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Huawei Ascend P2 review

Huawei aims to rise to new heights with this record breaking handset

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Our Verdict

The Huawei Ascend P2 finds itself between a bit of a rock and a hard place. It has impressive specs and a decent price, but it's supposed to be going head to head with the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S4, HTC One and Nokia Lumia 925. They're better.

For

  • Decent specs
  • Smooth operation
  • Solid design
  • Good camera

Against

  • UI looks childish
  • Average battery life
  • No microSD slot
  • Rubbish keyboard

Maps

The Huawei Ascend P2 comes pre-installed with the excellent Google Maps thanks to its Android innards and we don't need to go one about the fleet of options it offers including StreetView, live traffic, public transport, directions and free turn-by-turn navigation.

We found the Ascend P2 usually took a couple of seconds to load up the maps app, although after that it could pinpoint our location within a second or so.

Huawei Ascend P2 review

Panning and zooming around the maps was generally pretty good, but it wasn't as smooth and slick an experience as on the likes of the top end handsets from Samsung or HTC.

Turning on things such as traffic and satellite view slowed things down a little more, but it wasn't unusable on the Ascend P2 and we were still able to plan routes and check local public transport times without issue.

Huawei Ascend P2 review

As we moved around the Huawei Ascend P2 managed to keep hold of our location well and track our progress on the map.

Turn-by-turn navigation was also reliable and the Ascend P2 offers up a more than acceptable sat nav replacement in-car.

Huawei Ascend P2 review

The bright, crisp display meant maps rendered well and were easy to read, although the app sometimes got a bit confused when we tried to zoom in, mistaking our gestures for rotating the orientation of the map - not a big issue, but it was a little frustrating.

Apps

One of the good things about the Huawei Ascend P2 is that it hasn't been loaded up with lots of pre-installed apps out of the box - giving you a relatively blank canvas on which to grow your personal collection.

You can do this by heading over to the well-stocked Google Play store which boasts over 700,000 apps and games, as well as movies, TV shows, music, books and magazines.

Huawei Ascend P2 review

There's plenty of free and paid-for options to suit pretty much any taste, and the easy drag and drop folder creation system on the homescreens means you can organise all your downloads into a manageable system.

Huawei Ascend P2 review

You do get a handful of apps included on the Ascend P2 alongside the range of Google apps which include Hangouts, YouTube, Gmail, Google+ and Voice Search.

Basic apps such as flashlight, calculator and sound recorder are all pretty self-explanatory and although they make look a little childish thanks to the Emotion UI Huawei has slapped on the Ascend P2, they are at least functional and simple to use.

They are all handy features, but none are exactly things to write home about, but the Kingsoft Office application provides a useful viewer for Word, Excel and PowerPoint files.

You can even edit the documents on the Ascend P2 and this could be a life saver if you need to make a quick amendment on the way to the meeting, but trying to tackle a complex spreadsheet on a 4.7-inch display is pretty tricky, so you're best off keeping things simple.