Huawei may not have unveiled its Ascend W1 mobile at its CES 2013 press conference yesterday, but this Windows Phone 8 smartphone was on show at the booth for us to get our sweaty, greasy mitts on it.
Coming in a variety of colours, the Ascend W1 certainly looks and feels like a Windows Phone 8 handset with few (if any) tweaks to the standard Windows interface.
We checked out the blue, red, white and black models, which – like Nokia’s Lumia range – gives the Ascend W1 a splash of personality and personalisation. The chunky, narrow body reminded us of Sony’s Xperia P and U, feeling very similar in the hand.
It’s comfortable to hold thanks to the rounded back, fitting well in the palm. We love the metallic rim which breaks up the plastic frame, and Huawei seems to have taken design tips from HTC with the ever-so-slightly jutting camera lens.
A dedicated camera button can be found on the right edge, with a volume rocker on the left edge and power button on top. You can prise open the back to access the removable battery as well as the SIM card slot and microSD memory card slot.
Windows Phone 8 seemed to feature no extra apps or tweaks, so you know what you’re getting when you boot the Ascend W1 up. You can socialise easily with the People app, keep your kids happy with Kid’s Corner and stalk your own family with the Family Rooms. Flicking through menus and opening apps seemed perfectly responsive, if not quite as buttery-smooth as on the Lumia 920.
The reportedly 5MP camera takes shots as soon as you push down the dedicated camera button, and our test snaps seemed to come out fine even under the harsh lighting. A few were blurry using the instant auto-focus, but that can be remedied by half-pressing down the shutter button to manually focus. There’s the usual array of Windows editing options to tweak your snaps, before sharing.
Check out our full Huawei Ascend W1 review coming soon!