Chinese smartphone maker Huawei has announced the world's fastest 4G LTE smartphones. Here's our Huawei Ascend P2 hands-on review.
We'll start straight away by tackling the 'fastest 4G smartphone' claim. Huawei has fitted the Ascend P2 with its own V7 R1 chipset, it's the first smartphone to use a CAT 4 chip for faster speeds. In simple terms is means that it can deliver faster download speeds than existing CAT 3 4G handsets like the iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy S3. See also: Nokia Lumia 720 hands-on review.
The difference is an extra 50 percent, from 100Mbps to 150Mbps. Coming back down to reality, it's important to remember that these are just theoretical maximums and not what you will see day to day. Furthermore, the Ascend P2 needs a 4G network which can deliver these higher speeds.
There are only a few 150Mbps 4G networks around the world and, importantly, in the UK we only have 100Mbps making the faster speeds which the Ascend P2 squandered. We weren't able to test the Huawei on anything other than a 3G network so we can't comment on what speeds it can achieve in real life.
Other than the speedy 4G chipset, the Huawei Ascend P2 is a reasonably nice device. It's certainly thin and light at 8.4mm and 122g. However, it doesn't have anything to make it really stand out from the crowd.
The design is nice but a little on the plastic side of things. The Ascend P2 sits nicely in the hand with its flat back and rounded edges. Overall the look is quite minimalist and the samples we were shown looked good in black and white.
In today's standards, the Ascend P2 sits at the lower end of the high-end smartphone market. It's got a 1.5GHz quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage. As you would expect, performance is slick. The Ascend P2 is running Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and Huawei's Emotion UI.
The camera is the most stand out specification here at 13Mp BSI (back-side illuminated). Test photos look good and the handset offered HDR video capture. The inclusion of a dedicated camera shutter button is always a plus point.
At 4.7in you could say the screen is quite large, but since 5in to 8in phablets are the new thing this year, it's comparatively small. The screen looks decent enough to us with a 720 x 1280 resolution but it's behind the competition; the HTC One and Sony Xperia Z have Full HD displays.
If you like your Android experience nice and vanilla flavoured then the Ascend P2 probably isn't the smartphone for you. Huawei has made some significant changes to the OS with its Emotion UI 1.5. For starters there's no app draw (icon for the app menu) at the bottom of the screen, which is frankly bizarre.
UniHome combines homescreen panels with the main menu and something called Me Widget merges different information and functions into one customisable widget which is quite cool; it's kind of like live tiles on Windows Phone 8.
If you don't like the look of the interface, Huawei has provided more than 100 different themes to choose from. We quite like the vintage theme shown above.
So there you have it, the Huawei Ascend P2 is a nice smartphone but nowhere near as exciting as the competition right now. It looks good, has reasonable spec and its stand out feature is a slightly pointless accolade.
The Huawei Ascend P2 will be launching globally in the second quarter of this year. There's no word on a UK price yet but we estimate it will cost between £350 and £450.