Huawei Ascend P1 Review

Introduction and Design

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:

  • Travel charger
  • microUSB cable


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:

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