Huawei Ascend P1 LTE review
Android 4.0.4, 4.3in 960x540 display
There's no price above as this handset isn't available sim-free, only on contract from EE, read on for contract pricing
We were a little perplexed by the Huawei Ascend P1 LTE at Mobile World Congress back at the start of the year. We weren't that familiar with the brand at the time, but here was a slick-looking, high-end Android handset with 4G support. Despite its allure, no 4G had been announced for the UK at that time, so we moved on to find something more relevant to our readers.
Now the Huawei Ascend P1 LTE has arrived on our shores, courtesy of EE and its newly launched 4G network. However, the specification that impressed us back in march now seems a little more humdrum. At the time, the fact it was running Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) was pretty exciting, but now it seems a little behind, with the more responsive Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) rolling out on many handsets, including the LTE (4G) version of the Samsung Galaxy S3.
This 38Mbit/s Speedtest was once of the best we saw, and miles ahead of the best 3G speeds
The standout feature here is of course its support for 4G. In our office we recorded average speeds of around 20Mbit/s, around ten times what we get over HSDPA on our 3G handset. Of course such figures are highly subjective, but in day-to-day use we found it possible to watch streamed TV and movies during our London commute without barely any interruption.
It looks pretty good, with a nicely-textured rear panel. This comes off to reveal the mini SIM and micro SD slots. You'll want to use the latter as the handset only comes with 4GB of built-in storage (of which only about half is available when you first turn on the phone), adding a 32GB micro SD card will only cost around £13. Despite the removable back panel the handset as a whole feels very sturdy, with no creaking or flexing panels. It's not super-slim, but we have no complaints at 133x65x9.9mm and weighing just 135g - then again the S3 isn't much bigger or heavier and it has a far bigger screen.
The only port is micro USB, which uses MHL to double-up as an HDMI output
The Ascend P1 LTE has a 4.3in Super AMOLED display with a 540x960 resolution. This is probably the most common display used on mid-range handsets, with the HTC One S and the Motorola Razr i both having it, among many others. You get plenty of contrast, though the Pentile layout of the subpixels means it's not as sharp as the resolution suggests. The usual three shortcuts are touch sensitive buttons below the display, so you don't lose screen space to onscreen equivalents.
AMOLED displays are generally more power-friendly than LCD ones, and with a decently-sized 1,800mAh we expect a decent showing in our battery test. We're still devising a good way to test the impact of 4G on the battery life, and will report back here once we get a result.
Huawei have made practically no changes to the Android operating system, which is no bad thing in our book as we like it just how Google intended. There's no date for an update to Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean).