Not everyone is a fan of entry-level smartphones. Some say, “Why bother?” while others embrace them because of their price. I was recently given this Huawei M650, a CDMA device that Sprint is calling the Sprint Express, and after spending some time with it I definitely see it’s place. But I am not sure that the general consumer will. Let’s take a look at the device.
$20 with a 2yr contract, $249.99 unsubsidized
Where to Purchase:
Sprint Telesales – 888.253.1315
Phones in Category:
Motorola Admiral – $99.99 on contract, $349.99 unsubsidized
Samsung Replenish – $0 on contract, $299.99 unsubsidized
CDMA 800/1900, EV-DO Rev A
114 x 63 x 12 mm
Capacitive LCD touchscreen
Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g/n)
320 x 240 pixels | 2.60 inches
512MB Internal storage, up to 32GB microSD/microSDHC
3.2 MP Rear Camera with Camcorder option
D-Pad for directional browsing and center button for selection
Sprint’s Carrier software (Sprint ID, SprintZone)
600MHz ARM v6 Rev 5 processor
Li-Ion 1500 mAh Battery
Low profile – same thickness as the Nexus S
Keyboard is solid and easily used
Small screen, making portrait viewing of apps near impossible
Reminiscent of the Motorola Q or a Blackberry
Not widely available to the masses so community support is limited
In The Box:
AC Phone Charger
2GB microSD card with SD adapter
- Front – Speaker ~ 2.6 in screen ~ Green Phone / Red Hangup buttons ~ D-Pad ~ QWERTY keyboard with dedicated physical Home / Menu / Back / Search keys
- Back – 3.2 MP Camera ~ Speaker
- Top – Power button ~ 3.5mm Headphone Port
- Bottom – Charging / USB port ~ Microphone
- Left – Volume Up & Down Buttons
- Right – Dedicated camera Button
- Your one-stop source to access your wireless account, phone tips, news, a list of top apps and more. Access Sprint TV®, GPS Navigation, NASCAR Sprint Cup MobileSM and Sprint Music Plus.
- Sprint ID
- Allows you to instantly personalize your phone to complement your needs and interests. Customers can download an ID pack which contains apps, widgets, ringtones and wallpapers tailored to their individual interests or needs.
The 3.2 MP camera is just about what you would expect from a device of this size and price point. That being said, the pictures were perfect for what the device is intended for – messaging and basic social media. You can easily access it from the dedicated camera button on the right-hand side of the device, or through the App Drawer via the Camera app.
The Music player is the standard AOSP app – nothing special. It plays MP3 files which you can add from the SD card or download. The audio quality is nice but nothing special. It will also work well with the Google Music app, bringing another nice bit of functionality to the device.
Seeing as the device is not intended for gaming with it’s small screen size, it was hard to find an app to try. But I finally settled on the free game Solitaire Deluxe.
The game plays ok, but with the limited screen real-estate it’s a little difficult to navigate. I thought the D-Pad would be functional here but sadly it wasn’t.
While this device isn’t a powerhouse, it is quite snappy. Quadrant wouldn’t run for some reason, but Nenamark1 would. The result was 36.2 fps, which isn’t too bad for this type of device. Linpack scores were ~7, but were labelled as inconsistent.
Hints & Tips:
The stock launcher is pretty close to being stock AOSP with some minor modifications. Installing a custom launcher like ADW Launcher enhances that experience and in my opinion makes it much more usable.
As previously mentioned, this brought me back to my old Motorola Q9 experience. I was impressed by how quickly the screen orientation changed in comparison to other high-end devices, but the screen was just too small for my tastes. My wife on the other hand seems to like the phone given that she’s not a power user and really just needs a device to make/receive phone calls, text/IM and check Facebook. And for that this device really excels. It isn’t for everyone that is for sure. But for $20 on a 2yr contract, it’s a good device for the entry-level user or a basic phone for your teenager.