Would you buy a Galaxy S 2-grade phone if it was made by Huawei?

Would you buy a Galaxy S 2-grade phone if it was made by Huawei?
Huawei was among the first companies to introduce their latest handsets at this year's CES. What grabbed our attention, though, was the fact that this is probably the very first time the manufacturer is actually coming up with a true high-end phone, namely the Huawei Ascend P1 S.

Until now, Huawei has mainly produced budget-oriented offerings like the T-Mobile Comet, for example, but now the company is obviously aiming at a new, higher level. The Ascend P1 S that got announced on January 9 doesn't look like a bad phone by any means. Quite the opposite.

The reason why we're writing all of this is because it'd be very interesting to see if a Chinese manufacturer such as Huawei, the phones of which aren't particularly popular in the U.S. and Europe, would be able to conquer positions in the upper end of the smartphone market – positions which are currently occupied by industry veterans like Motorola, Apple, Sony Ericsson and Samsung. Hearing those names, it feels almost unnatural to place Huawei next to them. Yet, it seems that's exactly what the manufacturer is striving for.

The Ascend P1 S is a very well-spec'd smartphone, packed with features that will certainly appeal to any Android fan. It has a very big, 4.3” screen (of the Super AMOLED variety, for that matter), along with a speedy 1.5 GHz dual-core processor and the abundant 1 GB of RAM. In addition to this, Huawei's offering also sports a microSD card slot for those who can't live without it, and it runs on the latest Android software – Ice Cream Sandwich. Correct us if we're wrong, but it looks like that the Huawei Ascend P1 S is actually superior in some ways, compared to some of the other premium phones announced at CES 2012.

So if the hardware is there, what might possibly hold the Ascend P1 S back? Frankly, that's the lack of imagination in this company. Even with such great specs, Huawei hasn't done much in order to differentiate its product in the design department. The handset is an almost exact replica of the Samsung Galaxy S II in terms of appearance. Actually, the manufacturer has preferred to copy every aspect of the Galaxy S II's design, rather than think of its own. The characteristic hump at the bottom, the look and position of the camera on the back, the position of the power/lock key... it's as if you're looking at the international Galaxy S II. It is in these acts of direct copying from the big guys that we recognize Huawei's humble past. It's something that even great specs can't hide.

Huawei did do something in order to enhance Samsung's design, though. It has slimmed down the profile of the handset even further, to the astounding 6.68 mm, creating the world's thinnest smartphone in the process. So it turns out Huawei's designers aren't slouches after all! They have even utilized Corning's Gorilla Glass to make the phone sturdier – a welcome change from the mediocre materials used in its past models. Feel free to check out our hands-on with the device for more details.

So that seems to be the situation with Huawei. With models like the Ascend P1 S (it's still unknown which markets are going to get it), the company is certainly trying to invade previously unexplored parts of the marked. And by the looks of it, its offerings will have the muscle to compete. Will Huawei become a major threat for more established makers like Samsung or Motorola? Will it eventually succeed in obtaining the status of being called a premium phone manufacturer? This all remains to be seen, and with the company already making the first steps in this direction (and promising to continue like this), the answer may arrive sooner rather than later.

Would you buy a Galaxy S 2-grade phone if it was made by Huawei?

Why not? As long as the specs are good, I have no problem getting it.
I would rather wait for the first reviews to come out before making a purchase.
No way! I wouldn't go for a phone by such an unfamiliar brand.

Related phones

Ascend P1 S
  • Display 4.3" 540 x 960 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP / 1.3 MP front
  • Processor TI OMAP4460, Dual-core, 1500 MHz
  • Storage 4 GB + microSDHC
  • Battery 1800 mAh



1. iamcc

Posts: 1319; Member since: Oct 07, 2011


21. andro.

Posts: 1999; Member since: Sep 16, 2011

Huawei make a large qunatity of the mobile broadband modems we sell and for the most part they are reliable and good quality. I still voted id rather wait for reviews though and intial releases before even considering the phone

2. bolaG

Posts: 468; Member since: Aug 15, 2011

I dont know enough about Huawei...I'm skeptical of battery life, signal, and materials on most phones. So untill I have feed back about those things I cant go just on spec sheets.

3. christianqwerty

Posts: 467; Member since: May 05, 2011

I feel like Kyocera and Huawei are the Kia and Hyundai of the phone world. They may have good specs and have cheap prices, but it's just not a reliable brand.

5. WakaFlakaD

Posts: 576; Member since: Apr 30, 2011

We will see about the reliability in the long-run for Kia and Hyundai. For a car, most people would at least be looking at about 15 years of usage/200,000. For a mobile phone, let's say 2 years? Buyers switch phones way faster than a car. Even as if the phone breaks down, technology moves so fast, today's hottest become a low-end the next year or two. If it breaks, then let it breaks.

6. knights4life03

Posts: 131; Member since: Jun 09, 2011

well said waka! lol

20. FAW-Q

Posts: 63; Member since: Jul 29, 2011

Actually, Samsung is the Kia and Hyndai of the phone world.

25. ningaman999

Posts: 13; Member since: Dec 27, 2011

Personally Samsung delivers the best quality phones, I don't want to sound stereotypical, but sometimes name brands do matter. Would you rather buy a Sony TV or a Sylvania TV (Look it up)? Samsung is more of the Infinity or Jaguar and Huawei is more like the Mercury. In the end for any product, every brand has their high and low quality.

27. cheetah2k

Posts: 2322; Member since: Jan 16, 2011

In Australia we have Samsung branded TV's, and Kogan branded TV's with Samsung panels at less than half the Samsung TV retail price. Sure the Kogan TV's don't have the exquisite looks of the Samsung TV's, but I'd be keen to give them a go just to save some coin knowing they've got the same quality parts in them... Huawei phones will be pretty much the same IMO. Quality parts, but Huawei branded.

42. diverdude

Posts: 1; Member since: Jan 12, 2012

I agree that samsung is terrible. Have an s1 captivate, and the frame cracked (keep it in an otter box), the speaker keeps going out, and the GPS has never worked despite days spent trying all the fixes and apps. The first two problems are due to the cheap frame that flexes in the pocket under poor design and not from dropping or abuse. Love android, but next phone will probably be iphone as their phones last (if you don't break the screen). Sure technology is moving quickly but I don't believe in the $600 disposable smartphone model. It doesn't work with people who are not on a postpaid contract system. As far as huawei, they can pack a punch at value, but battery is aweful and reliability has been poor on their other products. I live in Kenya and even the Kenyans think they are poor quality, but buy them because of their budget smartphones (the ideos was an instant hit but people have stopped buying them because they don't perform as they look on paper). I have had a couple of their 3g modems burn out in less than a year. After a couple months they start getting hot and slow down. Hopefully they will improve like Hyundai and Kia have done, but you won't find me as an early adopter.


Posts: 701; Member since: Jun 07, 2011

a samsung captivate is about 2 years old!! how do you expect for it to be in perfect condition!! really?? ive had 2 S1 vibrants and ive dropped them plenty of times and have never had any hardware issue at all.. Why dont you try the newer samsung phone for example the GS2 im pretty sure you wont be complaining..

26. cheetah2k

Posts: 2322; Member since: Jan 16, 2011

Hyundai and Kia have turned out more reliable than Toyota these days, and during the GFC invested 5 x more $ on R&D than Toyota, Ford and GMH put together. So @christianqwerty, tecnically, your argument is a bit daft. Huawei have been around for many years making 3G USB, laptop and wifi modems for ages, as well as having budget targeted reliable but low spec'd mobile phones. I'd give them a chance, providing they were initially cheaper than the others.

31. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

obviously you dont pay attention to cars. hyundai's are now rated higher than many toyotas and hondas. toyotas are having tons of problems. I drive a hyundai sonata. It's the nicest car ive ever owned by far and ive had quite a few nice cars. 100% reliable, well built, excellent interiors, decent power, and the most features per buck. You should drive one before u scoff at it. I used to do the same thing until my wife bugged me to try it. Best decision i could have made. I know your young and it may not have the "cool" factor that other cars have.. but it also doesnt have the "repair" factor either. lol

33. WakaFlakaD

Posts: 576; Member since: Apr 30, 2011

Did you have the steering problem? That was kinda a big issue on the sonata.. assuming if you are driving the 2011

37. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

no i bought an 09 when they came out with 5 miles on it (in 09 they changed the interior, in 11 they changed the exterior).. 3 were from the test drive. had an odd clutch issue in the first like 200 miles that was fixed quickly and for free, but other than that its been a dream. hyundai treats you better as a customer than any other car company ive delt with in the what.. 15/16 years.. that ive been driving? they really pamper you. my next car is going to be a sports car, and ive been looking at mustang and camero V8's as well as like 370's.. but with the news that they are going to drop a 350hp engine into the Genesis coup for the 2013 model, i might give that a test drive too. my friend and i laugh at each other. he just traded his stang in for a 2012 sonata because he liked mine so much, and im lookin at trading in my sonata for a stang since i want something faster. lol

53. WakaFlakaD

Posts: 576; Member since: Apr 30, 2011

I just went to motortrend.com and looked at the 2013 of the Genesis coupe, and it looked like a MAZDA to me... 2013 changed the front fascia... I will stick with the 370s. Mustang boss 302 seems nice. I have to say the 2012 Sonata do look very nice indeed. I see this car everywhere (Chicago). I checked out the website and adding the $3000 package into a SE turbo. The total after tax and everything will come out around $28-30k. Good deal!

51. Dinged

Posts: 37; Member since: Jan 12, 2012

IMO the chinese branded Huawei is nothing like Kia or Hyundai. Hyundai Sonata, for example, has won numerous awards - it's not only fair priced, but it differentiates itself by good innovative design, both inside and out. Toyota on the other hand has lagged in it's interiors and outdated exteriors. Huawei business model is different - it doesn't innovate, Instead, they make popularly spec'd devices at cheaper prices by manufacturing cheaply (cutting quality in hardware, support, R&D or testing). Although this article states that the Huawei is spec'd the same as a Samsung, don't expect performance to be on par. Driver implementation(affecting phone stability and performance), audio noise, battery life, phone reception, gps accuracy and availability of future updates and support all come into question beyond the scope of this article.

4. gallitoking

Posts: 4721; Member since: May 17, 2011

I will consider just because they went the extra mile and put the lastest Android version on it... unlike lazy "known" carriers... that rush the product and dont take their time to put ICS on it... (if Huawei can do it why not the rest?)...and lastlyif they get rid of the "Samsung" trademark plastic cover

9. Ray.S

Posts: 464; Member since: Jul 19, 2011

I agree with you. it really is mind-boggling to see the Ascend P1 S run ICS, while something like the LG Spectrum is unveiled with Gingerbread... Then again, it's also important to see exactly when these handsets are going to launch. Huawei might be showing an ICS phone now, but if it fails to launch it before, say, the second half of the year, then big deal that they were first here.

14. WakaFlakaD

Posts: 576; Member since: Apr 30, 2011

Absolutely! Everything we see at this moment are pretty much work-in-progress. ICS will eventually keep rolling out. Will they be able to deliver before Samsung, HTC, Sony or Motorola and hit big in the American market? We will continue to spectacle.

17. ardent1

Posts: 2000; Member since: Apr 16, 2011

These handsets are the 2nd or 3rd Huawei devices with ICS. Huawei already introduced a ICS device that can be downgraded to Gingerbread. Huawei is not a fly-by-night OEM -- it's one of the top cell phone makers in the world.

28. cheetah2k

Posts: 2322; Member since: Jan 16, 2011

Or worse still, it could end up like the Motorola Atrix which was released, praised and awarded @ CES this time last year, was released with Froyo with the "promise" of Gingerbread - which never ended up happening until some 11 long months later when the phone had almost reached end of life...... eeeeekk!

36. Jimstar

Posts: 259; Member since: Oct 24, 2011

Who gave you your information? the Atrix GB update rolled out in july, 6 months, not 11, after it showed up at CES last year. Not only that it was one of the first devices that didn't launch with gingerbread to recieve it.

40. Jimstar

Posts: 259; Member since: Oct 24, 2011

actually my bad it wasn't in july6th, closer to the end of the month but still july... However it just dawned on me that you're probably talking about the european model? In which case my bad, I forgot they even sold the thing anywhere else.

43. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 2009

Agreed with Jimstar. I remember when that update happened because I literally bought the phone the next day or so after the update started rolling out. I didn't even have the phone for more than an hour before I got it home and updated it. Jimstar is also right about the timing of the Gingerbread update vs. many other phones on AT&T especially. Gingerbread had only been out for a couple of months when the Atrix was released. The reason why the Atrix was exciting was because it had a dual core processor by Nvidia, which has been a HUGE name in computers for years because of their graphics cards, along with internal memory that rivaled (and still rivals) the iPhone, a fingerprint scanner, and the laptop dock, which is slowly becoming a successful expansion of Motorola's product functionality. No offense, Cheetah, but you could have done your homework better on this one.

32. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

As long as they stand by their warranty and promise me quick updates and unlocked bootloaders, i can give anyone a try. GalaxyS2 class device though? nice sensationalism but .. naaah.. no exynos or super amoled. thats what makes an SGS2.. an SGS2. Lets call it a droid class device :)

49. Ray.S

Posts: 464; Member since: Jul 19, 2011

Believe it or not, the P1 S has a Super AMOLED screen... and it's processor isn't that bad either.

7. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

They've made some decent phones for T-Mobile and such, and obviously millions of people have already bought the made-in-China iDevices by even smaller manufactuers than Huawei and ZTE, so I would expect/hope that this somewhat-unknown brand would be accepted

8. ghost__uwi

Posts: 175; Member since: Nov 28, 2011

Huwaei does a lot of background communications development. The are like a servicing company that sets up networks well too my knowledge.

11. Ray.S

Posts: 464; Member since: Jul 19, 2011

Yep, they are very big in the telecommunications equipment and services business, but their phone business is yet to make any serous strides.

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