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Huawei Ascend W1 - Camera and battery life

Niall Magennis

By Niall Magennis


  • Recommended by TR
Huawei Ascend W1


Our Score


Review Price free/subscription

Huawei Ascend W1 – Camera

Unlike Nokia's more expensive Lumia 620, the W1 does actually have dual cameras so you can use it for video calling in apps like Skype and Tango, which will be handy for those who travel a lot.

The rear facing, main camera has a 5.0Megapixel sensor as well as features such as autofocus, 720p HD video recording and an LED flash. Like all Windows Phone handsets you can launch the camera even from standby just by pressing and holding on the dedicated camera button on the right hand edge. This is a great feature, especially when you need to quickly capture a snap and haven’t got time to fiddle around with unlock screens and the like.

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The camera app gives you control over settings such as ISO and White Balance, but it lacks any fancy built-in filters or special shooting modes. However, you can add these in the form of plug-in 'lenses' that you can download from the Windows Phone Store. There are plenty of free ones including Microsoft's impressive Photosynth 360 panoramic stitcher.

The snapper is a tad slower than high-end phones to find focus, but better than a lot of budget handsets we've use in this regard. It doesn’t suffer too badly from shutter lag either which is a boon when you just want to fire off a quick snap of your mates.

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Overall image quality is reasonably good for a budget phone, but the camera does have a tendency to over saturate colours and burn out highlights, especially in sunny conditions.

Huawei Ascend W1 – Apps and Multimedia

One of the advantages of the W1's Windows Phone OS is that the operating system has features built-in that you need to use third party apps for on other platforms. For example, the People Hub lets you check out what your friends and family are up to on sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn without you needing to install apps for these services. Microsoft also includes Mobile Office as part of the OS so you can create, view and edit Word, Excel and PowerPoint files right on the phone. These apps are very useably too and there's integration with Microsoft's SkyDrive service so you can store and share your documents in the cloud.

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However, the W1 lacks the extra apps and services you get with Nokia's Windows Phone handsets, such as its Nokia Music service. However, Nokia's Here Drive app is currently in beta testing and is available as a free download so you can add turn by turn navigation to this phone without having to shell out extra dosh.

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The picture isn’t so rosy when you go to look for apps in the Windows Phone Store as the shelves are still pretty bare compared to what's available on iOS and Android devices. You can usually find an app to perform the task that you want, but it's not always of the same quality that you now get on Android and iOS devices. Games often take a long time to get released on Windows Phone if they make the transition at all, and there are annoying omissions. For example, the native video player doesn't support common formats like MKV, yet there's no app in the app store that will allow you to play them on the phone.

Huawei Ascend W1 - Battery Life and Connectivity

Huawei has stuck a pretty potent 1950mAh battery in the W1, which is much larger than most budget handset. Typically they use batteries with smaller capacities of anywhere between 1300mAh and 16000mAh. It's perhaps not surprisingly then that the W1 turns out to be a bit of a star performer in the battery life department. We found we could quite easily get a day and a half out of the phone, and even a bit longer if we made use of the battery saver mode tucked away in the settings menu.

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The W1 doesn’t have fancy connectivity options like 4G and NFC support, but most people don't need or want those technologies at present anyway. It does have all the other bases covered though, so you'll find 3G, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth onboard.


The Huawei Ascend W1 is a cracking little phone. It feels slicker and faster than most budget Android handsets (which are its main competition), has an eye-catching design, long battery life and good call quality. You don’t get access to as many apps as you do on Android or iOS handsets, but if you can live with this then you'll find that at £110 on Pay As you Go from O2 it represents exceptionally good value for money.

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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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