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Huawei Ascend Y550 review

Andrew Williams



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Huawei Ascend Y550
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  • Huawei Ascend Y550
  • Huawei Ascend Y550
  • Huawei Ascend Y550
  • Huawei Ascend Y550
  • Huawei Ascend Y550
  • Huawei Ascend Y550
  • Huawei Ascend Y550
  • Huawei Ascend Y550
  • Huawei Ascend Y550
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Our Score:



  • Great battery life
  • Fair screen colour and contrast
  • Up-to-date 64-bit CPU


  • Low screen resolution
  • Minor performance issues
  • Low internal storage

Key Features

  • Snapdragon 410 CPU
  • 4.5-inch 480 x 800-pixel IPS screen
  • Android 4.4
  • Manufacturer: Huawei
  • Review Price: £69.00

What is the Huawei Ascend Y550?

The Huawei Ascend Y550 is one of the cheapest 4G phone in the world right now. For £70 on a pay-as-you-go deal, you get a 4G handset complete with the latest generation of 64-bit chipset, while undercutting the competition from the bigger names.

As with other cheap 4G phones, the question is whether the sacrifices elsewhere are justified by the inclusion of faster mobile Internet. The answer? Not quite, but this is one of the better ultra-affordable 4G phones, offering a less compromised experience than the Alcatel OneTouch S3.

However, we’d advise sacrificing 4G and opting for the Moto E, or considering the more capable EE Kestrel (also manufactured by Huawei) if you can jump ship over to the EE network.

Related: Best Android Smartphones

Huawei Ascend Y550 – Design

The Huawei Ascend Y550 is a pretty anonymous-looking phone. It’s a slightly dumpy, fairly heavy block of curved, lightly metallic plastic. However, it does look and feel more streamlined than last year’s Huawei G-series phones.

Rather than having a pull-off plastic backplate that just covers the battery, here the back part winds around to the screen surround, giving something approaching the style of a unibody phone. It won’t impress onlookers with its style, but it feels a little more solid than, say, the Sony Xperia E1.

SEE ALSO: Mobile Phone Buyer's Guide

A relatively seam-fee design gives the Huawei Ascend Y550 fairly good ergonomics too, for a slightly chubby, slightly heavy phone. Want the specifics? It’s 9.5 mm thick and weighs 153g. That's as heavy as some of 2014's flagship phones.

The Huawei Ascend Y550 uses physical soft keys, rather than building them into the software and taking up part of the screen. They don’t light up for easier use in the dark, but this is common among cheaper phones.

A hardware cut that's more an issue, albeit a predictable one, is the 4GB of internal storage. While we’ve happily used an 8GB phone like the Moto G for months without complaint, 4GB is far more restrictive. It leaves you with insufficient space to install some data-hungry games as soon as you bite into the storage left after the preinstalled apps and system software has nibbled away at the 4GB you’ll see on the Huawei Ascend Y550’s spec list. In this case that storage is 1.1GB.

SEE ALSO: Best Cheap Smartphones

Ascend Y550 3

Underneath the plastic back cover, which you can simply prise off with a fingernail, is a microSD card that’ll do the trick for music or video files. However, it won’t erase the issues keen mobile gamers will have installing some titles.

Getting a bit more internal storage is one of the most convincing reasons to consider upgrading to a slightly more expensive phone, like the Moto G for example.

Huawei Y550: not a work of art

Huawei Ascend Y550 – Screen

The other big reason to upgrade is screen quality. Not every cheap phone has a remedial screen, but the Huawei Ascend Y550 is definitely in the class with the lower-performing kids.

It has a 4.5-inch screen with an 800 x 480-pixel display. It’s not pixel-rich enough to avoid looking obviously pixellated.

The Huawei Ascend Y550’s limited resolution is fairly obvious whatever you’re doing, but is particularly clear when you’re browsing the web, with any small text becoming quite scrappy-looking.

Ascend Y550

We will say that among the display dunces, it is far from the worst. The Huawei Ascend Y550 has an IPS display with reasonable colour reproduction and passable contrast. It is better either than the Sony Xperia E1 or Nokia Lumia 530 screens – a couple of bigger-name alternatives.

If it wasn’t for the resolution, it’d be fairly good. Its tone is perfectly pleasant and aside from some loss of brightness viewing angles are good. Compromise? Yes. Catastrophe? No.

The Huawei Ascend Y550 also has an auto brightness setting, which uses a light sensor on the front to judge exactly how intense the backlight needs to be. This is occasionally left out of cheaper phones, and not having an Auto mode gets annoying – it means you have to manually ramp up the brightness when you do outdoors in the day time.

Top brightness isn’t stellar, but enough to keep the display visible on a bright, sunny day. The screen is pretty reflective, though.

Carrier pricing updates & information supplied by WhistleOut


January 23, 2015, 11:26 am

Ah, no thanks.

James Hardman

January 23, 2015, 2:58 pm

I bought one of these phones SIM-free about six weeks ago and am very pleased with it. Your review is very much in line with my own experience, but I will make two observations.

I have no real problem with the screen resolution. Its pixels-per-inch is about the same as my 2012 Nexus 7 and significantly better than the still available iPad Mini (first version) which, to my eyes, has always looks pixellated on web pages.

As well as 4G, the Ascend Y550 offers DC-HSDPA which for the moment is more generally useful to me. Certainly on Three's network, DC-HSDPA allows impressively fast download speeds - often faster than many will experience on 4G but obviously dependent on network load. It was this feature which made me choose the Huawei rather than one of the otherwise better Moto G series. The latter, I believe, all offer only single cell/carrier 3G+ network connectivity. Another low cost option offering both 4G and HSDPA is the Sony Xperia E3.

George Cassimatis

May 2, 2015, 4:32 am

The Y550 has to be one of the best phones i have very owned. I cant agree with comments about screen resolution as this is based purely (and biased) on specifications. The screen is in fact bright, clear and colourful. Nothing to complain about whatsoever. The camera too takes very good pictures in the bright outdoors and as good as any other phone though indoor and poor lighting shots dont impress. Then again most other phone cameras dont perform well in poor light either. Internal memory is not any issue these days as you just add a 16GB or 32GB memory card for a few bucks and set the default storage to the memory card...memory problem gone! Compared with my Samsung S2 and S3 and other name brand phones this Huawei phone actually excells overall due to its vastly superior performance in the all important areas of reception, GPS connection and wifi connection. We are talking here about moments vs minutes when it comes to finding GPS satellites and 2 to 3 bar reception achieved in weak areas compared with ZERO on the Samsungs. I'm sorry but if a phone cant perform in these 2 basic but important categories it doesnt matter how wonderful the screen resolution is or the milli-seconds difference in response. With all those other wonderful features the Huawei Y550 wins hands down as the best value phone on this Earth by far!


May 30, 2015, 6:29 pm

my y550 is stuck on factory settings when i say yes it knocks off and goes back to factory settings

Anthony Parkes

May 24, 2016, 9:32 pm

I have a Huawei ascend y550 that's just short of 18 months old, it says that the phone is warranted for 24 months, over the last couple of weeks I have had people I have phoned complaining that they cannot hear me very, sometimes if at all, I have been on numerous webb pages trying to contact their customer services, I had one message asking what the problem was, I have no idea to what country the message went, I have not heard anything for a couple of days, trying to make sense of their various methods of contacting them is like extracting teeth, sorry this is one bad experience to many so in future I will not be purchasing any of Huawei's products.

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