Sunday, September 18, 2011

Huawei Deuce U8520 Dual SIM Android Smart Phone

Allphones are selling the Huawei Deuce U8520 Dual SIM Android Smart Phone for under $300. This device has two slots for SIM cards, allowing the phone to operate with two telephone numbers from two different phone companies simultaneously. This feature is popular in parts of the world where there are many phone companies competing. This could also be useful to have separate personal and business numbers available on one phone. One catch is that only one of the SIM cards can use 3G, the other is limited to the GSM network.

I would be interested to see if I can put my Virgin Broadband SIM card into the 3G socket, along with the Vodafone SIM into the 2G socket. The idea would be to use the GSM phone for ordinary calls and the 3G for data. While it is possible to get Internet access via a phone account, the prices are very high compared to broadband only plans. The phone would then act as a WiFi hub to provide Internet access to my laptop and TiVo. Has anyone tried this? The discussion in the Whirlpool Forum suggests it should be possible.


Tom Worthington said...

I went ahead a purchased a Huawei "Deuce" U8520-1 from AllPhones. I put my Virgin Broadband postpaid SIM in slot 1 (the 3G slot) and my Vodafone SIM in slot 2 (the 2G slot).

This worked for voice calls straight away. But it took me some time to configure for data. I added a new entry for:

APN: VirginBroadband
Authentication protocol: PAP

Then I was able to view web pages on the phone. By plugging in the USB cable to my laptop I was able to access the Internet on the laptop, via the phone. WiFi access should also be possible, but have not tried it yet.

One complication is that I have to remember to select the slot 2 SIM when making a voice call. If I try to make a call using the Vodafone Broadband SIM I get a recorded message saying "service not available". While I have disabled data access on the Vodafone SIM, there seems be to be no way to tell the phone not to try and make voice calls on a SIM.

Also the quality of the voice calls is not as good as my old 2G phone.

Tom Worthington said...

The Huawei Deuce U8520 Dual SIM Android Smart Phone is proving to be disappointing. The phone has two SIMs and can be connected to two different mobile phone services from two different companies. But as when I make a call with my Vodafone SIM, the Virgin Broadband service is cut off. Similarly when using the Virgin Broadband service the Vodafone phone cuts out. If I was just using two SIMs for voice calls, this would not matter, as I am unlikely to make two phone calls at once. But I am likely to want to use the Internet and make a phone call at the same time.

The phone is difficult to use. The main LCD screen is good. But the buttons around the periphery of the phone are hard to use. The micro-USB port is in such an odd place I had to read the manual to find it: I expected this to be at the bottom of the phone, but it is on one side near the top. This makes the phone hard to hold with the cable in place.

Apart from its dual SIM feature, I chose the phone because it is smaller than many smart phones. However this makes it harder to hold and also may be making the call quality worse. When held up to the ear, the microphone is near my cheek, a long way from my mouth, reducing the quality of the signal.

Emm said...

Hi Tom,

Thanks for you comments, I am interested to know a bit more about the phone as there are a few diff specs listed on the web.

What processor and ram/rom are in your version?
How long does the battery last?
When you are making a call do you select sim1 or sim2 or is it a default selection?
Does the wifi feature affect calls?
When you mention the call quality is not as good, is this a reception or a volume issue?


Tom Worthington said...

Emm asked September 26, 2011 8:36 AM:

>What processor and ram/rom are in your version?

The phone is a Huawei U8520

With Android 2.2.2
of 20110831

The phone currently has 116 MB storage available and also comes with a 2GB SD card.

I don't know what the process or total RAM/ROM are. How do I check that?

How long does the battery last?

With two SIM cards in, so both 3G and 2G receivers are operating, and WiFi turned on but GPS and Bluetooth off, the phone lasts for about 14 hours. That is I charged it to full in the evening and it was dead flat just after lunch the next day.

One annoying aspect is that the phone seems to lock up when the battery is exhausted. It took several hours on the charger before I was able to have it turn on again.

> When you are making a call do you select sim1 or sim2 or is it a default selection?

I have to select SIM1 or 2 for each call. Under the on-screen dialing pad, there are buttons marked SIM1 and SIM2. I enter the number and then press one of these to call. This is not difficult to do, but it is annoying if I am only ever going to use one, or the other to make calls.

> Does the wifi feature affect calls?

No, it seem to work fine using WiFi and a voice call at the same time. The problem happens with a 3G data call and a 2G voice call at the same time. A 2G voice call will cult off 3G data access.

My hope was to have voice and data SIMS in the phone. But it looks like this will not work in practice. Without the data access the phone is not really worth having and I will put it in the bottom drawer and go back to my old 2G flip phone.

>When you mention the call quality is not as good, is this a reception or a volume issue?

Volume if fine: clarity is the problem. The phone's microphone picks up a lot of background noise, making it hard for the party on the other end of the call to understand me. The received audio on the phone is loud, but sounds a bit like a speaker-phone call.

By the way the phone has a speaker phone function which works quite well is a quiet room.

There is also a ear-bud headset included which works well.

But for making ordinary calls, where I hold the phone up to the side of my head, it does not work so well.

YB said...


I'm looking to buy this phone but can't find a user manual online.

Can someone tell me if the rectangular bit on the bottom of the phone face is a button or an optical pad like other android phones?


Tom Worthington said...

The Huawei "Deuce" U8520-1 smart phone does not appear to have a good antenna and the Vodafone 3G signal level in my apartment building in Canberra is very low. As a result I had calls dropping out in the stairwell. So I set the phone to use GSM (2G) instead. This improved the signal level and also improved the quality of the audio.

The improved audio is unlikely to be due to the signal level. It may be due to the GSM service using a narrower range of audio frequencies. Normally that would make for worse sounding calls. But the U8520's audio has a booming quality at the high low end and this may be being now cut out.

Tom Worthington said...

Blogger YB said September 27, 2011 11:49 PM:

>... can't find a user manual online.

I found the User Manual for the Huawei "Deuce" U8520 Smart Phone on the FCC web site.

>Can someone tell me if the rectangular bit on the bottom of the phone face is a button or an optical pad like other android phones?

The rectangular section in the middle bottom of the phone is a button described as the "home key" in the manual. You press it to go back to the main screen of the phone. It is surrounded by transparent plastic which lights up when the phone is charging.

The is no optical pad: the only way to naviagte around is with the touch screen, which is fine as it is a very good touch screen (if a bit small compared to an iPhone).

Flamer said...

Hi Tom, a lot of people are very interested in knowing the specs of the phone, particularly the RAm and CPU. (if you could also measure the screen and confirm whether its 3.2inch or 2.8inch that would be good too.

To get the system specs do the following:

Go to the Android marketplace, and find "Android System Info"

Install it, start the app and check the System tab for all the info.

Emm said...

Hi Tom,

Thanks for all the info, you asked about how to check cpu etc

"I don't know what the process or total RAM/ROM are. How do I check that?"

I have used "Quick System Info" app from the Android Market and it displays the info.

I was wondering if you were getting better battery life now that you have run it down a few times.

Its also interesting that you get better voice quality on 2g

Tom Worthington said...

I have volunteered to talk on"Using a Dual SIM Android Smart Phone" at the "Sydney Linux User Group", Friday, 30 September 2011, 6pm.

"One of the more unusual Google Android smart phones available is the Huawei "Deuce" U8520, which has provision for two SIM cards and so can be connected to two different mobile phone networks, with two different telephone numbers simultaneously. The benefits and limitations of this and other features will be discussed." See also: Huawei Deuce U8520 Dual SIM Android Smart Phone.

Tom Worthington said...

Blogger Flamer said (about the Huawei "Deuce" U8520 smart phone):

>... measure the screen and confirm whether its 3.2inch or 2.8inch ...

Measured the screen and it is 3.2 inches.

>"Android System Info"

Android 2.2.2


Total: RAM 159 MB
External: 1.86GB
CPU: ARMv6compatable processor rev 5 (v6l)
QCT MSM7x27 U8520
Frequency: 600 Mz

Nigel J Davies said...

I tried your link for the U8520 user manual from the FCC website,but it returned "You are not authorized to access this page." Can you check the link, or give some more clues how to circumvent this access problem (or even attach the document on your blog)? Thanks

Chris Collings Computer Solutions said...

You have said that you are able to use your virgin broadband 3g sim in the 3g slot and your virgin mobile sim in the 2g slot.
If you were to do it the other way around.
Would the virgin broadband work properly when only connected to the 2g network?

Tom Worthington said...

Chris Collings asked October 08, 2011 6:08 PM:

>... Would the virgin broadband work properly when only connected to the 2g network?

No: the 2G network doesn't provide broadband. A 2G mobile network provides data access with GRPS at most 115 kbit/s, well short of broadband speeds.

But I will try putting the card in the 2G slot and see if it works at all.

If you see no more postings, you will know it did not work, as I need the card working to use the Internet. ;-)

Tom Worthington said...

As suggested by Chris Collings, I tried my Virgin Broadband SIM in the 2G slot of my Huawei Deuce U8520 Dual SIM Android Smart Phone. It reported "no service". This is not surprising as the Virgin Boradband service is intended for a 3G network. There was a possibility that it might work on the 2G GPRS service, but this appears not to be the case.

More worryingly, I now can't get the Virgin Broadband SIM to work in the phone's 3G slot either. Previously I could use this for broadband data access, but that is now not working.

Overall the Huawei Deuce U8520 Dual SIM Android Smart Phone has been disappointing. The battery life is poor, with the phone locking up when the battery gets low. The sound quality is poor. The dual SIM has not proved useful. I will be putting the phone in the bottom drawer and going back to my old 2G phone, which while it doesn't do smart functions, at least works as a phone.

When I have a spare moment, I will write to Huawei to let them know their phone is less than unusable. In particulr the low battery problem appears to be a design fault.

Steve said...

Sorry, your links to the manual at FCC seem broken: the first returns an error and the second downloads an html file. This file, if renamed to .PDF, seems to be the second half of some kind of generic Android(?) Manual.
Huawei's website, while a good laugh for its original spelling, seems never to have heard of the U8520.
I bought a Deuce, am happy with it, and want to know about its buttons.

Unknown said...

Bought this phone 2 weeks ago from Dick Smith. I am using dual sim - optus and testra.

The phone keeps rebooting ramdomly, and even more when its plugged into the Charger. So I called Tech Support 1800 330 943 and they said to return it for a new one. This problem seems to occur on some phones.


Steve said...

Ditto. My Deuce keeps rebooting. More like re-starting - there's a difference and may be hard to tell. A restart may involve a loose power contact. Bad news about returning tho'. My experience is it's a slow process.

Tom Worthington said...

The battery in my Huawei "Deuce" U8520-1 goes flat after only about an hour (the phone is five weeks old). I would like to contact Huawei about it, but their Australian web site appears to have no support or online contact details and their international web site is not working (just reporting "page not found").

Tom Worthington said...

Have posted a note to Allphones (where I bout the phone) to see if they can help:

I purchased a Huawei Deuce U8520 from Allphones in late September. The phone did not work well enough to be usable as an everyday phone. I have been trying it occasionally since then, but find the battery is only lasting about an hour before locking up and it is now randomly rebooting. I tried contacting Huawei for support without success. Any suggestions? Responses to my blog post seem to indicate I am not the only one with problems:

Tom Worthington said...

Allphones replied by phone on 4 November 2011 to say I should take the phone into their store (or another repairer) for repair.

It sounded like the "repair" was actually a software upgrade. I would have preferred to simply do that myself, but will take the phone in.

Tom Worthington said...

Handed my Huawei Deuce U8520 into Allphones at Belconnen, Canberra, yesterday afternoon. They said it would take two weeks to repair.

Jeremy said...

Hey Tom, any update on the repairs? I'm interested in this phone

Fred Hooper said...

Hey Tom, any update on the repairs of the phone?

Tom Worthington said...

Jeremy wrote November 23, 2011 10:27 PM:

>... any update on the repairs? ...

No. I handed my Huawei Deuce U8520 into Allphones at Belconnen, Canberra, for repair on 7 November. They said it would take two weeks, but I have heard nothing so far.

zaq405 said...

Hi Tom,
I bought mine several months ago and have mixed thoughts. It almost lives up to expectations except for the faults you listed. Unlike yours, mine will lock up at any time.
I found Huawei support to be rubbish and Allphones to be very unhelpful, but I might try them again after reading this. I think there is more proof the Deuce is a little buggy now.

grunted said...

I also bought a Huawei deuce u8520 about 2 weeks ago. It is my first android phone and seems easy to work. However I have the same problem that it stops working and the button at the bottom (the home key) starts flashing. This can happen multiple times a day. I can restart it by plugging it into a charger or by re-inserting the battery. It also has the same problem even when it's being charged so I don't think its simply the battery or power drain issues. Any help?

Anonymous said...

Which carrier tested and approved this device for use in Australia- on their network?

You would think these reported issues would stand out to anyone!

Sounds like a good idea that went sour.Pity because I really wanted a dual SIM android.

RPS111 said...

I bought this phone last week as I needed dual sim and 3G but have to return it back to dicksmith because it kept rebooting and turn off on its own and then I have to take the battery out and put it back again. Dick smith swapped for a new phone but the same problem with the second one so I returned it for money back. It's a good phone with good applications but is the point of all app if it's off and u miss all your calls.

Tom Worthington said...

As I have heard nothing more about the Huawei Deuce phone I handed in for repair to Allphones Belconnen on 7 November 2011, I have asked for my money back. Comments by other purchasers of this model phone suggest there is a design fault in the phone.

grunted said...

After getting very frustrated with the phone, I did a factory re-set and since that have been very careful about which apps I put on. It seems to have reduced the phone crashing a quite considerably. The battery life I am still finding disappointing but I can live with that for the benefit of the dual sim and the occasional time I need to use the net. I also find there are cheap components built into the phone eg - the aerial. I recently took it on holidays and my wife's old nokia had far more reception than my phone. Hopefully in the future there will be some more choice in the dual sim android market but at the moment I would avoid this phone.

flinx said...

As I am interested in this phone I phoned Huawei, Technical, and I was told that they were aware of these problems and that Huawei's development department were trying to get it sorted but did not know when. I asked if they did fix these problems how would I be able to tell if I was buying an upgraded model or old stock. Would there be a different Identifier on the package.
Has anyone heard any more about this?