Huawei’s $499 Ascend D1 quad-core phone reviewed

Neither a good or bad thing – it’s just a thing – this handset takes the same type of SIM your phone has been using for years. We call it a regular SIM, but it’s a miniSIM, and neither the microSIM used in the Samsung Galaxy S3 and Apple iPhone 4/4S, nor the nanoSIM used in the Apple iPhone 5 are compatible in this phone without a converter, which isn’t included.

The inclusion of the regular SIM card slot doesn’t surprise us, mind you, as generally inexpensive and budget-y phones tend to have it, as it makes jumping from the older generation of handsets just hat much easier, since you don’t need to get your current SIM cut down to size.

Still, worth noting, since iPhone 4 users thinking of switching – maybe a customer with a Nokia N9 – can’t make the jump as quickly and will need to arm themselves with a SIM converter.

Those thinking of making the jump to the Huawei D1 might want to know a few things, as there are some issues that let it down just a bit.

For one, the camera quality doesn’t seem to be very impressive at all. We’re not quite sure what’s holding this one back, but images often seem soft, and some of them even had obvious artefacting, as if the sensor didn’t quite know what to do with the colours and scenes being thrown at it.

Connection speeds weren’t impressive either, and we struggled to find a download speed higher than 6-8Mbps. While the spec list does include a 21Mbps capable modem, we certainly didn’t manage to find any speeds throughout our work week that pushed even the high end of this spectrum.

We’re also not huge fans of the on-screen keyboard Huawei has thrown into the D1 Quad, with this white and blue type that’s nowhere near as easy on the eyes as the official Google one, and doesn’t seem quite as easy to type with.

Mind you, this issue can be easily fixed with a different downloadable keyboard, or even switching back to Google’s own stock keyboard that is, of course, included.

Huawei's choice of on-screen keyboard isn't the most attractive or usable one out there, but you can easily switch to any of the other keyboards available on the Google Play store.


Huawei’s first attempt at a quad-core phone is a pretty successful one, creating a phone that has more positive points than negative ones, and provides competition for Google’s own Nexus 4.

While the camera isn’t fantastic and the keyboard isn’t the most aesthetically pleasing thing, almost every other part of this handset is worth checking out, and managing more than a day of battery life in a quad-core smartphone is a fantastic effort.

If you don’t need insanely impressiv download speeds and aren’t planning on spending more than $500, we’d certainly check out the Huawei Ascend D1 Quad. Recommended.



Value for money
Reader Rating0 Votes
Great price for the specs; Excellent processor performance; A quad-core phone with battery life that goes beyond a day; Reasonably up-to-date incarnation of Android;
Camera quality is pretty poor; Download speeds aren't high;