Monday, November 12, 2012

Huawei U8836D / Ascend G500 Pro / Shine (Dual SIM with 3G support)


After being very pleased with the performance of ZTE V970, I've decided to test a fresh new smartphone from Huawei. Also powered by MediaTek MT6577 chipset, one of the most promising dual SIM smartphones is Huawei U8836D / Ascend G500 Pro (also known as Shine).

Huawei is a Chinese multinational networking and telecommunications equipment and services company. It is nowadays  the largest telecommunications equipment maker in the world, having overtaken Ericsson.



Name:MediaTek MT6577
CPU:Dual-core 1 GHz ARM Cortex™-A9
GPU:PowerVR™ SGX 531
Instruction set:ARMv7

Software environment

Embedded:OS: Android 4.0.4 (Ice Cream Sandwich)


(width x height x depth):
130 x 65 x 11.2 millimetres
Weigth:156 grams (battery included)


Capacity: 1930 mAh


RAM:capacity:1 GB
ROM-capacity:4 GB
Expansion slot:microSD memory card, supporting up to 32 GB

Network support

Primary phone:GSM850, GSM900, GSM1800, GSM1900, UMTS900, UMTS2100
Secondary phone:GSM850, GSM900, GSM1800, GSM1900


Type:IPS-LCD capacitive touchscreen
Size:4.3 inches, qHD resolution (540 x 960 pixels)
Protection:Corning Gorilla glass


Main (rear):5 megapixels with autofocus and single LED flash
Secondary (front):0.3 megapixels


Bluetooth (802.15):Bluetooth 3.0 + Enhanced Data Rate
Wireless LAN / Wi-Fi (802.11):  IEEE 802.11b, IEEE 802.11g, IEEE 802.11n
USB:USB 2.0 Client, Hi-Speed (480 Mbit/s)
USB Series Micro-B (Micro-USB) connector

Satellite navigation

Built-in GPS module:MT6620 chipset
GPS antenna:Internal
Complementary GPS services:  A-GPS (Assisted GPS), MediaTek EPO (Extended Prediction Orbit)

Additional features

Sensors:Gravity, Proximity and Light sensors
Analog Radio:FM radio (87.5-108 MHz) with RDS radio receiver
Others:Dedicated LED for notification of missed calls / new messages

Design and construction

In terms of design, it has some similarities with HTC Desire X. The outer bezel around the display is made of black painted metal while the back cover is made of a textured rubbery which provides firm grip and a nice feel when holding the phone, much like to the one we can find on ZTE V970The overall built quality is great and you can even count with the strong screen protection due to the use of a glass from Corning.

Underneath the speaker grill, on the left side, it is placed the usual power charging LED (red colored). But in addition to that, there is also a green LED that becomes permanently lit when the battery is more than 90% charged and also blinks in order to notify the user of eventual missed calls / new messages received.

There are three soft-buttons in total - Back, Home and Menu, which are back-lit when the phone is turned on.

The volume rocker is placed on the right edge.

The microUSB port is located on the upper left edge.

The 3,5 mm headset jack and dedicated power button are located on the top edge.

On the back side, we find the 5 megapixels autofocus camera above a single LED flash.

Placed on the right side of the bottom edge, there is a small notch that allows you to easily remove the rear cover.

The two SIM slots and the micro SD slot can only be accessed after removing the battery.

Display quality

This phone features a good quality IPS-LCD, whose colors are vivid and really vibrant. It has a pixel density of 256 ppi due to the qHD resolution (540 x 960) over a surface with a diagonal of 4.3 inches.

Moreover, a big plus of this phone is the fact that it features a Corning Gorilla protective glass, which is highly durable and strong.


The phone comes pre-installed with Android 4.0.4. Here are some screenshots and details of the most important features with a special detail of the dual SIM functionality.

The notification panel provides a fast access for brightness and display timeout setting, enabling or disabling auto rotation, Wi-Fi, BT, GPS and data connection, as well as alternating between sound profiles.

The user interface of Android 4.0 is definitely very polished.

The dialer interface with the two buttons for calling from either SIM1 or SIM2. It supports smart dialing feature which works perfectly and very fast!

There is an option to easily switch between the default card for establishing phone calls. Within the call log history, calls can be filtered by received, established or missed calls, but can also be checked which SIM was used.

Under the dual SIM management menu several configurations can be set. The user can edit the name of each SIM and also set the associated background color that will appear in call log as well as in the notification bar (behind the network strength bars).

In the same menu, the user has the possibility to set a default SIM card to establish all outgoing calls or set it to always ask. The same thing can be set for messaging and data connection purposes.

Android 4.0 adds new fancy controls for managing network data usage. The user can monitor total usage by network type and application and then set limits if needed. Of course, as mobile data can be enabled on SIM1 or SIM2, data usage of each SIM card can also be tracked.

It also natively supports tethering and portable hotspot feature, letting the user share mobile data connection through USB or over a wireless (Wi-Fi or even Bluetooth) network.

Just like it happened on the previous MediaTek platform, with the newest one (MT6577), SIM2 will be reachable even if there is an active data connection established on SIM1. The data connection will be immediately dropped when a new call is incoming from SIM2 and the download will be automatically resumed after the call is over.

The phone supports quad-band GSM as well as UMTS 900 MHz and 2100 MHz as confirmed under hidden MTK Engineer Mode.

The stock ROM from Huawei doesn't provide access to Google services, but that situation can be easily overcome by installing the latest version of Google apps.

After about a month of using this phone, I can say that battery typically lasts two to three days without putting it into charge. That it is pretty good, taking into consideration that I always keep Bluetooth turned on, 3G data connection always activated and make a few calls per day.

Final thoughts

If you don't want to take the risk of buying a phone from an unknown Chinese brand, then go for this one. Its performance is great, runs very stable and has a good battery lifetime. I would say without any doubts that it is the best phone with Dual SIM capability for business use.

And now the usual advertisement... in order to avoid questions regarding where to buy it from, you can always visit my partner shop ( Huawei U8836D Shine is available for 229 USD.

  • Good battery life
  • Corning Gorilla glass protection
  • Lack of support for native video calls
  • No magnetic field sensor (which means no compass support)


  1. Hi!
    Is this a dual sim-active model?
    Can you have one call on one sim and receive a call/sms on the other at the same time?


    1. No, every MediaTek based smartphone with Dual SIM capabilities is dual standby, which means that when one SIM is establishing a call the other will be unavailable.

      Although, MediaTek did a great improvement since MT65x3. As already mentioned in the review, SIM2 will be reachable even if there is an active data connection established on SIM1. The data connection will be immediately dropped when a new call is incoming from SIM2 and the download will be automatically resumed after the call is over.

  2. Hi,

    I've two questions:

    - The camera is better or worse thant the V970 camera?

    - Between the V970 and this one, wich one would you choose?

    Thanks and regards,

    1. Camera is worse when compared to V970, but I would still choose U8836D. Currently I have both and Huawei U8836D is my everyday phone.

    2. Ok. Thank you very much for your fast reply. I've a V970 too and the only disapointment with it that phone is the average camera quality. I'll keep searching for an alternative.

      In addition to this, I want to thank you very much for your hard work in xda. I've paid you a couple of beers for the V970 rom ;).

    3. Thank you very much for that!

  3. I am also using this phone for more than a month now. Very good phone for me because of the dual sim feature as I am travelling a lot due to my work. Can explain more how to get this phone to access Google play without rooting it? Did you manage to improve the GPS reception of this phone? By the way, keep up the great work on the xda.

    1. You must flash a custom recovery and install ICS gapps. The best thing you can do is to install my custom ROM. Just go to my XDA thread and put your comments over there.

  4. Hi there. Do these phones still only support 3G on SIM1 and 2G on SIM2 or can both SIMs use 3G now?

    1. In the particular case of Huawei U8836D, it only supports 3G on SIM1 and 2,5G on SIM2. But many other MT6577 based smartphones, have the ability to switch 3G mode from SIM1 to SIM2 (only enabled in one at a time). An example of that is ZTE V970.

  5. "Camera is worse when compared to V970, but I would still choose U8836D. Currently I have both and Huawei U8836D is my everyday phone."
    Why do you prefer U8836D?
    I want to buy a dual sim phone and don't know what to chose (V970 or U8836D)

    1. I said I prefer U8836D because it has a Gorilla protective screen, higher capacity battery and front camera.

      However, a Jelly Bean ROM has came out for V970 and because of that I will change my opinion. JB runs great and brings a new life to V970.

    2. Ok, thanks.
      I think i will buy a V970.