Huawei Y360 budget Android smartphone comes full circle (hands-on)

The Huawei Y360 is set to be super-cheap, but you get what you pay for with this basic Android smartphone.

Richard Trenholm Former Movie and TV Senior Editor
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
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Richard Trenholm
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If you want an all-round cheap phone, then circle back to the Huawei Y360. It's super-cheap, although the specs won't spin you in a circle.

OK, I'm out of 360-degree jokes, I promise. Exact prices have yet to be confirmed for the Y360, but Chinese manufacture Huawei tells us it will cost less than £100 in the UK. Huawei hasn't confirmed which countries will see the Y360 or how much it will cost internationally, but a direct conversion of that British price suggests it could be less than $150 or AU$200.

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For your money you get a relatively low-power 1.2GHz quad-core processor with a measly 512MB of RAM. There's 4GB of storage built-in, some of which will be taken up by the software, but you can add extra leg room by slotting in a microSD memory card.

The 4-inch, 854x480-pixel screen gives you 244 pixels per inch. That's a pretty low resolution, so this isn't the phone if you want to spend lots of time watching movies, videos and games. The phone we laid hands on wasn't a working sample, so we can't comment on how the screen looks. In terms of pixel density at least, it's slightly better than its 4G LTE sibling the Y635, which has the same number of pixels but on a bigger screen.

The Huawei Y360 won't unduly stretch your hands. Andy Hoyle/CNET

Its relatively small screen means it's a comfortable phone to hold and should be easy to use in one hand. That may well appeal if you're just after a phone to slumber in your pocket, only being pulled out for the odd text message or call. Its plain white, plastic body is far from luxurious, but it's perfectly functional and at least more appealing than the usual shades of black and grey we see on budget phones.

The Y360 packs a 5-megapixel rear camera, with a 2-megapixel camera on the front for video calling.

The biggest omission is 4G LTE, the latest generation of mobile phone technology that connects to the Web faster. But that omission keeps the price way, way down, and besides which we've been getting by with 3G for years now. So it's fine for anyone who isn't fussed about streaming loads of video from Netflix or spending all their time browsing the Web.

The beefy battery and relatively low-power specs should keep the Y360 ticking for longer. Andy Hoyle/CNET

Huawei says the phone will be powered by Android 4.4.4 KitKat software, which is one generation behind the latest version of Android. As an Android phone, you can transfer over your apps from your previous phone or download new ones from Google Play or other Android app stores. If you currently have an Android phone you'll be familiar with the home screens, apps and other features, although the Y360 might look slightly different on the surface because of Huawei's "Emotion UI" interface.

The phone packs a capacious 2,000mAh battery. Better battery life is the one upside of the low-resolution screen and relatively weedy processor -- they eat up less power than better-specced devices, which means the beefy battery will last even longer. The power pack is also removable so you can swap in a spare if you're journeying into the wild.

We'll be getting our hands on more of 2015's hottest new phones, tablets and wearables at industry extravaganza Mobile World Congress. Keep it CNET for the first photos, videos and hands-on first impressions of the year's coolest kit.

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