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Huawei Ascend W1 review

Who's ready for a cheap Windows Phone 8 thrill?

Our Verdict

You're not going to buy the Huawei Ascend W1 for power, you're going to buy it for practicality and value for money. When you consider the Huawei Ascend W1 will set you back just £120 it's difficult to fault, as you're getting a pretty good deal.

Product features

  • Built-in Memory : 4 GB
  • Rear Camera Resolution : 5 Megapixel
  • Battery Talk Time : 10.50 Hour
  • Screen Resolution : 800 x 480
  • Processor Core : Dual-core (2 Core)

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For

  • Cheap
  • Great battery life
  • MicroSD slot

Against

  • Average camera
  • Slow web browsing
  • No sat nav out of box

Camera

There's not too much to shout about on the camera front on the Huawei Ascend W1.

There's a 5MP rear with single-LED flash - which for a budget handset isn't bad - plus a front facing VGA snapper, handy for video calls.

That setup sees the Ascend W1 fall in line with the Nokia Lumia 620, Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 and HTC 8S, but let's not get too carried away.

Huawei Ascend W1 review

First the good news - as per the Windows Phone mantra the Ascend W1 comes with the customary dedicated shutter key on its right side, providing you with a quick and easy way to launch the camera app (even from the lock screen) and snap a photo.

Once you land in the app though you'll find it to be pretty sparsely populated, and any budding phone-based photographer will be better off with a high-end Nokia if Windows Phone 8 and picture taking is your bag, baby.

Huawei Ascend W1 review

You can toggle the flash, switch between front and rear cams and adjust ISO, white balance and the resolution - but that's pretty much it.

There are four scene modes - macro, portrait, sport and backlight - but we tended to level the setting on "auto" as the W1 was generally pretty good at working out what we were shooting.

Huawei Ascend W1 review

Lenses, a new feature in Windows Phone 8, aims to give you more options but the Ascend W1 only comes with "Bing Vision" pre-installed, which works in a similar way to Google Goggles on Android - take a snap and the W1 will search the web for similar pictures or products.

You can download more lenses from the Windows Phone store such as Photosynth, which allows you to shoot panoramas, and translator, which can turn text into the language of your choice. We don't know why these free options aren't installed by default though.

Huawei Ascend W1 review

Tap to focus is available, but doing so immediately takes a photo which is a bit annoying, and there's no way to turn off the auto shutter. You're best off using the two-stage shutter key and hoping the Ascend W1 focuses on the right thing.

Image quality is acceptable, but you're not going to blow anyone away with amazing clarity or colour reproduction, and moving targets prove difficult for the lowly snapper.

Huawei Ascend W1 review
Colours are ok, but the fruit isn't really in focus

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Huawei Ascend W1 review
This grainy and blurred image shows the camera isn't great

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This grainy and blurred image shows the camera isn't great

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Huawei Ascend W1 review
This overcast, outdoors shot is pretty good

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Huawei Ascend W1 review
Cakes still look delicious though

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Huawei Ascend W1 review
When things are at a standstill the W1 can cope

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Huawei Ascend W1 review
Moving objects are a bit trickier

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Video

It's much the same when it comes to capturing video using the Huawei Ascend W1, with limited options and middle-of-the-road quality available.

You access the video recorder through the camera app, and there's an icon at the bottom of the screen to switch between camera and video modes.

Huawei Ascend W1 review

The same scene and white balance controls are present here, plus you get the choice of shooting in either VGA or 720p via the rear 5MP camera.

You can start and stop a recording by tapping the screen or pressing the shutter key, but you won't be able to snap a picture while shooting, nor will you be able to toggle the flash on or off - that has to be set before hitting record.

Huawei Ascend W1 review

The video produced by the Ascend W1 is once again acceptable, but you won't be shooting a wedding video any time soon on this handset, with it suiting the occasional Facebook upload far better.

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 TechnologyEDGE, GPRS, HSDPA, HSUPA, UMTS
GPS ReceiverYes
Multi-SIM SupportedNo
Near Field CommunicationNo
Integrated TV TunerNo
Product FamilyAscend W1
Cellular Generation3G
Cellular Network SupportedGSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900, WCDMA 900, WCDMA 2100
Multi-touch ScreenYes
Rear Camera Resolution5 Megapixel
Number of SIM Card Supported1
Front CameraYes
Memory Card SupportedmicroSD
Phone StyleBar
ColourBlue
Operating SystemWindows Mobile
Brand NameHuawei
Battery Talk Time10.50 Hour
Screen Size10.2 cm (4")
Screen Resolution800 x 480
Touchscreen TypeCapacitive
Weight (Approximate)130 g
Processor CoreDual-core (2 Core)
Maximum Video Resolution1280 x 720
Processor ManufacturerQualcomm
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11b/g/n
Operating System VersionWindows Phone 8
Messaging TypeSMS (Short Message Service), MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service), Email
RealtoneYes
Call FeaturesCall Log
Pixel Density233 ppi
Height124.5 mm
Width63.5 mm
Depth10.2 mm
Radio TunerNo
ManufacturerHuawei Technologies Co., Ltd
Product NameAscend W1 Smartphone
Processor Speed1.20 GHz
Processor TypeSnapdragon S4
Product LineAscend W1
Screen TypeLCD
Sensor TypeAccelerometer, Proximity Sensor
Manufacturer Part Number51054944
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.huawei.com
Marketing Information

Long and Lasting

The Huawei Ascend W1 was designed to outlast and outperform. Our 4-inch screen benefits from our unique power saving technology that saves 30% power consumption. A high capacity 1950mAh battery keeps you charged up through days of staying in touch, staying informed, and staying entertained.

Power from within

Breath-taking speed from Qualcomm's Krait structured MSM823 dual core CPU with 1.2GHz achievable frequency; Jaw-dropping graphics with built-in Adreno 305 graphics processor, with 400MHz achievable frequency; download speed up to HSPA+ 21Mbps. Thanks to the 28nm processor, you'll enjoy videos and gaming at their best. All the fun and convenience of Windows Phone 8 comes together here, at an outstanding price too.