The Huawei Y3 costs just £49.99 on pay as you go, making it one of the very cheapest smartphones around. In fact, it’s priced barely above what you’d pay for some feature phones. Yet with a touchscreen and Android on board a smartphone is what it is.
Obviously this isn’t going to be a top tier handset, but does the Huawei Y3 give you a lot of phone for your money or has too much been chopped away to achieve that price?
The design of the Huawei Y3 doesn’t hold many surprises. It’s a chunky 10.9mm thick plastic handset, which is about what you’d probably expect for so little money.
But it’s far from a bad design. The back plate is slightly curved to make it comfortable to grip and there’s a slight patterned texture to it, which leaves it looking marginally better than totally plain plastic would.
The bezels around the screen are very large and act as a dead giveaway that this is a cheap phone. But because the Huawei Y3 has just a 4.0-inch display it’s still fairly compact at 122.6 x 63.8 x 10.9mm, making it easy to slip into a bag or pocket. It’s light too at 120g, which also helps.
The Huawei Y3 has a 4.0-inch 480 x 800 screen. That might sound low resolution but given the small size of the phone it leads to a pixel density of 233 pixels per inch, which is actually reasonably sharp, especially for a handset this cheap.
The quality of the screen is nothing to write home about, as it lacks the brightness and vibrancy you’d find on higher end handsets. But it’s more than adequate and the compact size makes it easy to operate with one hand.
There’s a 1.3GHz quad-core MTK 6582M processor in the Huawei Y3. That’s not too bad for an entry level smartphone, but it’s paired with just 512MB of RAM, which is distinctly on the low side.
Even the Moto E 2nd Gen has 1GB of RAM. That phone will set you back at least £25 more, but it’s still one of the more affordable handsets around.
Comparisons to other phones aside the lack of RAM is a real problem, particularly when multitasking, and you can forget about comfortably playing the latest games.
But for basic apps usage it’s generally quite smooth. So if all you want is to browse the net and use social media and lightweight apps the Huawei Y3 will do just fine.
The Huawei Y3 actually has a surprisingly good camera. There’s a 5MP snapper on the back with a dual LED flash, which helps it get decent shots even in darker environments. It’s not even close to a match for more expensive smartphone cameras, but for a £50 phone it’s impressively competent.
The front-facing camera does a good job too. It’s a 2MP one and includes a beauty mode, to make your selfies look as good as possible. You can also quickly launch the camera from the lock screen, so you’ll never miss a photo opportunity.
We’ve never been big fans of Huawei’s interface, primarily because it ditches the app drawer that almost every other Android phone has.
But it has quite a stylish design and it’s made to be easy to navigate. So if you’re new to Android or smartphones in general the Huawei Y3 is a good place to start. Sadly though it’s only running Android 4.4. That puts it a couple of generations behind and as a low end handset it’s unlikely to get updated.
There’s a 1730 mAh battery in the Huawei Y3. That’s not massive but for a phone of this size it’s plenty and translates into quoted times of 220 hours on standby or 540 minutes of calls.
In practice it largely lives up to that, though of course activities that require the screen to be on hit it harder. You should get a day out of it and as this is a phone that’s not really designed for heavy use there’s every chance it will stretch to two days, which is rare amongst smartphones.
Memory is less impressive, as there’s just 4GB built in, which you’ll easily eat up installing just a handful of apps. That would be a serious problem but thankfully there’s a microSD card slot, so you can expand it by up to 32GB more.
However, if you don’t already have a card that’s an extra expense, which makes the Huawei Y3 less of a bargain than it first appears.
Connectivity options include Wi-Fi, 3G and Bluetooth 4.0.
The Huawei Y3 is one of the cheapest smartphones we’ve ever come across. That alone wouldn’t necessarily make it a bargain, but with a long-lasting battery, a respectable camera and a decent screen it is.
It won’t suit power users, gamers or those who want to store a lot, the interface leaves something to be desired and it’s severely lacking in RAM, but it’s a £50 phone and for that money all those things are mostly forgivable.
Don’t expect too much from the Huawei Y3, but if you just want a basic smartphone this is a strong and seriously affordable option.