updated 11:25 am EST, Sun February 26, 2012
Company claims "fastest smartphone"
As expected, Huawei brought its flagship quad-core smartphone, the Ascend D quad, to Barcelona this week for Mobile World Congress. The company claims the device is the fastest smartphone yet, a bold claim for a handset maker that has just recently begun to try to establish its own brand after spending years as an original design manufacturer. In our hands-on preview, we try to discover if the device holds up to Huawei's promises.
Early leaks pointed to NVIDIA as a likely source for a quad-core chipset, namely the Tegra 3 platform, however Huawei is using its own branding for the 1.5GHz 'K3' chip and is still keeping its partner a secret. We found the hardware to be lightning fast running Android 4.0, maintaining extremely high frame rates when connected to an HDTV to play games.
The chip did not have any problem when we were flying through the menus, though most dual-core smartphones are equally capable in this regard. Unfortunately the test device was not connected to the Internet, eliminating the chance for us to try the browsing experience.
Aesthetically, the D offers a basic form that reminds us of the Galaxy Nexus—focused on performance and practicality rather than cosmetic glitz. The overall size is compact for a smartphone with a 4.5-inch display, shaving a few millimeters off the width and length of the Galaxy Nexus while maintaining a comparable depth. Users will also be able to buy an XL version, which adds a few millimeters to the thickness to house a 2500mAh battery.
We found the D quad to be an impressive device, particularly when considering Huawei's previous brand association with budget devices. The standard LCD is not as vibrant as an AMOLED panel, but the pixels are much more crisp than the PenTile technology used in phones like the Galaxy Nexus. The biggest drawback for some potential buyers may be the lack of LTE connectivity, which is only offered with the dual-core D1 variant.