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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)

View full specification

For

  • Cheap
  • Great battery life
  • MicroSD slot

Against

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

Maps

Huawei Ascend W1 review

The standard Windows Phone 8 mapping solution comes preinstalled on the Huawei Ascend W1, allowing you to locate yourself in the world and get directions home.

Locating our position sometimes took a couple of seconds, while at other times we had to wait around 10 seconds before our correct location was displayed on screen.

The maps are functional but no where near as comprehensive as Google's offering on Android which has additional features such as StreetView and public transport information.

You can download maps for use offline - which could come in useful if you go abroad or fancy a hike in the mountains out of the reach of mobile signal.

Panning and zooming around maps was generally fluid over Wi-Fi, although via 3G things could get a bit sluggish.

Huawei Ascend W1 review

What is not included out of the box is a turn-by-turn navigation system, which means those wanting to use the Ascend W1 as a sat nav will need to jump into the Windows Phone store.

We downloaded Nokia's free Here Maps and Here Drive Beta to give ourselves a dual mapping and navigation combo and ignored the pre-installed maps.

Here Drive Beta worked well when we took it for a spin across the country, managing to track our location and speed accurately and handily informing us when we went over the speed limit (which was hardly ever, honest).

The battery also managed to hold up pretty well during the two-hour drive and we didn't need to dash for the charger when we reached our destination.

Apps

Huawei Ascend W1 review

In terms of pre-installed apps the Huawei Ascend W1 is pretty light. There are none of the manufacturer-made offerings which adorn Nokia's Lumia range, but that's not necessarily a bad thing as it gives you a blank slate to work with.

The Windows Phone store is on board and is your one-stop-shop for apps, games and music downloads.

In terms of selection it's some way short of Apple's App Store and Google's Play Store, but it is growing every day, and favourites such as Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Spotify and Ebay are all present and ready for download.

Looking at what comes already on the Ascend W1 you get all the standard stuff including calculator, calendar, maps and web browser.

Huawei Ascend W1 review

A bonus of purchasing a Windows Phone 8 device is the inclusion of Microsoft's mobile version of its Office suite and OneNote, giving you access to Word, Excel and PowerPoint on your smartphone - all of which can be synced with your SkyDrive to make sure you have the latest documents in your hand.

Complex Excel spreadsheets can be a little tricky to tackle on such a small screen, but it's a handy feature if you need to make a quick edit or brush up on some notes before a meeting.

Games are downloaded from the Windows Phone store and your collection can be accessed via the Games app - which syncs up nicely with your Xbox profile allowing you to keep track of your achievements and the progress of your mates.

Some of the games are also linked to Xbox Live with their own set of achievements, while others are standalone offerings.

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.