Let’s say you fall on hard times and even though you’d really like one of those Huawei P10 phones with their award winning Leica cameras and what not … $200 is the most money you can pull together. As it happens, Huawei’s Y5 2017 costs just $199. Let’s see what you get at very close to the entry level.
This is a fairly a lightweight phone. From the front the phone looks quite conventional. However, it feels a bit more plastic around the back because it is removable. Still, it’s textured and neat looking, and is also white. The plastic doesn’t buckle or bend under moderate pressure because it’s supported by a metal chassis underneath.
The phone weighs 147 grams and is 8.35mm thick. The camera bump is about the thickness of a piece of paper.
It has a 5 inch display with a 720 by 1280 pixel resolution. Respectable, and quite sharp enough for a display that size. (For comparison, the standard thousand dollar plus model by a certain well known phone maker has a six per cent smaller display with less than five per cent higher resolution, and it’s pretty well regarded.)
It uses a Mediatek MT6737T quad core processor running at up to 1443MHz for each core, along with a Mali-T720 GPU . There’s 2GB of working RAM. Android 6.0 is used, with Huawei’s EMUI 4.1 touch up over the top.
It comes with 16GB of storage. With only a few photos and a light load of apps there was 6.4GB left over. But there’s a slot for a microSD card – Huawei says capacities of up to 128GB are supported, and I successfully used a 64GB one.
You pop in the microSD card by removing the back. It comes off fairly easily without any fingernail damage, but seems to hold securely when in place. Also back there are slots for two SIMs, not just the one advertised. One is the regular Nano SIM we use these days. Huawei tells me that the larger Micro SIM slot supports only 2G networks which are no longer available in Australia. And that’s why it’s being sold as a single SIM phone.
The phone is charged and offers connectivity via a Micro-B USB socket. This does not support OTG. I tried both a keyboard/mouse and a combo memory stick with no luck.
It has WiFi of course up to 802.11n, 2.4GHz only, and Bluetooth 4.0. It does not include Miracast so there’s no native screen mirroring. But if you have a Chromecast device, or your TV supports Chromecast, it works fine with that. You’ll have to install the Google Home app for mirroring, but apps which already support Chromecast worked nicely. As I write this I have a Youtube video being cast to a Chromecast Ultra plugged into my home theatre system. No difference at all between this phone and my Samsung.
Out and about, the phone supports 4G networks for decent performance. Google maps downloaded swiftly, and Spotify music streamed smoothly.
Security is provided in the old fashioned ways of PIN, password or pattern. There’s no fingerprint scanner.
The rear camera is an 8 mepapixel f/2.0 unit and is capable of recording video in 720p and 1080p. The front camera is five megapixels.
There’s no NFC on this phone, so no tapping to transfer content from an old phone. But Google’s “Set up new device” not only transferred my Google credentials, but the phone downloaded and installed several of my apps automatically. Not all of them. I’m unsure why it picked the dozen or so that it did. As far as I could work out, the others were compatible.