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Huawei Ascend W1 - Usability and Calling

Niall Magennis

By Niall Magennis



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Huawei Ascend W1


Our Score:


Huawei Ascend W1 - Interface and Usability

For a phone costing a little over a hundred notes the Huawei Ascend W1's hardware isn’t all that modest, as it has a dual core 1.2Ghz processor and Adreno 305 graphics. Huawei has made cut backs on storage though, as it only has 4GB of memory. Nevertheless, the presence of the microSD card slot means that you can use cards of up to 32GB in size to bump this up significantly. However, there is a caveat in that you can't install apps to microSD cards, they have to be stored in main memory, which is a bit of a pain, but not a deal breaker as most apps don’t take up that much space.

Huawei Ascend W1

The W1 feels pretty zippy to use as it responds pretty much instantly to your taps and swipes and there's almost none of the lag that you usually get on budget Android devices. In fact the only times that you'll notice any real difference in performance between this handset and higher-end Windows Phone models is in the little bit of extra time it takes to open apps or render more complicated websites.

Huawei Ascend W1 7

The Windows Phone interface looks very fresh and modern and the tiles approach makes it feel very contemporary. The user interface is essentially split into two parts. There's a main homescreen that scrolls vertically and contains live tiles that show snippets of information or pictures, but if you swipe right you'll find yourself at a list of all available apps, much like the app drawer on Android phones. You can tap and hold on these apps to pin a tile for the app to your homescreen and you can now also resize tiles to a quarter of their usual size and some of them can also be expanded to fill the width of the screen.

Huawei Ascend W1 - Contacts, Browser and Calling

Windows Phone doesn't have a standard contacts list. Instead you'll find all your contacts are grouped together into its People Hub, where you can access not just the usual name, contact number and email address information, but also social media updates from you contacts across services like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. It’s a great system that's genuinely useful and one of the real strengths of the Windows Phones handsets like this one.

Huawei Ascend W1 30

As you'd expect the W1 uses Microsoft's Windows Explorer web browser. This is a fast and powerful browser that has plenty of features including tabbed browsing support and the ability to share pages via social networks, email or messaging services. There's also a handy Find on Page search feature. IE is very responsive to gestures like pinch to zoom, and although the W1 is a little bit slower to render pages than Windows Phone handsets with meatier processors, it'll give any similarly specified Android phone a run for its money. This is borne out in its benchmarks as it completed Sunspider in 1130.5ms and posted a score of 1186 in Browsermark, both of which are very good results for a budget handset.

Huawei Ascend W1 2

Call quality on the W1 was pretty good during our time with the phone. Its earpiece is reasonably loud and crisp, so you don’t get the muddiness or robotic speech that some lesser mobiles suffer from. The mic also seemed to do a good job, as we had no complaints about it from callers.

Carrier pricing updates & information supplied by WhistleOut

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...


Rene Stein

May 9, 2016, 10:07 pm

Hi I bought a Huawei Phone with windows 8 on it last month yeah Dont its a waste of money. It started with it just constantly dieing on me like the screen turning black and the entire phone not responding to buttons all that helped there was the sleep button and than I had the same the screen going black and I pushed the sleep button you know the one you push when you want the screen to turn off well nothing took me about 10 minutes to even realize that the entire phone was dead. I was playing Candy Crush at that point. ok i thought since i had to go the next day to town Im just gonna go to the store where i bought it no big deal. Well the phone decided that it turnes on again during the night. I thought allright. So now I sitt here with this phone basicly giving me messages and/or emails that i recieved like 9 hours ago?? comon. all i can say DO NOT SPEND YOURE MONEY ON THIS COMPANY. I had other phones before that from this company one of those flip phones yea they fall ones for whatever reasons they die a horrible death lol.

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