The Good The unlocked Huawei SnapTo has a 5-inch 720p HD display, budget price and LTE connection. It has a great battery life for a budget phone and is easy to use.
The Bad The device looks simple enough, with a performance that is behind the devices of a similar price. And its feature – the 5 megapixel camera – makes mediocre photos.
The Bottom Line Despite its powerful battery life, Android-based Huawei entry-level SnapTo fails to achieve competitive phones that cost the same or less.
Huawei SnapTo is a low-cost LTE smartphone with very little redemption feature. It’s cheap, it has Android and LTE, and you never need a contract. Unfortunately, that’s about it.
The 5 megapixel camera of the uninspired phone is disappointing, and the specs, though purposefully entry-level, are also lower than other phones you might find in the same price range. However, it will keep you connected. SnapTo costs $ 180 unlocked, which translates to about £ 118, or AU $ 225.
Design and build
SnapTo doesn’t ruin the shape for budget smartphones. It’s a regular plastic stove, with a 5-inch 720p display and not much in the way of jewelry. The front has a 2MP camera. The volume control of the phone and the lock button are located on the right side of the device and the headphone jack is located at the top. The back of the phone, trimmed with smooth faux leather texture, features a 5MP camera and is accompanied by an LED flash.
Its 5-inch display is decent: the off-axis viewing angles are not particularly wide, but the colors do not change when the screen tilts and reproduces accurately. You can also change the color temperature of the display, going from cool blues to warm yellow. I left it in the default settings, but this feature is not all that common for entry-level smartphones.
This 720p resolution is reduced compared to higher-end devices, of course. But it fits the device well; the dimensions work to a pixel density of about 294 pixels per inch (IRP), which provides nice and clear text. This pixel density also feels just gorgeous compared to Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime’s 5-inch screen with a resolution of 960 by 540 pixels.
I admit that I am not particularly vulnerable in SnapTo design, though there is clearly nothing wrong with that. It just feels a little safe and boring – the black-and-black phone is also available with a white backing, but if it were with a white face or a wider color layout, I would be a little more intrigued. I guess that’s the case.
The $150 Motorola Moto E I checked that March was similar to the usual one, but it offered colorful, interchangeable stripes so I could at least lift things up to the boy. And there is theSamsung Galaxy Grand Prime mentioned above, which offers a nice glossy almost white face with a silver accent.
Software and features
SnapTo comes with a Huawei Emotion interface, a specialized version of Android 4.4 KitKat. This means that you will miss most of the new built-in features Android 5.0 Lollipop , including updated views and updated notifications. You can still do things like incoming email archives and use Google Now, so it’s not too scary.
Huawei’s touches are largely cosmetic: some apps have been re-removed and there are few common widgets that clog up the home screen. Several Huawei applications are preinstalled, including a phone manager that “optimizes” the performance of your phone by turning off background applications. You will see Huawei support applications and general productivity tools such as a flashlight, a calculator and an FM radio application. These reboots aren’t particularly difficult, but the fact that I can’t remove or remove them from my home screen is very annoying to me.
There is also no app drawer, which means that every app is ported to the iPhone’s home screen. I’ve always found this extremely annoying, but if you’re coming from an iOS device or not really a sticker sorting things out, then maybe you don’t mind. Of course, you can arrange everything in folders and create new home screens that will be dragged by the applications – I set about dropping the stream into a folder called “I don’t want” and leaving it.
The name “SnapTo” comes from the Ultra Snapshot mode of a 5MP camera. Double-click the volume down button when the phone is locked and it will take a picture of what you are looking at. It works well enough, taking an average of about 1.5 – 2 seconds to start the camera and take a picture. Ultra Snapshot mode uses automatic camera settings, so you can speed things up in ideal conditions: a static object in a well-lit environment will be a little better than a moving object in a shady room.
The ultra shot is a neat trick, but I’d prefer a special camera shutter button. Auto camera mode is also the default – I would like to set the mode to HDR or some other function to make it a bit more useful. And trying to take a picture and double-click the volume button while the display is off while the phone is in landscape mode is hard to do on the fly. I think I could practice, but I missed so many frames that it was much easier to just unlock the phone.
A quick shutter release will not be very useful if the camera does not sniff and the 5MP SnapTo shooter becomes even. Both the rear camera and the 2MP front camera distort noise-filled images and their details are intricate. Video suffers from the same problems, and SnapTo is also limited by 720p recording, further limiting its usefulness.
The reds look quite bright and dim in this brightly lit scene, and although the subject is clearly visible, all the details are obscured by the image noise.
The camera does a better job of shooting different colors here, and although the overall quality is poor, you can still reveal some details on the chalk lines.
The lighting was strong, but Ultra Snapshot mode still decided to raise the ISO up to ISO 800, causing the image noise to transfer all the detail from the shot. I was not lucky with the active items, but this sample is not very moving.
Here’s our standard studio shot taken with an LED flash. The white balance setting should capture this blue part, but the camera focuses on the bottle in the center, leaving the rest of the scene a little blurred.
Battery Performance and Resource
I tested SnapTo on LTE T-Mobile here in San Francisco. The quality of the calls is generally excellent: I received several complaints during the test calls and heard the people I spoke with. At times I was told that I sounded a bit distant, and there was a random crackle, but the connection remained constant when I was moving around the city and I did not have any problems with dropped calls and the like. Keep in mind that this is a unlocked phone; your experience will vary depending on the carrier you choose and factors such as coverage area.
Huawei SnapTo Call Sample Sample (Unlocked on T-Mobile)
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|Average 4G LTE download speed||26.7|
|Average 4G LTE upload speed||20.25|
|Temple Run 2 app download (46.2MB)||42 seconds|
|CNET mobile site load||2 seconds|
|CNET desktop site load||6 seconds|
|Restart time||26 seconds|
|Camera boot time||1.5 seconds|
Data transfer speeds on the T-Mobile network will vary depending on the time of day and location, but I have seen an average of about 26 Mbps and 20 Mbps during my testing. When I was standing in a very specific corner of the CNET offices, at the right time of day, I was reaching closer to 50 Mbps, but I couldn’t hang in the corner all morning just to get mobile web pages to load a little faster.
|Test||Run 1||Run 2||Run 3||Average|
|3DMark Ice Storm||2,731||2,733||2,734||2,732|
The phone is powered by a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor and 1GB of RAM. It’s not a particularly impressive download, but it fits the budget of the phone and is common to most competing phones in this category. I had no problems sliding through the menu or using the phone interface. You are not going to interfere with the game results much, though many are probably expected. Android hardware-intensive games suffer from an unstable frame rate, though a more casual rate and many Favorite Android Games , do well here.
SnapTo has 4GB of storage, a small amount. You can pop off the back cover and add a microSD card for a bit more space – the phone supports up to 32GB of cards. The 2200 mAh battery is not removable, but the battery life is very good compared to its budget competitors: in our battery discharge test, the device lasted an average of about 11 hours 45 minutes. In my testing, many games and photos were recorded, and I easily spent a whole working day without worrying about tracking the charger.
Huawei SnapTo is a fairly basic, not too profitable Android phone that brings you LTE and a good battery life. For the same price you will get more benefits Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime , which looks nicer and packs a better camera (albeit a worse display). The Motorola Moto E it has a smaller display with less resolution, but it’s also a little cheaper at $ 150 and runs on Android 5.0 Lollipop.
The latest version Moto G offers LTE connection, and while it is only available in the UK, it will return you £ 159, which is around $ 240 or $ 310. The slightly older Moto G, which we tested in September, lacks LTE, but it costs $ 180 in the US, £ 150 in the UK and $ 269 in Australia.
Huawei SnapTo is not a scary phone, but it’s hard to recommend it when other phones do the trick, with more sophistication and sensitivity.