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