Huawei Ascend W1 at a glance:
*Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8230 chipset
*1.2GHz dual-core Krait CPU
*Adreno 305 GPU
*4GB internal storage
*microSD card slot (up to 32GB)
*4-inch IPS-LCD display (480 x 800 resolution; 233ppi pixel density)
*5-megapixel rear camera with LED flash
*VGA front camera
*124.5 x 63.7 x 10.5mm
*Windows Phone 8
Huawei is giving Microsoft a lot of love with the release of the company's first Windows Phone device in the Philippines, the Huawei Ascend W1. And because of the price-conscious nature of the Philippine market, the company offered the phone aggressively at P8,990.
That doesn't mean that the Ascend W1 is full of compromises. In fact, it's arguably the most attractive package Huawei has introduced this year, its operating system notwithstanding.
For starters, the smartphone deviates from Nokia's choice of exterior finish, as seen in the Finns' Lumia series, by skipping the glossy sheen for a matte coating. The Huawei Ascend W1 is still mostly made of plastic, but at least it's not as smudge-prone as other devices. It feels good in the hand, too, given its 10.5mm-thick enclosure and its light weight of 130 grams
There's a slight lip at the bottom of the handset, just beneath the familiar trio of Windows Phone capacitive buttons. It is a nice touch, as it offers a distinct break from the W1's predominantly black front. The rear cover is removable and houses the SIM and microSD card slots, as well as a 1,950mAh battery. The cell should last up to two full days with normal usage.
The back also features a 5-megapixel camera and an LED flash. The sensor delivers photos that have consistent clarity and color accuracy but aren't as sharp as those captured with phones boasting higher optics. As for the VGA secondary camera, it works fine for video chats and selfies despite its relatively low resolution.
Also, it's good to know that the Huawei Ascend W1 is equipped with an aptly placed shutter key, which makes for easier photography.
If we are to harp on anything as far as design decisions go, we'd say it's the use of non-matching paint on the W1's physical side keys. Both power/lock and shutter keys of our unit are silver instead of a matching cyan, and the one on the volume rocker is consistent with the unit's color scheme.
The Huawei Ascend W1 flaunts a 4-inch IPS-LCD display, which delivers rich colors, relatively wide viewing angles, and respectable black levels. Thanks to its average screen size, you'll hardly notice the panel's not-so sharp visuals. Then again, Windows Phone 8's text-heavy overlay doesn't rely too much on eye candy. Not as much as other mobile platforms, anyway.
As far as under-the-hood credentials is concerned, the Ascend W1's 1.2GHz dual-core Krait CPU, which is an ARM-based architecture, takes center stage. It takes care of most of the leg work, but the rest of the silicon is still fairly decent: Adreno 305 graphics; 4GB of built-in storage; and up to 32GB of microSD expansion.
The resulting hardware performance is mostly fluid. Apps fire up within five seconds, and there's very little delay when switching between tasks, navigating the user interface, and generally milling about the menus. Boot-up usually takes 30 seconds, about what we're accustomed to seeing from other flagship products running Microsoft's mobile platform.
But as with all Windows Phone 8 devices with 512MB of RAM, the Huawei Ascend W1's biggest weakness lies in its incompatibility with a good number of highly polished games on Windows Phone Marketplace. Because the ecosystem features so many quality titles requiring 1GB of RAM, you're less likely to shake off that nagging feeling of being shortchanged gaming-wise.
Still, the Huawei Ascend W1 comes out looking comparably good in almost every criteria. It's a lovely Windows Phone 8 entry at just P8,990, and all things considered, it should be one of your top choices when deciding which budget smartphone to buy.
*Affordable (most Windows Phone devices cost more than P10,000)
*Not as smudge-prone as other handsets
*Relatively long battery life
*Aptly placed shutter key
*MicroSD card slot, which is non-existent on most Windows Phone 8 devices
*Photos taken with its cameras are not sharp
*Incompatible with highly polished games on Windows Phone Marketplace because of its 512MB RAM (same problem as handsets like the Nokia Lumia 720)