I recently decided to upgrade my old iPhone 5 and bought a Huawei Y6 smartphone in Johannesburg, South Africa for R2,000 (approximately USD $130). The phone was brand new but was on special when I bought it, down from the usual price of around USD$150. My main incentive for choosing this model of phone was what appeared to be excellent value for money. I had not heard of this Huawei model before but it seemed to boast similar specs to the Huawei P8 Lite, which I have heard through word of mouth and reviews is a decent phone. As I discovered, however, there are more important factors to take into account than simply the amount of megapixels in the camera. When buying a phone, don’t judge it by the specifications alone – always try to test it out as thoroughly as possible.
While the phone looks good on paper and doesn’t appear to suffer from any limited hardware specifications, for some reason it simply doesn’t perform at anything even resembling an acceptable level. It is so slow and unresponsive that I was convinced for the first few days that I had been sold a defective model. I have since discovered, however, that the phone is simply built from very cheap parts or is just really badly put together.
Other than the speed and performance issues, the phone supports all the standard Android features and seems to run most apps without issue, so long as you only keep a few open at a time. The music and sound work well through both the speaker and headphones and the 720 x 1440 pixel display is perfectly acceptable for watching movies or viewing websites.
The phone weighs 150g and the dimensions are 152.4 x 73mm, a fairly standard smartphone size that fits well in the hand. The screen is 5.7 inches across with a screen-to-body ratio of 75.4 percent.
I haven’t had any trouble making or receiving phone calls or using popular apps such as Facebook or Instagram. The wifi and network feature always connect without issue and the dual-sim card support is an added bonus that works well.
Processor and Memory
The Huawei P6 has a Quad-core 1.4 GHz Cortex-A53 CPU and 2GB of RAM. The quad-core processor seems impressive on paper and the 2GB of RAM, while lower than most phones these days, is usually enough to handle fair usage. It comes with a built-in 16 GB hard drive and can take an additional microSD card up to 256 GB.
The best feature is the 13MB front camera which takes high-quality photos and films full HD video at [email protected]
The phone also features a relatively standard 5MB front-facing camera that takes acceptable selfies and includes some editing and beauty effects. The main camera has most of the standard effects like a timer, burst shooting, and panorama, although the panorama feature is a bit clunky and doesn’t pan smoothly as with an iPhone. I don’t require a high level of performance from phones so I’m usually happy with something cheap, so long as the camera is decent. On that point, the Huawei Y6 actually does deliver. It may not be the best smartphone camera in the world but it’s more than enough for the average user. Images are high quality and the camera focuses quickly and holds focus even in low light. Unfortunately, that’s where the positive features end.
The performance of the phone is so bad that it resembles some form of old Nokia from the late 90’s. In fact, the designers knew it was so bad that they even included a built-in optimization app that kills all background processes with the click of a button. This turns out to be very useful because as soon as you have more than three apps open the phone grinds to a halt. Everything freezes up and nothing responds for several minutes until eventually, it asks you if you want to kill the program or wait longer. This happens four or five times a day and is incredibly annoying. The optimization button helps but often the phone has frozen so badly that even it doesn’t respond. I have also found that having too many apps installed on the phone adds to the speed issues. Over time most people begin to collect a number of random apps which on most phones get lost in the background and seldom used. On the Huawei P6, however, I have found that I constantly need to be checking which apps I’m not using on a daily basis and deleting them as appropriate.
Keyboard/ Touch Screen
Other than the slow speed, there also appears to be something wrong with the keyboard or the touchscreen. Quite often certain keys won’t work, making typing texts very difficult. I find I sometimes need to turn the phone sideways so the key locations move and then they work again, suggesting the problem is in the touchscreen rather than the keyboard software. However, the problem doesn’t happen all the time and sometimes resetting the phone fixes it, indicating that it isn’t a specific hardware fault. I have tried installing a number of different keyboard apps but the problem still comes up from time to time. I would hazard a guess at saying it’s a problem with the underlying architecture and the way in which the touch screen interacts with whatever keyboard software is installed.
For the price range, it’s probably one of the very few phones you can get with a 13MP camera and so for that feature alone it may at first appear to be good value for money. Don’t let yourself be fooled, though. The constant freezing and slow speeds make it more of a hassle than it’s worth and will quickly diminish any added advantage that the camera offers. In retrospect, it would make more sense to save up a bit extra and splash out on the Huawei P8 Lite, which, from what I hear, is a far superior phone.