Huawei Y6 set to ignite budget smartphone craze

Huawei Y6 set to ignite budget smartphone craze

Tired of being locked in years-long contracts for premium smartphones and paying expensive monthly installments, more consumers are opting for entry-level handsets rather than expensive smartphones with unnecessary specifications and numerous features.

These entry-level smartphones, which are not only affordable but also powerful enough to run various multimedia applications and intensive 3-D games, appeal to people on a tight budget and those who want phones with trimmed-down features.

After all, who needs all the software and hardware tools fitted on top-tier smartphones that come with high price tags?

Huawei’s latest budget smartphone, dubbed the Y6, offers a plausible answer to the question.

From a design standpoint, the device with rounded corners and a relatively large 5-inch screen is attractive enough to make heads turn at first glance. Judging by its looks, the Y6 is an iPhone without a home button, which may initially feel unfamiliar to many Android and Apple phone users except for those using LG smartphones.

With the slightly curved edges of the back cover and an 8.5-mm thickness, the device provides a comfortable grip, fitting perfectly in the relatively small hands of an Asian grown-up. The sleek back cover is a bit slippery ― but not overly smooth to readily slip out of the hand.

Much similar to iPhones, the Y6, which comes in black and white, features a microphone and a built-in speaker on either side of the bottom with a micro-USB port located in between.

When loading multimedia apps, like YouTube, the handset sporting a quad-core processor and a HD liquid crystal display panels experienced no lags or delays, showing vivid video content without glitches. The Y6 model that I tested ran on LG Uplus’s mobile network.

However, touch response was somewhat disappointing as there were delays in responsiveness during my usage.

The smartphone user interface, called the EMUI 3.0, also looked similar to Apple’s handsets with the rounded-rectangular apps and folders. The designs of some preinstalled apps are overly simplified and so abstract that they made me keep (to the point of irritation) flipping from page to page to find certain apps.

The Y6 fitted with an 8M front-facing camera and a 2M rear-facing camera will likely fall far short of offering satisfactory pictures for, in particular, avid selfie-takers.

A picture taken with the 8M rear-facing camera of the Y6. (Kim Young-won/The Korea Herald)

Considering its price tag of 154,000 won ($130), however, the smartphone with design advantage compared to other dull budget smartphones seems to be a great bargain.

When consumers choose LG Uplus’s New Unlimited Voice Call 29.9 Plan, they can receive subsidies up to the amount to fully cover the full price of the Y6.

The mobile carrier said earlier this month that the number of Y6 users surpassed the 10,000 mark in just two weeks after its release on Dec. 15.

Huawei, the world’s third largest smartphone-maker, has maintained a low profile so far as it has released only two phone models ― Y6 and mid-range smartphone X3, priced at 330,000 won.

For the Chinese firm, considered an underdog in Korea, the home turf of its rivals Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics, 2016 could become a watershed year ― thanks to the Y6 ― to expand its foothold here.


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