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.Read more: Motorola Moto G Android Phone
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.Read more: ZTE V969 review
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.Read more: Official: Motorola Moto E will launch in Australia for less than $200
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.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
Epson WorkForce ET-4550
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Huawei Mate 9
Lexar® Portable SSD
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
Acer Swift 7
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Google Daydream VR headset
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Surface Pro 4
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Oppo R9s Plus phone: Full, in-depth review
- 2 Samsung 2017 QLED Q7 TV: Full, in-depth review
- 3 HTC U Ultra phone full, in-depth review
- 4 Gigabyte Aorus GA-AX370-Gaming 5 AMD Ryzen AM4 motherboard review
- 5 Venom Blackbook Zero 14 laptop review
Latest News Articles
- Samsung unveils Bixby voice assistant for upcoming Galaxy S8
- BlackBerry readies a more secure version of the Samsung Galaxy S7
- Android device updates: Nougat rollout begins for the Moto Z Play
- ZTE pays US$892M settlement to US over illegal sales to Iran
- Google Assistant learns how to read texts as its prime-time rollout continues
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- First look at the Formula 1 2017 pit lane in Melbourne, Australia
- LG 2017 OLED and Super LED UHD 4K TVs: Hands-on review
- Oppo R9s Plus phone: Full, in-depth review
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- FTSocial Media ExecutiveNSW
- CCTechnical Business Analyst - Infrastructure - VirtualizationNSW
- CCSenior Project ManagerNSW
- FTJunior Applications SupportSA
- CCCommunications Network EngineerWA
- FTSAP Data Migration SpecialistACT
- TP.NET DeveloperWA
- CCCloud Infrastructure SpecialistNSW
- CCVirtualisation Engineer - IP NetworksVIC
- FTProduct Manager - FintechNSW
- FTSenior Front End Developer x 2NSW
- CCSalesforce Functional AnalystNSW
- CCSenior Solution ArchitectNSW
- FT.Net DeveloperVIC
- FTFull Stack DeveloperWA
- FTSecurity Lead / ConsultantNSW
- FTICT Business Development Manager - Technical Products/SolutionsQLD
- TPSenior Performance TesterQLD
- CCProcurement OfficerQLD
- FTWintel EngineerSA
- TPProgram ArchitectQLD
- FTSeeking all Java Developers!NSW
- CCBusiness AnalystNSW
- CCOracle Middleware Production SupportACT
- FTProject AnalystACT