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MWC: Huawei Ascend G6 hands-on review

It had us at 'selfie window'
Mon Feb 24 2014, 11:19

BARCELONA: CHINESE PHONE MAKER Huawei unveiled the Ascend G6 smartphone during Mobile World Congress (MWC) on Monday, as the sequel to last year's flagship Huawei Ascend P6 smartphone.

While its specifications are not quite as high end as last year's model, Huawei clearly is hoping that the handset's low-end price and top-end, somewhat bizarre camera features will help the phone stand out from the crowd. There's also the added attraction of 4G LTE, despite the smartphone's sub-£200 price.

Design
It might be the successor to last year's Ascend P6 smartphone, but it's somewhat chunkier than its 6.2mm sibling, measuring 7.9mm thick.

While the Ascend G6 doesn't feel bulky or fat in the hand, we're a bit disappointed that it doesn't carry over the same ridiculously thin design as the Ascend P6, which helped the handset to stand out in the crowded Android smartphone market.

Huawei Ascend G6 is crafted from a combination of plastic and metal

We were impressed by its build quality however. While Huawei has switched out the Ascend P6's brushed aluminium casing in favour of a rubberised plastic, the Ascend G6 feels sturdy in hand, while the metal edges give it a slightly more premium feel. We weren't too keen on the colour of the model we got our hands on, though, which sported a black casing with rose pink edges. However, Huawei said that the handset will be available in a number of different colours at launch.

Display
The Huawei Ascend G6 sports a 4.5in 960x540 resolution screen, again a downgrade from last year's model, but a sacrifice that likely will keep the phone cheap. While this screen pales in comparison to the full HD displays cropping up on Android smartphones, the resolution seemed adequate during our time with the Ascend G6, although brightness levels were somewhat lacking.

Performance and software
The Huawei Ascend G6 has a dual-core 1.2GHz processor under the bonnet and runs Google's Android 4.3 Jelly Bean mobile operating system.

Although it lacks a quad-core chip, we noticed no performance lag during our brief time with the Ascend G6, with apps opening quickly and scrolling slickly through homescreens. However, it's likely that the handset will struggle to match its competition on tasks such as media streaming and gaming, and we'll be sure to test this in our full review.

Huawei Ascend G6 features Android 4.3 and Emotion UI

While we were disapointed that the Ascend G6 doesn't run the latest version of Google's mobile operating system, it doesn't really matter much, as Huawei's custom Emotion user interface (UI) makes Android barely recognisable.

Given that we're fans of stripped-down Android user interfaces, Huawei's Emotion UI struggled to win us over. While we can look past the heavily customised homescreen and custom widgets, one major gripe with the Emotion UI is that it removes the Android app launcher, with apps instead scattered across multiple homescreens, often making it hard to find the app we were looking for.

One feature we liked, however, was the Ascend G6's dual UI option, which allows you to switch from the Emotion UI in favour of Huawei's simplfied, Windows Phone-esque alternative.

Huawei Ascend P6 simple UI

We like Huawei's built-in themes, too, which allow you to drastically customise the look of the phone with the tap of one button.

Cameras
If Huawei's big claims are anything to go by, the Ascend G6 is ideal for photo lovers, with the handset sporting an 8MP camera on its rear and a 5MP camera on the front.

The 5MP wide-angle lens, front-facing camera is the most interesting, mainly thanks to Huawei's addition of a "selfie window". While we can't imagine that anyone has ever asked for such a feature, it's a nifty addition for those who would never admit to wanting it, allowing you to size up your selfie before going ahead and taking the photo.

That's not the only custom camera software onboard, with Huawei having added a number of other bizarre features, such as a built-in Beautify mode and the ability to tag an image by shouting at your phone.

First impressions
The Huawei Ascend G6 will likely struggle to win over smartphone buyers who are in the market for a feature-packed Android smartphone or those looking for a stripped-down Google experience.

However, with the phone set to retail for sub-£200 while offering a robust design and camera setup, 4G and, apparently, market-leading battery life, it might win over those looking for a decently configured smartphone on a tight budget. µ

 

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