The Huawei Ascend G6, announced today at Mobile World Congress 2014, arrives at a time when the mid-range is enjoying something of a resurgence. The Motorola Moto G has drawn attention to a section of the smartphone market often considered to be second tier and we're seeing an impressive range of devices offering good performance and good vaule for money, with the Ascend G6 the latest to join this crowd.
The Ascend G6 draws its design inspiration from 2013's P6, a device that was known for it's slim waistline. Pitched as a more affordable device, the G6 loses the premium brushed metal finish of the P6 but gains 4G LTE instead, meaning it will be compatible with the rapidly expanding range of fast data connections, both in the UK and globally.
We like the design and we can't say we're especially perturbed by the expansion to 7.9mm thick: that's only a few mm thicker than the iPhone 5S. The curve of the bottom incorporates the 3.5mm headphone socket and it's a comfortable device to hold.
It doesn't feel quite as impressive as the Ascend P6 and the back cover is rather thin, although once in place, it feels solid enough. You can remove it to insert a microSD card, although you can't replace the battery.
The display is nice and vibrant and at 4.5-inches carries a strictly mid-range 960 x 540 pixel resolution display (245ppi). That's typical of this level of device, but some, like the Moto G, offers a higher 720p resolution, presenting stiff opposition.
There is, however, a 1.2GHz quad-core chipset with 1GB of RAM, meaning that the Ascend G6 should cope with day-to-day tasks with relative ease. The device we were looking at was smooth enough in navigation, but with Huawei telling us it wasn't final software and a limited amount of time, it's difficult to gauge the final performance.
One area where Huawei is looking to impress is with connectivity. You get the normal Wi-Fi, NFC and Bluetooth, but there's also 4G LTE on offer. That's one area where it betters the Moto G and some other mid-range devices with Huawei looking to capitalise on its strength in 4G.
READ: Motorola Moto G review
The phone has an 8-megapixel BSI camera on the back and a generous 5-megapixel on the front. The idea is to give you a better quality selfie, with Huawei positioning the Ascend G6 as a camera for those who want to be social.
As with the Ascend P6, you'll get Huawei's Emotion UI 2.0 skin over the top of Android 4.3 Jelly Bean bringing a wide range of tweaks, including camera functions, with it.
It's a little unfortunate that this handset will launch on an older version of Android, while other devices appear with KitKat, and the likes of the Moto G was quick to upgrade.
We're not totally sold on Emotion UI. There's lot of interesting additions - including the option to switch to the simple user interface - but there's also a fair amount of bloat. We didn't have the time to fully explore everything on the early software build that we played with, but we'll be able to report more when we have a final device in for a full review.
The Huawei Ascend G6 will launch during April, pricing is still to be revealed.
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