Huawei is really hitting its hardware stride, and with the Huawei Ascend P6 it's shown that it can put together a premium-feeling smartphone every inch as special as the major Android players it's out to emulate.

Speaking of inches, the Ascend P6's teeny-tiny waistline is truly a thing to behold - and indeed hold - and actually serves to make it feel like a much smaller phone than its 4.7-inch display would suggest.

Where the phone falls down - and where Huawei really needs to improve if it's to push on and join Samsung, HTC et al in the Android elite - is with the fit and finish of its software. Emotion UI and its attendant apps still feel like a work in progress, though one that's not without promise.

The Chinese firm has also shot itself in the foot somewhat, as the Ascend P2 is very similar in terms of specs, with a slightly better camera and more internal storage, but minus the slender, premium design and microSD slot of the Ascend P6 - this will surely only confuse consumers.

We liked

The Huawei Ascend P6 is a beautifully designed and constructed handset that feels really good in the hand. If you still think of Huawei as churning out cheap and cheerful entry level handsets, this should set you right.

It's also got a truly excellent 4.7-inch LCD display. Yes, it's 'only' 720p, but it's still a crisp and sharp example that makes any media content look great.

And besides, at around £10 a month cheaper than high-end 1080p phones like the Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One, it's going to come into consideration for a lot more people.

Emotion UI does a lot of interesting things, such as dropping the App menu and offering multiple themes.

The 8MP camera is capable of some crisp images given enough light, but the star of the show is the phone's Macro capabilities. This is a potential Instagram star.

We disliked

Emotion UI doesn't quite feel there yet with its somewhat crude icons and clunky stock apps. If Huawei could design software as sharp as its hardware, we'd have an unqualified winner.

Having said that, one or two performance issues with demanding apps and some underwhelming benchmark results suggest internals that aren't quite up to the standard of other quad-core devices.

The 3.5mm headphone jack cover / SIM tray key is a novel touch, but it's just begging to be lost.

While the 5MP front-camera is a point of distinction and a source of decent 'selfies,' we can't help thinking it's a slight gimmick, and that we'd have preferred an even better main camera instead.

The lack of NFC and 4G also sets the Ascned P6 back from the forefront of the mobile market, as missing two of the latest mobile technological breakthroughs won't endear it to the tech-enthused masses.

Verdict

The Huawei Ascend P6 shows that the Chinese manufacturer can really make an impression on the Android market with its stunningly slim - if slightly derivative - design, as well as some quirky features that mark it out as a little bit different.

However, Huawei needs to bring its software design up to the same high standard if it's to truly compete at the very top of the game.

Ultimately, you'll struggle to find an upper-mid-range Android phone anywhere near as well built or as stylish as this, but for a little bit more money you can treat yourself to a truly high-end device.

The Ascend P6 may be Huawei's flagship device, but it's not a smartphone which will find itself at the top of smartphone tree - more playing catch-up to an ever strengthening pack.