The Ascend D2 is Huawei's new flagship Android phone and we've managed to spend some time with it at this year's CES. The firm has also announced its 6.1in whopper called the Ascend Mate and the Windows Phone 8-powered Ascend W1. See also: CES Unveiled 2013 in pictures.
With its 5in screen, the Ascend D2 is in Samsung Galaxy Note territory but doesn't feel half as cumbersome at a reasonable 9.4mm thick and 170g. The handset will be available in 'crystal blue' and 'pure white'.
Build quality is good with an aluminium frame running around the edge of the Ascend D2 and Huawei claims the handset is water and dust resistant. However, the rest is shiny plastic which isn’t so great. Overall the smartphone feels nice in the hand.
It's the Full HD 1920 x 1080 IPS+ display resolution which is the main attraction here along with a 13Mp rear facing camera. The 5in screen size is a good choice since there is a good amount of real estate for things like films but without the phone becoming too large and tablet like.
The screen is simply stunning with Super Retina quality of 443ppi. The movie trailer we watched on the handset looked incredibly sharp and detailed and the viewing angles are great thanks to the IPS+ screen. With the screen set to full brightness we could see well under the bright show floor lights but we’ve seen brighter handsets.
Powering the Ascend D2 is a 1.5 GHz quad-core Hi-Silicon K3V2 processor backed up by 2GB of RAM. We're looking forward to running some benchmarks at a later date on this smartphone. Storage is fairly decent at 32GB but there is no microSD card slot for expansion. Connectivity includes dual-band Wi-Fi, DLNA, Bluetooth 4.0 but no 4G LTE.
The rear facing camera has a high resolution of 13Mp with auto-focus, LED flash and an HDR mode – it can record, as you would expect, Full HD video footage. As well as the 13Mp rear facing camera there is a front facing webcam rated at 1.3Mp which can shoot video in up to 720p quality. It’s very difficult to test the cameras in trade show conditions but the few test shots we took looked promising.
We were pleased to find the latest version of Android on the Ascend D2, 4.1 Jelly Bean. Huawei has made a few changes to the operating system called Huawei Emotion UI - some of which we like and some of which we don’t. We like the stylish look of the overlay and the fact that you can hide the on-screen buttons from view – swiping up from the bottom of the screen brings them back. We also like the memory usage display at the top of the screen when you open the recent apps menu.
Something we're not so sure on is the removal of the app menu, a big change to make to Android. Instead all of your installed apps must be displayed on the homescreens, either individually or in folders in a very Apple iOS way.'
The Ascend D2 is equipped with a large 3000mAh battery. We obviously couldn't test the battery life in the short time we had with the phone but a Huawei spokesman told us the Ascend D2 should last a couple of days with general use. The Ascend D2 has power saving technology and supposedly charges in 30 percent less time than other smartphones.
At the moment there is no information on when the Ascend D2 will arrive in the UK or how much it will cost but we'll let you know as soon as we find out. It will go on sale in China this month.