Huawei Ascend P1 review: Up and comer

GSMArena team, 25 June 2012.
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ICS phonebook

Many of the native apps on the Huawei Ascend P1 come straight from Ice Cream Sandwich. The phonebook is just our first stop - it's made up of three tabs that you can switch between with sideways swipes.

The one in the middle is the default tab, listing all contacts. Contacts are displayed with a name and a picture to the right. They can be sorted by first or last name and displayed with the first or last name first.

There's a permanent scroll bar available that you can grab and drag to jump straight to contacts starting with a certain letter. There's a regular search too.

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The new phonebook • Alphabet scroll • Searching for a contact

Tapping on the contact image now brings up a tabbed popup. The tabs are phone and email with a list of the available numbers/addresses. These tabs can be navigated with sideways swipes too.

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Quick contacts have a new, tabbed design

The single contact view displays the contacts name along with a star to favorite a contact and a Settings button that lets you edit, share or delete a contact as well assign custom ringtones to them or set the phone to redirect calls from that contact straight to voice mail.

Underneath is a list of all contact info sorted by category: phone numbers, emails, events, notes and so on.

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Viewing a single contact

While editing a contact, you can add new fields of different types to fill in more contact details. You can link contacts too, if you've added the same person on multiple services.

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Editing a contact • Joining contacts • Adding an extra field

The contacts that the phonebook displays can be filtered by service (e.g. hide all Facebook contacts) and even filtered by the group they are in or not it (so you can hide all contacts not in a group, for example).

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Choosing which contacts appear in the phonebook

Anyway, the other two tabs in the phonebook are Groups and Favorites. Groups are listed by service (e.g. your Gmail account), while favorites are a listed as a grid of large contact photos, which is really thumbable.

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Groups • Favorites

Telephony

The in-call sound was good and loud and we had no issues with reception. The Huawei Ascend P1 features a secondary microphone for active noise cancellation.

The dialer has the neon-blue on black theme from ICS, but it does have some nice extra functionality - like smart dialing, for example.

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No smart dialing available

The dialer is just the first tab of the phone app, the other two being the Call log and the Favorites tab (the same you get in the Phonebook). In the Call log, you can't delete individual entries, which was mildly annoying.

We put the Ascend P1 through our traditional loudspeaker test and it mananaged an Average score. You can find out more about the test here.

Speakerphone testVoice, dBPink noise/ Music, dBRinging phone, dBOveral score
Samsung Galaxy Nexus66.260.569.0Below Average
Nokia Lumia 800 60.959.061.7Below Average
HTC One V66.9 65.367.7Below Average
Apple iPhone 4S65.8 64.574.6Average
Huawei Ascend P165.864.776.0Average
Sony Xperia S72.7 61.869.6Average
HTC One S65.1 64.676.7Average
Huawei Honour U866071.2 68.675.7Good
Motorola RAZR XT91074.766.682.1Very Good
HTC Desire76.675.784.6Excellent

Messaging covers all bases

The messaging section is business as usual. All SMS/MMS communication is organized into threads - each thread consists of all messages between you and one of your contacts. A cool new feature is that you can mass-delete multiple threads.

Each thread is organized like an IM chat session, the latest message at the bottom. You can manage individual messages (forward, copy, delete) and even lock them (to prevent deletion). You can use search to find a specific message in all conversations.

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Viewing all threads • Quick contacts are available here too • Batch delete • Viewing a single thread

You can set the Ascend P1 to delete older messages (by default, it keeps 200 texts and 20 MMS per conversation). You can activate delivery reports, as well as read reports.

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Options for a specific message • Attaching multimedia • Settings

Composing a text is a little frustrating as the text box starts off as a single line and grows up to three lines only, which makes working with longer texts hard. We usually let it slide on previous versions, but with a 4.3" screen there's no excuse not to make the text box bigger.

You can add multimedia (photos, videos, sounds, etc.), which will convert the message to an MMS. If you need multiple slides or multiple attachments, you can go to a full-blown MMS editor as well.

Moving on to email, the Gmail app has grown handy shortcuts at the bottom of the screen but is mostly unchanged. It supports batch operations, which allow multiple emails to be archived, labeled or deleted. The default app supports multiple Gmail accounts, but there's no unified inbox.

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Gmail app supports batch operations and multiple (Gmail) accounts

A cool new feature in Gmail is that you can swipe left or right to move between messages in your inbox.

The shortcuts at the bottom of the screen are new email, search, labels, refresh and settings.

There is also a generic email app for all your other email accounts and it can handle multiple POP or IMAP inboxes. You have access to the messages in the original folders that are created online, side by side with the standard local ones such as inbox, drafts and sent items.

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The generic email client doubles a lot of the functionality of the Gmail app but has combined inbox

Unlike its Gmail counterpart, this app supports a combined inbox view. It color codes the inboxes so you can easily tell where each message came from. Unfortunately, there's no moving between messages with sideways swipes here.

Google Talk handles the Instant Messaging department. The GTalk network is compatible with a variety of popular clients like Pidgin, Kopete, iChat and Ovi Contacts.

The keyboard has seen some tweaks and is quite comfortable to type on. You can switch to the default Android keyboard if you prefer, but the Huawei one is bigger, making it easier to type.

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The virtual QWERTY keyboard on the Huawei Ascend P1

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