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Huawei Y5 2017 Review – The Budget Phone

Low Cost, Camera, Battery, Performance

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Huawei Y5 2017 Review - Display Hands-on

Huawei, like most brands, wants to target all segments of the market by providing access to smartphones to type of customers. Budget to lower and upper lower range of smartphones, mid-range and then lower/upper classes in the mid-range segment, then of course the high-end and upper high-end devices.

When talking about budget and lower-range of smartphones, you can find a real big lot in the market from various companies. Most recent one that also got famous is of course Infinix, but the company only offers within the lower and lower mid-range segments. OPPO has also taken its part in the mid-range and upper mid-range segments only. Nokia has also entered back into business with the lower mid-range segment while having plans to launch high-end devices soon.

The two – Huawei and Samsung are the ones who almost have really wide range of segments. The difference lies at the quality and performance of the handsets both ship in lower and budget range. It’s only a matter of fact that you get to know which company offers better quality and performance in a certain lower price bracket.

Huawei Y5 is the budget smartphone lineup Huawei has been offering and the new Huawei Y5 2017 is the most recent successor of the model after Y5 II of the last year. The new Y5 2017 costs only PKR 15,999/- (~$150) in Pakistan and offers a double-up in the processing performance.

Huawei Y5 2017 Review - Front Screen with Box
Huawei Y5 2017 – Image KA/TechProlonged

Huawei Y5 2017 – Features

The phone is powered by the MediaTek MT6737T, clocked at 1.4GHz the quad-core processor is improved and boosted version of the original MT6737. This budget phone also has a 2GB RAM and 16GB of internal storage.

Y5 2017 features an 8-megapixel autofocus camera on the back with f/2.0 aperture lens and dual-LED flash. On the front, there’s a 5-megapixel selfie camera.

PROS CONS
  • 4G/LTE
  • Better Performance
  • Good Camera
  • Better Battery Performance
  • LED notifications
  • No Android 7 (Nougat)
  • Battery non-removable
  • Auto brightness is just unusable

Unboxing – Retail Box Content

The box is simple in a red color with a pop-out style. The retail package brings along everything you’ll usually look for when you buy a new smartphone. The package includes following items.

Huawei Y5 2017 Review - Unboxed Content
Huawei Y5 2017 Unboxed – Image KA/TechProlonged
  • The Device: Huawei Y5 2017
  • 5V/1A Fast Charger
  • microUSB cable for connectivity and charging
  • Earphones with 3.5mm pin
  • User Guide and Warranty Card
  • Add-on screen protector plastic

Build & Design

Huawei Y5 2017 maintains on its size from the predecessors. The 5-inch screen features an IPS LCD display with 720p resolution which is quite acceptable for the price. However the design of the phone is just a regular one and doesn’t impress at all. The same wider bezels with extruded boundary wall raised above the screen.

Huawei Y5 2017 Review - Front Screen on Box
Huawei Y5 2017 – Image KA/TechProlonged

The plastic frame is too fragile that you might need to take care of the phone more importantly from drops or you might want to add some extra protection with a back cover may be? I only recommend using those added protections if you do not care about the bulk to carry in hands. I’d better try to keep such things carefully rather adding them into protective boxes. Depends on you.

On the front, you can see that the lower portion of the screen is just printing the brand name “Huawei” while on the upper portion, there are standard components – an earpiece in the middle, proximity and ambient light sensor, and a front facing camera.

If you are wondering about an extra white/yellowish component on the right upper corner, it’s the LED flash. Yes! the front facing camera features full fledged LED flash with auto and manual fire along with continuous light bulb option.

Other common components include the micro USB port on the bottom side of the phone along with the speaker grill. Another grill hides inside the primary mic – the mouthpiece. On top, there is only a 3.5mm audio jack.

Likewise on the right side of the phone, you will have the power button and the volume rocker. But interestingly, Y5 2017 also features an additional button on the left side of the phone. This is custom function button, they call it “Easy Key”.

The Easy Key offers quick functions to perform on three different events, single press, long press and double press. This key works even when the phone is in sleep mode or locked. When password locked, the key will only perform the functions which do not require password.

The plastic back cover is textured grid of small dot squares that you can easily feel with hand and it makes the grip good. The upper portion of the back hosts the camera module with dual-LED flash on the side. Above the lens, there’s secondary mic for noise cancellation and also for stereo audio recording.

The phone is more standard with removable back cover. I opens right with the finger nail from one corner easily. However like few other devices, Huawei Y5 2017 only allows you to remove back cover but not the battery. You just have to remove the cover to replace SIM card(s) or the micro SD card.

Battery is fully secured with with screws and you can not open it without tearing apart the warranty seal. That’s little overly packed phone in the price range. A full unibody form factor would have been more pleasing instead of just an un-useful opening of back cover.

Display

Huawei Y5 2017 features a 5-inch screen with IPS LCD display serving at the HD resolution of 1280×720 pixels. The screen is pretty much flat across the frame and the glass on top of it is just not impressive. It captures fingerprints very easily – I liked it on Nokia 3 though.

Huawei Y5 2017 Review - Display Hands-on

The phone also has a auto brightness feature just like any other Android device but it seems to be handling the feature badly. It hardly worked out for me with a better adjustment of brightness relative to the available ambient light. Even it would fail detecting the bright light outdoors until you make it face towards some real bright part of the light – software update might fix this issue though.

The display is also not so good when viewing from different angles as well as it’s too reflective to look at it in bright sunlight and shadows. You can see the difference in the following video clips which were shot besides Nokia 3.

Less Brighter Display

Heavy Reflections

Huawei Y5 2017, as alone, doesn’t seem to be as bad as many other in this range would. The phone’s display mostly works fine in less bright environments. However auto brightness control indeed is an issue to be taken care of.

Software – EMUI 4.1

Huawei Y5 2017 runs Android 6 Marshmallow out-of-the-box like almost every smartphone in this range – except the Nokia 3 that runs Nougat. There is also no words about if an official Android 7 will be coming to this budget phone or not. But for now, you have to stick with Android 6. If you ask me, I am not among those who hate the Huawei’s 4.1 just for lacking an app drawer.

Huawei Y5 2017 Review - EMUI 4.1 Software

Sure the new EMUI 5 has a lot to offer which in turn impressed many out there – I am not denying that as well. However within this price range you will mostly end up with the older software, no matter what brand you are looking at. Android 7 on these budget phones will be big plus, take Nokia 3 for example but you won’t chose that either for hard performance with older chipset – read review.

User interface of Huawei’s EMUI 4.1 is pretty straight forward with absolutely no app launcher. Everything you install on it, appears on the home screen with its app icon. Multiple home screens, you can add. Organize apps into folders and add widgets to home screens. Mostly people refer Huawei’s EMUI as clone Apple’s iOS on Android.

The lock screen features a magazine style background delivery which you can even interrupt right between when the system is managing them on the lock screen. Thanks to quick short buttons which you can pull out from the bottom edge on lock screen.

The home screen can be customized with different widgets and wallpapers as well as the icon grid can be set according to your desire. The status bar has the same pull-down behavior that reveals two separate tabs for Notifications and Shortcuts.

Notification panel lists all the allowed notifications you receive on your phone which are interactive as well. They can be expanded by dragging within the item. Shortcuts on the other hand is 3×3 grid with switches and toggles that can also be customized to choose as you want but can not exceed nine buttons.

The “Easy key” as mentioned above in the design section provides three custom behaviors to interact with – Press, Double press, Press and hold. You can set these behaviors to allow the system to function accordingly. Such as setup “Double Press” to fire a flashlight, or “Press and hold” to open up the camera app.

Phone Manager is a must in Huawei’s EMUI like always. The built-in app comes with the features which include system optimization, data and traffic management, harassment filter for restricting numbers to call you or send you text.

The app is rich with more features – battery and power management, notification center dropzone management and protected apps which allow you enable/disable apps from running in the background. More importantly you can use app locker right from the Phone manager to secure from unauthorized usage of certain apps.

System Performance

Huawei Y5 2017 features a MediaTek MT6737T system-on-chip with improved and boosted processor clock speed than the original chip. The phone is powered by a quad-core 1.4GHz processor with Cortex-A53 cores. To handle graphics and gaming importantly on the phone, the chip features Mali-T720 MP2 GPU. On the memory side we have 2GB of RAM.

What you should concern about is the storage. Sure in this price range, you are going to get more than 16GB of internal storage which this Y5 2017 or any other in the class would offer you. In addition, 6GB of the storage will be fixed for system firmware. Remaining 10GB will just end up in a matter of time when you were installing apps and taking photos and recording videos. You will have to take care of you social apps which usually download stuff automatically – you might want to turn off auto-downloads.

Huawei Y5 2017 Performance

Performance wise, Huawei Y5 2017 was the best among its class fellows. Even though the similar hardware based Galaxy Grand Prime Plus of Samsung didn’t compare well. Let alone the Nokia 3 which practically did good most of the time but when tested on benchmark tools, it could achieve not more than half of what we have with Huawei Y5 2017. Gaming on the phone is also good but do not take it as your gaming phone, you will be disappointed.

So you can easily chose Huawei Y5 2017 among these if you prefer to have smooth experience. But do take a note that you might end up with software stuck at what it is now. On the other hand Nokia 3 is bound to receive security patches and even Android O is supposed to hit Nokia 3.

When you look at the numbers, Huawei Y5 2017 takes the lead from fellow Galaxy Grand Prime Plus and the Nokia 3. Look at the benchmark scores we noted from AnTuTu, Geekbench, Basemark OS II and Basemark X.

Battery performance of the Huawei Y5 2017 is also quite good and didn’t disappoint while doing great job throughout the day and even half more on a single full charge. But it’s not a fast charging phone, it can take hours to a full charge and that’s what a real issue.

Camera

Huawei Y5 2017 features an 8-megapixel autofocus camera with dual-LED flash. The lens has f/2.0 aperture.

Huawei Y5 2017 Review - Rear Camera Angle

The camera comes with the features like HDR mode, beauty and Panorama mode. You won’t have other photography features which usually ship with upper mid-range and high-end Huawei smartphones.

The camera app opens with a viewfinder set to take still photos, while you can swipe left/right to switch to video mode or additional time-lapse and beauty modes. A hamburger icon on top right corner brings up options like panorama, HDR, and All focus.

8 megapixel camera takes shots of 3264×2448 maximum resolution at 4:3 aspect ratio. The phone records up to 1080p video recording at 12Mbps bit rate. 720p video is recorded at 5Mbps. 30fps frame rate only possible in bright light while the indoor footage mostly ended up at maximum of 20fps.

On the performance side, the camera struggles with the focusing as only a bit of camera-shake may loose the focus. Noise levels are also high and noticeable in dark spots while the HDR mode brings some detail but the overall image looks over sharpened. Highlight clipping is too often as dynamic range is poor.

Outdoor Shots

HDR Shots

Close up Shots

Panorama

5-megapixel front-facing camera also comes with its own single LED flash to brighten up your selfies. In good ambient light, front camera also manages to take some good shots. But in most cases when you’d want to take photos in your room or in limited lights, you may lose interest in those photos. The photos completely lack image detail and comes out with heavy noise – even flash couldn’t do any better. One thing – it’s too slow to capture steady shots unless you give it a few seconds and a fully stable standing.

Conclusion

The low-budget phones have various factors that do not impress at once but when you compare them with the competitor’s offering, this might help you a bit to chose one over another. Infinix has pretty much better software updates compared to QMobile and in fact has delivered Android Nougat on its lower cost Infinix Hot 4. Unlike that, you won’t have the Nougat flavor on Samsung’s Galaxy Grand Prime Plus or any other low-cost Android smartphones.

Huawei Y5 2017 Review - Display Hands-on

Nokia 3 is probably the one and only that comes out-of-the-box with Android 7 Nougat on board but that’s an exception. Putting an old and bad chipset in the phone is something I won’t recommend even if liked the phone’s build quality.

Remains is the Huawei Y5 2017 that according to its performance, I can tell that it’s better than the lot in its class. But it remains a quite old design as you’d see on every budget phone. It seriously do not attract your eyes when put together with Nokia 3.

It all depends on your preference if you want better performance for Rs. 15,999/- Huawei Y5 2017 is the option go.

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