Huawei Ascend Y201 pro

/ Updated: 31 August 2012 12:15 PM BST

Not everyone has a fortune to spend on a smart phone. And thankfully you don't have to, in these days of cheap Android-powered handsets.

Chinese mobile-maker Huawei is readying another super budget blower to add to its growing portfolio of phones -- the Ascend Y201 pro.

Instead of the more typical budget 'droid flavour, Gingerbread, the Y201 pro is running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich . Read on for my first impressions.

Design

The Y201 has a rounded, chunky appearance -- that looks very similar to operator-branded budget blower the Vodafone Smart 2.

There's no word on exactly how thick (or thin) the Y201 is, but it looks like it's at least 1cm -- and possibly a smidge more.

In keeping with some of Huawei's other designs, the Y201 has a two-tone effect going on, with what looks to be metallic trim (or silvered plastic) on the front and swooping slightly onto the back, where black plastic predominates.

Huawei currently says there will be only the one colour option: black.

Huawei Ascend Y201 pro
If you're after an entry-level Android, the Ascend Y 201 pro is holding its hand up.

Hardware

The Y201 only has an 800MHz chip powering it -- but it could be worse. HTC stuck a 600MHz chip in its budget Ice Cream Sandwich 'droid, the Desire C, so I'm hopeful the Y201 will be a slightly slicker performer.

RAM is 512MB, while there's 4GB of on-board storage space -- which can be expanded by adding your own larger microSD card.

The screen is 3.5 inches across and has a resolution of 320x480 pixels -- which means pixel per inch density is a fairly lowly 165. This is not an abysmally poor resolution, but the display certainly won't be super crisp. You'll also need to zoom in to read smaller text on webpages.

On the Y201's rear is a 3.2-megapixel camera which will probably only be good for taking really simple snapshots and videos of your buddies for uploading to Facebook.

Huawei has stuck a 1,400mAh battery inside the phone -- which it reckons is good for up to five hours of chinwagging or 500 hours on standby. We'll be sure to test longevity when we get the Y201 in for review.

Software

As mentioned above, the Y201's foundation is a base of Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich. It's more typical to see Gingerbread at these budget prices so it's a helpful upgrade -- although some of the budget, low-powered ICS phones I've seen haven't exactly covered themselves with glory in the performance and reliability stakes (take a bow, the Sony Xperia Tipo).

I'll be keen to see whether the Y201's hardware delivers a slick and speedy implementation of ICS, or ends up laggy and sluggish. Be sure to check back in time for the full review.

Atop ICS, Huawei has added its own software layer. This looks to be its usual lightweight wrapper, giving you multiple homescreens to fill with apps and widgets.

Outlook

There's no official word on a UK release date for the Y201, but it's due to arrive in Germany in October, so will hopefully make it to our shores by the end of the year.

Official price also remains to be confirmed, but Huawei has said it will have an RRP of €129 (£100) SIM-free. Considering the more premium Ascend G300 is up for grabs for £100, I'd wager the Y201 will have a sub-£100 price-tag. If price and performance are right it could be a great entry-level smart phone for Android newbies. Stay tuned for a full review.

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Huawei Ascend Y201 pro

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