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[MWC 2013] Huawei Ascend P2 Initial Review: Thin, Sezzy, and LTE!

Sezziest Huawei smartphone ever.
Sezziest Huawei smartphone ever.

Huawei Ascend P2 Initial Review

The Huawei Ascend P2 was officially announced at the Mobile World Congress here in Barcelona, Spain. After seeing so many Android phablets on the exhibition floor, the Ascend P2 was a breath of fresh air. Mind you it’s still a rather sizable phone since it does sport a 4.7-inch display but the candy bar form factor and the slimness makes it look smaller than it actually is. We got a couple of minutes to tinker with the device and we’d like to share our initial impressions. Before anything else though let’s quickly run through the specifications.

Huawei Ascend P2 Spec Sheet

  • 1.5GHz quad-core processor
  • 1GB RAM
  • 16GB Internal Storage
  • 4.7-inch IPS screen, 720p resolution (~312ppi), Gorilla Glass 2
  • Touchscreen can work with gloves
  • 13.0-megapixel rear-facing camera with LED Flash, Autofocus, HDR
  • Can record 1080p video @30fps
  • 1.3-megapixel front facing camera
  • Can record 720p video
  • 3G, HSPA, LTE, WiFi, WiFi Hotspot, Bluetooth, GPS, NFC
  • Android 4.1 Jelly Bean with Huawei Emotion UI v1.6
  • 2,420 mAh battery

Noticeably missing is the expandable microSD slot which might be a turn off for people who love watching videos on their mobile devices. The rest of the specifications though look very promising, especially LTE connectivity. The Huawei Emotion UI V1.6 is also quite fascinating but we’ll get into that later.

Slim Form Factor

8.4mm!
8.4mm!

I don’t know if it’s just because most of the phones we tried at the exhibition floor were 5.5-inches and up that the 4.7-inch Huawei Ascend P2 felt… small, lol. In reality though it’s far from small since the 4.7-inch screen puts it up on the same class as the Nexus 4 or the Galaxy S3. When we studied the numbers though we noticed that the Ascend P2 is actually smaller in terms of width compared to other 4.7-inch droids. That combined with its thinness (measures just 8.4mm) gives you the impression that it’s much smaller than it actually is.

The plastic build isn’t too much of a bother because the device really looks elegant and classy mostly due to the form factor. The back is smooth to the touch and while it doesn’t provide extra grip it won’t easily fall out of your hand.

What the back looks like
What the back looks like

As for the display quality, Huawei opted for a resolution of 1280×720. That comes out to around 312 pixels per inch. It’s not really noticeable unless you stare for a bit and then compare it to the iPhone’s Retina Display the pixel saturated 1080p displays of the newly announced flagship models of other manufacturers.

Everything considered with the hardware aspect, the Huawei Ascend P2 tries to keep things to a minimum. Less clutter is better. Fortunately that’s what they also decided to bring to the software side.

Software: Android Simplified and Streamlined

No app tray similar to the Meizu MX 4 Core UI
No app tray similar to the Meizu MX 4 Core UI

Huawei runs their custom Emotion V1.6 UI on top of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. Huawei Emotion V1.6 brings a familiar user interface — the Meizu MX 4-core’s “Android take on iOS”. Yes ladies and gents, the default launcher doesn’t have an app grid. When you download apps they get displayed on the different home screens. You can also group together apps in a “folder” of sorts so that you’re more “organized”.

To spice things up a bit Huawei also put in a “themes” app. This sweet bundle of digital joy lets you choose from over a hundred color schemes and app icons. Huawei wins pogi points for that one, hehe. :)

Gaming on the Ascend P2
Gaming on the Ascend P2

Over-all user experience was zippy and smooth. Animations and transitions were 99.9% lag free. Graphics intensive titles like Riptide also ran with no issues.

Battery Efficiency Optimized

We can’t confirm this 100% yet but according to Huawei the Ascend P2 also has their proprietary QPC (Quick Power Control) and ADRX (Automated Discontinuous Reception) technologies which results to 25% less charging time and power consumption. Theoretically these two techs should be enough to enable the 2,400 maAH battery of the Ascend P2 to go the distance. We will confirm this if ever we get our hands on a review unit in the Philippines.

Huawei Ascend P2: Wonder which Telco Will Get it?

The main selling point of the Ascend P2 other than its form factor and speed is that it can run LTE. Huawei’s claim is that the Ascend P2 is the fastest LTE device in the market because in select telcos it can actually go above 140 Mbps. I’m not sure if this is the case with the LTE network of Smart and Globe but another LTE handset to choose from is awesome.:P

Again, much like the Huawei Ascend Mate, we’re “bitin” with the Ascend P2. Hopefully we get to put this device through the paces in Manila.

Very promising smartphone from Huawei
Very promising smartphone from Huawei

Carlo Ople

Carlo is the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of Unbox.ph. During daytime he’s the Managing Director and Partner of a Digital Marketing Agency in the Philippines and by nighttime he’s living out his passion as a gadget enthusiast and story teller through Unbox.

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