Huawei Ascend P2 Android phone (preview)

A cheap Telstra 4G smartphone, with super-fast downloads

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Huawei Ascend P2

Pros

  • LTE Cat 4 means super-fast download speeds
  • Cheap RRP and on-contract price through Telstra
  • Physical camera button

Cons

  • Display isn’t Full HD
  • No expandable memory
  • Ships with older version of Android Jelly Bean

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a reasonably cheap Android smartphone with a 4G data connection, Huawei wants your attention. The Ascend P2 is designed to compete with high-end smartphones without breaking the bank -- it makes some compromises to do so, but it should be good value.

Would you buy this?

The Huawei Ascend P2 is the latest smartphone to come out of the Chinese telco giant. With a 4.7-inch display, 13-megapixel camera and 1.5GHz processor it’s up against the current big-screen heavyweights from Samsung, Sony and HTC, but the P2 has an ace up its sleeve -- support for the fledgling LTE Category 4 super-super-fast mobile data standard.

The Ascend P2 is noticeably similar in specification and design to the Ascend P6 — it has a sheer glass face edged with a thin black bezel that thickens at the top and bottom.

There’s a speaker and front-facing 1.3-megapixel camera up top, and the standard complement of three capacitive Android menu buttons at the bottom. The Ascend P2 is also notable in having a dedicated camera button.

The phone will only be available as a 32GB model, so there's no cut-price variant with 16GB of storage. There's no microSD card slot though, so you're stuck with the storage built into the Ascend P2.

What is most interesting about the Ascend P2, though, is its built-in support for LTE Category 4. ‘Cat 4’ is the newest and fastest class of 4G, giving download speeds up to a theoretical maximum of 150Mbps where other current 4G devices can only handle 100Mbps (over LTE Category 3). And, naturally, the Ascend P2 is the first phone in Australia to handle the new connection standard.

Telstra is rolling out Category 4 upgrades around the nation, but at the moment it’s only Perth, Adelaide and Brisbane that have access to this fastest speed tier. We got our hands on an Ascend P2 connected to Telstra’s 4G network in Sydney, so we weren’t able to test out the network’s speed claims.

The Huawei Ascend P2's 4.7-inch, 1280x720pixel screen at full brightness.
The Huawei Ascend P2's 4.7-inch, 1280x720pixel screen at full brightness.

The Ascend P2’s 1.5GHz, quad-core processor is made by HiSilicon, Huawei’s own in-house chipset manufacturer. It’s got a variety of power-saving states that work in tandem with battery-boosting software, with Huawei claiming around 310 hours of standby time from the P2’s 2420mAh battery, and 770 minutes of talk time. The device was quick to respond when we played around with it — no visible lag when unlocking or loading the camera app, for example — and we’re confident it’ll perform adequately for almost all casual users’ needs.

Being a Telstra Android phone, Huawei has customised the Ascend P2 with a slightly modified version of its Emotion UI 1.5 Android skin — the most notable difference from other Huawei phones is the inclusion of the standard app drawer in the P2. Emotion UI looks quite similar to stock Android Jelly Bean, with the main difference being a unified home screen tile that shows calendar and weather data, photos, and so on. Telstra has included a home screen widget to keep track of data usage.

None

The Ascend P2 is a Telstra exclusive handset, and will be available in stores from July 31. Pre-orders for the on-contract device open today, with the first 500 pre-orders also scoring a free Huawei MediaPad 10-inch tablet with 8GB of storage. Telstra will be selling the phone for $0 on a $60 per month contract, but commitment-shy buyers can pick up the phone alone for an outright price of $504.

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Read more on these topics: Huawei, android phones, mobile phones, Android, smartphones, Telstra

hobo-jo

1

So the bonus MediaPad is only with the on contract device, not outright purchase? This is the first article I found making that important differentiation, the free MediaPad with outright purchase at $504 sounded too good to be true!

I can't find the phone on Telstra's site to preorder?

Campbell Simpson

2

Hobo-jo: Yep, you're right - pre-order only. Here's the relevant snippet from Huawei's press release -

"The Huawei Ascend P2 will be available in Telstra Stores from Tuesday 30 July 2013 and available to consumer customers for pre-order online later today. Consumer customers who pre-order online before 30 July will also receive a Huawei 10” MediaPad Tablet valued at $349 (RRP)."

Edit: I should also mention that the eligibility for that bonus tablet is a bit sketchy at the moment. Some Huawei reps said it was for the first 500, some said it was for pre-ordering in the first day, and the press release says before 30 July. I'll check with Huawei to confirm.

hobo-jo

3

Thanks for the extra details. I note it's up on the Telstra site now (wasn't yesterday) and says "Pre-order a Huawei Ascend P2 before 30 July, 2013 and get a free 10 inch Huawei MediaPad tablet". I checked with the online chat and they confirmed it's for contract purchase only. Pretty good deal, $1440 min - $850 worth of tech goodies = effectively paying $24.50 a month for the Telstra plan.

Ross Hargreaves

4

I have ordered one. But !!! There is no mention of the "free" tablet anywhere in the ordering process. Also no details of the model of the tablet, 10" MediaPad HD? I don't think so, but who knows? I would call it deceptive advertising.The promotion for the Telstra P2 with "free" tablet is very badly presented and implemented, I have lodged a complaint with Telstra to this effect requesting clarification or cancel my order. As a long time Telstra customer with multiple Telstra products this promotion sucks in the detail it provides in the advert and during the ordering process. I await a reply from Telstra.

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