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MWC: Huawei Ascend P2 hands-on review

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BARCELONA: Huawei has revealed its latest shot at the top-end smartphone maket, the Ascend P2.

The first thing that struck us about the smartphone was its design. We got our hands on both the black and white Huawei Ascend P2 models, both which had a luxurious feel despite the handset's largely plastic build. 

The Huawei Ascend P2 is available in black and white

The main thing that struck us about the handset's design however was its incredibly thin chassis, which measures in at just 8.4mm. This means the device, despite its large screen, is comfortable to hold in the hand, and should slip easily into your pocket. When placed alongside our iPhone 5, for example, the Huawei Ascend P2 made the latest Apple smartphone look chubby. 

The 4.3in 1280x720 Gorilla Glass touchscreen also impressed us during our brief time with the handset. While it's by no means on par with the likes of the iPhone 5 or Samsung Galaxy Note 2, for example, the Huawei Ascend P2 is nice and crisp and plenty bright enough. 

The Huawei Ascend P2 has a 4.7in HD screen

That's not all the screen has got going for it though, as Huawei tells us that the device boasts 85 degree viewing angles. Luckily for us, the firm let us get our hands on the device outdoors, and we were able to test these big claims for ourselves. Suffice to say, this device has some of the best viewing angles of any Android handset on the market. 

Unfortunately, though, due to the distinct lack of internet connectivity available at MWC, we were unable to test out how the screen managed to display web pages - or whether the phone's LTE speeds are as fast as Huawei claims they are.

This screen displays Huawei's custom Emotion 1.6 user interface, which sits atop Google's Android 4.1.2 operating system. Unlike similar offerings from the likes of HTC and Samsung, Huawei's custom skin is pleasant and unobtrusive, offering users plenty of room to customise without slowing down the Android experience. Saying that, a few apps do come pre-glued to the home screen, including Huawei's typical Mewidget app and its EZ folder app, which groups together similar applications.

Our favourite app, however, is Huawei's pre-loaded Theme widget. This equips users of the device with over 100 different colour schemes and app icons to choose from, and makes it super easy to change the look and feel of the device.

Huawei Ascend P2 runs Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean

 

The device felt snappy to use to, although we're not quite sure it lives up to Huawei's claims that it's the fastest smartphone on the market today. Saying that, the 1.5GHz quad-core chipset offers up an extremely slick experience, and the device didn't struggle at all when opening multiple apps.

On the rear of the phone sits a 13MP rear-facing camera, as Huawei clearly eyes the Sony and Nokia in the high-end cameraphone market. We managed to give the Huawei Ascend P2's camera a quick test, and it's just as good as it sounds on paper. The snapper has an impressively quick shutter speed, and unlike similar smartphones on the market, the built-in autofocus manages to keep up.

Of course we're yet to ully test out the camera, or the rest of the Huawei Ascend P2's bumper feature set fully, so check back soon for our full review. 

24 Feb 2013

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