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Huawei M328 (MetroPCS) review: Huawei M328 (MetroPCS)

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The M328 shows a plain backside.

The keypad buttons are a mixed bag. They're flush with the surface of the phone, and we couldn't help but notice they felt a tad flimsy. We could dial and text quickly, but we're concerned about their long-term durability. The central row of keys is recessed, but the backlighting is dim and the numbers are too faint.

The M328 has a 500-contact phone book with room in each entry for four phone numbers, an e-mail address, and notes. You can save callers to groups and pair them with one of 11 polyphonic ringtones. As mentioned previously, the phone does not support photo caller ID, but that's a minor point on a phone without a camera.

Other features include a vibrate mode, text and multimedia messaging, Web-based e-mail, a voice recorder, an alarm clock, a scheduler, a calculator, and a stopwatch. The M328 offers a respectable 4.8MB of internal shared memory.

You can personalize the M328 with a variety of banners and wallpaper. More options, and additional ringtones, are available from MetroPCS via the WAP 2.0 wireless Web browser. You also can record your own ringtones and save them to callers. The M328 doesn't offer any games, but MetroPCS offers an assortment of applications for download.

We tested the dual-band (CDMA 800/1900; 1xRTT) Huawei M328 in San Francisco using MetroPCS service. Call quality was quite decent on the whole. We enjoyed a strong signal in urban areas with little static or interference. Voices sounded natural, though the volume was a tad low. We had to strain a bit to hear in noisy environments. On the other hand, while the speakerphone was quite loud, the audio was distorted at the highest levels. On their end, callers said we sounded fine. A few reported that the phone picks up background noise, but that was the extent of complaints.

The M328 has a rated battery life of 3.5 hours talk time and 8 days standby time. Our tests showed a longer talk time of 6 hours and 35 minutes. According to FCC radiation tests, the M328 has a digital SAR of 1.38 watts per kilogram.

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