Huawei Ascend P6 review

Huawei Ascend P6 review

T3 4
  • The Huawei Ascend P6 is super-slim and is designed as the ultimate phone for self-portraits. Itís also light, powerful and very well-priced

    Huawei Ascend P6 review

    Love

    • Super slim
    • Fun front camera
    • Great price

    Hate

    • No 4G
    • Not that classy

    The Huawei Ascend P6 is the slimmest phone on the market, for now, and fits the hand easily. There's a limit to just how thin phones can get, not least because the headphone socket is a set size. If phones get any thinner they'll need headphone adaptors, which may cancel out the convenience of the slim profile. For now, though, this is as thin as thin can be.

    Huawei Ascend P6: Size and build

    The Huawei Ascend P6 gets its name from its size - it's 6mm thick. Well, not quite, it's 6.18mm, but would you buy a phone called the P6.18? Actually, the flat edges don't make it feel so comfy you can roll it round in your hands, but it's certainly amazingly slim.

    About those edges: take a quick look at the P6 and you might think you've happened on an over-sized iPhone 5. There's more than a passing similarity to Apple's phone thanks to its flat front, aluminium band around the edge and even the rubber dividers on the edges which, like on the iPhone, are there to delineate the antenna. Apple's phone is much higher-quality, though.

    It's not huge in any direction (its measurements are 132.7 x 65.5 x 6.2 mm) and it's pretty light - just 120g. You can easily squirrel this phone away in your pocket and forget it's there.

    The thinness means this is a sealed unit and to put the sim card in you must pop out a tray in the side. Same for the memory card slot. Huawei has helpfully put a special tool in the phone for this purpose. It's like a big pin and it sits in the headphone socket, though how long before you lose it is anyone's guess.

    Huawei Ascend P6: Features

    This is a capable smartphone with decent processor and memory. Although it is very keenly priced, few corners have been cut. The biggest cut is 4G: this is a 3G handset. If you have no interest in the speedier data 4G offers, this may not matter to you, but it's worth taking on board if you're signing up to a lengthy contract and slowly see all your friends switch to faster handsets while you can't.

    The Huawei take on Android includes a Me tile that can be customised with contacts, weather, music player and more. It's neat enough, though not ground-breaking. The phone also comes with lots of themes to customise the wallpaper, onscreen icons and so on. And by lots, we mean 1,000 of them.

    Most are stored on the internet, but can be downloaded easily. Chances are you'll find one you like and stick with it, but it's nice to have the facility to change, if you fancy it.

    Huawei Ascend P6: Screen

    The 4.7-inch display is almost as high-resolution as the Apple iPhone 5. It has 312 pixels per inch against Apple's 326ppi. So although this is no match for the exceptional HTC One's screen resolution, it's far from shabby. It looks good, though lacks the ultra-vivid brightness of the Samsung Galaxy S4 with its Super AMOLED display.

    Huawei Ascend P6: Camera

    The camera on the Huawei Ascend P6 is a strong, but not remarkable 8MP model. It comes with lots of scene settings based on lighting conditions which the camera can choose for you, automatically. While Huawei boasts it has more scene settings than most, in practice the results were good rather than great and images on the Nokia Lumia 925 and HTC One are better.

    But it's the front camera that Huawei is shouting about - at 5MP it's way higher resolution than rivals and is designed for the ultimate self-portrait. If selfies are your thing this is a good choice. It even comes with a Beauty effect feature: a slide control lets you go from 0 to 10. If you've always wanted to be a 10, note that this mostly just softens the focus! Still, it's fun.

    Huawei Ascend P6: Performance

    The quad-core processor on the Huawei Ascend P6 is pretty good and, again, more proficient and powerful than the phone's price would suggest. It had no problems dealing nippily with everything thrown at it, even with multiple apps open.

    Huawei Ascend P6: Battery

     

    And battery life is pretty decent. Daily recharges, as ever, are suggested for peace of mind but despite the thinness of the handset, the 2000mAh cell was enough for a good day's usage. Rivals such as the Samsung Galaxy Mega certainly last longer, but it has much bigger battery to do so.

    Huawei quotes 14 hours, 30 minutes 3G talktime. While that seems a lot, in practice this phone has decent battery life.

    Huawei Ascend P6: Verdict

    The Huawei Ascend P6's headlines are the price and the thinness. It's light, remarkably slim and yet still a decent performer. There's also that higher-resolution front-facing camera to add an extra facet, though whether the beauty effect will be something you'll use without embarrassment is another matter.

    Still, decent battery life and a reasonable 8MP rear camera mean plenty of boxes are ticked. And above all, this is a phone that costs significantly less than its rivals. It's not as classy as the iPhone 5 and can't take pictures like the HTC One but it's a fun phone. Unless you're dead set on 4G - the phone's biggest omission - it's worth a look.

    Huawei Ascend P6 release date: Out now

    Huawei Ascend P6 price: £350

  • The Huawei Ascend P6 has been revealed as the world’s thinnest smartphone at a packed media event in London. T3 went hands-on with the slimline handset

    Huawei Ascend P6 review

    Love

    • Super slim
    • Fun front camera
    • Great price

    Hate

    • No 4G
    • Not that classy

    The Huawei Ascend P6 was finally unveiled in front of the world’s media yesterday. The Chinese manufacturer has managed to pack a quad-core processor, 8MP camera and othertop features into a phone that’s only 6.18mm thick.

    Known mostly for lower-budget handsets in the UK, Huawei is squarely aiming the Ascend P6 at taking on Android heavyweights like the Samsung Galaxy S4, the HTC One and the Sony Xperia Z. To that end, Huawei hasn’t gone down the plastic route, instead focusing on an all-metal finish.

    We got some time with the new handset at the global media launch in London, and had a little play around with what the Huawei P6 has to offer.

    Huawei Ascend P6: Size and Build

    The stand-out feature of the Ascend P6 is unmistakably refined all-metal chassis. The curved edges and metallic antenna are reminiscent of Apple’s iPhone 5 – but Huawei has made it thinner. As previously mentioned the Ascend P6 measures just 6.18mm thick and weighs a mere 120g. It sits very evenly in your hand and won’t have any trouble slipping into the tightest of skinny jeans.

    Huawei has dispensed with any physical buttons on the front of the Ascend P6, and the only switches you’ll find on the handset are the power switch and volume rocker on the right hand side. There’s also a small metal pin that covers the 3.5mm headphone jack and doubles as a tool for opening the Ascend P6’s microSD and SIM card slots.

    Huawei Ascend P6: Features

    Despite the size-zero frame, Huawei has managed to include many of the features we’d expect from a smartphone challenging the Android elite. The 4.7-inch Gorilla Glass 2 screen has a 1280 x 720 resolution which means it’ll handle 720p HD content, but doesn’t better the HTC One’s 1080p clarity.

    Built around a 1.5GHz quad-core processor with 2GB RAM, the Ascend P6 has 8GB of native storage – although roughly half of this is taken up with pre-installed components. Luckily, the Chinese company has added microSD storage, so you can boost the space for your music, movies and apps.

    Wireless connectivity is given in the form of 3G, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Interestingly, Huawei has left out 4G compatibility at this stage, saying that it’s not an issue for the majority of customers at this point. However, we anticipate seeing a 4G version arriving at some point. There’s also no NFC compatibility, so you’ll be unable to pair this with any NFC-compatible speakers you have knocking around.

    There’s a slim 2000mAh battery encased underneath the Ascend P6’s brushed metal chassis, which should see you through each day without needing a top-up. 

    Huawei Ascend P6: Camera

    There are two cameras tucked inside the Ascend P6: A rear-facing 8MP f2.0 camera with an LED flash and a front-facing 5MP snapper for video calls. It’s fair to say that the picture-taking capabilities of the Ascend P6 don’t match the HTC One, but for casual snap-on-the-go this is certainly up to the task.

    To this end, Huawei has added what it calls the IMAGESmart engine to its camera software which automatically selects the best shot requirements for your environment. It works like any automatic scene-selection and is quite handy at avoiding underexposed pictures.

    Some fun features have been added, including a “beautifier” mode that’s designed for prettying up selfies. Snap your face and engage the beauty mode to knock three, five or ten years off your face. We’re not quite sure yet how well it’ll work – or why it’s been included – but it seems like a bit of fun to us.

    Huawei Ascend P6: Performance

     

    The Ascend P6 runs Android Jelly Bean 4.2.2 but the Chinese company has added its own Emotion UI on top which gives it a slightly different look and a couple of minor additions. One of which is themes, with Huawei making a big deal of the range of different themes available to download for the handset.

    How this extra UI will affect performance in the long run remains to be seen, but we didn’t notice any problems during our initial play with the handset. The menus and apps loaded up and minimised quickly, and navigation around the OS was a very painless exercise. You have to swipe left from the homescreen to access the traditional app drawer – something that might take some getting used to if you’re used to a button on the homescreen.

    The biggest difference is the “Me” widget – which sits smack in the middle of your main homescreen and curates news, weather, contacts, images and other relative information. This can be customised to your liking and seems to be a different take on HTC’s BlinkFeed approach.

    Our only issue with performance at this point was the lack of available storage on offer. We’ll be blunt – you’re going to need a microSD card to really get the maximum amount of usage from this handset.

    Huawei Ascend P6: Verdict

    The Huawei Ascend P6 looks set to be Huawei's best smartphone yet, and the design is well worthy of praise. It manages to pack in everything we realistically need from a smartphone in a case that is both good looking and extremely functional.

    The features and specifications aren’t on a par with the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S4 or HTC One and, as such, probably won’t displace those handsets in the affections of the Android faithful. However, Huawei appears to be aware of this – as the company has set the RRP for the Ascend P6 at 449 Euros – significantly undercutting HTC and Samsung.

    Our initial impressions are positive although we’ll wait to get a model in for review for a full assessment. Admittedly, the Huawei Ascend P6 owes a lot in design terms to the iPhone 5, but credit is due to the Huawei design team for turning out a handset as well constructed as the Ascend P6. 

    Huawei Ascend P6 release date: 4 July 2013

    Huawei Ascend P6 price: £329

    • Huawei Ascend P6 hands-on
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