Cricket tonight showed off the Huawei Ascend 2 at a press event. We had a chance to try out this successor to the low-cost Android Ascend. Read on for our first impressions.

The Ascend is one of the lowest-cost Android smartphones on the market. Because Android has some decent minimum requirements, it's still a decent phone, in spite of its low price. The screen may be low-resolution and the processor slow, but it can still run most apps in the Android Market, which is a very powerful thing.

Hardware

So what does the new Ascend 2 bring to the table? Bumped specs and a sleeker design. The display is still quite low-res, but the camera has been bumped to 5-megapixel. Curiously, it seems to be fixed-focus, but that's the price you (don't) pay for a phone this affordable.

The processor has been upped from 528 to 800 Mhz, always a welcome change.

The navigation ball has been removed. We'd complain, but that seems to be the trend across all Android phones.

The Ascend 2 is thinner and lighter, and feels nice enough. It does look sleeker than the original.

Software

The interface is even more stock Android than the original. The home screen loses the neat 3x3 grid of home screens from the old model.


Interface

The camera interface is one area where manufacturers can differentiate. The pop-up settings menu looks neat, but is one very long list. It's not as usable as it looks, but it's better than some Android phones.

Look for the Ascend 2 from Cricket in the second quarter, for the same price as the first Ascend.


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