GadgeTell Review: Huawei Ascend P1 smartphone

Sections: Communications, Mobile, Smartphones

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What is being reviewed?

Up for review today is the Ascend P1 smartphone from Huawei. This handset was originally announced back in January during CES and as of today, we have been spending some quality time with the device. At first glance, the phone looks and feels good. Not to mention, it appears to be snappy and smooth in terms of operation. That all being said — read on to see how well the Ascend P1 measures up in terms of the overflowing world of Android smartphones. And yes, this one is running Ice Cream Sandwich.

Disclaimer: The Huawei Ascend P1 smartphone was provided to GadgeTell for the purpose of this review.

The specs

  • Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (presently running version 4.0.3)
  • 4.3-inch Super AMOLED display (qHD at 960 x 540)
  • Dual-core 1.5GHz TIM OMAP 4460 processor
  • 1GB RAM
  • 4GB of internal storage (with slightly less available for the end user)
  • microSD card slot
  • GPS, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 3.0, 3.5mm headphone jack
  • 1670 mAh battery
  • 1.3 megapixel front facing camera
  • 8 megapixel rear facing camera with auto-focus
  • Measurements: 129 x 64.8 x 7.69mm
  • Weight: 110 grams
  • UMTS 850/900/1900/2100 MHz/AWS
  • GSM 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
  • HSPA+ 21Mbit/s

My thoughts

I’ve told you which item is being reviewed today and even offered up the specs — now lets get into my thoughts. And for those who just want the bottom line, feel free to skip to the bottom as things can be summed up rather easily. Just one thing before you leave, the Huawei Ascend P1 is a nice device — it is just a shame that it is not readily available here in the US.

To begin with and as noted above, the Ascend P1 is running Android ICS. Specifically, the handset is running 4.0.3. More to the point here, Huawei offers a really nice perk — they allow you to easily switch back and forth between a skinned and non-skinned version. Granted, this does not mean that future software updates will come any quicker, such as in the case of the Nexus handsets. That aside though, you are getting ICS.

Because Apple is making it hard to review a phone these days without a comparison — the Ascend P1 unboxing did make me think of Apple. The outer box is rather similar to what Apple is doing and things stay along those lines when you get it opened. Without getting into every similarity, the Ascend P1 ships with a wall power adapter and USB cable and iPhone users will feel comfortable.

A first thought upon removing the handset from the box — it is thin and light. Of course, with a thickness of 7.69mm and a weight of 110 grams we should not be all that surprised. The Ascend P1 has a 4.3-inch display, however being on the larger side, the phone does not feel overly oversized. And this is coming from someone who frequently carries an iPhone 4S. The display looks good and I would suspect that the majority of users would be happy. Granted, the display is qHD at 960 x 540 so that provides good reason for satisfaction.

I tend to use my phones with a variety of apps including music streaming, podcasts (audio and video) audiobooks, reading, imaging and to a slightly lesser degree, gaming. Of course, there is the usual — social networking, messaging and voice calls. In my experience with the Ascend P1 — the phone was able to take everything. Of course, having 1GB of RAM and a dual-core 1.5GHz processor certainly helps that out.

The battery is 1670 mAh, but that technical bit aside — it was on-par with other mobile phones. Simply put, the battery was good and will probably good enough for most people provided they can put the phone down from time to time during the day.

One complaint that I had, the lack of internal storage. The handset has 4GB and well, what can I say — 8GB or even 16GB would have been much nicer. Thankfully though, there is a microSD card slot that can supplement the lower internal storage.

Touching back on the camera, or in this case — cameras. The Ascend P1 has a 1.3 megapixel on the front and an 8 megapixel on the back. The front-facing camera was good enough for the intended purpose, video calling. As for the back, I would have preferred some nicer images but that is not to say they were terrible. In my experience I would describe them as being sort of flat, or washed-out. They looked good, but could be better.

The bottom line

The Ascend P1 is a pretty solid device. Not top of the line, but really nice nonetheless. In fact, there is only one real reason that I would hesitate to offer a recommendation at this point in time. And keep in mind, this is coming from a US based mobile user — this handset is not offered by any carrier at the moment. What that means, buying unlocked which for many is not an option. I did do a quick check for those who are willing to take that route and the handset can be found (new and unlocked) on eBay for anywhere between $450 and $500. Lastly, should this handset come available with a US carrier, it would be one that I would consider personally.

Product [Huawei Ascend P1]

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