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World’s thinnest phone: Huawei’s Ascend P6 reviewed

By Leigh D. Stark | 4:02 pm 12/07/2013

Announced to the world in June, Huawei is turning heads with a smartphone that measures merely 6.18mm thick, something that no other manufacturer has been able to get their devices down to. But is the world’s thinnest smartphone also one of the world’s best?

Features

Huawei has been making waves in Australia for the past couple of years, mostly with smartphones at prices that don’t impact the wallet dramatically.

In the past year, however, the company has been trying to come up with smartphones that excel in one area, competing with flagship devices from top-tier brands, but without as much money needing to be spent on the products.

Already this year, we’ve seen a $499 4G phone and a $429 phablet, and in the latest release for Huawei, we’re seeing a super-thin 3G phone coming in for close to the $500 price point.

So what does $500 – sorry, $499 – get you in the Huawei Ascend P6?

First there’s the body, one of the more notable parts of the Ascend. When it was first announced, it was called the thinnest smartphone yet.

A month or so later, that’s still the case, with a thickness – or thinness, you could say – of 6.18mm. The casing is comprised of aluminium and glass, moving away from the plastic commonly used on Huawei’s devices, with a weight of 120 grams.

Like most smartphones, the front of the P6 is mostly glass, covering a 4.7 inch touchscreen running the high-definition resolution of 1280×720, and supporting a pixel aspect ratio of 312 pixels per inch, a little below that of the Apple iPhone 5.

Under the hood, it’s a list of parts that appears to be pretty consistent across Huawei’s other devices, including the brand’s homegrown quad-core processor, clocked at 1.5GHz, working alongside 2GB RAM. Storage is set to 8GB, though a microSD slot is included.

Android 4.2.2 “Jelly Bean” is here as the main operating system, though with the most recent version of Huawei’s Emotion UI (1.6) running as the Android overlay, flattening the multiple menu system Google’s Android normally comes with and showing a screen-to-screen design that will likely remind people of Apple iOS.

Connectivity in the Ascend P6 is limited to 3G mobile connection – sorry, no 4G LTE here – though WiFi works across 802.11 b/g/n, with Bluetooth 3.0 included also. A GPS link is also included, but there is no Near-Field Communication in this handset.

Multimedia is taken care of with a rear 8 megapixel camera with flash for stills and 1080p Full HD video, while the front is a 5 megapixel shooter capable of capturing 720p HD videos.

All of this relies on a 2000mAh battery that cannot be removed and charges over the international standard that is microUSB.

Modern smartphones tend to come with the bare necessities for buttons, and the Huawei Ascend P6 is no different in this regard, featuring only a power button and volume rocker on the right side, just above the microSIM and microSD slots, both of which require a pin to be inserted in order to access.

A pin for this purpose does come with the handset, an interesting feature that by default is a covering for the 3.5mm headset jack located on the left side.

The microUSB port, meanwhile, sits at the very top of the handset.

The pin can be left as a 3.5mm headphone covering, or taken out to help you remove the microSD and microSIM trays.

Performance

Like many people, we love to be surprised, and several weeks ago when Huawei announced to the world that it had made the world’s slimmest handset, we were surprised.

Surprised and intrigued, though, as Huawei has certainly proved to us before that the brand has what it takes to make quality, so we were keen to see if this phone could be one that we would want to own.

Looking at the handset, it’s hard not to see the inspiration from Apple.

Regardless of what team designed this at Huawei, there is an obvious nod to the iPhone, noticeable in the brushed aluminium frame, the cut black lines in that frame along the top, the camera position on the back, and the Emotion interface Huawei has built which relies on pages of icons similar to the iPhone.

The sides are very reminiscent of Apple's iPhone 4 and 4S.

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Price (RRP)

$499

Pros & Cons

Product Pros

The thinnest phone to date; Feels great in the hands and the pocket; Five megapixel front-facing camera will be liked by those who love taking selfies; Sound quality over headphones is impressive;

Product Cons

Needs more storage; Battery life is only a day; No 4G; No NFC; Included virtual keyboard could be better; 3.5mm headset jack on the side could pose problems for headphone jacks later on;

Ratings

Overall

Features

Value for money

Performance

Ease of Use

Design

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