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!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 HTC U11 phone: Full, in-depth review
- 2 Gigabyte Aero 15 corporate gaming laptop review
- 3 Huawei P10 smartphone review
- 4 Huawei P10 Plus phone: Full, in-depth review
- 5 Motorola Moto G5 smartphone review
Latest News Articles
- OnePlus 5 rumors: Everything we know about the upcoming budget flagship
- Google makes the best Android apps easier to find with Android Excellence
- Motorola's Z2 Play comes with a smaller battery, a higher price tag, and new Moto Mods
- Sony outs launch details for its Xperia XZ Premium flagship and futuristic Touch projector
- Andy Rubin's Essential Phone is finally here and it's weird
PCW Evaluation Team
The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.
Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.
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.
- MSI GL62M 7RDX gaming laptop review
- Alcatel A3 XL phone: Full, in-depth review
- Sony X9300E 2017 TV: Full, in-depth review
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- FTOffice & Operations AdministratorNSW
- TPIT Business Support/CoordinatorNSW
- FTIT Support officer- Service Desk AP3 & APS4ACT
- FTBusiness AnalystOther
- CCSolution ArchitectNSW
- FTTechnical Lead Front-endNSW
- FTMicrosoft Azure Cloud EngineerOther
- FTSenior Mobile Developer - PermanentWA
- CCSystems Specialist - Linux / Windows / Network l Port MacquarieQLD
- FTChange AnalystOther
- CCJunior Security AnalystNSW
- FTSenior Analyst - Security / DevOpsOther
- FTASP.NET DeveloperNSW
- CCMultiple Front End Developers - BRISBANE | React.js | Angular.js | Node.js |VIC
- CCSenior PMO AnalystNSW
- FTBusiness Analyst - TelecommunicationsOther
- FTSoftware EngineerOther
- TPBusiness AnalystVIC
- CCSenior Business AnalystNSW
- FTDigital Project Manager / Product ManagerOther
- FTService Desk Analyst - Level 1 SupportQLD
- FTEnterprise Architect - Network and TelecommunicationsOther
- TPTest AnalystVIC
- FTEmail Marketing Specialist/ Campaign SpecialistOther
- CCSenior Infrastructure LeadQLD