First Impressions: Huawei/T-Mobile Prism 2

Earlier today in the same delivery as my replacement Nexus 4 which has given me problems again (T-Mobile – fix that issue please), I have also received the T-Mobile Prism 2 which is manufactured by Huawei. While this does not have standard stock Android which puts me in fear of it never receiving updates, there is a reason why I would choose this.

First, the reason why I bought this phone is unique to me, and will not likely be the same rationale as most other purchasers. However, my nephew whom is on my phone account is using this same phone, and according to Andrea (his mother), he loves the phone. So, I will consider that in my recommendation. However, the reason I bought this is as a second line that I could simply turn on and off when I don’t want to be bother by telemarketers, creditors, and just people who are too stupid to know how to use the telephone. However, with that in mind, one could use this as a primary, but basic smart phone. In this regard, I will have to pay +$10 per month on my phone bill. While I could technically spread the cost over the other people on the Family plan, that would not be ethically sound.

The Good

First is the price. When I say price – I mean it. It is the cheapest at $115 + $10 for SIM card, the phone is cheaper than even the Nokia Lumia 521 by $35, and that will be a sting to Microsoft Windows OS. For those that will choose and qualify for the payment plan will pay $20 down + $4/per month for 24 months. This phone is needless to say is a jump from the basic phone.

In addition, all but the earliest models comes with Android 4.1.1. This is a lower version of Android Jelly Bean. And while this is a mess as Android 4.0 is another edition of Android, the fact it is at least in the latest edition is a good thing.

Another thing is better crapware. No crapware is not good, but being this a T-Mobile marketed phone, you would of course expect that T-Mobile’s crapware will be on the phone. Two features I am confident will be good for anyone will include Wifi Calling, and Name ID. Name ID is supposed to display the name and telephone number of the caller just like it would have on a landline with CID. Wifi Calling will allow the phone to send the call over a wifi connection rather than cellular. This is good if you have poor cellular coverage, but good wifi coverage. It could also function as a Wifi Phone when traveling, but if you are traveling, you are not likely to choose this lower quality phone.

There is a micro-SD card slot. Now, I am not normally one to call this good, but more of expected, but frankly put – many OEMs are moving to integrated storage only.

The Bad

The phone is not using stock Android UI. It looks a lot like it, but it isn’t. You would notice some differences if you had dealt with a device that has no strange UI. Thankfully, Huawei didn’t completely f**ked up the UI (like HTC, and Samsung). However, the Android OS is very user intuitive, and shouldn’t need to have some UI messing things up.

The screen is also small. If I recall correctly, it is a 3.5” screen, and when you have used a 4”, and a 4.7”, the 3.5” feels very small, and makes it harder to type on it. As phones are becoming larger, one would find that many apps will feel compact on such a screen and this will definitely be an issue for anyone that uses their phone for media, and games.

No front side camera is expected, but still a disappointment. Even if it was a low quality such as VGA quality, this would have been good enough for such a budget device. And there is no LED flash for the minimal rear camera.

The button placement is horrendous. You have the volume rocker on the right top, and the micro-USB on the left top. The power and headphone jack is on the top. In addition, there are still buttons for the OS, which in this case is capacitive touch, but still – a sense of physical buttons which is completely useless since the Android J edition OS provides for OS level buttons on the screen. This could have been used for extra screen space without changing the dimensions of the phone.

The Ugly

I had one unknown caller that came in (while writing the Bad), and the Name ID did worked, however, it seemed to have nagged me to add the contact or not. It would have been better if they just placed that information in the call log, and let the user add it on his own desire.

There is an FM radio (if that is still cool these days), but you need a wired set of head phones which is not included with the phone.

You can’t make changes to call forwarding, or addition settings while wifi calling is enabled. This will mean you will have to disable it and make your adjustments, then turn it back on. This can be a tedious event, although you should only have to do this once. It was important to me since I didn’t want T-Mobile voice mail handling this phone’s voicemail.

And being a T-Mobile Branded device, there will be conflicts with the phone if you took it to another carrier. And while you can disable the T-Mobile Apps (thanks to the OS), it will always be there.

Be prepared to buy a Micro-SD card. Now in my case, this will be a glorified home phone that can function as a cellular phone as well, but for most – they will probably want to put music and other things on the phone. This will therefore require expansion as the the internal storage is about 2-4GB. Although, you can always just listen to the radio.

My Opinion

This is not a great phone, but if you are on a tight budget, this might be one to consider. Keep in mind the price of the phone is without a contract. However, unless you are a complete dufus of a klutz, you should not get insurance even if you are low income. At $8/month that T-Mobile will charge, you would be able to almost buy a new phone of a similar caliber, and when you account for the likely $45 deductible, you are paying as much as the phone is worth in the one year alone. If you are concerned, put that money aside, and you would have it no matter what. Invest is a good phone case for the phone, and use Bluetooth to reduce accidental drops. Use Lookout Premium which will help you find your phone if you loose it, and you would even be able to wipe the phone if need be.

However, I will be concerned that the single core CPU, and the slower speed of 1Ghz will be an issue in a year from now. And as new phones are coming out with NFC, Qi charging, and front side cameras, this will make the phone feel older than it is. The G2x which was my previous phone had a front side camera, but this brand new (less than 90 days) doesn’t. However, as carriers are moving to smart phones, this will be a good alternative if the person was looking into a new basic phone. While I bought this phone for my own use, it is a second class usage in comparison to the Nexus 4 that is still the preferred phone for my needs.

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