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Huawei Ascend P1 review

Budget phone maker attempts to blag an upgrade to business class

Our Verdict

If you can live with its lightweight feel, the Ascend P1 is a seriously enjoyable and powerful phone.

Product features

  • Built-in Memory : 4 GB
  • Rear Camera Resolution : 8 Megapixel
  • Screen Resolution : 540 x 960
  • Processor Core : Dual-core (2 Core)

View full specification

For

  • Pure Android 4.0 option
  • Smooth and fast
  • Responsive, bright display
  • Good battery life

Against

  • Creaky, lightweight body
  • Only 4GB of onboard storage
  • Poor keyboard spellcheck
  • No NFC

The Ascend P1 is the first of Huawei's high-power Android models to hit the UK, offering a large 4.3" display, coupled with a dual-core processor running at 1.5GHz, with front and rear cameras, DLNA support and full 1080p video capture abilities.

The most exciting thing about the P1 is its OS, which gives us an oddly rare chance to use a version of Android 4.0 on a phone that's unskinned and free from troublesome meddling by the manufacturers.

Huawei Ascend P1 review

There are several Huawei interface skin options within the P1, but you'd be mad not to use the untouched Android 4.0 option. In fact, that's one of the key reasons to buy the thing.

Prices are a little up in the air at the moment, but it would appear the Ascend P1 is likely to go on sale for around £340 unlocked, with Vodafone offering it on contracts from £26 a month.

These aren't really the sort of super-budget prices we've come to expect from Huawei, maker of the Ascend G 300, the current sub-£100 smartphone of choice.

Can the P1 justify a price tag that's asking for three times' as much money as its capable cousin?

Huawei's opted to use the standard three Android buttons of Menu, Home and Back, with no place here for the multitasking button found on the likes of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus.

Huawei Ascend P1 review

The touch-sensitive buttons are backlit, illuminating themselves whenever you prod the screen. You can have a little haptic feedback on them too, if your brain needs telling when you press a thing.

Huawei Ascend P1 review

It's more rounded than the angular models we've seen of late from Sony or the equally slim and light Motorola RAZR, with no sharp edges to be found anywhere on the P1's body.

At only 7.7mm thick it's one of the slimmest phones around today, plus the 110g weight means you barely notice it in your pocket regardless of how "on trend" and skinny-fitting your trousers may be.

Huawei Ascend P1 review

To help achieve this level of thickness Huawei has sealed the chassis, so you're not able to remove the battery.

On the plus side, there is a magical little flap that lets users stick in their own SD card, so you're able to whack in as much additional memory as you like.

Huawei Ascend P1 review

Round the back sits the camera sensor and LED flash, which have been given their own little mound.

Huawei Ascend P1 review

The full size SIM slot is also hidden behind a stopper on the top edge of the P1, where you find the micro-USB adaptor and the 3.5mm headphone jack.

The power button's at the top of the right-hand side, which seems to be the logical place to stick it these days.

Huawei Ascend P1 review

The Super AMOLED display, all 4.3-inches of it, is impressive. It's bright, very usable outdoors if you stick the brightness up to maximum, plus it's nice and responsive to touch.

It also seems reasonably tough and durable, as it's not yet scratched or scarred in the slightest after a week of use.

Huawei Ascend P1 review

The back of the phone's glossy and smooth, with a lower, fatter ridge at the bottom that helps you balance the Ascend P1 in one hand.

It's a slippery little thing with none of the matte black rubberising we usually see, but it's nicely balanced, so we never felt like it was going to end up in pieces on the laminate.

Huawei Ascend P1 review

It fits the hand well. Despite the large screen size Huawei's done a good job of keeping the P1 slim, so you don't feel like you're trying to wrap your hand around a dictionary when holding it.

Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
Input MethodTouchscreen
TouchscreenYes
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
USBYes
Contract TypeSIM-free
Maximum Memory Card Size Supported32 GB
Built-in Memory4 GB
Built-in FlashYes
Memory Card SlotYes
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyGPRS, EDGE, HSDPA, HSUPA, UMTS, HSPA+
GPS ReceiverYes
Multi-SIM SupportedNo
Near Field CommunicationNo
Integrated TV TunerNo
Product FamilyAscend P1
Cellular Generation3.9G
Cellular Network SupportedGSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900, WCDMA 850, WCDMA 900, WCDMA 1900, WCDMA 2100
Multi-touch ScreenYes
Rear Camera Resolution8 Megapixel
Number of SIM Card Supported1
Front CameraYes
Memory Card SupportedmicroSD
Phone StyleBar
ColourBlack
Operating SystemAndroid
Brand NameHuawei
Screen Size10.9 cm (4.3")
Screen Resolution540 x 960
Touchscreen TypeCapacitive
Weight (Approximate)110 g
Processor CoreDual-core (2 Core)
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080
Processor ManufacturerTexas Instruments
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11b/g/n
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 3.0
Operating System VersionAndroid 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich
Messaging TypeSMS (Short Message Service), MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service), Email, Instant Messaging
USB StandardUSB 2.0
Pixel Density256 ppi
Front Camera Resolution1.3 Megapixel
Height129 mm
Width64.8 mm
Depth7.7 mm
Radio TunerYes
ManufacturerHuawei Technologies Co., Ltd
Product NameAscend P1 Smartphone
Processor Speed1.50 GHz
Product LineAscend P1
Screen TypeOLED
Sensor TypeAccelerometer, Ambient Light Sensor, Gyro Sensor, Proximity Sensor, Digital Compass
Manufacturer Part Number0003402620
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.huawei.com
Marketing Information

7.69mm slim body

Huawei unique molding&casting technology makes P1 smart as well as fashion.

64.8mm Narrow frame Design

64.8mm narrow frame offers you the most comfortable handle. can easily play it with single hand.

Dual core 1.5GHz CPU

A dual core 1.5GHz cpu, together with optimal software makes P1 the fastest model in class, capable to handle 3D games effectively.

Super AMOLED High definition screen

4.3-inch Super AMOLED qHD (960 x 540) screen with Auto rotate feature powered by G-sensor. These features provide you with a better viewing experience.