The Ascend was MetroPCS's budget phone at the time I bought it. If it were up to me, I would have really gotten the 4G phone. Can't really beat the 4G speeds, but MetroPCS had only 2 4G phones that were both over $200.
I had a Blackberry before this phone, but was looking at switching over to MetroPCS. My blackberry was costing me a fortune on a monthly basis with AT&T, and I didn't have unlimited calling or texts.
Long story...short...I was on a tight budget and tried to get the cheapest Android that MetroPCS had to offer which was the Ascend. I figure it would probably be one of the slowest phones there, and I was right. It was bogged down with all the MetroPCS bloatware on the phone. They had just updated them to Froyo.
The thing that attracted me to Gingerbread was DSPManager. It was a great tool to really boost the audio levels on my phone. I like to jam out to Napster in my car, and I couldn't really get the levels up there for Froyo without cranking my car stereo full blast, and even then the levels were very mild. (DSPManager rom is no longer offered on Froyo)
I flashed it recently to the BobZHome rom 070811 for the lazy Ascend. It boots fast, and I have it overclocked to 672Mhz using the Interactive Governor. I get an overall good performance out of the phone when the battery levels are good. It dips a lot when the battery is low even when I get it connected to a power supply
The only draw back is the two issues I mentioned above in the earlier post...using my headset and the custom ringtones which I think are issues with the phone app themselves. The headset issue which for me was solved by the mute and unmute when you connect to your call and using the stock headphones alone. The custom ringtone issue I will have to deal with as there is no workaround for that, but for the most part due to work, I keep it on vibrate anyway.