Huawei first announced the Ascend P1 along with its slimmer counterpart, the P1 S in January 2012. Our hands-on with the devices and impressive specs sheets left us feeling impressed. Despite being the youngest phone vendor in the market, Huawei is slowly but surely becoming a serious contender in the mobile space. Is the Ascend P1 what the Chinese company needs to take on the big guys? Well, this is what we intend to find out by the end of our analysis and review. Before we dive into greater details, here is a quick look of its specs: -
Key highlights of the Huawei Ascend P1
Plastic is the dominant material in the construction of the Huawei Ascend P1, and that is both a blessing and a curse. On a positive note, it keeps the Ascend P1 lightweight at 130g compared to other 4.3-inch Android models such as the Sony Xperia S (144g). Handling wise, you will have no problem using it over extended periods of time.
As with phones with a mostly plastic build, we found that it makes the Ascend P1 look somwhat cheap although aesthetically, the Ascend P1 is one of the more stylish 'upper mid-range' Android smartphones around. However, the glossy plastic surface is a magnet for fingerprints and smudges, hence you will find yourself cleaning the phone quite often.
It is commendable that Huawei managed to streamline the Ascend P1 to a mere 7.69mm thin, which is just marginally thicker than the ultra sleek Motorola Razr (7.1mm), and edges out the HTC One S (7.8mm) and ASUS PadFone (9.2mm). Having said that, the Ascend P1 is extremely pocketable and should sit itself comfortably in your jeans' pocket.
The front face of the Ascend P1 is dominated by a 4.3-inch display, a screen size that is becoming the standard for Android smartphones entering the market these days. Below the display are three touch sensitive navigation buttons (Menu, Home, Back). Similar to HTC, Motorola and most Samsung devices, Huawei did not follow the on-screen-button system on the Galaxy Nexus and ASUS PadFone.
On the Ascend P1, you will find the common connectivity ports and features such as the 3.5mm audio output jack, micro-USB port (for charging and transfer of files) and a microSD card slot. The Power / Sleep button is found on the right side of the device while the volume controls are housed on the left. Both buttons are made using metallic materials and slightly raised, hence making it very easy to reach them.
The Huawei Ascend P1 runs on Android 4.0.3 out of the box. Similar to the Samsung Galaxy Nexus and ASUS PadFone, it keeps its interface clean with an almost stock Android user interface (UI). This is unlike the deep customization seen on the HTC One X and Samsung Galaxy S III. However, Huawei throws in a 3D launcher for users who may want a more interesting UI.