Huawei Ascend P6 review

How slim do you want your phone to be? The Huawei Ascend P6 is the thinnest

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Super slim

  • +

    Fun front camera

  • +

    Great price

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    No 4G

  • -

    Not that classy

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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

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