U.S. Cellular offers the Huawei Ascend II at a dirt-cheap price, but given its weak reception among reviewers, that's probably its best benefit. Other pros are its Android 2.3 Gingerbread OS and its light weight (4.1 ounces), but CNET's Jessica Dolcourt lists a "slow processor, a mediocre camera, and disappointing battery performance" as its chief faults. PCMag.com reviewer Alex Colon says it's a good but dated phone, while Sydney Myers from PhoneDog.com is particularly harsh, advising that the Ascend II is "not worth your time."
At 4.6 inches tall, 2.4 inches wide and a half-inch thick, the Ascend II cell phone is small enough to feel "nice and grippy in the hand," says Dolcourt. Made of black plastic, it "has no pretensions about its features," she adds. Referring to the 3.5-inch screen, Myers says, "There's not much to the 320 x 480 pixel HVGA display." Home, menu, back and search buttons are lined up at the bottom of the smartphone, and a 5-megapixel camera is on the back. The Ascend II has a Micro-USB charger port and a standard 3.5 mm microphone jack. The phone serves as a wireless hotspot and ships with a 2 GB microSD card, expandable to 32 GB. Especially disappointed with battery life, experts warn that their tests yield significantly less usage than the rated 5 hours and 8 minutes of talk time.
Things don't get any better inside, either. The biggest complaint is the 600 MHz processor that Colon says is "really starting to show its age." Multitasking is clunky, thanks to a paltry 256 MB of RAM. Having Android 2.3 Gingerbread and access to 3G network is fine, but not enough to compensate for the phone's "pokey" performance, as Dolcourt describes it. She adds that because the included Gingerbread and Swype keyboards are so cramped "you may find yourself downloading alternatives." Without an autofocus function and flash, Myers says, the camera's still and video images were "terrible." Colon says reception is good and call quality is "decent," but that callers' voices sounded "thin and a touch robotic." He says there is "too much bloatware," while Dolcourt points out that subscribers have access to additional apps from such sites as Amazon.com's Appstore.
Bolstered by accompanying video reviews, both CNET's and PhoneDog.com's reviews are especially useful; PCMag.com's review is also very helpful. PCMag's Alex Colon shares Jessica Dolcourt of CNET's opinion that the Ascend II is not so much a bad phone, only that "its performance falls below today's rapidly climbing smartphone standards." PhoneDog.com's Sydney Myers is less forgiving, however, saying budget shoppers will find "better options in this price range." Colon specifically mentions the HTC Hero and the Motorola Electrify as better, albeit more expensive, alternatives.
The Huawei Ascend II's "extremely low price tag excuses a multitude of sins," says Jessica Dolcourt. In fact, its "unbeatable price" is one of the few qualities she finds worthy of praise.
Review: Huawei Ascend II (U.S. Cellular), Jessica Dolcourt
Sydney Myers wants to know "who Huawei was planning on trying to trick into buying this phone when they created it." It's little wonder she concludes that "the Ascend II is not a phone I would recommend buying."
Review: Huawei Ascend II, Sydney Myers, Jan. 24, 2012
Alex Colon says, "The Huawei Ascend II isn't a terrible phone, it's just not a very good one." Particularly hurtful is that it "turned in some of the worst benchmarks we've seen." His prediction: "It's sluggish today; a year from now, it will probably feel glacial."
Review: Huawei Ascend II (U.S. Cellular), Alex Colon, Jan. 27, 2012