Review Price £199.00
Huawei Ascend G6 Review: First Impressions
It's not a G6, it's a phoneHuawei often struggles to win much attention for its higher-end phones, and it tried pretty hard with the Huawei Ascend P6. At 6.2mm thick it was the thinnest phone we'd seen at the time.
The Huawei Ascend G6 takes the P6 design and tones it down a few notches to make it a cheaper, more accessible phone, without losing the original's design flavour. Huawei launched the phone at MWC 2014, and we got a closer look at the phone there to check out its curves.
Huawei Ascend G6 – DesignThere are two main ways the Huawei Ascend G6 looks and feels like a slightly more ordinary phone than the P6. It's made largely of plastic rather than metal, so loses some of the cool, severe feel, and it is 'just' 7.9mm thick (3G version) rather than 6.2mm. It remains a thin phone, but not the sort that can claim any superlatives.
Still, it's one of the thinnest lower-cost phones we've seen, and many of the P6 design nods remain. The bottom edge is still curved, the back and front are flat and it's a mid-size phone. It seems a bit rich for Huawei to expect any people to have been seeking out a 'cheaper' P6, though – the phone was successful but not quite a smash hit.
I think part of the problem with the P6 and new Ascend G6 is that they don't necessarily have much of a USP aside from being thin. The screens aren't huge, the Huawei brand still doesn't have much clout in the UK and most other features are pretty common. What matters for the Ascend G6 is price. It needs to be cheap to compete with phones like the Motorola Moto G and the new Sony Xperia M2.
Resolution drops down from 720p (as in the P6) to 950 x 540 pixels. Screen sharpness and quality is reasonable, but you don't get the same super-sharp text you get with a 720p or 1080p display of this size. It's not a deal-breaker from a pure practical perspective, but when the Moto G has proved cheap phones can be high-res, it is an issue.
And I'm not convinced a phone with this much of a style obsessions is ever going to be that cheap, making the screen harder to accept. Hopefully Huawei will prove me wrong.
Huawei Ascend G6 – SoftwareThe Huawei Ascend G6's software doesn't help matters, either. The phone seems to use largely the same custom Android interface as the P6, and it's a tricky one. It gets rid of the apps menu, plastering all your apps on your home screens.
It's iPhone-like in some respects, but I find vanilla Android devices more intuitive – and better-looking – than Huawei's skin. And now that even Samsung is starting to simplify its custom interface, as seen in the Samsung Galaxy S5, Huawei's software is looking pretty musty.
It has enough power to be fairly quick, though. The Huawei Ascend G6 uses an unusual K3V2E Huawei processor. It's a quad-core model, clocked at 1.5GHz. In the Ascend P6, I found it performed a way below the top quad-core phones, but does just-about match the dual-core Snapdragon 400 chips of phones like the HTC One Mini. RAM too is mid-range at 1GB.
The hardware looks pretty good, the software is more of an acquired taste
Huawei Ascend G6 – CameraAside from being potentially one of the cheaper 4G phones, one of the Huawei Ascend G6's standout features is quite unusual – the front camera. It has a 5-megapixel front camera, and so is a positive selfie demigod.
Although it currently seems like a bit of an odd thing to focus on, I think we're highly likely to see many of the big phone makers start to incorporate better front cameras. God knows why, but people do love selfies. I doubt Huawei will get much credit for starting the tech trend, though.
The main camera is a pretty standard 8-megapixel sensor with an LED flash. Nothing too interesting to note here.
Early ImpressionsIt's hard to predict whether the Huawei Ascend G6 will be much of a success without knowing how much it'll cost. However, recent trailblazers in the budget field suggest it'll have a tough time. We imagine this phone will be pricier than the Moto G, and it has little of the brand a allure of the new Sony Xperia M2 – a phone we imagine will sell at a similar £150-200 price. It's slim, but we're not sure how much budget buyers are willing to trade away for thin-ness.
Next, read our preview of the Samsung Galaxy S5