Look and feel
The Huawei Ascend P1 LTE 4G isn’t the most excitingly designed phone but it’s solidly built, and looks less flimsy than the original Ascend P1.
Ease of Use
Android Ice Cream Sandwich runs well and the Ascend P1 LTE 4G’s 4.3-inch screen is a good size for playing with apps and browsing the web. Huawei’s virtual keyboard could use a redesign, to make it less complex.
The built-in 4G support gives good future-proofing, even if the service is still in its infancy. A sharp 8MP camera comes packed with filters and editing tools, and the front-facing 1.3MP lens can be used for Skype.
With its dual-core processor backed up by 1GB of RAM, the Ascend P1 LTE 4G has no problem running apps and games, or streaming media.
Up to eight hours of multimedia use, or over 24 hours of use on a single charge, makes the Huawei Ascend P1 LTE 4G a highly portable device.
Review by Sunetra Chakravati,11/13/2012 2:32:04 PM
Ease of use
Improved design over original;
Sharp qHD display;
Strong 8MP camera
Design still lacks polish;
4G signal fast decreases as you reach the outskirts of a hotspot;
Huawei keyboard could use some work
With EE’s launch at the start of November, we’re seeing lots of reissued smartphones that are now 4G compatible. First was the HTC One XL, and now Huawei’s Ascend P1 has been given the 4G treatment for this updated version, the Huawei Ascend P1 LTE 4G, but it hasn’t simply been updated with a 4G receiver. A refreshed design leaves it unrecognisable, replacing the flimsy-looking original phone with a more solid-feeling device.
If the original Huawei Ascend P1 mated with the Huawei Honour, we’d imagine the Ascend P1 LTE 4G would be the resulting offspring. At first glance, this LTE device looks more like the Honour thanks to its rounded corners and lack of branding over the screen. It’s only the lack of a ‘search’ button beneath the display that gives the game away.
Flip the Huawei Ascend P1 LTE 4G over and the rear has received an injection of Honour goodness too, sporting a near-identical mottled plastic plate with an ever-so-slightly-jutting camera lens. However, the original Ascend P1’s curved bottom has been kept, serving little purpose as far as we can tell.
The Ascend P1 LTE 4G is a solid little mobile that should happily brush off a tumble to the ground, certainly inspiring more confidence than the original Ascend P1’s glossy plastic build, which looked rather flimsy. The Ascend P1 LTE 4G is heavier (but not overly so) and a little chunkier too. It still fits comfortably in our pockets and our only niggle was the top of the phone, which juts out quite far above the screen.
Power and volume buttons are positioned on the left edge, easy to access whether you’re left or right handed, while the back plate can easily be prised off to access the battery, SIM card slot and Micro SD memory card slot.
Overall, the design does little to excite but is reassuringly solid.
Side-by-side with the original P1
Aside from the design, the Ascend P1 LTE 4G shares a lot of its predecessor’s genetics. Android Ice Cream Sandwich is once again in play, proving just as friendly and feature-packed as ever. Android Ice Cream Sandwich runs like a dream thanks to the dual-core 1.5GHz ARM processor, backed up by 1GB of RAM. You can set up all the usual widgets, app folders and shortcuts, and the settings give you full control over Android’s appearance. We also found the dual-core processor breezed through our apps and games with ease. Anyone torn between the Ascend P1 and a quad-core phone like the Samsung Galaxy S III or HTC One X can relax knowing that this smartphone will run everything thrown at it for the foreseeable future.
Don’t worry if games aren’t your thing, because the Ascend P1 is just as good for catching up with your favourite TV shows or movies on the go. The supremely bright 4.3-inch qHD screen can be clearly seen even in bright sunshine (rarely an issue in England, but you never know). Visuals are crisp, with excellent viewing angles – tilting the phone results in almost no loss of colour or distortion. The touch-screen itself is perfectly responsive and a joy to use when skimming through websites or playing with apps.
Battery life is also just as fantastic with the Ascend P1 LTE 4G as the original Ascend P1. You’ll get a full day of battery life even if you’re watching shows, playing with apps and taking photos – we even managed to stream video for eight hours straight before the phone died. Limit your use to the occasional text, email and website check and you’ll get as much as three days of use before the battery dies.
Speedy LTE data use
The major upgrade over the previous Huawei Ascend P1 is of course that ultra-nippy 4G connectivity, which can be used to stream media such as films and music.
In central London, we regularly had a 4G signal and managed 19-20Mbps download speed on average, enough to stream an HD movie perfectly. The further we got out of London, the more this speed dropped. Beyond zone 2, this had dropped to around 3Mbps on average. Still a respectable score, but much more in line with 3G scores: for reference, our 3G phone managed around 2-3Mbps on average in Central London.
If you live in a 4G hotzone and are desperate for faster download speeds, then the Huawei Ascend P1 LTE 4G will do the job. Anyone living on the fringes would be better off waiting for coverage to expand.
Not my type
One of our complaints with the original Ascend P1 was the rather cramped and overly complex Huawei virtual keyboard, and the same board is present in the Ascend P1 LTE 4G. You can thankfully change it back to the original Android board at any time, but you’re still crippled by poor auto-correction. Our model seemed to have next to no words in its dictionary, so practically everything we typed was underscored by an angry red line with auto-correction turned on.
The Ascend P1 LTE 4G’s camera lens still juts out a fraction from the rear, reminding us of the HTC One X’s snapper. As with the original Ascend P1, our shots looked great. Auto-focus quickly locks on to subjects, or you can manually focus with a tap on the screen, and photos are taken around half a second after tapping the virtual shutter button. That’s not quite as good as the likes of the HTC One X and Samsung Galaxy S III, which take snaps instantly, but it’s good for a mid-range mobile.
Our shots mostly came out sharp with realistic colours, and only the occasional snap was a little too dim to use. The manual focus is perfect for taking great up-close macro shots too. You can make plenty of tweaks or add a filter to your snaps – e.g. turn the world into a black and white sketch, or stretch your friend’s head so they look like a hideous mutant. The flash helps to light up dim interiors, perfect for those drunken pub shots. You can also shoot HD video (good quality although our voice was a little faint), while the front-facing 1.3MP camera is excellent for Skype chats.
Huawei’s Ascend P1 LTE 4G is an updated version of the original Ascend, making it 4G compatible. Aside from a tweak to the design, giving the Ascend P1 LTE 4G a more Honour-like appearance, it’s business as usual – the 8MP camera is sharp and powerful, the dual-core processor can handle Android Ice Cream Sandwich and all of your apps and games, and the crisp qHD screen for enjoying media and the web.