Huawei Ascend W1 review

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

Huawei Ascend W1
The first of the budget Windows Phone 8 handsets

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There's a wide range of reasonably priced Android devices on the market now and Windows Phone 8 has a job on its hands to break the Google dominance in the budget arena, but the Huawei Ascend W1 at least gives it a fighting chance.

The handset packs a decent array of features, and while it's by no means perfect, you could do a lot worse than the Ascend W1.

We liked

It's the battery life on the Ascend W1 which really stole the show for us. We could easily get two days out of it between charges, and in today's world of power-hungry smartphones that's almost unheard of.

The unfussy and easy-to-use Windows Phone platform makes the Ascend W1 an intuitive proposition for anyone looking to take their first steps into smartphones, and the £120 price tag is certainly an attractive one.

A removable battery and microSD slot are welcome additions and while the design isn't exactly blockbuster, the Ascend W1 at least feels relatively sturdy.

We disliked

We did find the Ascend W1 slowing down from time to time, especially if we tried to jump between content-heavy apps too quickly, and the internet browsing experience isn't the best we've had on a budget device - take a look at the Orange San Diego.

The 5MP camera round the back isn't bad for a low-end device, but picture quality left quite a lot to be desired, so don't expect to get fantastic snaps.

We've come to expect free turn-by-turn navigation on our smartphones these days, with even the most budget Android handsets doubling up as sat navs, so it was disappointing to find the option wasn't pre-installed on the Ascend W1 - although a free version (courtesy of Nokia) can be downloaded.


When you consider the Huawei Ascend W1 will set you back just £120 it's difficult to fault, as you're getting a pretty good deal.

The Ascend W1 comes with a strong set of features allowing you to fully use the handset as a mobile phone, internet portal, handheld gaming device and multimedia station.

It may not excel at any of these things, but that's OK. You're not going to buy the Huawei Ascend W1 for power, you're going to buy it for practicality and value for money - and those are the criteria it absolutely wins out on.

John McCann
Global Managing Editor

John joined TechRadar over a decade ago as Staff Writer for Phones, and over the years has built up a vast knowledge of the tech industry. He's interviewed CEOs from some of the world's biggest tech firms, visited their HQs and has appeared on live TV and radio, including Sky News, BBC News, BBC World News, Al Jazeera, LBC and BBC Radio 4. Originally specializing in phones, tablets and wearables, John is now TechRadar's resident automotive expert, reviewing the latest and greatest EVs and PHEVs on the market. John also looks after the day-to-day running of the site.