Huawei makes a lot of phones for the budget buyer, but with its latest device, the D1 Quad it’s aiming a little higher, producing a mid-range smartphone with its own quad-core chip, $500 price tag, and a little slice of Google’s Ice Cream Sandwich.
Once known for making budget handsets only, Huawei is really beginning to get its hands dirty with regards to developing more than just the cheaper end of smartphones.
We saw a few of the devices last year, and the Ascend D1 Quad, also known as the U9510, is the company’s latest attempt to convince customers that high end can be had for under a grand, with a smartphone that brings similar specs to the what was considered premium last year, but without the same near-thousand-dollar price tag. In fact, the price tag is well under the $1000 mark, fetching a $499 recommended retail price.
Inside, customers will find a quad-core processor built by Huawei clocked at 1.5GHz, sitting alongside 1GB RAM, 8GB storage, and still featuring a microSD slot for expanding the available room inside the handset considerably.
The screen doesn’t fit the same size as other premium handsets from 2012, managing instead 2011’s “big” size of choice, 4.5 inches. That said, the display here is a 720p IPS model (1280×720), and thanks to the resolution and size, manages a pixel per inch value of close to 326ppi, the same as Apple’s iPhone 5 “Retina” display. What this means is that the images should be very clear, and webpage text should be easy to read even without zooming in.
Connections are all fairly standard on this handset, with WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, DLNA, GPS, Bluetooth 3.0 with A2DP, microUSB, and a 3G connection capable of pulling 21Mbps max down and sending 5.76Mbps up.
Also standard is the camera, which is an 8 megapixel rear model capable of capturing 1080p Full HD video, while the front camera is only a 1.3 megapixel with 720p video.
The 1800mAh battery isn’t removable in this handset, as it’s contained in the one piece handset, but the backing case can be taken off, exposing the miniSIM card slot – a regular SIM to most people – as well as the microSD slot on the right.
Like most handsets, there’s less of an emphasis on physical buttons in this handset, with only two here: a power button up top and a volume rocker on the top right side. Soft buttons can still be found at the very bottom, however, with back, home, and menu all supported.
Port selection is also understandably small, with only two: the microUSB found on the left side and the 3.5mm headset jack up top.
Huawei has made quite a name for itself over the past few years, producing many a budget phone, but in 2012, the company has been giving the mid-range a good thwack, producing devices designed to take on flagship handsets from the big boys and offer a real bang for your buck.
In the Ascend D1 Quad, the aim is to show that a quad-core handset needn’t cost an arm and a leg, effectively giving devices like the HTC One X, Samsung Galaxy S3, and Google Nexus 4 a run for their money.
Huawei may not have the same sort of design team as Apple or Samsung, but it’s still giving it the best it can, and for the most part, it feels like an evolution of previous Huawei Ascend models.