Huawei Ascend G510 review: Huawei Ascend G510

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MSRP: $149.99

The Good Large, bright screen; Affordable price; Decent camera; Expandable storage.

The Bad Unpleasant, bloated Huawei software; Miserably dull design; Underpowered processor; Only 4GB of internal storage.

The Bottom Line The Huawei Ascend G510 has one of the biggest screens you'll find in a phone under £150, but it's really let down by Huawei's awkward software, which seriously saps the dual-core processor's power. Its outward design isn't going to win you any style points either.

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4.5 Overall

If you want a big screen phone to show off your YouTube clips and colourful apps at their best, you generally have to look towards the high-end big boys like the Samsung Galaxy S3. The Huawei Ascend G510, however, boasts a 4.5-inch screen -- plenty of room for video -- and costs a mere £130 on pay as you go.

It chugs along on a 1.2GHz dual-core processor and runs Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean, which has been heavily skinned by Huawei. You can grab it now from Vodafone on pay as you go or for free on contracts starting at £13 per month.

Should I buy the Huawei Ascend G510?

If you're craving the big-screen fun of the Samsung Galaxy S3 but don't have the cash, the G510 is one of few budget big screen phones to consider. Its 4.5-inch display is probably the largest you'll find for under £150.

Sadly though, it's surrounded by a body that's about as interesting as discussing the optimum shade of grey for an Ipswich paving slab. It's not going to win you any favour in more fashionable circles, but it does at least feel fairly well put together.

Huawei Ascend G510 back
It's thoroughly unimpressive.

It's powered by a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, which is a decent engine for a budget phone. Huawei has tinkered with the Android Jelly Bean experience so much though that it's bogged the phone down, making it sluggish and unpleasant. If you can strip out all the manufacturer software and use vanilla Android, you'll have a better time (and invalidate your warranty).

Otherwise, look towards the Nokia Lumia 620. It's similarly priced, has plenty of power, looks infinitely better and its Windows Phone 8 software is much nicer to use. If you particularly want a big phone without the big price, the G510 is worth a look, but your money can be better spent elsewhere.

Design and build quality

The kindest way to describe the G510's design would be 'functional'. The least kind way would probably be 'miserably dull'. It's a standard black oblong, dominated by glass on the front, with a plain expanse of plastic on the back. The back is broken by the Huawei logo, the camera lens and flash. There's also a groove in the plastic, circling the lens, presumably done in an attempt to show some kind of effort in the design.

At 10mm, it's quite thick and it feels weighty too. It's a totally different breed from the sleek, curving metal of the HTC One, but with a price tag hundreds of pounds less, it's difficult to expect too much money to have been spent on aesthetics. If you absolutely must pull this phone out of your pocket in public, at least cover your shame with a case.

Huawei Ascend G510 logo
No expense has been spent on the Huawei logo.

The plain plastic does at least feel pretty solid -- particularly important, as you definitely won't care about damaging its looks. There's little flex in the plastic casing and none of the annoying loose rattling that plagues some budget phones. If you want a truly hardcore 'droid, check out the CAT B15. For general wear and tear though, the G510 seems capable of taking a few knocks.

You get the usual smattering of buttons on the sides -- a volume rocker and power button -- with a 3.5mm headphone jack on top and micro-USB port on the side.

There's only 4GB of storage as standard, which isn't going to get you far -- I wasn't even able to install Real Racing 3, one of the larger games on the Google Play store. Thankfully though, you can expand that by stuffing a microSD card into the slot beneath the back casing.


The G510 packs a 4.5-inch display, which is on the big side for a budget blower. You typically have to look towards the likes of the Galaxy S3 to find screens much over the 4-inch mark. That extra screen real estate provides more room for videos, photos and browsing Web pages. Size must be paired with resolution though if you don't want to end up staring at incomprehensible pixels.

It has an 854x480-pixel resolution, which is realistically the minimum you should expect to see on a phone of this size. It results in a pixel density of 218 pixels per inch (ppi), which is marginally less than the 235ppi you'll get on the similarly low-cost Nokia Lumia 520.

Text and icons are adequately sharp -- not quite to the retina-piercing levels of the HTC One, but perfectly good for everyday use. Fine text on Web pages was displayed well, so you shouldn't struggle to read through your favourite CNET UK articles. It's reasonably bright and fairly bold too, but again, falling short of what you might call eye-popping.

The display is easily good enough to enjoy a spot of YouTube, and is at least worth the affordable asking price. The 520 has the edge when it comes to deep black levels and vivid colour, but you can certainly find much worse displays elsewhere.

Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean

The G510 arrives with Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean on board -- almost the most recent version of Google's operating system. As many companies do, Huawei has fiddled around with the overall Android experience, customising it with an interface it calls Emotion UI.

Huawei Ascend G510
What a happy little bean! He's there to tell you that Android Jelly Bean is on board.

The key change is that Huawei has done away with a separate app list, which you'd usually find an icon for in the docked apps along the bottom. Instead, all your apps live across the multiple homescreens, in between all your widgets. While it does mean you don't have to jump into separate menus, I quickly found this approach to be difficult to navigate.

Huawei Ascend G510
That list of apps might look like a separate menu, but it's just one of the nine homescreens -- good luck finding your favourite games in that lot.

There are up to nine homescreens in total, which, once you've thrown down your usual live widgets, means there's a massive amount of information stretched across the homescreens. Swiping from one side to the other takes time and trying to remember where you put that new game can be difficult. You can at least organise them how you want, so you can always set aside a certain screen just for app icons.

It's worth bearing in mind too that with no dedicated app menu and a finite number of homescreens, you can run out of space. That's particularly important if you make a habit of filling entire screens with widgets. Once the screens are all filled, apps simply won't be available to you until you free up some room. It's not likely to be a massive problem though -- nine homescreens is plenty and you can put apps into folders, each containing up to 16 apps.

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