Huawei Ascend Y550 – Camera
The Huawei Ascend Y550 has a pretty basic camera setup, but factor in the price and once again the pure bang for your buck doesn’t seem too bad. Yes, the rear camera just has five megapixels to its name, but it has autofocus and a flash. Bigger names continue to leave out one or both of these camera essentials in entry-level phones.
There’s a front camera, too. Unlike the rear camera it’s not totally low-res, with a 2-megapixel sensor, while some at the price have no selfie camera at all or just a VGA one.
Selfies suffer from quite a lot of chromatic aberration, but they’re clearly a cut above naff VGA camera shots.
How about the main rear camera? It’s passable but image quality is much closer to the budget norm.
The Huawei Ascend Y550’s photos are quite fizzy-looking close-up, there’s a fair bit of purple fringing around areas of high light contrast and sharpness just isn’t all that good.
It’s prone to overexposure too, and the HDR mode is fairly ineffective at fixing this, only really bringing out shadow details rather than calming down highlights. It’ll do for quick Facebook snaps, but you probably won’t want to pore over them years down the line. Aside to see how badly you’ve aged.
Here are some shots we took with the Y550.
Colours aren’t too bad, but check out the overexposure in the sky
There’s not much detail in the inside of the flower and the exposure is set a little high here
The Y550 can handle basic night shots, although there’s a clear detail hit
Shooting speed is just passable too. You can take a photo about every 1.5 seconds — not super-quick but not disappointingly slow either. There is quite a lot of shutter lag, though, robbing the Y550 camera of its immediate feel. You do need some patience.
Strangely enough, it’s actually the front camera that stands out among its peers while the rear one is rather bog-standard.
Huawei Ascend Y550 – Battery Life
In some respects, the Huawei Ascend Y550 is a strange mishmash of old and new. Old-style screen resolution, but new processor brains. This seem to do its battery life a world of good.
The phone has a 2000mAh battery, which is a pretty solid unit for a smaller phone like this. While we’re yet to see how all that many 2015-generation chipset phones perform in stamina terms, the Huawei Ascend Y550 is a sign of a longer-lasting future.
In our video loop test, which involves playing an MP4 video on look until the battery drains down to nothing, the Huawei Ascend Y550 lasted for 12 hours 15 minutes. That’s a fantastic result for a phone this cheap, beating everything we’ve reviewed in this class to date.
For example, you’d be lucky to get eight hours out of the 5-inch Moto G 2014.
Battery life: scorchio
In general use the Huawei Ascend Y550’s battery life is very good too, tipping towards the two full days’ mark. Of course, as with other phones that have fairly rubbish screens, the prospect of browsing the web or watching video on them just isn’t that attractive, which does their anecdotal battery report a favour. Not really a positive thing though, is it?
Huawei Ascend Y550 – Connectivity and Sound Quality
One of the lead features of the Huawei Ascend Y550 is one we’ve only mentioned briefly: 4G. This is becoming the norm for almost all new phones, but a £70 still marks this out as one of the cheapest 4G mobiles at the time of writing.
Importantly, the Y550 supports the 800MHz band as well as the 1800MHz 2600MHz bands. This means it can be used with any UK 4G network. Some phones not specifically designed for use in the UK leave out 800MHz, which rules-out getting 4G on Tesco, O2 and GiffGaff.
Other than 4G, the Huawei Ascend Y550 keeps its connectivity features pretty basic. There’s no NFC or an IR transmitter, but Bluetooth, GPS and Wi-FI are all present as usual.
The Huaweri Y550’s speaker is a mono unit that sits on the back under a grille cut into the plastic rear. If your average budget phone speaker, with a fairly weedy sound. However, it doesn’t go crackly or harsh at maximum volume, which is something. Call quality is reasonable too, and there’s a secondary mic on the back for active noise cancellation.
Should I buy the Huawei Ascend Y550?
The Huawei Ascend Y550 is currently available for £69 from EE and O2, and at that price it seems a reasonable deal. However, SIM-free you’ll pay up to £110, and at that price it’s awful.
If you can afford a £100 phone, you can do much better than the Y550. The Motorola Moto G and EE Kestrel offer a better core experience. Even if you can’t afford that, the Motorola Moto E doesn’t have the same screen compromises as the Huawei Ascend Y550, although it doesn’t have 4G either and offers a much weaker CPU.
Like most current cheap 4G phones, we think some of the compromises in screen quality are more important than the benefit of 4G. However, it’s not the worst offender out there. It’s roughly on-par with the slightly more expensive Sony Xperia E3, aside from having a more contentious interface. It’s not a bad deal if you absolutely must have 4G and absolutely can’t pay more than £70.
SEE ALSO: Best Budget Phones Round-up
The Huawei Ascend Y550 isn’t a top-performing phone but offers decent insides and 4G at a low price.
Score in detail
Battery Life 9
Calls & Sound 6
Screen Quality 6