Huawei G535 Review: LTE slowly creeps to the low end

In this review of the Huawei G535, I will attempt to answer one simple question: Is this Chinese phone manufacturer capable of making a mid range flagship, best-in-class smartphone with the highest network speeds? And I don’t just mean a nice, okay, swell, good, decent, better-than-the-last-one phone. I mean a mid range phone that stacks up against other mid-rangers like the HTC One Mini or Galaxy s4 mini. The G535 is actually a successor to the G526 that was reviewed last year and is a phone that people will want to buy without thinking twice.

The G535 phone has a striking resemblance with the sleek Huawei P6 but with specs that have been reduced a part from one, the phone supports the mighty LTE speeds.

The G535 is semi-stacked in the hardware department, touts a handful of future-facing features for mid-range phones that a basic smartphone user would love and runs on the last generation Android version Jellybean (or 4.3, if you love numbers). Huawei clearly wants you to see the the G535 as that lower end P6 that has LTE. This is supposed to be that compromise the best the mid-range platform can offer. The best hardware combined with the best software. But is it?

 P6 Design in a Plastic Shell

For all the focus put on a new Huawei phone, the G535 doesn’t look like much. Its right and fits well in the hand unlike the likes of the Ascend Mate. The phone is made out a nice feeling rubberized plastic back with a removable back cover that exposes the un-removable 2000 mAh battery, micro SIM and Mirco SD card.  One of the design choices of the P6 was repeated here with the same headphone jack placed oddly on the side at the bottom.

Unlike the P6’s slender body, at 7.9mm thick the G535 is quite a bit fatter than the ridiculously narrow 6.18mm of the P6. Basically it has lost the unique feature of the slender design that really helped its bigger sibling stand out from other Android phones and made it extremely comfortable to hold in one hand. The brushed metal back panel is gone, replaced instead with a rubberized plastic back.

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It has 4.3 inches on the LCD display, with a 960×540-pixel resolution. That won’t impress those of you looking for Full HD panels in your phones. When well light it seemed adequately crisp and the lower resolution should help keep the price down. In general the overall design is sturdy and passable for a phone it it’s price range. The G535 feels fairly comfortable to hold and generally looks and feels cheaper than the P6. Around the sides you’ll find the power button, a volume rocker, micro-USB port for charging and data transfer. The unit we had 8GB of built in storage as standard.

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Don’t get excited about the camera, The 8MP is actually 5MP

The main camera is an 8 Mega pixel camera that takes mediocre pictures and its coupled with a 1 Mega pixel front facing (selfie) camera . It also has back side illumination (BSI) to assist you in those low light moments.  I frankly don’t find the shots taken by this camera that much appealing, like any other camera sensors from Huawei the out come of the pictures is grainy and more on the cold side (blue side) on the RGB scale. Please don’t risk zooming into the picture after taking it as the image details will just fade away the more you zoom in. All in all it takes very decent photos that are passable.

The camera software rather is decent with three shooting modes including HDR (High Dynamic Range), Panorama and smart shooting. Don’t expect any miracles with the HDR shoots. One funny thing we encountered on the device’s camera was that, even if Huawei registers this as a 8 MP camera, software wise the max resolution you can sent is 5 MP (at 2592 x 1944). We wonder what happened to the promised 8 Mega Pixels? I guess its just a firmware problem that will be fixed. There are other camera tweaking options like White balance, ISO between 100 to 800. Touch to focus is known as object tracking in this camera suite, so you can turn it on in the settings if you that’s your kind of thing.

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Missing the inglorious Emotion UI

For those who have read all my Huawei phone reviews before, should think am starting to sound like a broken record. I hate Huawei’s Emotion UI that Huawei puts on it’s phones in the name of Android differentiation. The Emotion UI is Huawei’s proprietary skin that sits on top of Android aka Huawei’s Touch WIz. For one, it removes the dedicated app menu, meaning all your app icons are simply scattered across numerous homescreen panels. If you are an app and widget buff, get ready to have several home-screens.

And if it was dodging a bullet, I really did for this, as the G 535 model I reviewed, was stripped off the inglorious Emotion UI. And this directly means a smile on my face. The phone’s UI was fast all thanks to the almost stock ROM that come bundled in it. I always say it and i will repeat my self once again, a phone that has less than 1GB of RAM,  should never be bothered with any skinning , as that directly affects user experience.

 

The stripped down version of Emotion UI allows users to theme the phone with different looks, and you could always do so if that’s your taste. Battery life was not that great, I guess due the that internal quad quo processor which I feel need further optimization especially when the phone is connected to an LTE network. Speaking of LTE the phone performed well on the Orange LTE network i tested it, with fast browsing experience capable of reaching 58mbps as you can see above.

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