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Customization – that's the cornerstone, upon which Huawei's Emotion UI 1.5 has been built. Running on top of Android 4.1.2, it brings a number of personalization features, including a whole bunch of UI themes, ranging from colorful and cartoonish to plain and minimalist in appearance. Furthermore, the user is free to pick among several lock screens and screen transition animations, while the wallpapers can be set to shuffle randomly at specific time intervals.

Functionality has not been overlooked either. The notification bar hosts a broad range of toggle buttons, which can be rearranged in accordance to the user's liking – a common and welcome modification. Different profiles can be set, changing the phone's volume settings and what not, depending on whether the user is at home, outdoors, or in a meeting.

Unlike most other Android interfaces we've come across, Emotion UI does not have an app drawer. Instead, icons for all installed applications are listed on the home screen in a manner inspired by iOS, which contradicts with Android's UI design principles. Nevertheless, we don't find this feature annoying at all. In fact, we're sure that some users will like the UI better as it is for its simplicity.

There are two on-screen keyboards pre-installed on the Huawei Ascend P2. One of them is the default Android keyboard, which we know and love, while the other is provided courtesy of Huawei itself. The latter is also comfortable, with easy-to-hit buttons. We like how symbols can be entered quickly just by swiping down on the respective key.

Processor and memory:

Huawei's very own K3V2 SoC is in use with the Ascend P2. It has a 1.5GHz quad-core processor backed up by 1GB of RAM, which is a combination delivering adequate performance for a mid-range smartphone. The chip is by no means a benchmark crusher, but in reality, it is powerful enough to get the basic tasks done. Navigating through the UI feels smooth in general, with slowdowns occurring on rare instances, usually while exiting or switching from a heavy application. Games, including the latest 3D titles, run at high framerates most of the time.

Quadrant StandardAnTuTuGLBenchmark 2.5 (Egypt HD)Vellamo
(HTML5 / Metal)
Huawei Ascend P2265311756FAIL1594 / 497
Sony Xperia SP7866164134970 / 44 fps2013 / 755
Samsung Galaxy S4 mini6783133413762 / 33fps2088 / 685
Huawei Ascend P65228142202509 / 22 fps1462/453

The Huawei Ascend P2 does not have a microSD card for storage expansion, which is a major drawback. Out of the 16GB present on board, only 11.83GB are available to the user, and while that will be sufficient for a great fraction of consumers, those who like to store lots of audio and media on their handset are in for a disappointment by the lack of free space.

Internet and connectivity:

The default Android web browser comes loaded on the Huawei Ascend P2 out of the box. That means there are no extra browsing tools added by the manufacturer. Just the default set of features are in stock, such as support for multiple tabs, embedded YouTube videos, saving pages for offline use, and the likes. The app's performance is satisfactory, but not quite perfect as even though pages are rendered fast, switching between them can sometimes take a while. The alternative web browsers that we tried didn't perform any better.

In theory, the Huawei Ascend P2 is capable of reaching peak download speeds of 150Mbps over an LTE network, which is crazy fast by today's standards. Most LTE networks across the world, however, probably can't provide as much bandwidth, but it is good to know that the smartphone is future-proof at least in that respect. Further connectivity features include the usual set: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, NFC, and FM radio.

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