Huawei Verge (MetroPCS) review

The Huawei Verge is an inexpensive way to make calls on MetroPCS, but that's about all you can do with it.
Photo of Huawei Verge (MetroPCS)

MetroPCS users may get a lot more cell phones to pick from when the carrier merges with T-Mobile, but none more simple than the Huawei Verge. For just $29, the Huawei Verge is the cheapest way to get unlimited talk and text on MetroPCS for just $40 per month. Unfortunately, that’s about the only thing this phone has going for it. The Verge packs a poor camera, and practically no multimedia features. It’s fine for a backup line, or the occasional call, but keep looking if you want anything more than that.

Design, Call Quality, and Apps
The Verge measures 4.57 by 2.06 by 0.49 inches (HWD) and weighs just 3.17 ounces. It looks and feels like a toy. The handset is made from cheap-feeling black plastic—matte on the back and shiny on the front. The 2.4-inch display features 320-by-240 pixel resolution. Like everything else about this phone, it’s serviceable. Below the display are some function keys and a five-way control pad. And below those are four tiny rows of number keys that are clicky and well separated, though the backlighting is strangely uneven.

The Verge is a tri-band 2G 1xRTT (850/1700/1900 MHz) device with no Wi-Fi. The phone is 2G only, as MetroPCS lacks a 3G data network. The carrier has 4G LTE, but only some of its smartphones operate on it. Slow data aside, $40 per month gets you unlimited talk, text, and Web data. That makes the Verge a great deal, provided you live in a MetroPCS coverage area and can put up with the slow internet speeds.

Considering this phone’s primary purpose is voice calling, the Verge only sounds average. Volume is loud in the phone’s earpiece, though voices sound somewhat thin and hollow. On the other end, calls made with the phone sound clear enough, though background noise cancellation is poor. The speakerphone gets fairly loud, but it also begins to distort at higher volumes. Calls sounded fine through a Jawbone Era Bluetooth headset , but there’s no voice dialing. Battery life was average at 7 hours and 17 minutes of talk time.

Apps, Multimedia, and Conclusions
The Verge has the same simple interface we’ve seen on other MetroPCS feature phones. The home screen has links to the main menu, apps, and widgets. The main menu is home to all of your standard features, like call logs, contacts, messages, a music player, settings, and tools. Apps pulls up icons of all your Web-based applications on the phone’s home screen, and Widgets gives you quick access to a clock, calendar, and weather info, all splashed on top of your home screen.

The Obigo 5.0 browser does a decent job with WAP sites, but it’s so slow that, combined with the 2G data, browsing the Web feels more like a chore than a benefit. Considering that you’re paying for data as part of your monthly plan, it would be wise to choose a phone that can surf more adeptly. Email and IM clients are included for most standard accounts, and both worked fine. All of the typical apps make an appearance as well, including an alarm clock, calculator, notepad, stopwatch, and world clock.

You get 30MB of free internal memory. There’s no microSD card slot, so what you see is what you get. Fortunately, you can’t do much with the Verge, so that limited storage can go a long way. There’s no music or video playback, so you’re limited to the few apps on the phone, the slow Web browser, and a limited selection of apps from MetroPCS to keep you entertained.

Don’t get this phone for the 1.3-megapixel camera—it’s not good. Photos are so blurry and undefined they look like they were taken underwater. The only way to get the images off your phone is to send them via email or picture message. It should go without saying there’s no video capture, perhaps out of mercy.

If you have no use for a phone outside of making phone calls, the Huawei Verge is your least expensive option on MetroPCS. But if you want a phone that does more than the bare minimum, you’ll probably have more luck with the Huawei Pinnacle 2, which is the carrier’s only other feature phone right now. We haven’t reviewed it yet, but it’s a modest update to the Huawei Pinnacle. At the very least, it gets you a decent BlackBerry-style keyboard, along with a music player. Considering you don’t have to pay for an additional data plan, it might also be worth it to look into getting a smartphone. It’ll cost the same $40 per month, but will expand your capabilities dramatically. A good place to start is the LG Motion 4G, which gets you a lot of Android bang for just a little more than the price of the Verge.

Specifications
Phone Capability / Network CDMA
Screen Resolution 320 x 240 pixels
NFC No
Dimensions 4.57 x 2.06 x 0.49 inches
802.11x/Band(s) No
Video Camera Resolution 2.0 + EDR
Battery Life (As Tested) 7 hours 17 minutes
Available Integrated Storage 0.03 GB
Processor Speed 192 MHz
CPU Qualcomm QSC6055
GPS Yes
Service Provider MetroPCS
Total Integrated Storage 0.06 GB
High-Speed Data CDMA 1X
Weight 3.17 oz
Screen Type TFT LCD
Screen Size 2.4 inches
Physical Keyboard No
Camera Resolution VGA
Screen Pixels Per Inch 167 ppi
Bands 850, 1900, 1700
microSD Slot No
Form Factor Candy Bar
Bluetooth Version 2.0 + EDR

Verdict
The Huawei Verge is an inexpensive way to make calls on MetroPCS, but that's about all you can do with it.
Published under license from Ziff Davis, Inc., New York, All rights reserved.
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc