back to article Huawei Ascend P6: Skinny smartphone that's not just bare bones

Just who the heck does Huawei think it is? Surely it is the purveyor of budget Android tat and carrier-branded dreck? I’m loathe to use the word "landfill" because some of its newer cheap handsets, like the 4.5-inch Ascend GS510, aren’t actually that bad and I’d certainly take one in preference to an appless, gutless, webcam- …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The important bit.

    Underneath the Huawei overlay...

    So, ships with crapware ridden non-stock OS that's never likely to get patched.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. LarsG
      Meh

      Just like certain car brands

      Kia and Hyundai make pretty reasonable cars and offer them with huge mileage warranties but still people opt for better know brands eventhough the product is not as good.

      This is a good start for the phone maker and I am sure it will get better, but it's not quite the bragging brand people need.

    3. Darkimmortal

      Re: The important bit.

      From experience with the ascend g300, huawei's software engineers are seemingly far more competent than those of e.g. samsung. Updates notwithstanding, they ship a good ROM with intelligent minor changes.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The important bit.

        My direct experience with Samsung engineers (i.e. working with them at SS) makes me think they are all much of a muchness.....it's all timescales, and no time to do a good job.

        As always, there are good and bad engineers. But even a good engineer wilts under ridiculous timescales.

  2. Khaptain

    The Brand Name (vocalisation)

    There is something about the name "Huawei" that just immediately puts me of buying their kit.

    Sony, Apple, Microsoft, Google, Samsung, Bang and Olufsen, those names sound OK but "Huawei" just doesn't cut the cheese.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The Brand Name (vocalisation)

      Reminds me of that joke about the tribe of pygmies called the Fugawei

      Irritating served stone cold, congealed and swimming in lashings of crass.

      Pity. Top kit apart from the cringe-inducing name.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The Brand Name (vocalisation)

      When you pronounce it correctly, it's perhaps worse...

    3. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

      The real Jesus phone

      Just remember, it rhymes with Yahweh.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: The real Jesus phone

        "Hua" as in "chihuahua"

    4. Chika
      Happy

      Re: The Brand Name (vocalisation)

      "Cut the cheese"? I've been using one of Huawei's earlier offerings, the Ascend G330, for a while now and though I can't really say that it's fantastic, neither would I ever say that it has ever farted! I hope that this isn't going to be a new Android feature...

      To be honest, though, I get nervous of any phone that stops you from replacing certain vital components such as the battery. That said, it looks promising, though I prefer a phone that sits well in your hand, so the slimness is only going to be any good if it allows for this.

    5. AceRimmer

      Re: The Brand Name (vocalisation)

      Their name does sound like they have serious identity issues "Who are we?"

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The Brand Name (vocalisation)

        >Their name does sound like they have serious identity issues "Who are we?"

        Apparently that's not how you're supposed to say it.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KGAqvpYLiGw

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The Brand Name (vocalisation)

      Makes me think of "Who are we".

      Answer "Nobody".

  3. pompurin

    Android Cheapos

    If you're really looking for a stonkingly good deal and don't feel brandwashed (I've coined that) try one of the Generic Android phones available from China. Anything based on the MTK6589 or MTK6589T is pretty decent and available SIM-Free for less than £200 delivered. Some smaller phones are available at around the £100 mark. Most are available with Dual-SIM as well, very handy for those with Mistresses. Rooting is trivial on all of them. The only problem I've had is some Chinese Crapware which might scare off the Tin Foil Hatteries, a simple remove sorted that out.

    The usual caveats apply when buying direct from China, but I've had reasonable success.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Android Cheapos

      The entrenched mega-corps and their propaganda outlets have branded those "landfil" and informed us not to use them.

      Please make your way to room 101 immediately.

      Full marks for "brandwashed." Brand replacing brain... shirely not!

    2. Dumb Techie
      Unhappy

      Re: Android Cheapos

      I took a chance and splashed out on a MTK6589 based phone via a supplier on Aliexpress with some history and OK feedback. It was pretty good for the £200 delivered but it died after 3 months and of course came without any enforceable guarantee. It died after 4 hours of using it in my air conditioned car as a gps and Bluetooth media server at the same time. It wasn't noticeably warm when it keeled over. So if you buy one check out the warranty support first. Also they didn't include a compass in the standard design which was a loss for me. I'm now back on my Galaxy S which although old and slow and can lock up if it gets too warm, still works well once allowed to cool down a bit!

    3. Ian McNee
      Go

      Re: Android Cheapos

      SIM-free Nexus 4 8GB for a hundred and sixty notes anyone? Now that's about the best Android Cheapo you'll get this side of Xmas. Possibly even Xmas 2014!

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Android Cheapos

      I agree. I've a Star 6 inch phone with a 13mp camera and it cost less than $200 delivered. It too comes with some free chinese porno sites crapware, which I ignore, I have found mine to be reliable so far(4 months), no crashes. The replaceable battery is 3500mAHr and can be charged with a Samsung mains operated dedicated £4 battery charger. The only problems are a lousy (by my standards) email program and the camera app doesn't allow you to directly email a picture after taking it. The wifi analyser app works brilliantly and helps to solve my contention problems.

      It is far better on wifi than her mini ipad which also regularly loses emails.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What all this proves is that you can’t get a £550 phone for £350

    Yes you can, can can get one for £239 even...

    https://play.google.com/store/devices/details/Nexus_4_8GB?id=nexus_4_8gb&hl=en_GB

    I would easilly take the Nexus 4 over any Samsung galaxy or iPhone.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What all this proves is that you can’t get a £550 phone for £350

      With no SD slot and (possibly deliberately) crippled OTG?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What all this proves is that you can’t get a £550 phone for £350

        And a glass back and a tendency to get rather hot. There are a number of Android phones that come with a built in handwarmer.

        1. DrXym Silver badge

          Re: What all this proves is that you can’t get a £550 phone for £350

          I like my Nexus 4 and for the price, it's an excellent handset with a bright, large, high density screen, a very fast CPU and a decent form factor. It does have an eerie ability to glide off tables though.

          1. PaulR79

            Nexus 4 - made of super slippery material!

            I remember a commenter on here a while back that made a fantastic note to congratulate LG on creating a phone made of a material capable of slipping on any surface. It still amazes me quite how able it is to slide on any surface you can throw it at (sic).

      2. Mark .

        Re: What all this proves is that you can’t get a £550 phone for £350

        An iphone has SD card and OTG?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: What all this proves is that you can’t get a £550 phone for £350

          No, but iPhone is 16, 32 or 64GB.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What all this proves is that you can’t get a £550 phone for £350

      8GB with no expandability? good luck with that.

      Even 16GB is a pain in the butt on the Galaxy S4.

      The 8GB model is just a headline grabber, they seriously don't expect anyone but total cheapskates to buy it.

      No 4G either.

      1. Barry Rueger

        Re: What all this proves is that you can’t get a £550 phone for £350

        I've long wondered what on earth people need so much storage for on a phone? Surely just music?? Ten thousand albums downloaded from Pirate Bay? Every picture ever taken?? Movies??

        My two year old Nexus S still has 10 gigs free of 14, and I don't worry about managing what's on it. I'll copy off the photos every couple of weeks, but that's it.

        Truth is that probably two thirds of people exist quite happily with 8 or 16 gigs on a phone.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: What all this proves is that you can’t get a £550 phone for £350

          @ Barry Rueger "I've long wondered what on earth people need so much storage for on a phone? Surely just music??"

          My hobby is dancing and I attend lots of classes and workshops. At these events the teachers will often recap their class and so I often shoot lots of 1080p video with my phone (an S3) and the 64GB microSD is extremely handy for this. When I have a spare moment and nothing better to do (like on a plane flight), I've often done a bit of dancer's "homework" by reviewing the videos I've taken and they're an excellent aide memoire.

          I couldn't cope with a phone that has only 16GB of storage. My phone is a data storage device, video camera and music storing device (I've even DJ'd using it).

          Flash RAM storage is relatively cheap, so why can't they just bung some more in? I guess it's a cost saving exercise...

  5. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  6. Chairo

    Nice phone, but their update history sucks

    If their support for the P6 is any similar to the support they gave to their earlier flagship phone, the "Honor 2" aka "G615", don't expect too much in terms of OS updates. The Honor 2 shipped in March with near stock ICS and a promised update to 4.1 - for March. The update came 3 months late, that would have still been fine, if not for the fact that it was so buggy, it was virtually unusable.

    Best was how this was fixed - they just offered a downgrade to ICS.

    Of course installing the update completely wipes the phone, as does the downgrade. All in all a big loss of time for no good reason.

    As for their "emotion UI" - at least the one they included in their ill fated Jelly Bean update for the Honor 2, they did not bundle any crapware with it. (If you don't count their UI as crapware, of course).

    Pity Huawei didn't learn from the mistakes of their competitors.

  7. Antonymous Coward
    Headmaster

    I’m loathe to...

    I’m loath to... (adjective. syn.: reluctant)

    or perhaps

    I’d loathe to... (verb. syn.: hate)

    but not "I’m loathe to..."

    Quality journalism dead? Nah... it's just resting after an extremely long squawk. As, now, am I.

    http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/loath?q=loath

    1. Neil Greatorex
      Headmaster

      Re: I’m loathe to...

      "and if you buy one outright for £340 you'll save several hundred knicker."

      Nicker = Slang for a pound Sterling.

      Knicker = What a lady wears. Unless, of course, she's wearing a fur coat.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hah hah hah. I picked up a lumia 925 for 240 quid last week, off contract. Why on gods earth would i want to pay 340 for a tatty phone running a virus fest of an operating system that reports every detail of my private life back to creepy google plus probably the creepy Chinese government too? If you have any sense of personal dignity (or infact, any sense at all) you will not buy this product.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Huh

      As opposed to Microsoft, who were one of the first tech companies to sign up to the NSA and have backdoored Skype, Skydrive etc. Have you even read the recent article about Win 8 and TPM ? At least Android can be rooted, unwanted apps removed and pretty much everything controlled by firewalls and the likes of XPrivacy and LBE Security.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Huh

        "At least Android can be rooted, unwanted apps removed and pretty much everything controlled by firewalls and the likes of XPrivacy and LBE Security."

        While you are right to worry about your phone, your cellco will be more than happy to pass on what you're up to. Using Android is not the same as living off grid.

    2. Antonymous Coward
      FAIL

      >"creepy google plus probably the creepy Chinese government"

      Gosh, what a lot of creepy. Creepier than RICHTO (Vogon) posting creepy M$ creepy propaganda from behind the creepy mask of cowardice? Methinks not.

      >"If you have any sense of personal dignity..."

      Was that another sarcastic M$ in-joke? Like "trusted computing" and "windows defender" and "secure boot" and so on...

      1. Sandtitz Silver badge

        @AC re:secure boot

        Secure Boot has thus far been secure and hasn't been compromised as of yet.

        Please explain your idea of "sarcastic MS in-joke"

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Is he for real?

      I would choose a 3 year old HTC Wildfire over a Lumia...

    4. Mick Stranahan
      Happy

      Good deal.

      An unlocked Lumia 925 for £240? That is exceptional value. Care to share the name of the vendor?

  9. M Gale

    Hang on, what?

    "and if you buy one outright for £340 you'll save several hundred knicker"

    On what planet is £340 "cheap"? Planet Beckham?

    This is mid-range at least. I'd expect it to be good.

    1. Arctic fox
      Thumb Up

      @M Gale Re: Hang on, what?

      I agree, at that price point I would describe it as upper mid-range at least. One can after all get a GS4 for about £450 and that is about the highest end conventional* Android phone currently available. A phone that costs a touch over three quarters of the latest Galaxy S is scarcely cheap. I would however slightly rephrase your comment by saying that as far as I am concerned, at that price "it better be good"!

      *To distinguish the slot the GS4 occupies from the current crop of FEMPs. (Fucking Enormous Mobile Phones).

    2. Mark .

      Re: Hang on, what?

      Quite - and the Lumia 520 the article compares it to as being better is £80 on PAYG, hardly comparable to a £340 phone! There are far cheaper Android phones also, I wouldn't put this one in that category.

      For other comparisons made, I'm not sure I'd miss a webcam in an £80 phone. I've not used a phone for video calling since they started appearing in even feature phones 8 or more years ago. I'm not sure many people use this, outside of Apple-product-placement-ads in TV trying to make it appear that people actually use it...

      Then the article jumps to listing the iphone 5 as one of the top line of phones, without mention of it being a "small-screen" iphone 5... (not to mention the still on sale iphone 4S and 4 - at much higher prices than a Lumia 520 - are even smaller displays).

      1. Terry Barnes

        Re: Hang on, what?

        I bought a Lumia 820 recently - it's undoubtedly the best phone I've ever had.

        I even like Windows Phone - it remembers that the device is primarily a phone. Tiles look more modern than the icons on other platforms, in my opinion, and seem better suited to touch operation.

        For the price of the phone in the review, a valid comparison is much higher up the model range than the 520.

        1. M Gale

          Re: Hang on, what?

          Tiles look more modern than the icons on other platforms, in my opinion, and seem better suited to touch operation.

          I d'no, I already have Launcher 7 Donate edition for Android, and I found myself going back to Nova or the default launcher. "Modern" is in the eye of the beholder, and flat squares remind me more of the 1980s than the 2010s.

          What would be nice is if Microsoft remembered that a desktop computer isn't a phone.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    BB Q10

    Personally I rate the construction of the Q10 over the iPhone.

    I think the 5MPx front camera may reflect the passion of Chinese tourists for photographing themselves in front of foreign artefacts, to prove they were there, rather than any desire to relay genital shots with high resolution. At least, I hope so.

  11. thechanklybore

    Huawei Sunspider

    I've got a Huawei Honor 2 (U9508) which has exactly the same chipset (and screen).

    I'm running Emotion UI on Android 4.1.2, but I get 1,436ms in Sunspider. Seems they've gone backwards with the software then.

    All told though, the U9508 is an utterly excellent phone for the dollars, and I really can't understand people's reluctance to buy Huawei. They're all made by Foxconn, morons.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Huawei Sunspider

      The review mentions that early samples tended to overheat, so I'm inclined to think there's some thermal throttling behind the difference. Probably has little to no effect except when the thing's working flat out running some crappy synthetic "benchmark".

  12. DrXym Silver badge

    Nice hardware, shame about the software

    I bought a G510 for the wife and the launcher is execrable. The desktop and the apps list is one and the same. It means if you install a new app, its icon is plonked god knows where, and no sort order is maintained making it impossible to find any apps after a while.

    Fortunately android allows the launcher to be replaced to something more resembling the default (Go or Nova Launchers are good replacements) but this crapware (and other stuff like Facebook) is baked in and there is nothing short of rooting that will remove it.

    I would dearly love to know why phone makers do this. The default launcher is perfectly functional and easy to use. Why bother writing a new one that is frustrating and removes important functional and spatial utility?

    There is nothing wrong with the hardware. Indeed the hardware and the price point is great. But the insanity that is the software would mean I couldn't recommend this brand to anybody.

  13. Alan Brown Silver badge

    USB port location

    "Huawei has put the P6’s micro USB port on the top "

    Which is good if you want to use the phone while it's on a charger.

    Alternatively if android had an "upsdie down" portrait mode I'd be happier. Those microusb connectors are fragile.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nexus 4 now £159/£199

    For people that embrace the cloud, you would be nuts to pick this over a N4...

    1. PaulR79
      Thumb Up

      Re: Nexus 4 now £159/£199

      Both represent fantastic value for money. I often look at those demanding (for their use) massive storage and / or an SD card slot and wonder why they need so much but in the case of the Nexus 4 I would advise strongly going for the 16GB version only. I have the 8GB version and rarely use it for music yet with less than 1GB of music, my normal apps and photos taken I have very little space left.

      Advertising it as 8GB would be fine if it came with 8GB usable but it doesn't. You will never have 8GB or even 7.6GB~ once you take into account what the system uses on its own. Realistically you have around 5GB for all your storage needs and even with cloud storage that will go far faster than you may think. Still, at £159 the phone cannot be beaten on value and I thought it was a great deal at £249!

  15. cpng

    It's not upside down

    If you stick your hand in your pocket, the wrist will be at the top. So if you pull out a phone, you'll be holding the edge that was top in the pocket near your wrist. In other words, you'll put the phone into your pocket upside down and hence a headphone socket at the bottom is perfectly reasonable. In fact, it always bugs me that my phone's is at the top.

    1. Andalou

      Re: It's not upside down

      That is not the issue mentioned in this review - I agree a headphone socket on the bottom can be preferable. With this phone the socket is on the side - so phone may not slide out cleanly, particularly if your headphones don't have an L-shaped connector.

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