Update: Winner announced in our Huawei Ascend Prepaid Possibilities Contest

New in the MobileSyrup labs are a couple of entry-level devices, the Huawei Ascend Y201 and Ascend Y210. This is the first time a Huawei device has been available on incumbent networks like Virgin (Bell) and TELUS, and it’s a good opportunity to talk about the prepaid market in general.

Both of these Android-running devices are available for around $80 outright, far less than most smartphones. And while the specs pale in comparison to what is offered in high-end devices like the Galaxy S4 and HTC One, they are competent and fully-functional smartphones. They also go up against the entry-level Windows Phone devices like the Lumia 520 and 620.

The Ascend Y201 is available on Virgin Mobile’s prepaid service for $79.95, and is equipped with a 3.5-inch 480×320 pixel LCD display, an 800Mhz processor, 256MB RAM, 512MB of internal storage (expandable), a 3.2MP camera, a 1250mAh battery, running Android 2.3.6 Gingerbread.

The Ascend Y210 is available through Walmart’s mobile store on TELUS’ prepaid network for under $80, and is equipped with a 3.5-inch 480×320 pixel LCD display, a 1Ghz processor, 256MB RAM, 512MB internal storage (includes a 4GB microSD card), a 2MP camera, a 1700mAh battery, running Android 2.3.6 Gingerbread.

Considering these would have been considered relatively powerful devices three years ago, the speed at which smartphones, and Android smartphones in particular, have commoditized is incredible. I tested both devices on their respective networks and both navigated through their respective interfaces quickly and with little lag. Of course, apps took longer to load, games were sluggish, browsing photos was a relative chore and the screen was absurdly low-resolution, but for $80 you have a more-than-capable smartphone.


Now, let’s talk about the contest. Huawei has generously given us two of these devices, one of each model, to give away.

In order to win, you have to follow us on Twitter and leave a comment letting us know what you’d use this phone for.

Contest is open to Canadians only (except those in Quebec, sorry!) and will end on Friday, July 12th.

Good luck!