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Huawei Ascend P6 - Software and Performance

Andrew Williams

By Andrew Williams

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

7

User Score:

Huawei Ascend P6 – Software

Like so many other aspects of the phone, the Huawei Ascend P6 really wants to be an iPhone. But how do you do this when you’re lumbered with the most un-iOS-like Android operating system?

Huawei has jammed a custom UI into the P6 that bridges some of the gaps between Android and iOS, and it’s called the Emotion interface.

Huawei Ascend P6 20

This is the primary way it makes Android more iOS-like. Rather than having the standard two-part interface of Android – home screens on one side, the apps menu on another – everything lives side-by-side on a bunch of apps and widgets pages.

It’s a novel idea, but one that’s initially confusing for Android stalwarts and newcomers alike.

The default layout of your home screens is emblematic of the Ascend P6’s identity crisis. The first home page is packed solely widgets – a half-dozen of them – while the second is a dead ringer for the iOS home screen, in that it houses all the core shortcut icons.

Huawei Ascend P6 18

Emotion 1.6 supports app folders

The Ascend P6 is so eager to show you what it’s capable of that it’s off-putting. Having to dump all apps onto a home screen somewhere also makes the initial process of getting your home screens looking how you want them all the more laborious.

You have to work against the UI to get the phone how most people will want it – with a central home screen that tells you the time, and gives you space for a few favourite app shortcuts.

Huawei Ascend P6 17

This is roughly how we like our Android homescreens

What’s more successful is the Ascend P6’s use of themes, which tweak the look of the emotion UI with new wallpapers, lock screen and app icons. There are five pre-installed themes, and they do give the phone a pretty different look each time.

There is once again an element of confusion here. You can install additional themes (the official P6 site boasts about its “hundreds” of themes), but Huawei doesn’t make the issue of getting on the phone at all clear.

Even the official EmotionUI website only offers themes for the Ascend P1, released a year ago. Granted, they do work on the Ascend P6, but this is a poor execution of something that is a defining feature of the Ascend P6’s software.

Huawei Ascend P6 – Apps, Games and Performance

Given Huawei’s slightly flaky approach to both software and hardware design, we’re happy to see it doesn’t try to do anything too ambitious with its built-in apps.

All the pre-installed apps are utilities that are out to please tech heads and the more pedantic phone user – things like a file manager, a backup tool and an app to let you sync with Huawei’s cloud storage service. There’s no ill-advised attempt to create a social networking hub, which is a blessing.

An early trip to the Google Play store is necessary. The phone leaves you with 4.7GB of user-accessible memory to load up with apps, not all of which is actually free from the off.

Huawei Ascend P6 1

Huawei is pretty keen to stress the gaming potential of the Ascend P6, pre-installing a Huawei-branded version of 3D waterski racer Riptide GP on the phone. Performance is a particular point of pride here as the Huawei Ascend P6 has a Huawei-made CPU, a quad-core K3V2 – the same processor used in the Ascend Mate.

Matched with a generous 2GB of RAM – currently only seen in top-end phones – it’s a pretty powerful combo that makes most high-end 3D games play well. We did notice some minor frame drops in Real Racing 3, but performance was significantly better than in the identically-specced Ascend Mate, suggesting Huawei may have performed some software-optimising work here.

For a less objective look at the Ascend P6’s power potential, we tried a few benchmarks. In the AnTuTu bench, its score of 13,394 is a mid-range result. With a Samsung Galaxy S4 you could expect to score 25,000 or more. A quad-core 1.5GHz processor may sound like a rival to the top dogs, but it is not.

It’s not so much down to the clock speed of the processor, but its system architecture. It uses 40nm construction where the latest mobile processors are down to 28nm – more compact construction results in greater efficiency.

If this sounds like tech gobbledegook, what matters is that the Ascend P6 is closer to something like the dual-core HTC One Mini than the quad-core HTC One. Good, but not jaw-dropping. Let’s not forget – this phone’s processor was launched in early 2012. That’s a long time ago in the mobile world.

Carrier pricing updates & information supplied by WhistleOut

scott

June 24, 2013, 8:01 pm

The general public new about the current technologies in smartphones long before they were actually put into use, that can be due to apples goal of maximising profits. If you look at the smart phone industry as a whole every smartphone is offering almost the same product but with different interfaces and systems to actually use the product, my point being you buy any smartphone you can still surf the web download apps etc... However, the reason apple took everyone by storm was they actually had the mental strength and the courage to innovate and bring something new to the market... I think its time for one of the big firms like Samsung, Nokia or HTC to step up an change the trend look to a new wave of communication.. there has been all sorts of rumors starting, although samsung has stated they have created bending screens which leads to the assumption of bending smartphones, what ever the case maybe.. The next innovation will enjoy another 3 or 4 years on top just like Apple in the past and if it is Samsung that comes out on top then... What will become of the smaller firms... Let the young creative minds innovate and the corporate suits upstairs listen an let innovation be our aim.

danielfrisbee

August 5, 2013, 5:54 pm

I hope these end up cheap around November when my contract runs out, I barely use the smart functionality of my phone so the apparent lack of power won't be noticed by me, but it seems a generally nice item, hopefully line out audio quality will be good and it seemingly makes an ideal travel companion. Would rather it was a bit smaller with a longer lasting battery though. Having said that most of this smart phone nonsense just seems like mindless consumerism and I suspect my gadget lust for this is equally bereft of good reasoning.

Tim Sutton

August 6, 2013, 12:15 pm

I don't really like the look of this handset, it is a bit too iPhoney for me.

I'm actually here to say that for the first time ever I saw a screenshot of an Android phone (your favoured homescreen one) and instinctively thought "My word that looks old fashioned."

Windows Phone has really raised the bar. iOS and Android have a LOT of catching up to do.

Magomarele Gomi Thobejane

August 16, 2013, 1:39 pm

I sampled the phone and the looks, shape and size are gr8. however, I just have an issue with the touch screen buttons - they're too small. I struggled to find a way of increassing their size, if there's anyway. it's still a good buy nonetheless.

Zee

September 26, 2013, 9:31 pm

I find the design, the interface and the feel of this phone much better as compare to most of the latest smartphones in the market. This might be a bit too iPhoney for some but as a matter of fact this is how the Apple should have designed their new range of iPhones. This is smart, slim and stylish. I prefer it over S4, iPhone 5 and Xperia Z (I have used them all recently and prefer this lovely beast).

shah

November 6, 2013, 5:57 pm

how can i make video call directly to another mobile phone using 3g

Blacksabers

November 14, 2013, 1:01 pm

I'm lost slot of micro-sd huawei ascend p6, how i can get this again! is huawei sale slof of micro-sd ascend p6?

Ken W

January 31, 2014, 2:11 pm

Thanks for the thorough review.

> For a less objective look at the ...

I think you mean more objective look. :0

greg

May 3, 2014, 1:25 pm

I'm interested, what's the price how do I order

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