For years, I’ve been saying that what I wanted was a phone that was a hybrid between the worlds of Apple and Android. It turns out that you should be careful about what you wish for.
Huawei Ascend P6: On the plus side
There’s absolutely no doubting where the Huawei Ascend P6 takes its design inspiration from. None whatsoever, as it matches up a steel band around a extremely thin — at its thinnest, 6.18mm thick — body that’s clearly at least “inspired” by the design of the iPhone 4.
However, with a 4.7″ display screen, it’s larger than any iPhone you can buy — at least yet, anyway. Given Apple’s generally litigious nature, I’m surprised there hasn’t been a lawsuit pending on the design; it really is that evocative of the iPhone basic design.
It’s also clearly not an iOS device, because it’d be poor business to (I suppose) get sued on two fronts.
Instead, what you’re talking is Android 4.2.2 on top of a 1.5GHz quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM and a 4.7″ display with a moderate 720×1280 resolution.
This is mostly middle range fare, although Huawei have gone slightly odd with the camera on the Ascend P6. The rear camera is a fairly basic 8MP shooter, but the front camera sports a 5MP sensor, quite a bit more that most competitive models. If you want selfies that show off every wrinkle and spot it might make sense to you, I suppose.
Huawei Ascend P6: On the minus side
For all that it looks a lot more stylish than the average Huawei fare, and allowing for its mostly mid-range internals, I was still left wanting by the Ascend P6’s actual performance. Its Geekbench score of 1780 was in line with what I’d expect, but it had a habit… of…. stuttering… while in use. It didn’t stop it from working, but it was highly noticeable, and at the mid-range price point that the Ascend P6 goes for, you can most definitely enjoy a smoother experience than the P6 offers.
The headphone jack for the Ascend P6 hides behind a cover on the lower left hand side, and the cover also serves as the SIM card removal pin. It’s an interesting idea in theory, except that if you’re going to use the Ascend P6 with headphones for any length of time, it’ll quickly become lost, or you’ll get irritated by having to remove it in order to plug your headphones in. That was certainly my experience of it.
Huawei’s Android skin — the Emotion UI, to give it its full name — further blurs the iPhone visual line by using app icons in the same way that iOS does, rather than the app drawer Android approach used by just about everybody else. For those switching this might have some appeal, but it’s a halfway house kind of solution, and as noted it can get quite laggy at times.
It’s also only a 3G phone, so despite its 2000mAh battery not being massive, I was expecting decent enough battery life out of it. On reasonably solid usage, however, it struggled to last an entire day, and at times grew rather warm to the touch while in use.
Huawei Ascend P6: Pricing
The Huawei Ascend P6 sells outright for $479 through Dick Smith Electronics. Huawei’s press release for the Ascend P6 indicates it should also be available outright through JB Hi-Fi, but if that’s true they’re keeping it quiet, as I can’t see any evidence of it through JB’s web site.
In terms of direct importers, Mobicity offers it for $519.95.
Huawei Ascend P6: Alex’s Verdict
The Ascend P6 has a visually arresting look, and it’s one that could draw in a few buyers, but it’s also quite a blatant clone product at that, and a poor doppleganger of the smartphone it draws its design inspiration from.
Huawei’s usual fare is in low-cost smartphones, and the Ascend P6 isn’t terribly expensive, but it’s worth bearing in mind that the same amount of money could buy you a 16GB Nexus 4 with nearly $100 in your pocket left over, or for that matter the 4G-capable LG Optimus G.
Put simply, there’s no way I wouldn’t buy either of those rather than the Ascend P6.