Not so long ago, the fact that the Huawei Ascend G620S could be picked up for about £125/$150/AU$200 was a major point in its favour. It’s still a definite plus, but with the number of low-cost yet impressive handsets now on the market, I can’t be won over on price alone.
So what else does it have? Well, 4G for one, coupled with a fairly large 5.0-inch screen, but with stiff competition from the likes of the Moto G (2014), the Sony Xperia M2 Aqua and the Microsoft Lumia 640, it’s got its work cut out if it wants to impress. Its completely unwieldy name (which I must have forgotten at least six times by now) doesn’t help matters.
You might expect a cheap phone to look cheap, but the Huawei Ascend G620S makes a pleasantly surprising first impression. The back of the phone looks almost like leather, with an attractive, textured effect. It certainly looks good, but in reality it’s a flimsy piece of plastic and feels that way when you hold it.
Still, I’ll take that over a plain plastic design any day. With its metallic edging and reasonably thin 8.5mm build, it could believably be a slightly more expensive phone.
It’s still quite plain and suffers from blank-rectangle syndrome, with little in the way of design flourishes, but for what it costs I’m pretty happy with it. The slightly curved corners and textured back make it comfortable to hold and easy to grip.
The power and volume keys are easy to hit, too. They sit along the right edge and stick out slightly from the body, which makes them easy to find by touch. They’re also different sizes so you won’t mistake one for another. Given the phone’s fairly large 142.9 x 72 x 8.5mm design, the side is a better place for the power button than the top would be.
The phone’s back cover feels firmly stuck on, but it’s easily removable if you peel it off from the bottom right corner where there’s a slight indentation.
If you do, you’ll see just how flimsy it really is, to the point where there’s a slight concern it could break if taken on and off often enough. The battery is visible, but it’s sealed in, killing any hopes of swapping it out for a spare.
You’ll have to take the cover off at least once to insert a micro SIM card and, optionally, a microSD card.
Speaking of microSD cards, the phone supports cards up to 32GB and you’ll definitely want one of those as there’s only 8GB of storage built in. This is a truly tiny amount and less than I’d like to see, even on entry-level handsets.
You’re certainly getting a lot of phone for your money with the Huawei Ascend G620S as it’s got a fairly sizeable 5.0-inch display. That’s the same size you’d find on the HTC One M9, though it’s not as sharp at 720 x 1280.
Really, I’d like to see a 1080p resolution on a screen of this size, but it’s hard to be too critical given how cheap the Ascend G620S is.
You’re looking at a resolution of 294 pixels per inch, which is identical to the similarly priced Moto G (2014). I don’t expect a 1080p screen on a phone that’s under £150, but given that it’s 720p, I’d prefer it if it was a smaller 4.7 inches.
Nothing looks as sharp as it could and that’s especially noticeable when coming from a 1080p phone, but it’s still bright and vivid.
It’s viewable at an angle, too, and once you’ve pumped up the brightness, it’s quite useable in direct sunlight, though it has more than its fair share of reflections.
It’s also a great size for enjoying media and games, but if you’ve got smaller hands you might have to adjust your grip to reach the very top edges.
On the face of it, the Huawei Ascend G620S has a lot to shout about, or at least as much as popular rivals like the Moto G (2014). It might not have a fingerprint scanner, a QHD screen or any of the other flagship phones’ bells and whistles, but for a temptingly low price, it does offer a big screen and solid performance.
With a £125/$150 (roughly AU$200) price tag, the Huawei Ascend G620S is almost as cheap as a smartphone gets. The likes of the Moto E (2015) and the Microsoft Lumia 435 have it beat, somehow scraping in at under £100, but there aren’t many handsets that cost less than this.
In fact, the Huawei Ascend G620S is so cheap you could almost buy four of them for the price of a Samsung Galaxy S6. That makes it a great buy if money is tight, if you just want a basic smartphone, or if you want a spare in case it gets lost or damaged.
Of course a low price means nothing if the phone is a glorified paperweight, but with a 5.0-inch 720p screen, a quad-core 64-bit processor, an 8MP camera, and 4G support, this is hardly the case.
Where it loses out to flagships is in resolution as it’s only 720 x 1280, but that still puts it on par with similarly priced phones like the aforementioned Moto G and the Asus Zenfone 5. It even tops the likes of the Sony Xperia M2 Aqua, which has a 540 x 960 display.
So it’s pretty good for the price, especially as it’s fairly bright and the colours are vibrant. It’s far from compact, especially when coupled with the sizeable bezels, so it might not be the phone for you if you have small hands, but it’s a good choice if you love to watch videos or play games.
Quad-core processors are becoming increasingly common in budget smartphones, and the Huawei Ascend G620S is no exception, packing a 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 410 chip coupled with 1GB of RAM.
However, while many affordable phones have quad-core processors, a lot of them are 32-bit, whereas the Snapdragon 410 is a 64-bit chip.
I don’t feel like that’s made a huge difference. The Huawei Asecend doesn’t have enough RAM to make the most of it and it doesn’t run the 64-bit-friendly Android 5.0 Lollipop. Instead it’s trailing behind on Android 4.4 KitKat. That’s a big mark against it.
Despite this, performance was generally smooth, and the phone had no problem navigating home screens or running apps. It could even cope with fairly demanding games like Real Racing 3, though the frame rate was a little bit inconsistent and sometimes dropped.
Many apps would take a good few seconds to load and performance took a substantial hit when installing things in the background, leading to jerky transitions and scrolling.
The Huawei Ascend G620S also offers 4G, which is common, but far from guaranteed on cheap smartphones. 4G networks are now widespread enough that I’d always recommend investing in a 4G phone, unless you’re not planning on using data much when Wi-Fi isn’t available.
The 4G on the G620S is Cat 4, theoretically allowing for download speeds of up to 150Mbps, though real speeds are likely to top out at around 60Mbps. Even then you need to be in an area with fast 4G infrastructure.
Right now there aren’t many places where you’ll be able to kick it into top gear, but that does mean it’s surprisingly future-proof for such a low-end model, and even on standard 4G networks you can expect fairly speedy data.
While you shouldn’t expect high-end performance from the Huawei Ascend G620S, I was happy with it on the whole.
It’s certainly got promising specs for the price, with a 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 410 processor and 1GB of RAM. Okay, so it almost seems like calculators have quad-core processors these days, but this isn’t any quad-core chip; it’s a 64-bit one.
Given that the phone only has 1GB of RAM and runs Android 4.4 KitKat (which isn’t optimised for 64-bit processors), it seems like buying it could be a waste, but it benchmarks pretty high, with an average Geekbench 3 multi-core score of 1442.
The 32-bit quad-core Moto G (2014) only managed 1142 in TechRadar’s tests, and the Sony Xperia M2 Aqua scored just 1133. Even Huawei’s own Ascend G7, which is a pricier phone, managed a mere 1398. This bodes well for this £125 handset.
Of course benchmarks aren’t always an accurate indication of real world performance, and in practice it’s a bit more of a mixed bag.
Moving around the phone is a fairly smooth experience, whether swiping across home screens, browsing the web, using apps or even playing games, but it does struggle under pressure, with lag rearing its head when apps are being installed. While it can cope with most games, the more demanding ones sometimes suffer from low frame rates, though they remain playable.
I mentioned that the phone runs Android 4.4 KitKat and that is disappointing as not only is it unequipped to make the most of the G620S’s 64-bit processor, it lacks some of the features found in Android Lollipop.
It also doesn’t help that Huawei’s Emotion UI leaves quite a bit to be desired. It’s nice and colourful, but arguably looks a bit childish. More problematically, there’s no app drawer, so all your apps have to live on the home screen, which means it can easily look cluttered. In fact, Huawei has packed so many apps in that it looks cluttered when you first switch it on.
I’ve never been a fan of pre-installed apps as they’re usually not ones I’d choose, and it’s easy to fill a phone with apps from Google Play anyway. It doesn’t help that there are duplicates here, too, with two web browsers and two email clients.
At 2000mAh, the Huawei Ascend G620S’s battery is worryingly small. In fact, it’s smaller than the juice in most of its rivals, including the Moto G (2014), the Sony Xperia M2 Aqua, and the Asus Zenfone 5.
Having said that, it performed well in TechRadar’s 90 minute video test, where we run a video at full screen brightness and see how far the juice drops. The G620S’s battery dropped 23%, which is the same as the original Moto G, and slightly better than the Moto G (2014), which lost 26%. The Asus Zenfone 5 and Sony Xperia M2 Aqua marginally beat it, though, with 22% and 20% drops.
This proves that the Huawei Ascend G620S doesn’t have the best battery life, even within its price range, but it doesn’t have the worst, either. For example, after more than 15 hours of mixed use, with a few brief calls, half an hour spent playing a game and a lot of on-screen time for apps and internet, battery dropped to 19%.
I’d say my usage that day was moderate to high, so you should get a day out of it, but as with so many phones, you’ll want to plug in at night.
If you need to get longer out of it, there are a few tools at your disposal. For one thing you can switch between three different power plans. There’s ‘Normal’, which is, well, normal (though it does claim to slightly adjust the CPU and network usage to maximise performance).
Then there’s ‘Smart’, which automatically adjusts the CPU and network usage for balanced performance. Finally there’s ‘Ultra Power Saving’, which estimates it can double the battery life, but does so by only allowing you access to call and messaging functions.
If you want more control, you can also head to the Power monitoring screen, where it will detect possible issues affecting your battery life, from screen timeout to auto-sync. Another screen highlights the most power intensive apps running on the phone, so you can easily see what’s causing the biggest drain.
I was quite impressed by the number of built-in tools at my disposal, but I’d trade them all for a bigger battery. If you’re into carrying a spare you’re out of luck here as the juice pack is firmly sealed in.
My house isn’t far from being a dead-zone for phone signal, but while many phones I’ve tested, including my day-to-day handset, the HTC One, manage to at least have a small amount of signal, the Huawei Ascend G620S would often lose signal.
At least several times a day I’d notice that there was no signal, and presumably it also happened when I wasn’t using the phone. Thankfully I don’t think I missed any calls as a result, nor were any cut off part way through.
In fact, people I did speak to came through loud and clear, and the signal problems were only an issue in areas of poor reception. So if you don’t live in a well-disguised lead bunker like me, you shouldn’t have much trouble.
Actually calling people is handled well, too. The phone supports smart dialling, and the contacts list is easy to populate, allowing you to fill it with pre-existing contacts from Facebook, WhatsApp, Google, and more. You can merge duplicate contacts at the push of a button and easily filter contacts by groups as well.
Messaging is a little less impressive, simply because Huawei’s app is at best bland and at worst ugly, but you can easily replace it with something from Google Play. At least the keyboard works pretty well, with Swype and the Google Keyboard included.
For better or worse, there are a bunch of apps installed off the bat, including Facebook, Twitter, Kingsoft Office, and numerous Huawei offerings for everything from note taking to storage cleaning.
It all feels a bit bloated to me, but if you want a phone that has the apps you need out of the box, then the Huawei Ascend G620S should do the trick, and some of the apps can be uninstalled if you don’t want them.
Among the wealth of apps, you’ll find Google Chrome and Huawei’s own browser. I’d always opt for Chrome, but the two browsers are functionally similar and web browsing is an enjoyable experience on the Ascend G620S’s expansive screen. The only criticism is that text could be a little sharper.
As the Huawei Ascend G620S has such a large screen, it’s likely to appeal for media use. While I’ve covered the gaming performance and screen quality elsewhere, I should mention that a number of the pre-installed apps are media ones. These include an FM radio, various Google Media apps such as Play Movies and Play Music, and Huawei’s own music and video apps.
These are fairly basic offerings, though, with Huawei’s video player being part of its photo gallery app, and offering no real controls beyond play and pause.
The music player is at least a little better, allowing you to sort your library by artist or album and create playlists, as well as offering lock screen artwork and controls.
It also has a few equaliser settings you can tweak if you plug headphones in. You’ll want to do this as the little built-in speaker on the back is rather tinny and not optimally positioned for use with games and movies.
The fact that there’s only 8GB of built-in storage hurts its media potential, too. You’ll definitely need to buy a microSD card if you want to game on the go.
The Huawei Ascend G620S seems to be going blow-for-blow with the Moto G (2014) in most of its specs, and the camera is no exception.
Both phones have 8MP snappers on the back and 2MP ones on the front. That rear camera then has the same megapixel count as the iPhone 6, but if proof were needed that megapixels aren’t everything, a comparison between the Ascend G620S and the iPhone 6 would do the trick.
While you can get perfectly useable shots from Huawei’s budget blower, there’s nothing exceptional about them.
Still, it does have quite a few modes and options, from standard fare like HDR and panorama modes, through to a range of filters. It even has the ability to add a watermark or refocus a shot after taking it.
The interface is a bit busier than I’d like, with various camera options permanently on either side of the viewfinder. It would be nice if there was a way to hide these.
But actually taking photos is easy. You can either press an on-screen button or just tap on the screen, or even toggle the volume button to activate the shutter and take speedy pictures. There’s also a flash, so it’s useable in darker environments.
Close-ups are handled fairly well, with the subject typically coming out in focus, but the camera often struggled to capture some of the details, especially when there was a lot of one colour. This is evidenced below.
The camera seems less able to focus on scenes with lots going on. Photos become flooded with light in bright areas when they’re not the main focus of the shot.
You can switch between 4:3 and 16:9 photos, though the latter is capped at 6MP. Pictures are often vivid, but at the expense of accurate colour replication.
Video recording options are a little more limited than photography ones, but you can change the quality and shoot in up to 1080p. Footage is useable, even if it struggles to stay in focus when panning the camera.
The Moto G (2014) is arguably the budget phone to beat. In at least one way the Huawei Ascend G620S has beaten it, thanks to a 64-bit processor, while many of its other specs are comparable.
That bodes well for Huawei’s handset, but the Ascend G620S isn’t without its problems and is far from a home run.
A 5.0-inch 720p screen is quite large and acceptably sharp for a £125/$150 phone, while its 64-bit Snapdragon 410 processor led to impressive benchmarks and generally solid real world performance.
The presence of 4G is a big asset, too, and it’s got decent battery life management.
Its low price ensures the Huawei Ascend G620S is affordable on almost any budget.
The Huawei Ascend G620S’s interface is stuck in the past, in that it runs Android KitKat, and that the Emotion UI is childish and lacks an app drawer.
Also, while the big screen is nice, personally I’d have taken a slightly smaller, sharper one in preference.
Though there are a lot of battery life management tools, the juice pack itself could stand to be bigger.
With its big screen, 4G support, low price and reasonably attractive design, the Huawei Ascend G620S makes a strong first impression, but it frustrates, thanks to a dated OS and interface, and an overwhelming number of underwhelming apps.
The mediocre camera, minimal built-in storage, and far from crystal-clear screen may start to get to you, too, but these are obvious and, likely, necessary cost-cutting measures.
At the end of the day, the Huawei Ascend G620S is a £125 phone, and at that price it’s a bit of a bargain. I’d still argue that the Moto G (2014) is a better handset overall, though, thanks largely to its superior interface and more up-to-date OS.
The Huawei Ascend G620S has such a clunky name that you’ll likely forget what it’s called by the time you get to your local mobile phone emporium, but if you do come home with one you probably won’t be disappointed. You could certainly do a lot worse or spend a lot more money.
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