Hands on: Huawei Y635 review

Affordable 4G just got a new player

What is a hands on review?
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Our Early Verdict

Another cheap and cheerful phone, it may not have the best screen or the most helpful internal storage, but there's a good spec to cost ratio in play.

For

  • Low cost
  • 4G and NFC
  • Solid build

Against

  • Non HD display
  • Low internal storage
  • Laggy interface

There's no flagship phone from this Chinese firm at MWC 2015, but what it does have is a couple of entry level handsets - primarily the Huawei Y635.

Coming in just above the 3G-toting Y360, the Huawei Y635 boasts 4G connectivity and NFC at a bargain basement price. The final cost has yet to be formerly announced, but a spokesperson for the company told me it's likely to be sub £125 (less than US$200, AU$250).

That places the Y635 firmly in Moto E, Lumia 535 and Moto G territory, but with a spec list that includes a 5-inch display, quad-core processor and 1GB of RAM it's certainly well enough equipped to mount a challenge.

In terms of design the Y635 doesn't exactly do anything new, it's a sizeable plastic handset which is solidly built and that's pretty much all you can ask for at this price point.

Huawei Y635 review

Even with a 5-inch display I didn't have too much trouble holding the Y635 in one hand and the textured plastic rear provided a decent level of grip.

What I did find strange was the placement of the physical keys - they're all on the left. Traditionally most handsets favour the right side, but here the volume rocker and power/lock keys are on the opposite edge.

It's not a huge problem, and they're easy enough to hit, but it may take you a little while to get used to.

Huawei Y635 review

I was a little disappointed to find the 5-inch display only had an 854 x 480 resolution - with 720p fast becoming the accepted display at this price point the Y635 does feel a little behind the times with its non HD offering.

That gives you a pixel density of 196ppi and while that's not terrible, games and video won't look particularly stellar on it.

The screen is bright though, with a decent contrast ratio and I was easily able to read text - although you don't need to look too closely to see the pixels.

Huawei Y635 review

I need to point out that the Huawei Y635 I got hands on with ahead of the MWC announcement wasn't running final software and thus some applications took a while to load and there was some noticeable lag in the interface.

The hope is all this will be ironed out before the handset goes on sale, and with a 1.2GHz quad-core processor and 1GB of RAM under the hood there's enough power to keep things running smoothly in theory.

Another plus point for the Huawei Y635 is the fact it's running Android 5.0 Lollipop - the latest version of Google's mobile platform.

Huawei Y635 review

It has however, been plastered in a 'lite' version of Hauwei's Emoition 3.0 UI which I've always found to be a sticking point with the company's devices.

The overall design is very much suited to the Asian market and doesn't transfer well in the Western world. It does keep things simple, which will benefit first time users.

Huawei has done away with the app tray, instead opting to have all your apps stored on homescreens - mimicking the way Apple's iOS does things.

Huawei Y635 review

I was also disappointed to find just 4GB of internal storage, of which a chunk is already taken up by the operating system.

This quite simply isn't enough for many mobile users these days and while the Y635 does have a microSD slot it's frustrating that the provided space is so small.

Round the back you'll find a 5MP camera and single LED flash. Peel off the rear plastic cover and you'll find a removable 2000mAh battery, microSIM slot and microSD port.

Huawei Y635 review

I took the camera for a quick spin during my hands on time, although with the software not being final it was slow at loading up and snapping.

The app was simple to use though, as are the other stock applications included on the Y635. Results were serviceable, but nothing more than that. It's not the best camera I've seen on a low cost handset, but it's also far from the worst.

There's no firm Huawei Y635 release date just yet, but I've been told we can probably expect it to land during Q3 of this year - that's July-September for you month fans out there.

Huawei Y635 review

Early verdict

The Huawei Y635 is another cheap and cheerful smartphone from the Chinese firm, but it's a niche it does well.

It may not have the best screen or the most helpful amount of internal storage, but the spec list is strong for the price tag and the Y635 shows great potential as a budget blower.

  • Check out the rest of our MWC 2015 coverage

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Phones and Tablets Deputy Editor

John (Twitter, Google+) got his first phone aged 12 and since then he's been fixated on all things mobile, churning his way through a multitude of handsets, tablets and operating systems. Signalling his arrival at TechRadar by becoming a Guinness World Record holder in his first week (for the highest score on Super Mario Bros using a giant controller), John hasn't looked back since.

What is a hands on review?

'Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view. For more information, see TechRadar's Reviews Guarantee.