Huawei Ascend G510 Review – Solid Rival to Established Competitors, Recommended
One of the cheapest Android phones with a 4.5-inch display
The smartphone market is one of the toughest and there aren’t many companies that survive in this fierce environment especially if they don’t have a strong portfolio of products and a positive attitude towards consumers.
Chinese company Huawei is one of the “survivors” on the smartphone market. Moreover, Huawei is one of the top five smartphone makers, which is a stunning achievement as the company reached this milestone in just a few years.
One of the reasons behind Huawei’s success is the rich experience the company had in the smartphone business prior to entering the market with its own products.
Huawei has been manufacturing handsets for other important brands for quite a while. The company’s smartphones were sold by major carriers across the globe, so Huawei had some background before actually making its own products.
Well known for its affordable devices, Huawei flooded the smartphone market with its cheap products in the last couple of years.
According to the latest statements from company’s officials, Huawei plans to focus on the high-end smartphone market beginning this year.
However, the bulk of its portfolio will be aimed at emerging markets and will contain affordable smartphones that offer a great price/quality ratio.
Huawei Ascend G510 is one of the many affordable alternatives for Android fans and has recently been introduced on the market. Keep in mind that Huawei is also selling a dual-SIM version of Ascend G510, but that seems to be available only in India.
The smartphone was officially announced back in January at the Consumer Electronics Show 2013 trade fair, in Las Vegas, US.
Huawei Ascend G510 hit shelves back in April and is now available for purchase for around $235/€180 from various carriers and retailers around the world. Currently, Huawei Ascend G510 is only available in black and white.
Although Huawei Ascend G510 is not among the best-looking Android smartphones available on the market, the build quality is pretty decent.
The phone is made of cheap plastic featuring a gloss finish. The textured pattern on the back cover is meant to improve user’s grip over the phone, but not by much.
The rectangular form factor features rounded corners, but the layout of the buttons is a bit awkward. I’m used to having the lock/unlock button on the right side of the phone, but Huawei decided to place it on the left side now.
This turned out to be my first issue with the phone. My hands are not the biggest out there, but they aren’t small either, yet I have problems reaching the lock/unlock button, which is near the top part of the left side.
I wouldn’t have had any issue if they had put it at the middle or at least placed the volume key on the right side of the phone for easier access to the lock/unlock key.
Just below the lock/unlock button on the left side of the phone, there’s the volume key and near the bottom, there’s the microUSB port. The right side and the bottom parts don’t feature any buttons or ports, which means the 3.5mm audio jack has been placed on the top side of the phone.
Huawei Ascend G510 features a large 4.5-inch touchscreen display, which pretty much covers the whole front part of the device. There are three touch-sensitive keys below the screen: Back, Home and Menu.
The phone also comes with a secondary front-facing camera, which is placed just above the display along with the notification LED and light sensors.
Overall, Huawei Ascend G510 features a decent build quality and if you can ignore the creaky sounds made by the cheap plastic while the phone is tightly held in your hand, you won’t have any issues with the way it’s been designed.
Display and Camera
As I have mentioned earlier, Huawei Ascend G510 sports a large 4.5-inch IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen display that supports 480 x 854 pixels resolution and 218 ppi pixel density.
It does not feature Corning Gorilla Glass coating or scratch-resistant glass, so users might want to take extra care while carrying the phone in their pockets.
I’ve been content with the screen’s contrast and vivid colors, but I was worried by the fact that the display is almost unreadable while in strong sunlight. Even when brightness is set to maximum sunlight, legibility is close to zero.
There’s nothing one can do to fix this, so I suggest those who are likely to use the phone outdoors in strong sunlight to think twice before getting the Ascend G510. Sunlight legibility aside, the display is more than decent for an affordable device.
Huawei Ascend G510 packs a 5-megapixel rear camera, which features autofocus, LED flash and video recording. Although the manufacturer claims the Ascend G510 can record HD (720p) video, our test version could only capture VGA (640 x 480 pixels) clips.
Perhaps other Ascend G510 models can take HD (720p) video, but the standard version does not have this feature included.
However, photos taken with this budget-friendly smartphone are pretty decent. Huawei Ascend G510 can take pictures with a maximum resolution of 2592 x 1940 pixels. The handset does not come with dedicated camera key, but you can easily take advantage of the on-screen touch shutter.
The basic camera UI is straightforward, so all users will have an easy time accessing all the additional settings it provides. Although there aren’t too many extra features at your disposal that might impact on the quality of the pictures taken, at least the basic ones have been included.
Features such as White balance, Scene, ISO, geo-tagging and Exposure are only two clicks away, so those who wish to tinker with these settings will have an easy time finding them. Check out some sample photos captured with Huawei Ascend G510 below.
Menu and Software
Huawei Ascend G510 is powered by Android 4.1 Jelly Bean operating system out of the box and integrates the company’s proprietary Emotion UI.
On top of that, our test unit also came with some bloatware from one of the important carriers in the region. There are lots of applications that can only be used in conjunction with a SIM card from that particular carrier.
All in all, the quantity of bloatware included in the phone is something that can be overlooked if it leads to a better pricing, but Huawei’s Emotion UI could be a real issue for Android fans.
The Ascend G510 runs Huawei’s Emotion user interface version 1.0, which is kind of a mess. Instead of having all apps and services included in a menu, you get all icons placed on Android’s home screens.
There are 7 home screens that contain all the software that Huawei Ascend G510 offers out of the box. Obviously, you can put them into folders on any of the home screens in order to save some space.
And you will need that space because you will only be able to add two more home screens besides those 7 that are included by default.
Luckily, you can install any of the third-party launchers that are available on Google Play store, in order to replace the “messy” Emotion UI.
Another downside would be the fact that Huawei did not includ a document editor/viewer, so once again, you will have to pick one from Google Play.
Those who prefer Huawei’s Emotion UI can download extra themes or use the ones included by default. Aside from several layout changes, replacing the main theme won’t change the UI too much.
Most of the themes come with different wallpapers and lockscreens, so you might want to experience with these before installing a third-party launcher.
Aside from bringing you to the main home screen, the Home touch sensitive key in the middle will give you access to the task manager where you can “kill” all the apps running in the background. In order to open the task manager, simply tap and hold the Home button.
Given the fact that Huawei Ascend G510 does not feature an application drawer, the Menu button will bring up a quick menu that allows you to change Wallpapers, Transitions, Widgets and Thumbnails.
Software-wise, the phone comes with only the most basic apps that are usually included in an Android device, such as Calculator, Calendar, Notes, Voice recorder, File Manager and music/video player.
Lots of carrier-bounded apps have been added as well, along with some nice surprises, such as Cut the Rope game and Waze application.
Users will also have access to Google’s full package of apps and services, such as Maps, Voice Search, You Tube, Play Music, Hangouts, Google+, Google Play and Messenger.
Huawei has also included some useful apps such as Flashlight, Backup, Profiles, Power saving mode, Weather and Themes.
It is also worth mentioning that the Ascend G510 comes with both stock Android browser and Google Chrome, but neither supports automatic text reflow. Facebook and Twitter social apps are included as well, along with DLNA and FM Radio.
Even though Ascend G510 does not come with LTE support, we can hardly consider it a poor choice when it comes to connectivity.
Huawei included HSDPA (7.2Mbps) and HSUPA (5.76Mbps) support along with other connectivity features such as Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP and EDR support, as well as NFC (Near Field Connectivity), Wi-Fi hotspot, DLNA and GPS with A-GPS support.
The smartphone makes as a great GPS device thanks to its large display and free navigation service coming from Google.
As mentioned earlier, Huawei Ascend G510 comes with both stock Android browser and Chrome, but I strongly suggest everyone to use Google’s browser.
The stock browser does not format webpages correctly and does not feature automatic text overflow. Google’s Chrome misses the latter as well, but at least it does format all webpages correctly and offers synchronization with desktop version.
When it comes to messaging, the Xperia Z does not come with anything new in terms of features, but offers both generic email and Gmail. You can add multiple Gmail accounts, but each will have its own Inbox.
This doesn’t apply for other email accounts, which can be grouped in a single Inbox for easier browsing and handling.
Huawei Ascend G510 users won’t have any troubles in setting up their email accounts. The phone supports multiple accounts, including Gmail, AOL, Microsoft Exchange, Sky and others.
There are two input methods available for Ascend G510 users, the standard Android keyboard and Huawei’s proprietary input method. Both work well, so it’s up to each and every one to decide which suits him/her best.
I did not have any issues with GSM reception and the in-call sound of Huawei Ascend G510 is pretty good for a budget-friendly smartphone.
Processor and Memory
Although it’s been tagged as an entry-level Android smartphone, Huawei Ascend G510 is powered by a dual-core Qualcomm MSM8225 Snapdragon processor clocked at 1.2GHz, which is complemented by an Adreno 203 graphics processing unit.
It’s not the best GPU on the market, but the dual-core CPU makes a difference. Everything runs smoothly, including animations when browsing between home screens.
However, I have noticed that the smartphone freezes for a few good seconds every time you exit an application. It doesn’t matter if the application you were running is more or less power demanding, you will get the same result.
Aside from that, Huawei Ascend G510 is more than decent in terms of performance. Obviously, don’t expect it to perform on par with high-tier Android smartphones, but it’s one of the best in its price range.
It is also worth mentioning that the Ascend G510 sports 4GB of internal memory, but only 2GB are user available. Luckily, you can expand storage space up to 32GB via microSD memory card. The microSD card slot has been placed under the back hood, but users won’t need to remove the battery to insert it.
Huawei Ascend G510 comes with both music and video players, but oddly, there’s no video player shortcut anywhere inside the phone’s menu.
This means that every time you want to play a video, you will have to manually navigate through the files in the phone via the integrated file manager. It supports MPEG4, H.263 and H.264 playback.
The phone’s music player is pretty basic with media controls placed at the bottom. It features the usual options such as Play/Pause, Skip, Repeat and Shuffle.
The bad news is that the Ascend G510 does not come with an Equalizer, so there’s little one can do to improve music sound quality. However, the smartphone integrates DTS audio technology, which really makes a difference when it’s activated.
Even though the smartphone comes with its own earphones in the package, I strongly recommend those who purchase the Ascend G510 to replace the headphones for a better audio experience.
Furthermore, Huawei has decided to add FM radio especially since this is a budget-friendly device. This feature will only work when headphones are plugged in.
Overall, Huawei Ascend G510 offers quite a decent multimedia experience. Unlike other smartphone manufacturers that usually neglect the multimedia aspect when it comes to a budget-friendly device, I was happy to find out that Huawei was not among those phone makers.
The Ascend G510 drains energy from a 1700 mAh Li-Ion battery, which is smaller than we have expected given the fact that the smartphone sports a 4.5-inch display.
The good news is that Huawei Ascend G510 can take up to 5 days to deplete its battery if you only use it for calls. The main issue is that the moment you start using the phone for browsing or listening to music and other stuff besides call, the battery will drain pretty fast.
Keeping the Wi-Fi connection ON all the time doesn’t help either, but even so, it will be hard to get 2 days without having to recharge the phone’s battery.
Simply put, heavy users will need to recharge the phone every day, while average users will barely make it for one and a half days.
Even though Huawei claims the Ascend G510’s battery should provide up to 320 hours of standby time (350 hours in 3G mode) or up to 6 hours of talk time (5.2 hours in 3G mode), the overall battery life is terrible.
Huawei Ascend G510 handset
1700 mAh Li-Ion battery
The fact that it’s cheap is by far the biggest advantage of Huawei Ascend G510. Moreover, the smartphone offers much better features than its competitors, so if you can get past its downsides, the Huawei Ascend G510 is quite a good deal.
It comes with a dual-core processor that makes it pretty fast, and boasts a large 4.5-inch display that offers a great experience while watching movies and playing games.
Listening to music on G510 is a real pleasure thanks to the integrated DTS audio technology, but for superior results, I recommend changing the earphones in the sales package with better ones.
Another positive aspect is the 5-megapixel rear camera that captures decent photos. Other highlights of the phone are the microSD slot, as well as the FM Radio and HSDPA (7.2 Mbps) connectivity.
Even though the Ascend G510 is an entry-level smartphone, I’m still not convinced of its overall build quality. While the phone looks ok, it seems rather flimsy when it’s kept tight in hands. The back cover jogs a little bit, though this might only apply to this test unit.
I was a bit disappointed by the fact that the large display is barely visible outdoors in strong sunlight. Other downsides that I would like to point out are the phone’s low battery life and the occasional freezes when exiting an application.
Last but not least, Huawei's Emotion UI 1.0 is a no go for me. Although it can be easily replaced with other third-party launchers, first-time users may not know how to do it.
Huawei Ascend G510 doesn’t stand out when it comes to design, but it’s certainly one of the few budget-friendly smartphones that sport such as large display. The overall build quality may not be something Huawei should be proud of, but in the end, it’s what you pay for it that matters for most people. If you can get past some of the issues and downsides that I have mentioned in this review, the Ascend G510 is bang for the buck.
I did not have high hopes for this low-tier smartphone, but some aspects of the Huawei Ascend G510 really surprised me in a good way. I strongly recommend those who are looking for a budget-friendly device to take this one into consideration.