15/11/2013

Huawei Ascend 6: Not to Be Ignored

Now proclaimed the World’s Slimmest Phone, the skinny Huawei Ascend P6 is truly something to be reckoned with. While it has by no means caught up to the glory of the iPhone, Samsung Galaxy S4 or HTC One in terms of sales, the mobile smartphone has done an impressive job on the specs scene, and deserves a major nod for its style and practicality. The recently released P6 seems at first like an amalgamation of myriad different features from various other mobile phones, but the distinctive Chinese Huawei look and feel shines through when it comes to the little things - like the Magic Touch feature, a brilliant innovation which allows to use your touch screen even with winter gloves or mittens on, and the headphone jack/SD card/SIM slot all in one portal.

Though Huawei runs an Android based platform, it comes with an included, skinned user interface called Emotion. Though Emotion doesn’t add more than a few little icings on the cake of Android, it is useful for one thing. Customize, customize, customize is the law of the operating system, as it lets you create different profile settings for various environments (think sleeping, driving, being in meetings and being outdoors), and create a changeable Me Widget with everything you need for your home screen.

The bright, crystallized 4.7 inch display is a nice partner to the phone’s diminutive width and weight, but unfortunately the thin thing evidently didn’t have enough room for a reasonable battery in it. The battery life is paltry, not even lasting a day with full use. Unless you have charging availability with you at pretty much all times, watch out when taking advantage of the camera, video, music and browsing capabilities of the phone, as those activities will drain battery more than anything else.

The P6 comes with a full 2 GB of RAM, a great help when running heavily featured apps that are available on the Android system. With the on-phone storage set at only 8 GB, the Huawei comes in far under most current smart phones on the market who are coming out with 16, 32, and 64 GB sizes of space. Thanks to the SD card slot, you could bump up the storage by another 64 GB if you wanted to. But be sure not to forever remove the tiny pin that you must take out to place the SD card in. This useless bit of hardware is simply meant to be lost, it seems, so if you’re determined to forget about it, at least make sure you put it in a safe place beforehand.

Camera-wise the Huawei is quite good. With 5 megapixels in the front and 8 in the back, it is more than decent, but yet not excellent. Those who want to use their smart phone as their primary camera should look elsewhere, such as the Nokia Lumia 1020, but the reasonably effective zoom and the colors and clarity of shots made with the P6 are enough to satisfy most casual photographers.

The P6 runs up a bill of about £300 unsubsidized without a contract, and can be had for about £26 per month from a contract provider like Orange. This is a good £150-£400 less than what some of the other smart phone beasts in class with the P6 cost on their own. If you can get over the rather sad state of the battery life and a few bits and pieces of annoyance like the headphone jack situation, the Huawei P6 handset is both a cost-effective and classy choice, a rare combination in the technology world.

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