Entry-level Huawei Y635 brings you 5-inch 4G LTE on a budget (hands-on)

The Huawei Y635 will get you connected to the Internet at 4G LTE speeds without walloping your wallet, but elsewhere you get what you pay for.

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
3 min read

If you want to get involved in this 4G LTE business that everybody's talking about but you don't want to break the bank, the good news is there's an increasing number of affordable 4G phones. One such budget phone that takes advantage of fast Internet connections is the new Huawei Y635.

Made by Chinese manufacturer Huawei, the Y635 is an entry-level 4G LTE phone that we've been told will cost around £100 to £120 in the UK. Huawei has yet to announce exactly how much it will cost, where it will be released or when it will hit shop shelves, but that price converts to around $160 or AU$200.

Huawei Y635 for affordable 4G LTE in a 5-inch form (pictures)

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4G LTE is the next generation of mobile phone technology, helping phones connect to the Internet faster. That speeds up Web browsing and makes short work of data-intensive tasks like streaming music and video from the Web, or uploading pictures to Facebook or Instagram. However, LTE is still relatively new, so before you splash out on an LTE phone it's worth checking if there's a decent signal in your neck of the woods.

4G LTE is the headline feature of the Y635; otherwise, you get what you pay for. It's powered by a relatively weedy 1.2GHz quad-core processor, and the 5-inch, 854x480-pixel screen offers just 195 pixels per inch. On a screen as big as this that's a pretty low resolution. In our hands on time with the phone, the display didn't exactly impress with its clarity, but for the low price, you can't really expect a pin-sharp display to rival flagship phones.

If you want a big screen to enjoy movies, videos and games then the low pixel count may lead to a frustrating lack of detail. If those are your primary concerns when it comes to shopping for new phones, you should consider saving up your coins for an extra few weeks for a higher-end device.

With that 5-inch display, the Y635 isn't exactly a tiny little phone. It's reasonably comfortable to hold in one hand without dropping, but you'll need to use two hands to type, unless you have thumbs as long as snooker cues. The white plastic casing looks rather plain and does feel quite cheap. But then it is cheap -- luxurious metal bodies are strictly the domain of top-shelf phones.

The Y635 sports a 5-megapixel camera. Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Huawei says the phone will be powered by Android 5.0 Lollipop, although the model we saw was running the older Android 4.4.4 KitKat software. If your current phone is made by another manufacturer then the Y635's interface might look slightly different because of Huawei's "Emotion UI" skin, but it's the same old Android underneath. 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.

The Y635 packs a powerful battery, which you can remove and swap for a spare. Andrew Hoyle/CNET

The phone packs a beefy 2,000mAh battery. Battery life is the one upside of the low-resolution screen and relatively weedy processor -- they won't eat up much power, which means the generously sized battery will last even longer. The battery is also removable so you can swap in a spare if you know you're going off the grid.

Affordable 4G LTE phones with substantial battery life look like they could be a theme this year: the Y635 was announced soon after the Sony Xperia E4g , which lasts two days between charges, or up to a week if you're careful.

We got our hands on the Y635 and its even cheaper sibling the Y360 ahead of industry lollapalooza Mobile World Congress, where 2015's hottest new phones, tablets and wearables are being announced this week.

Barcelona braces for Mobile World Congress 2015 (pictures)

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