Huawei Ascend G6 review

The Ascend G6 focuses on low price, 4G and the selfie

Huawei Ascend G6 review
A 4G handset which doesn't cost the earth

Huawei is now a lot more visible as a mobile phone manufacturer than it was a year ago and, arguably, its ascension really started with last year's Ascend P6.

If the Chinese firm wants to challenge companies like Samsung on an international level then it will need to hit customers at various different levels of cost and performance demands.

That then, is the reason why we have the stripped-down Ascend G6 that offers a solid benchmark of specs and then a couple of extra features like CAT 4 4G and a decent selfie camera to turn our heads when looking for our next mobile.

Unfortunately, it's a real mixed bag as the Ascend G6 has some great qualities like design and performance let down by usability niggles. Even falling back on mid-level credentials is dealt a blow by the presence of the excellent Motorola Moto G in the same price bracket.

We Liked

A clean, unspectacular design helps, rather than hinders in this case. Huawei has clearly taken a lead from Apple and the Ascend G6 benefits as a result. The minimalist chassis is a little Xperia-like and as well as looking good, is also easy to use and comfortable in the hand. It's available in black, white, gold, pink and blue as well, just to add a little choice to the mix.

Likewise, the specifications hold up under pressure and battery life is pretty good for a phone of this price. There isn't the usual boatload of pre-installed apps and the few that Huawei does package up are actually quite useful.

Lastly, it's hard to ignore the current selfie craze and if you're looking for a phone up to the task then this is it. Although I'm not sure there are many of us out there that would buy a mobile phone for the sole reason of taking selfies.

We Disliked

Where design and performance excelled, usability suffered. On more than one occasion I was confronted with a complete signal loss that meant no calling or browsing of any kind. This seemed to go away after a couple of days, but it's still a cause for concern.

Secondly, typing on the Huawei Ascend G6 wasn't a pleasant experience. I don't have particularly large fingers and have spent a lot of time typing on 4.5-inch and 4.7-inch screens, yet this caused me some serious problems. Constant retyping of words because the Ascend G6 hadn't registered the correct key began to get very tiring after a while.

I also feel that the custom UI is a love-it-or-hate-it affair. Some will enjoy the simplicity and friendly look of it, while others will long for the native Android experience.

Final Verdict

Huawei is attacking a crowded marketplace already represented very well by the Motorola Moto G and while the Ascend G6 has got a lot to recommend it, I feel it falls at the last hurdle. Whilst specifications and design are both well represented considering the price, the usability isn't as good here as it is elsewhere.

There are definitely good features to take advantage of and as 4G becomes the standard, the Huawei Ascend G6 is a well-priced entry point. The difficulty is that either side of it are better handsets. If you don't want to spend as much, buy the Motorola Moto G 4G variant instead and, if you can afford a little more, pick up the Google Nexus 5, which offers better value for money.

But this particular handset shouldn't dissuade you from keeping an eye on Huawei in the months to come. The company's flagship models are impressive smartphones and my expectation is that Huawei will raise its game in the future to bring us some truly competitive handsets.

First reviewed: July 2014