Sony’s flashy new James Bond phone is not the only handheld hitting AT&T shelves these days, with the Huawei Fusion 2 targeting an entirely different crowd. The petite 3.5-incher is certainly not destined for Martini drinking undercover government agents used to high-stakes poker games, but for the more modest tech enthusiasts clinging to every buck.

Available for $99.99 off-contract, the Fusion 2 is clearly one of the most affordable smartphones out there, although that’s basically its only selling point. The spec sheet is pretty dreadful and we can’t say we’re very impressed by the carrier’s prepaid plans either.

Sporting a 3.5-inch TFT capacitive touchscreen with a 320 x 480 pixels resolution, the Fusion 2 should have been, based on its name, an evolved version of last year’s Fusion. However, AT&T and Huawei seem to have a pretty weird idea of what evolution means, given that, in many ways, the new phone isn’t much better than the old one.

The “biggest” upgrade seems to be the single-core 800 MHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S1 MSM7225A processor. The CPU is coupled with an unsurprising 512 MB of RAM and a supposedly enhanced Adreno 200 GPU (don’t get your hopes up).

The rear-facing camera is no crowd-pleaser either. It comes with a 3.2 MP sensor, with no autofocus or flash. There’s also no front-facing webcam, while the 1,400 mAh battery is rated by AT&T at five hours of autonomy in talk time (expect more like four).

The 2 GB of on-board storage again sound very 2010-ish, but fortunately there is microSD support for expanding the memory with an additional 32 GB. The Fusion 2 also runs the old raggedy Android 2.3 Gingerbread, although you’d probably expect such a thing by now (we don’t even want to think how would have ICS worked on such an outdated hardware configuration).

The spec sheet is wrapped up with some absolute basics, including 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1 and GPS. Gingerbread seems to be seriously tainted by a bunch of pre-loaded crap software, like AT&T Social Net, AT&T Mobile Care, and AT&T Navigator.

As for prepaid plans to use the device on, you can go for the new and rather pricey $65 monthly option that includes unlimited talk and text and only 1 GB of data, the more affordable $50 one with unlimited talk and text, or the dirt-cheap $25 monthly plan with 250 nationwide minutes, unlimited text and optional data packages. All three seem to have serious downsides, but if Ma Bell is your favorite wireless service provider and you’re not phased by low-end specs, you could make a decent deal with the Fusion 2.

Anyone thinking of getting the off-contract phone? Why? Why not?


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