It's not often that we get to review a cell phone from a new company (at least, new to us). That's why we requested to examine the Huawei M328 from MetroPCS. Though it's hardly the flashiest phone around--it doesn't even have a camera--we wanted to see what the Chinese company was all about. In fact, the M328 is perfectly suited for MetroPCS's no-frills, no-hassle service. Though we had a few design complaints, it offers decent call quality and an easy-to-use interface. You can get it for just $79; that's a fair price, given that MetroPCS does not make you sign a contract.
The Huawei M328 doesn't put on any design airs. The silver flip phone shows none of the design trends popular today: it's not particularly thin, it doesn't come in multiple colors, and it's not a slider. It's not unattractive, but it won't stand out in a crowd either. At 4.54 inches by 1.77 inches by 0.7 inch and 3.2 ounces, it's portable and lightweight, but we were divided on its long-term durability. The hinge is sturdy, but the plastic skin feels the tiniest bit cheap.
The M328s external display is a bit small (1.1-inch) and we weren't crazy about the vertical orientation. Yet even so, it manages to be useful by showing the time, battery life, and signal strength. The display supports 65,000 colors, but you're never able to put it to good use since the M328 doesn't support photo caller ID. Just note that the display disappears when the backlighting is off. The backlighting time isn't adjustable, but you can reactivate the screen by pressing the volume rocker. It's also worth noting that the M328's glossy front face attracts fingerprints and smudges.
On the left spine you'll find the aforementioned volume rocker, and a proprietary charger port and a 2.5mm headset jack are located on the right spine. A small, round speaker sits in the lower-left corner of the front face.
The internal display measures 1.8 inches and supports 65,000 colors. Though it could be larger and the graphics could be sharper, it's perfectly suited for this caliber of phone. You can change the backlighting time only. The icon-based menu interface is straightforward and intuitive; we had no issues finding the features we needed.
The navigation array is quite spacious with a tactile four-way toggle and central OK button. The other controls--which consist of two soft keys, a clear control, and the Talk and End/power buttons--are flush but we didn't have any issues with misdials. We would prefer a dedicated speakerphone key, however.