Huawei Ascend P1 Review

Learn how to pronounce Huawei ("Wa - way"), since the company not only got its foot in the door of the smartphone business, but is intent on ripping it off the hinges and becoming one of the best value for money Android manufacturers out there.

The Huawei Ascend P1 was the first element in this strategy that was announced at CES before the quad-core monsters we handled at MWC, and just as the company promised it is on our dissection table in the beginning of the summer.

It won’t be much of a dissection since the unibody design of the phone sports a sealed battery compartment, but the Ascend P1 delivers on every other mid-range front. It has a fast dual-core processor, 8MP cam capable of 1080p video and large qHD AMOLED display.

Did we mention it is compact and stylish with a catchy two-tone design? It is, but what if we bite and get it only to discover the Ascend P1 is overpromising and underdelivering like a presidential candidate? Fret not, we dove in for you, so read on our review to find out...

In the box:


Very thin is the right way to describe the Huawei Ascend P1, even if we count the “humps” at the bottom and around the camera module. Another recent handset that leaves a similar experience in the hand is the Panasonic Eluga, since the P1 is also very light at just 3.88oz (110g).

You can compare the Huawei Ascend P1 with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

Huawei has not only managed to make one of the most compact Androids out there with a 4.3” screen, but it is also very stylish, in a two-tone black and white body. The white overlaps the black on the sides, while the black flows over the white at the top and bottom, fusing the handset in an Yin-Yang harmony in our version, but there are also a pink and a completely black variants.

It's good that the tapered edges make it comfortable to hold, since the back is quite slippery. The comparatively narrow and elongated profile make one-handed operation as easy as it gets on a 4.3-incher. Moreover, each and every port and button are within an easy reach around the sides.

The push-in regular SIM card slot with a protective lid and the microUSB port are unobtrusively situated at the top until you need them, joined by the audio jack. The power/lock key is right under your thumb on the right and is easy to feel with good tactile feedback, as is the volume rocker on the left. Thankfully we also have a microSD slot on the right for storage expansion.


Super AMOLED is no longer the forbidden fruit that only grows in Samsung’s gardens - the Koreans are earning a bit extra pawning its non-HD versions off to Motorola and HTC, and now Huawei joins in the fun. The 4.3” 540x960 pixels screen exhibits the typical AMOLED virtues like an incredible contrast ratio and viewing angles, with nice satured colors. It is on quite bright for an AMOLED screen, but still not enough for good visibility under direct sunlight.

Is it Pentile? Why, yes of course, but if you didn’t know what the alternative PenTile matrix arrangement is you would never get worked up about it like you are now. See what we did there? You can see some “screen door” pixel structure and jaggies if you are deliberately staring at solid colors or enlarged text, but that’s about it. And once you experience the deep contrast of AMOLED watching video on a phone with it, it’s hard to go back anyway.

Huawei Ascend P1 360-degrees View:



1. kshell1

Posts: 1143; Member since: Oct 05, 2011

If priced correctly it could be a device worth the look for some people. Not for me I target the highest end phones.

2. Nathan_ingx

Posts: 4769; Member since: Mar 07, 2012

The back still looks offence!! But it looks sleek none the less.

3. dax0330

Posts: 23; Member since: Jun 01, 2012

Gs2 rip off..

4. Mittal

Posts: 494; Member since: Dec 14, 2011

And GS2 is iPhone ripoff!

6. kshell1

Posts: 1143; Member since: Oct 05, 2011

Considering it looks nothing like the iphone it must really be a rip off >.>

5. ardent1

Posts: 2000; Member since: Apr 16, 2011

Daniel, "hua" is pronounced "hwa" with an "h".

8. raymond513

Posts: 12; Member since: Jun 15, 2011

Yeah, he's right

13. nicholassss

Posts: 368; Member since: May 10, 2012

the average american probably wont be able to pronounce it. IF they ever blow up stateside everyone will be saying "howie" I'm sure.

7. JayRaj

Posts: 54; Member since: Oct 31, 2010

Just 7 for such a device?! I've seriously started doubting u guys' rating...

9. bobsen

Posts: 1; Member since: Jun 01, 2012

Thanks for the review. Were all the photos taken with default settings? I would like to see some photos with the saturation turned up.

10. slaggyb

Posts: 218; Member since: Oct 19, 2011

This is a very capable phone for power users and it got stock ICS with a pentaband 3G frequency how many phones currently in the market can boast of that? Apart from the limited internal memory and a high price of 500bucks this indeed is a well buit and equipped phone....Good job Huawei atleast when your newer and higher end phones with HD resolution are released later on this year it be able to compete with the likes of the SAMSUNG GALAXY S iii and the HTC ONE X....

11. Utipod

Posts: 1; Member since: Jun 02, 2012

How long before Apple sues them for building a rectangle?

12. groupsacc

Posts: 232; Member since: Feb 28, 2012

Better not say anything bad about this device, allotta chinese around here

14. dysokha

Posts: 1; Member since: Jun 17, 2012

Could you show the price and how can I buy it?

15. avivaus

Posts: 1; Member since: Jun 22, 2012

is the ascend p1 have OTG? and it is flash supported?

16. TechnoViel

Posts: 3; Member since: Jul 12, 2012

Nice Review, nice phone - if the price drops I'll surely consider it for a buy! One question: I see the mcro-SD slot is externally accessible... can you change the SD card without shutting down the phone? USB OTG would also be nice to know... @avivaus: Flash ist still available, but Adobe is withdrawing the app from the play store (I think July 15th - so very soon!) and will not support Android 4.1 / Jelly Bean. But this apply to any Android phone!

17. eekiguy

Posts: 2; Member since: Jul 26, 2012

TechnoViel @ I cant get OTG working on my P1 with the cable i have, but the SD slot is good enough, dont like to keep a cable in my pocket anyw. I feel some of the US reviews are way to negative on Huawei, i dont know if its cos of high pricing in US or they just dont like Chinese phone brands giving other big players a though competition. The P1 is a great phone for this price, in China for about 315-375USD, i dont see any other phone come near this price tag with its specs. Did a search and found it for 369USD + shipping from hotmid:

18. TechnoViel

Posts: 3; Member since: Jul 12, 2012

@eekiguy: Thanks for your reply. What a pity about OTG, but you're right, the microSD slot partly makes up for that. I might start using microSD cards in my camaera, so I can bump these into the phone and send some shots home ;-) Here in Europe it's still at ~385 EUR, that's >450USD :-( Still a very nice phone :) (I'm planning to review it against Xperia P and One S on, but wait for confirmation on the test units)

19. gauravb

Posts: 2; Member since: Sep 10, 2013

Can u tell me the available ram (free and used)

20. TechnoViel

Posts: 3; Member since: Jul 12, 2012

These numbers depend extremely on which apps are running, what the phone is currently doing - I don\'t think quoting a number here would make any sense...

21. gauravb

Posts: 2; Member since: Sep 10, 2013

i mean to say when we boot first time or after clearing the ram then how much it show used and free

22. mirexcool

Posts: 65; Member since: Feb 28, 2015

Bought at Aleixspress. Satisfied!
Ascend P1
  • 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 1670 mAh

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