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Low-price Huawei Ascend Y joins U.S. Cellular (hands-on)

The small, $30 smartphone targets first-time, budget buyers with Android 2.3 Gingerbread.

Now playing: Watch this: Huawei Ascend Y: Uber-budget Android

Today, Huawei and U.S. Cellular announced the Huawei Ascend Y, a budget Android smartphone for first-timers. A few weeks ago, I got to briefly handle the Muve Music device.

With its Android 2.3 Gingerbread OS, the Ascend Y certainly isn't angling for tech-savvy users, or those ready to invest in a higher-cost handset. Its 3.5-inch touch screen definitely felt small compared with today's larger-screen phones, but its HVGA (480x320-pixel) resolution is appropriate for the display and looked fine. The Swype virtual keyboard will help compose text in tight spaces.

Huawei Ascend Y for U.S. Cellular
I got a first look at Huawei's Ascend Y a few weeks back. Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

I didn't get an opportunity to test the 3.2-megapixel camera/camcorder, which will be best suited for casual use. An 800Mhz processor runs the show, but the battery life won't astound at just 4.8 hours of active talk time. Its one nod toward fancier features is the DTS Envelo audio technology for surround sound.

If there's one thing Huawei does well, it's offering a nice, stylish look and feel to its budget phones. The Ascend Y may not astound, but a soft-touch coating on the back makes it comfortable to hold, and silver accents on the back nicely catch the light.

The Ascend Y goes on sale for $29.99 with a two-year agreement.

Huawei Ascend Y for U.S. Cellular
A silver "bridge" accents the Ascend Y's backside. Jessica Dolcourt/CNET