2014-05-13

Huawei Ascend P6: 10 days later

DISCLAIMER 2014-11-08: I am not affiliated in any way with Chetraco or Huawei and wrote this article as part of my amateur blogging activity when I was invited to attend the event. Since then neither Chetraco nor Huawei have contacted me for reviewing their newer models and have chosen understandably so Nancy Ajram to promote their products. I cannot help you with prices or addresses or availability if you call me although I do thank you for your trust.

As some of you might have read in a previous post I recently got my hands on a Huawei Ascend P6 (full specs here) smartphone thanks to the nice folks at Chetraco and Huawei. I've had the phone for around ten days and have been planning to write a review about it as I promised I would.
I got quite busy lately but this was actually a good thing as it allowed me more time to tinker with the phone. By tinker I mean use it heavily and not the hack/root/flash sort of tinker (sorry if you are disappointed).

As I mentioned before the demo unit on display at the launch event took me by surprise and I really wanted to see if the excitement would fade away after I had used the phone for a while.
So let me break it down without going into too much of tech speak that you can find floating all over the internet.

What Works


  • This is a slim phone, and by slim we are not talking that it's slim-mer than others. Compared to a usual bic pen, the pen stands slightly higher than it. I believe that Huawei would have wanted to g slimmer if they didn't want to stick to the standard sized earphone plug.
  • This is a slick phone. It's fast and responsive and even if other reviews online have called the Emotion UI laggy I did not experience this lag even while really going at it with a vengeance. I have other issues with the UI but lag was not up there.
  • The build quality is robust and although you are tempted to treat it gently because it's so fine and slim it does not have that wiggly feel to it that other much better known brands often display.
  • The UI offers a lot of intuitive tweaks such as notifications on battery-heavy apps, easy theme customization, a handy unlock screen, DNLA, Gloves Mode and useful management, backup/restore and update features.
  • The audio quality is very good and most of the musical pieces I tried listening to rendered extremely well is calm and busy environments. On loud outdoors it was expected to struggle a bit but this makes me appreciate a lot the quick sound profile dial-switch that helps one adapt the phone to different environments
  • The phone comes with its own earphones and a protective cover, something we don't often see.
  • The camera worked pretty well. I like to test out the cam in a macro shot and this phone did rather well in my book.


What Itches


  • The grip of the phone is a bit weird, at least compared to the Moto X I've been using for a while. I must admit I am a fan of the slightly curved-to-fit shape on some phones. The flat,square, hard edged shape tends to be slightly irritating but overall remains more comfortable than the much heavier Nexus 4 I compared it to.
  • The keyboard is...an acquired taste. Sure, they tried to revamp things and offer a different feel and functionality but it just doesn't cut it. 10 days into it and I still have to fight the urge to install swiftkey. I might just do that after I am done writing this post.
  • No App tray. Yes you heard me as in "no you don't have all your apps in one place and you can drag a shortcut to the desktop".  Anything you install goes onto the desktop  and the desktops get created as they fill up. This can be also quite annoying for people using widgets as it gets messy to keep things in order. Luckily folders are supported.
  • The icons. I am not a big fan of the round icons nor of the colors being used. Compared to the vanilla, Nexus or Google Edition phones they just make the phone feel...hmm...less serious. I think they went for a more familiar feel to people who might be transiting from other OS but iAmNotSure.
  • No release pin provided for the micro SIM and SC card in the box. At least my unit did not come with one and I know I looked well and carefully.
When I started using this phone I went really after the proverbial "Aha!". Being the slimmest smartphone ever created and with such a good initial impression, I felt I needed to find the chink in the armor. I was merely able to find some dents and small imperfections that any smartphone craftsman should be able to iron out.
I still wish the phone in came in vanilla Android flavor and hope that its successor would offer that option.
For those hardcore fans who cannot wait and don't want the out of the box experience, well you don't me to tell you what to do.

I might not have given up yet on my current main handset as I sat down writing this post but the P6 has definitely earned its hype and its place as the wing-man for my local and travel usage. 

In short the Ascend P6 is a keeper and definitely an indicator of many good things to come from Huawei.