer and instant messaging is possible with Hangouts and Google Talk. The media player supports album art covers and you can easily filter your music by album, artist or playlist.
Location based services are also covered with built in GPS and Google Maps. Once again you will find a widget available for Google Directions and you can choose a destination and pin it onto the home screen, which is great for quick access to destinations that you may travel to more than once.
Further features you will find on the Huawei Ascend Y550 include a remote camera feature, voice search, Play Games, Play Movies, Play Books, a file manager and Cast feature for sharing your screen.
Keeping the Ascend Y550 working at peak performance is easily achieved through the phone manager app and from here you can scan the phone for issues, access the storage cleaner, adjust the harassment filter, tweak the notification manager and set up the do not disturb function.
Camera & Video
The 5MP camera exceeds expectations for a phone in this pricing bracket. Autofocus, a LED flash, Geo-tagging, touch focus, face detection, digital zoom, object tracking and panorama mode all feature on this camera phone.
Video recording is possible at a quality of 720p at 30 frames per second and a 2MP forward facing camera for taking selfies or conducting video calls is included.
Additional features include a photo viewer/editor and this is full of photo enhancing tools. These include a series of filters and individual control of the contrast, exposure, saturation, shadows and so much more that you will feel like a professional photographer in a post production studio.
You can also make corrections from here such as straightening up the image and cropping the image as well as having some fun with photo frames and drawing on top of your photos.
The 2000mAh battery is perfectly adequate for a smartphone with a 4.5 inch display and this should offer a talk time of up to 8 hours. Should your battery power become critical then you can switch to ultra power saving mode and get an entire day of standby time from the last 10% of the battery.
From the settings you can find the power saving features and analyse your set-up, giving you the option to tweak individual power settings to get the most out of your batteries remaining power.
My overall verdict is that the Huawei Ascend Y550 is the perfect smartphone for anyone who doesn’t want to spend a fortune as this phone is punching well above its weight class.
Written by: Michael Brown