Huawei Ascend G6 review
The budget smartphone that punches well above its weight
- Great software
- No app drawer
The Ascend G6 will be the smartphone of choice for people interested in a good looking smartphone equipped with a strong front camera. Few products balance software, style and value-for-money so effortlessly, and Huawei has managed to pull off this trick for $329.
Price$ 329.00 (AUD)
World number 3 smartphone brand Huawei is looking to command the budget smartphone market with the Ascend G6, a quad-core flagship slayer that has a low $329 price.
Huawei has given the Ascend G6 broad appeal by keeping its styling simple. Flat surfaces are covered uniformly in black, with only a glazed silver border breaking the monotony. Imbuing the G6 with individual character is a base that curves from the front to the back.
The weight puts the Ascend G6 on par with Apple’s famed iPhone 5S
A little attention to detail has gone a long way with the Ascend G6. Volume rockers and the power buttons are dressed in a fine texture. Then there’s the placement of the 3.5mm auxiliary port. It rests alongside the curving base; plug headphones in and they look like an extension of the phone. Some will find the placement convenient, as we did; others, not so much.
What’s really impressive is the way Huawei has been minimalistic about the size. The smartphone is a whisker thinner than 8mm, and it weighs an astonishingly light 114 grams. Rarely do we make comparisons between budget smartphones and a smartphone as seasoned as the iPhone, but the weight puts the Ascend G6 on par with Apple’s famed iPhone 5S. Compare it to a Samsung, HTC or Sony flagship and the Huawei looks like a featherweight.
4.5in screen, Ripe hardware
“Less is more” is the sense gained from a fortnight of use with the Huawei Ascend G6. The Android smartphone has 4.5in, 960x540 resolution screen. The culminating 245 pixel-per-inch density is enough to make watching videos a joy, while the use of an IPS panel gives the G6 a wide 178 degree range from which content is legible.
The Ascend G6’s display is second in its category only to the Motorola Moto G. Make no mistake: it is a compelling proposition.
Using this smartphone reminds you how fun the basics can be when done right
Beneath the screen is a 1.2GHz quadcore CPU from Qualcomm, 1GB of RAM and a 4G LTE modem. Internal storage is a limp 4GB, but it can be expanded by up to 32GB via a microSD memory card.
This cocktail of hardware works surprisingly well. The Ascend G6 stays true to its moniker by sifting through commands quickly. There are no signs of lag and, although on paper the hardware isn’t cutting edge, you’re never left wanting. Using this smartphone reminds you how fun the basics can be when they’re done right.
The slim smartphone has a 2000 milliamp-hour battery. During our testing, where we had screen brightness set to max, played music over bluetooth and streamed music wirelessly to a speaker, surfed the web, used social networking apps heavily, took photos, played games and replied to emails, texted and made phone calls, the Ascend G6 lasted 19 hours. Huawei has fitted the Ascend G6 with settings that optimise the battery, which we recommend you put to good use.
Tasty Jelly Bean Android
Bare-boned software is behind the speed of the Ascend G6. The smartphone runs Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, but Huawei has not bogged it down with superfluous bloatware.
The software puts ease-of-use first. There’s a simplistic settings menu and a secondary home screen known as Simple UI. Changes to the stock Android operating system are more subtle tweaks than redesigns.
The overlay competitively rivals what’s on offer from Sony, HTC and Samsung
Where possible, the Chinese manufacturer has improved basic Android functions. Take the task manager for instance: not only does it include a ‘close all’ button, but the top of the screen showcases how much RAM is currently being used, and subsequently how much RAM you have freed once closing an application.
The Android overlay, painfully called ‘Emotion UI’, is one of the best in the industry. However, we do have a bone to pick.
Huawei has opted to ditch the application draw in favour of scattering apps on the homescreen. This would be fine if there was an easy way to organise, group or alphabetise them, but unfortunately they spill across panes in disarray. We recommend installing a third-party launcher to overcome the shortfall.
Otherwise, the Ascend G6’s overlay competitively rivals what’s on offer from Sony, HTC and Samsung; a real credit considering the smartphone radically undercuts these heavyweights on price.
Sony 8MP cam, plenty of shooting modes
Huawei, like Apple, has turned to Sony for the rear camera of the Ascend G6. The camera captures photos at 8MP, has an f/2.0 aperture and can record videos at Full HD.
The placement of the camera requires a conscious effort to keep fingers out of it’s view. Photo performance is generally strong — especially when you keep the Huawei’s price in mind — but we did encounter signs of flaring and feathering during testing. Image noise is present, but its at a low level, while the on-board HDR mode does a decent job at capturing detail that is otherwise lost.
Overall the G6’s rear camera outperforms the ZTE V969 and is on par with the Motorola Moto G. Where the Ascend G6 comes into its own is with its 5MP front camera, which is equipped with an 88 degree wide angle lens and a suite of enhancing software modes.
Previously there was only one budget smartphone we would’ve considered, Motorola's Moto G, but now the Ascend G6 will be the smartphone of choice for people interested in a good looking smartphone equipped with a strong front camera. Few products balance software, style and value-for-money as effortlessly, and Huawei has managed to pull off this trick for $329.
Rivalling smartphone makers should take note: Huawei has arrived.
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Nokia Lumia 830 review: Punching above its weight
- 2 BlackBerry Passport review: A smartphone going nowhere
- 3 Sony Xperia Z3 Compact review: A flagship at 4.6-inches
- 4 Bose QuietComfort 25 review: A traveller's companion
- 5 Microsoft Surface Pro 3 Windows 8.1 tablet
Best Deals on GoodGearGuide
Latest News Articles
- North Korea reportedly blocks Facebook and Twitter
- FCC eyes new rules to protect consumers as voice networks transition to IP
- Startup Slack gets $120M infusion to kill email at work
- Oracle's Larry Ellison isn't done building his legacy
- Ericsson's WebRTC browser available for download from the App Store
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
- FTChief Information Officer - CSIROACT
- FTMarketing Communications Operations Manager - Global Tech Market leaderNSW
- FTDigital Account ExecutiveNSW
- FTStudio Design ManagerVIC
- FTDigital PR SpecialistNSW
- CCWeb / Mobile Developer - Magento - HTML5, CSS - Excellent CMS SkillsNSW
- CCStrategic Partner ManagerNSW
- FTBusiness development manager - retargettingNSW
- FTMarketing Solutions ManagerNSW
- FTPartner Marketing Communications Manager - Leading Global Tech BrandNSW
- FTAccount ExecutiveNSW
- FTBusiness ManagerNSW