Huawei Ascend G6 review

Huawei Ascend G6 intro
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
210
inc VAT SIM-free

A cheap 4G phone with a good camera, but its rough screen and unresponsive buttons make it a chore to use

Specifications

Processor: Quad-core 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400, Screen size: 4.5in, Screen resolution: 960x540, Rear camera: 5-megapixel, Storage: 8GB, Wireless data: 4G, 3G, Size: 131x65x7.85mm, Weight: 115g, Operating system: Android 4.3

4G-enabled phones often cost more than a regular 3G phone, but the Huawei Ascend G6 costs just £210 SIM-free or is roughly £14 per month on contract. This potentially makes it an enticing prospect for those after super-fast broadband speeds but don't want to spend buckets of cash each month, but the Ascend G6 isn't without its problems.

From the outside, the Ascend G6 looks very similar to its larger cousin, the Ascend P7. Measuring a mere 7.9mm thick and weighing 115g, it's incredibly light and comfortable to hold, and the rounded bottom is a refreshing change from the angled edges seen elsewhere. The Ascend G6’s matt plastic back doesn't provide a lot of grip, though, so it's slippery to use one-handed.

As with all Huawei phones, the company's custom Emotion UI runs on top of the G6's Android 4.3 operating system. This means you'll have to fit all your apps on the G6's nine home screens, as there's no general app tray. Sadly, the G6 still uses the old-fashioned 2.0 Lite version of Emotion rather than the newer, sleeker 2.3 iteration found on the Ascend P7, so app icons and menu settings look a little dated by comparison. There are four different themes you can choose from to try and alter the appearance of your home screens, but none are particularly attractive, especially when two of them are simply different shades of brown.

We weren't big fans of its 4.5in display either, as there was a non-removable screen protector on our review sample that made it feel very rough and brittle. It's a different type of protector to the one on the P7, and when we swiped our thumb down the G6's screen, it sounded like we were cleaning windows with a rubber squeegee. This isn't the most pleasurable sensation, and it also made the phone feel a bit cheap and tacky. The touch-sensitive buttons below the screen weren't very responsive either, and we often had to tap them twice for our touch to register.

The screen's image quality was equally underwhelming, as our colour calibrator showed it was displaying just 88.8 per cent of the sRGB colour gamut. This is below average for an IPS display, and so colours weren't as rich or vibrant as we might expect from this type of panel. Black levels weren't much better, measuring 0.50cd/m2. This meant our darker test images showed strong traces of grey in deeper areas of shadow, but at least the screen's contrast ratio of 885:1 meant we could see still a reasonable amount of detail onscreen, even when we had the phone lying on a table.

Inside, the G6 has a 1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor. This is fast becoming the standard processor for mid-range phones, but much cheaper phones such as the Motorola Moto G also use this processor, and that makes the G6 look a little sluggish for its price. This was particularly evident in our SunSpider JavaScript test, as the G6 scored 1,406ms in its default browser, putting it just 4ms ahead of the Moto G.

In practice, web browsing on the G6 was very smooth with almost no lag or delay when scrolling up and down the screen. You'll have to zoom in to read most of the headlines in desktop-based web pages, though, as the G6's tiny 960x540 resolution doesn't leave a lot of room for text. Movement could appear a little jerky when zoomed in and panning around a web page, but on the whole we’re pleased with the Ascend P7’s web browsing performance.

The G6's graphics performance also proved good, but it was still only a few frames quicker than the Moto G in our 3DMark Ice Storm test. The G6 scored 5,749, which equates to 26.3fps, while the Moto G's score of 5,412 isn't far behind. The G6 should still be able to handle most apps in the Google Play Store, as its score of 45.8fps in Epic Citadel on Ultra High quality settings is a lot quicker than the Moto G's score of 34.7fps. This is partly because the Ascend G6 has a smaller resolution, so it doesn't need to render so many pixels.

The G6’s battery life was more mediocre, as its 2,000mAh battery lasted exactly 9 hours in our continuous video playback test with the screen set to half brightness. This was using the G6's Normal power saving mode, but there are also Smart and Endurance options that can theoretically squeeze out a little more battery life by limiting the CPU and network usage to save power. Even so, nine hours is still a little underwhelming for normal use, as we generally expect at least 11 or 12 hours from mid-range handsets.

The Ascend G6's one redeeming feature is its 8-megapixel camera. Colours were a bit cool in our outdoor test shots, but photos were a lot brighter and more vivid than shots we took with the Moto X at the same time. The sky was slightly better exposed and we didn't see much noise in larger areas of a single colour either.

^ We took these photos in bright sunshine. The sky is still quite overexposed in Auto mode, but it's still a lot better than what we managed with the Moto X.

^ Colours were richer than the Moto X as well, and we were pleased with the level of detail on show.

^ HDR mode was even better, producing bright, accurate photos that didn't look too artificial.

We also tried the G6's HDR mode. Again, pictures looked much more natural and accurate than those we took with the Moto X, and the effects never felt too harsh or artificial. There's also a Smart, Beauty, Panorama, Effect and Sound & Shot modes to choose from, the latter of which takes shots via voice commands rather than pressing the onscreen shutter button.

The Huawei Ascend G6 may have price on its side as a 4G handset, but it's not particularly pleasant to use and there are much better phones available for less. With the 4G version of the Motorola Moto G on sale now for £160 SIM free or £19-per-month on contract (from www.phones4u.co.uk), there's simply no reason to choose the Ascend G6 over Motorola's budget marvel.

HARDWARE
Processor Quad-core 1.2GHz Qualcomm MSM8926
RAM 1GB
Screen size 4.5in
Screen resolution 960x540
Screen type IPS
Front camera 8-megapixel
Rear camera 5-megapixel
Flash LED
GPS Yes
Compass Yes
Storage 8GB
Memory card slot (supplied) microSD
Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
Bluetooth 4
NFC Yes
Wireless data 4G, 3G
Size 131x65x7.85mm
Weight 115g
FEATURES
Operating system Android 4.3
Battery size 2,000mAh
BUYING INFORMATION
Warranty one year RTB
Price SIM-free (inc VAT) £210
Price on contract (inc VAT) Free on £14-per-month contract
Prepay price (inc VAT) N/A
SIM-free supplier http://www.expansys.com/huawei-g6-4g-black-259132/
Contract/prepay supplier http://www.carphonewarehouse.com/phone/huawei/huawei-ascend-g6
Details www.consumer.huawei.com/en
Part code Ascend G6

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