For a large (5″ display) budget (free on Smart plan 800) dual SIM mid-range Android, the Huawei Ascend G610 is a capable, dependable, and sturdy phone. It’s not going to turn heads, but for around Php 8,000.00 you get a tough build (the back lid is so hard it reduces overall flex), a responsive-enough OS (the Emotion UI of Huawei is easy to “get”), a good enough usage time (the battery last 6 to 7 hours with WiFi on), and a bright and big display (bigger than some budget phones in this price range) with punchy enough colors and good viewing angles despite the “only” 540×960 resolution.
If you were looking for the review of the Huawei Ascend P6, you can read it here.
Add to that the readiness of the Huawei Ascend G610 to play graphically demanding games (Dead Trigger 2) and 1080p videos. Dual SIM, too. It’s not all great, however. Phones designed for a demographic keen on the price often have trade offs – like the cameras.
Let’s hit the Specs before you read about the Good, the Bad, and the Should-I-Buy-It.
- Huawei Ascend G610 Spec Sheet
5.0-inch IPS LCD display, 540×960 pixels, 220ppi
Mediatek MT6589M 1.2GHz quad-core processor
PowerVR SGX 544MP, 1GB RAM
4GB internal storage, up to 32GB via microSD
5MP rear camera, VGA front-facing camera
3G/HSPA 7.2Mbps, WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, DLNA
Bluetooth 3.0, GPS, FM radio tuner
Android 4.2 Jellybean
Li-Ion 2,150mAh battery
142 x 73.6 x 9.9mm
Comes in black and white
Free on Smart PostPaid Plan 800
Smart Freedom Sale Price: Php 8,000.00
DBGadgets price as of this writing: Php 8,300.00
- Big, bright, clear display with closer-to-natural-color renders. Good viewing angles. The low 540×960 resolution doesn’t get in the way of crisp images and clear text.
- Spec’d enough for graphically demanding games; plays 1080p videos just fine.
- Speakers loud and clear enough for you to distinguish voices, even in a mildly noisy room (but not bass-rich). I bet you can watch an episode of “The Walking Dead” on your MRT ride home.
- Price is good for the specs, build, ease of use, and responsiveness. As of this writing the Huawei Ascend G610 is cheaper than the LG Optimus L7II.
- Curved sides compensate for overall wideness-in-your-hand. Remember, it’s a bit taller and wider than the LG G2.
- Replaceable battery. If you want to watch a ton of videos on the Huawei Ascend G610, you’ll need a back up. But you may be better off with a powerbank.
- Free on Smart Plan 800.
The back of a Spartan white hard shell that’s not textured but is surprisingly grip-friendly.
The back of the lid is textured, as you can see. Why? I don’t know. Looks nice though.
Close up of both SIM slots.
A surprisingly seamless play of Dead Trigger 2.
Text is sharp enough, as you can see.
Again, LG G2 and G610. Contrasts are always great. In this case, the contrast capability of the G610 is nearly as good (the blacks are good but not deep) as that of the G2. I bet your mother can’t tell the difference.
Small touches. Huawei, in addition to having its own Android UI, is refining some commonly used apps. Like the Clock.
Instead of downloading a calendar app, Huawei’s preinstalled one might be the Spartan-beautiful calendar you need.
One of the features I enjoy on the Huawei keyboard is the ability to change keyboards anytime, through the always-available top row.
Dimensions comparison. The G610 underneath the LG G2 is longer, wider, and thicker.
Viewing angle check. Passed.
Outdoor visibility: acceptable. But do find a shade before texting back, if you are having problems with the screen.
Something you need to get used to. The Task Manager. You need this to constantly clean up recent and running apps, so your games and videos can load faster and more smoothly.
Under controlled lighting environments – such as balanced ambient light – the rear 5MP camera delivers okay images.
Outdoor shots are okay, too.
Indoor macro shots can result in soft images.
Indoor shot with medium lighting.
Selfies can be “too soft”. But as smaller sized pics, they’re okay.
Portraits are okay indoors, as long there’s enough ambient light and as long as subjects do not move.
- Poor cameras. The front is VGA – grainy pics in medium to low lighting. The rear is a 5MP camera that struggles with slightly moving objects and with medium lighting indoor scenes (outdoor broad daylight is fine).
- Limited internal storage. So there’s a limit to the number of apps you can install. And you really need to invest in a microSD card.
- OS becomes sluggish when you load many apps and switch between them. You can feel that the 1GB RAM is being pushed to the limit. To compensate, you need to load Task Manager and kill recent and running apps to free up memory – you need to constantly do this.
- Outdoor visibility is acceptable, but you wish you crank up the brightness better. Of course you could always find a shade before you text back.
- Does not accept USB On The Go (it doesn’t read USB drives via a micro USB to USB adaptor plug). So loading the phone with videos has to be through a pull out of the microSD card or via a free app like AirDroid.
I got used to the slight sluggishness – so it’s not a deal-breaker. And the need to kill apps via Task Manager really sends me an Zen-austerity message: Do you really NEED to run all these apps? Do you need these apps AT ALL?
Keep in mind that this is a budget phone, so a ceiling on internal storage is expected. What is not often expected is the above average graphic performance – for games and movies – and the bright display. Because of this, the Huawei Ascend G610 might be the non-complicated phone-gift your aunt or mother (who only wants to text, call, Viber, Facebook and watch occasional videos) may want. Within that usage scenario the battery, which would strike heavy video watchers and gamers as limited, might actually last all day.
Keep in mind that not everyone wants or needs a super-spec’d Android. As a back up or secondary phone, this is good enough. But as a main phone, if you can deal with the slightly sub-par cameras and the slight sluggishness, then you can learn to love the Huawei Ascend G610.
The Huawei Ascend G610 4GB is available at Lazada in Black and White.
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You may also wish to check out our review of Huawei’s 2013 flagship phone, the lovely Huawei Ascend P6.
Or even the P6 “mini”, the Huawei Ascend G6.