Huawei sent me a review unit of the Ascend P1 smartphone to play with for a few weeks, and after spending some time with this super-thin Android 4.0 smartphone, I'm ready to render my judgment - she's beautiful, but not the kind of device worth breaking up your current smartphone marriage for. Not yet, at least.
Allow me to elaborate with the help of some convenient categories.
The body is made mostly of plastic, which feels a bit cheap, but it's also extremely light and feels like a feather in your hand or pocket.
While the back and body isn't exactly rugged, the Gorilla Glass that makes up the display helps to compensate on the front of the phone, and protects that intense, eye-catching display.
We've been hearing a lot about Huawei's "Emotion" UI, but only a few drops of it appear here, including the 3D home screens feature that adds some nice visual effects to enjoy on that sweet display. It also allows for continuous swiping through home screens - no hitting a "wall" on your last home screen and having to reverse back through.
All in all, this Android 4.0 phone has one of the best implementations of Ice Cream Sandwich I've seen this side of a Galaxy Nexus, although its touchscreen seems just a smidge less responsive than some other top-flight Android phones available right now.
Keeping three hard buttons is a nice touch and preferable in my mind to the Google approach of doing away with them altogether, although I miss the search button that Huawei dropped from the front of the Ascend P1.
The speakers on this skinny little phone are another high point, especially when the Dolby surround sound software is activated. Unfortunately that little sound boost isn't supported in all apps, but the native music player can kick out the jams as well as any other smartphone.
Wi-fi, Bluetooth and a radio that works on HSPA networks round out what's to like about the guts of this phone. Unfortunately, there's some other details I wasn't so thrilled with.
The 8 megapixel camera also left something to be desired. Although the ability to shoot 1080p video is a bonus, overall I found it exceedingly temperamental and had a hard time getting good still shots.
The on-board storage is minimal, so you'll likely want to account for the cost of a microSD card with your purchase as well.
Finally, the Ascend P1 comes only with a slot for a standard SIM card (the bigger one), no 4G connectivity and no subsidies from carriers in the United States.
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