Huawei Ascend W1 review

Who's ready for a cheap Windows Phone 8 thrill?

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As we've already mentioned the Huawei Ascend W1 is the first handset out of the Chinese firm to run Microsoft's new Windows Phone 8 operating system.

Huawei Ascend W1 review

Huawei has equipped the Ascend W1 with a 1.2GHz dual-core processor and 512MB of RAM to run the Windows Phone show, which isn't too shabby for a handset costing a touch over £100.

The 4-inch display may only boast a 480 x 800 resolution, but Windows Phone 8 still looks pretty good with the blocky live tiles and formulaic design far better suited to lower quality screens than Android or iOS.

General navigation is pretty slick with the dual-core processor inside the W1 making light work of WP8, allowing us to glide through our live tiles and the app list.

We were able to jump in and out of most apps quickly and the user experience is further enhanced by the simple, intuitive design of Windows Phone.

Huawei Ascend W1 review

When things become a little more demanding the Ascend W1 does struggle at times, with graphically intensive apps seeing load times increase by several seconds.

If you jump in and out of apps at a high frequency, the W1 can become a little confused as it tries to keep pace, meaning you'll need to wait a few seconds for it to catch up - although this didn't happen particularly often.

You're greeted with the lock screen first. A simple slide up allows you access to your homescreen, but there's more than that to see here.

Along the base of the screen you'll notice a range of notification icons, giving you a quick overview of the number of new messages/missed calls you have.

Huawei Ascend W1 review

You can also link the homescreen background up to Facebook, allowing it to display various images from your gallery, which is a nice touch - plus it can also show your next calendar appointment or text from your latest email.

The live tiles on the homescreen provide a basic, yet informative overview of the key areas on the handset, including messages, calls, emails and calendar appointments, and they can be moved around, resized and removed with ease by holding down on them.

Slide from right to left and you'll enter the vertical app list with all the programs appearing in alphabetical order - making it an easy and fuss-free way to browse your applications.

Hold down on an app and you can pin it to the start menu as a tile, or uninstall it if you no longer require it on your phone.

Huawei Ascend W1 review

One of our pet hates when it comes to Windows Phone is the way it displays (or more accurately the way it doesn't display) key information such as battery life, Wi-Fi connection and mobile signal by default.

Microsoft tells us it hides this information to allow you to make use of the whole screen, but we honestly wouldn't miss five pixels at the top of the display, plus it's frustrating when you can't view these details at all in some applications.

Take Facebook for example. If it suddenly stops working, you want to see if you still have signal or a steady Wi-Fi connection, but you have to leave the app to find this out - and that's a real pain.

The touch buttons below the screen - back, home and search - weren't always the most responsive, sometimes requiring two or three attempts before they registered our pokes.


Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
Input MethodTouchscreen
Wireless LANYes
Contract TypeSIM-free
Maximum Memory Card Size Supported32 GB
Built-in Memory4 GB
Built-in FlashYes
Memory Card SlotYes
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyEDGE, GPRS, HSDPA, HSUPA, UMTS
GPS ReceiverYes
Multi-SIM SupportedNo
Near Field CommunicationNo
Integrated TV TunerNo
Product FamilyAscend W1
Cellular Generation3G
Cellular Network SupportedGSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900, WCDMA 900, WCDMA 2100
Multi-touch ScreenYes
Rear Camera Resolution5 Megapixel
Number of SIM Card Supported1
Front CameraYes
Memory Card SupportedmicroSD
Phone StyleBar
Operating SystemWindows Mobile
Brand NameHuawei
Battery Talk Time10.50 Hour
Screen Size10.2 cm (4")
Screen Resolution800 x 480
Touchscreen TypeCapacitive
Weight (Approximate)130 g
Processor CoreDual-core (2 Core)
Maximum Video Resolution1280 x 720
Processor ManufacturerQualcomm
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11b/g/n
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 2.1
Operating System VersionWindows Phone 8
Messaging TypeSMS (Short Message Service), MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service), Email
USB StandardUSB 2.0
Pixel Density233 ppi
Front Camera Resolution300 Kilopixel
Height124.5 mm
Width63.5 mm
Depth10.2 mm
Radio TunerNo
Battery Standby Time470 Hour
ManufacturerHuawei Technologies Co., Ltd
Product NameAscend W1 Smartphone
Processor Speed1.20 GHz
Processor TypeSnapdragon S4
Product LineAscend W1
Screen TypeLCD
Sensor TypeAccelerometer, Proximity Sensor
Manufacturer Part Number51054944
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

Long and Lasting

The Huawei Ascend W1 was designed to outlast and outperform. Our 4-inch screen benefits from our unique power saving technology that saves 30% power consumption. A high capacity 1950mAh battery keeps you charged up through days of staying in touch, staying informed, and staying entertained.

Power from within

Breath-taking speed from Qualcomm's Krait structured MSM823 dual core CPU with 1.2GHz achievable frequency; Jaw-dropping graphics with built-in Adreno 305 graphics processor, with 400MHz achievable frequency; download speed up to HSPA+ 21Mbps. Thanks to the 28nm processor, you'll enjoy videos and gaming at their best. All the fun and convenience of Windows Phone 8 comes together here, at an outstanding price too.