A great mid-range smartphone that trumps most similarly priced handsets' performance
An all but untouched version of Ice Cream Sandwich, decent battery life, reasonable processor
Screen could be brighter and crisper, case feels cheap, only 4GB of storage
Processor: 1.5GHz single-core
Display: 4.3in Super Amoled 960x540 pixels
Storage: 4GB storage
Camera: 8MP rear facing, 1.3megapixel front-facing
Connectivity: GSM/HSPA+, 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC
Ports: Micro USB, MicroSD
Operating system: Android 4.03 Ice Cream Sandwich
The Ascend P1 is one of Huawei's opening attempts to break out of its low-end sub-£200 niche in the UK.
The appetiser to the Chinese firm's top-end D Quad smartphone, the P1 targets the mid-range market retailing for a reasonable £350 sim-free.
Design and build
The most noticeable aspect of the P1's design is that it's insanely thin, measuring in at 129x65x7.6mm. This makes the P1 one of the thinnest smartphones ever made, only being outdone by a select few devices, like Motorola's Razr which is 7.1mm thick.
Despite being thin, the P1 remains fairly comfortable in hand. It features hardline angular corners that are offset by rounded, vertical sides. Visually the handset has a lot in common with Samsung's Galaxy S2, featuring a glossy plastic finish and rear-elevated section along the bottom section of its back.
While this means that the P1 does look quite nice, it feels incredibly cheap. The P1's cheap unibody casing is one of its worst points, not only making it feel like a £200 as opposed to £300-plus handset, but also leading to concerns regarding its ability to survive the odd bump and scrape unscathed.
Another corner cut by Huawei to help keep the P1's price down is its 4.3in Super Amoled 960x540 pixels screen. Testing the P1 we found that the screen suffered from the same issues as Sony's similarly priced Xperia P smartphone, being slightly less sharp than we'd like.
The P1's screen also suffered some clarity issues when being used outside, with partial sunlight occasionally making the device fairly difficult to navigate. In regular lighting conditions, though, the P1's screen was more than usable, featuring reasonable colour balance levels.
Next: Operating system and performance.