Huawei Ascend D2 review

Huawei’s latest flagship smartphone packs in a 5in Full HD display and a 13-megapixel camera, and we've spent some hands-on time with it

9 Jan 2013
Huawei Ascend D2

Huawei has taken the lid off its Ascend D2, the company’s flagship smartphone for 2013, here at CES. It’s easily the most powerful device the company has ever produced, with a 1.5GHz quad-core processor, 1080p Full HD display and a 13-megapixel camera. We’ve been on Huawei’s stand to get better acquainted with the phone in order to bring you an early first look.

Built from a combination of metal and plastic, the 170g handset is slightly heavier than its closest competitor – Sony’s recently announced Xperia Z. It’s slightly thicker too, at 9.4mm versus 7.9, but it’s still a very compact phone given its screen size. We had no trouble fitting it on our hands, and could slide it into a pocket comfortably.

Huawei Ascend D2

The 5in display uses an IPS panel protected by Corning Gorilla Glass, which should hopefully mean you won’t scratch it should you slide it into the same pocket as your keys. It looked incredibly bright, even under the bright lights of the show floor, and had the usual fantastic viewing angles we expect from IPS displays. The 1080p resolution is superb for viewing photos or watching videos, with an amazing level of detail – we think Sony’s Mobile Bravia Engine gives it the edge in terms of colour reproduction, but it’s still a fantastic-looking display.

Huawei Ascend D2

It’s also able to make your own photos look good, partly thanks to the 13-megapixel rear sensor. We took a few test shots and thought they looked very sharp, although given the lighting conditions it’s difficult to say how well it will work in low light. There is at least an LED flash, and you can also take HDR stills.

Huawei Ascend D2

Powered by a 1.5GHz CPU, which has been paired with 2GB of RAM and 32GB of internal flash memory, the Ascend D2 had no trouble running Android 4.1 – even with Huawei’s custom Emotion UI over the top of Google’s vanilla OS. It's filled with pastel shades, rounded edges and cartoony icons, and is more than a little reminiscent of Apple's iOS, but we had no trouble loading apps or switching between home screens.

Huawei Ascend D2

Huawei didn’t reveal pricing or availability at its CES press conference, so we’ll probably have to wait until Mobile world Congress in February to find out when we will be able to buy one. Based on what we’ve seen, it’s an incredible high-end device that could pose a real danger to the likes of Sony and Samsung. As soon as we get a UK model, we’ll be bringing you a full review.

For all the latest news from the CES show, read CES 2013: In-depth, hands-on coverage from our team in Las Vegas

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