Performance & Conclusion
Like the previously released Ascend Mate and Ascend P2, the Ascend P6 utilizes Huawei's own Hi-Silicon K3V2 1.5GHz Quad-core processor. In our previous reviews, we weren't too impressed by the K3V2, but maybe the P6's extra 1GB of RAM will change things.
The following benchmarks were used for raw performance evaluation:
- Quadrant evaluates the CPU, memory, I/O and 3D graphics performance. This is an Android OS based test.
Quadrant evaluates a device's CPU, memory, I/O and 3D graphics performance. As expected, the P6 performed only slightly better than the P2, scoring well behind the more powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 quad-core 1.7GHz processor equipped HTC One. Interestingly, the P6 didn't even match up to the similarly clocked LG Optimus G, which uses a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro quad-core 1.5GHz processor, suggesting that Huawei still has some catching up to do with its processors.
One other concern to note is that the P6 heats up rather fast. After browsing the internet or playing a game for about ten minutes, the back of the device starts becoming a little uncomfortable to hold.
The P6 has an 8-megapixel rear camera which Huawei is keen to point out has "distance-defying" macro capabilities that lets you get up close and personal with your subject.
Testing the P6's macro capabilities, the camera is a bit slow to focus, and has to make use of the flash LED light for assisted focus, but once it settles down, it actually does a remarkably good job. Compared with its predecessor, the Ascend P2 and its higher resolution sensor, obviously the P2 has overall better resolution, and thus less grainy/noisy. Colors are also a tad more neutral on the P2. That's not to say the P6 is a letdown, but it fares well for an 8MP sensor based camera. It's probably a slight trade off for the slimmer profile. But it more than makes up for the discrepancy with the P6's macro capabilities.
One thing to note is that, due to the P6's rather lackluster 8GB internal storage, storage space can get filled up fast if you take a lot of pictures, which tend to have a file size of about 3-4 MB each. The upside is that unlike the P2 predecessor, the P6 supports expandable storage via microSD cards.
As usual, we will be putting the P6 through our standard battery test, which includes:
- Looping a 800 x 480 pixels video with screen brightness and volume at 100%
- Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity turned on
- Constant data streaming through email and Twitter
Due to the P6's ultra thin chassis it has a much smaller capacity battery than Huawei's Ascend P2, which lasted a staggering 11 hours+. Still, the P6 did reasonably well, lasting just short of five hours. In regular usage we found that the battery easily lasted a full day, reaching about 20% around 10PM.
Power consumption was fairly decent as well, scoring lower than the HTC One and LG Optimus G but not quite as good as the P2 or iPhone 5.
We measure the portability of a device by calculating its battery life to (weight x volume) ratio. Due to its ultra thin chassis, the P6 scored quite well, losing points only due to its slightly average battery life.
In daily usage we appreciated the slim profile design that lets it sit comfortably in your back or front pocket.
Is the Ascend P6 the showstopper Huawei is hoping for? Honestly? Probably not. Overall performance was under average compared to the competition and its lack of both 4G LTE and NFC capabilities limit its functionality compared to other flagship smartphones. And while the phone is certainly sleek and sexy, it has a few questionable design decisions (speaker on the back, headphone port awkwardly located etc.), and imitating Apple doesn't score Huawei any points, especially when both Sony and HTC have proven that it's possible to make an attractive and functional smartphone without having to resort to Apple cloning.
However, what the P6 does prove is that Huawei can make a high quality phone. The P6 is leaps and bounds above what the Chinese manufacturer has done before, displaying a level of build quality, fit and finish that is second to none. With a suggested retail price of just S$638, it's actually quite good value considering the full metal chassis and high quality build. Most of the core functionality is there too - the P6 boasts an excellent display, and a surprisingly decent camera. Even so, the LG Optimus G is perhaps Huawei's strongest competition at its price point and offers better features and performance. If Huawei can just improve its processor, battery life and sustain this level of quality with its upcoming products, it shouldn't be too long before it has ironed out some of the quirks of the P6 and starts challenging for the number one spot it so badly wants.