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Huawei Ascend W1 review

Niall Magennis




  • Recommended by TR
Huawei Ascend W1


Our Score:



  • Good looking
  • Colourful design
  • High quality screen
  • Very affordable
  • Long battery life
  • Good call quality


What is the Huawei Ascend W1?

Windows Phone hasn’t exactly taken the world of mobiles by storm and apart from Nokia and, to a lesser extent, HTC, other manufacturers haven't been rushing to make Windows Phone handsets. So it's something of a surprise to see the Huawei Ascend W1 appear with Windows Phone 8 onboard. This mobile is very affordable too, as you can buy it on Pay As You Go from O2 for the very reasonable sum of £110. Despite the low price it actually has a decent specification with a dual-core processor, 4.0inch screen and 5.0MP camera, so is it another impressive budget Windows Phone handset in the mould of the Nokia Lumia 620?

Huawei Ascend W1 19

Huawei Ascend W1 - Design

Some of Huawei's budget Android phones have been disappointing in terms of design, mainly due to their dull and plastiky looking finishes. Thankfully the W1 sees the company getting back on track in terms of styling. Like other recent Windows Phone handsets it throws a bit of colour into the mix, with the W1 available in both blue and reddish-pink, both of which look quite striking.

Huawei Ascend W1 14

For a budget model the phone is quite slim too, measuring a relatively slender 10.15mm and while it does look a little bit boxy and angular from the rear, the edges are rounded enough for it to feel quite comfortable to hold. It's solid too, with even the snap-on rear battery cover fitting very snugly against the power pack.

Huawei Ascend W1 15

As with all Windows Phone mobiles there's a dedicated camera button (mounted on the right hand edge) and this lets you launch the camera from standby just pressing and holding it down, which is a great feature.

The rear cover hides the removable battery as well as the Sim card holder and microSD card slot. The latter in particular is still a bit of a rarity on higher-end Windows Phone models, so it's good to see it included on a budget phone such as this.

Huawei Ascend W1 - Screen

The 4.0inch display that Huawei has used on the W1 has a resolution of 480x800 pixels, which isn’t going to break any records. The quality of the display, though, is actually quite high, especially by budget mobile standards.

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It has very wide viewing angles so colours and contrast don’t shift dramatically if you tilt the phone from side to side or up and down, unlike a lot of cheap Android handsets. It's colours may not be as bold as on OLED displays, but they do look warm and natural. Also, at this screen size the display's modest resolution still looks quite sharp, and certainly text is very readable and the live tiles that are a signature of the Windows Phone OS look crisp.

The screen is a bit reflective, but not any more so than most of today's smartphones, and it has enough brightness on tap for it to still be very usable outdoors in direct sunlight.

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Hiten babla

April 28, 2013, 6:26 pm

Correct me if I am wrong but I thought the 620 could skype and does have a front camera, maybe it was the nokia 520 you mean? But the 520 is at a similar price point to the W1 so isn't exactly more expensive.


April 30, 2013, 1:06 pm

Niall Magennis we know where you live - E11!

Next match the test photos with Google Street View and Google Earth .......

Or we have your mugshot and can catch you at the Red Lion.....

Spooky!! ;-)))

Sebastian N

May 2, 2013, 5:39 pm

Yes you are right. 520 doesn't have a front camera. almost 5 days ago I bought the W1 and have to admit that the phone is pretty much awesome. Frankly, I can recommend it to everyone

Nic Burton

June 21, 2013, 5:00 pm

I have one of these - I love it. Have all the aps I want, and a few others, no space problem at all.


August 17, 2013, 7:11 am

been using this phone for a month and i can honestly say its a good all rounder at a good price windows 8 runs well on this little jem front camera is good and skype works well. apps may be a bit limited but it gets 10/10 from me for price and usability


September 20, 2013, 12:44 am

It is a brilliant phone for the price. Windows 8 phone OS is intuitive and snappy. This makes a budget smartphone a viable thing for people that dont enjoy the frustrations of trying to use cheap Android smartphones or don't want to pay £hundreds for the expensive but do work Android smartphones.


September 22, 2013, 6:46 am

I have the Huawei Ascend W1 for six months now. Nice phone. But I have a problem with the memory. I have a sixteen GB memory card and 13gb is free. I keep getting warning messages that I need to free space. I still can't figure out how. There is nothing in the user manual.

Geoff Richards

September 22, 2013, 7:17 am

I can't speak from experience with Windows Phone, Faiz, but this is a common problem with cheaper Android phones. The W1 has 4GB of internal storage, and you say you have a 16GB SD card. If WP8 is the same as Android, you need to "manage storage" and move as many apps etc to the SD card to free up the internal memory.

Unfortunately for Android, there are apps like Google Maps which cannot be moved to external storage, and once they fill the small internal storage of a budget phone, you're a bit stuck and can't load any more apps.

Good luck - I hope that helps a little.


September 22, 2013, 11:34 am

Thanks for the reply Geoff. There is no option of transferring applications to the SD Card.


October 26, 2013, 3:08 pm

if you get to asda asap they are selling them off for £89


November 8, 2013, 10:55 am

I would really like to buy this phone, but can only see it available on 02 - has anyone found it available on T-mobile? Or can it be opened to any network?


November 28, 2013, 2:23 pm

This is basically a nokia Lumia


December 12, 2013, 4:54 pm

I just bought this phone & put it on layaway for Christmas & I want to make sure its a good phone. my cousin said it wasn't & that it always crashed & stuff any help?


February 25, 2014, 7:11 pm

Got the phone a week ago, and I'm really loving it. The ONLY downside so far for me is that you can't save downloaded aps to the SD card, Everything else can be saved to the SD card (music, video, etc..). That's a bummer, but besides that, the phone is quite amazing, I have no other complaints. I am quite pleased with everything about this phone except for the saving aps to the SD card issue. This makes it so that you only get like a gig and a half for downloads from the ap store (like i said, that's the ONLY down side so far).

Windows Phone 8.1

June 18, 2014, 11:04 am

Yes, Windows Phone is great! Like it! :)

Windows Phone 8.1

June 18, 2014, 11:07 am


There's a new option to transfer apps to the SD card, it's called Storage Sense.

See: http://www.windowsphone.com/en...


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