But now the firm is taking a new approach, introducing a high-end handset with impressive features and looks. The Ascend P6 is the world’s slimmest smartphone at just 6.18mm – 34% thinner than the HTC One.
- 4.7-inch LCD 720p HD display
- 1.5GHz quad core processor
- 8 megapixel camera
- 5 megapixel front facing camera
- Android Jelly Bean operating system
- microSD card slot
- 2000mAh battery
The elegant shape and lustrous design is a big sell for the new model, and it’s certainly not a weighty character at just 120g. The handset sits comfortably in your palm, but you will need to employ both hands, or have incredibly long thumbs, to reach the top of the 4.7-inch display.
Unlike the firm’s previous flagship, the Ascend P2, there are no ugly protruding bumps as the camera sits flush with the rear and the base rounds off gracefully. Down the smooth metallic flank is what would at first appear to be room for a dual-SIM, but is in fact a microSD parking space for all your additional memory needs.
You can release the notification bar by sweeping downwards from the top of the display at any time, allowing you to access all the basic shortcut settings from Bluetooth to brightness. Huawei has also retained the home screen adaptations seen on the P2, allowing you to choose from a plethora of app transitions, additional widgets, themes and wallpapers purely by pressing and holding on an empty page.
Unfortunately, the keyboard functionality is where this handset falls down – if you don’t change to Android’s own buttons, frustration will swiftly set in. Although you have the option to use both QWERTY and T9 settings, the handset will not predict what you’re writing down. A basic task like automatically replacing a lower case ‘i’ with a capital one has been left by the wayside and even placing the cursor within your written text is an arduous process.
On the upside, the Android Jelly Bean operating system is characteristically brilliant. The Huawei’s home screen is very customisable, with the user being able to change almost everything. A setting we found quite exciting (but ultimately useless) was being able to change the background image by shaking the phone. This way, if you have an album of great shots and can’t decide on just the one to decorate your handset with, you can stream through the lot without needing to make a decision.
The home screen houses sixteen apps as well as another four in the app tray, giving you plenty of room to add what you please. An additional two pages are available so you’re more likely to run out of space on the internal storage before you do on the UI.
Although it doesn’t quite match up to the specifications available on the Ascend P2, the P6’s 8 megapixel snapper is more than adequate and its 4cm shooting distance makes it ideal for picking out those intricate details. Video mode is available on both cameras, shooting at 1080p in the back and 720p in the front.
With other smartphone cameras you may find locking focus on your subject in poorly lit environments to be difficult, but the P2’s optional HDR mode is great for highlighting the darkest and lightest aspects of your photos.
The 2000mAh battery is sufficient to support the bright HD display and moderate use for around a day. Tasks like streaming media online, gaming or listening to extensive periods of music will diminish this, but typically you shouldn’t find yourself caught short if you’re a twilight charger. If the handset was completely dead, full charge takes around four hours.
On the home screen you’ll find an entire app dedicated to your power consumption management. The app features several power saving options, including ‘Endurance mode’ which will shut down unused applications and reduce the CPU to its minimum usage. You’ll still be able to call and text, but not much else. This is recommended when your handset’s juice depletes to about 30%.
Although Huawei isn’t the most well known brand, it’s clear the Chinese firm can put together a sterling model and the world’s slimmest smartphone has its own trumpets to blow.
The headline for us has got to be the P2’s shooter. It delivers great quality for its 8 megapixel size and the massive HD display compliments your photos warmly. We were very impressed by how little resolution photos lose when zoomed in – with a big nod going towards the f/2.0 aperture lens.
There’s no getting away from the fact that Huawai can’t compete on base level popularity, but if you’re willing to take a leap of faith we think you’ll be pleasantly surprised with this featherweight champion.