Huawei Ascend P6 smartphone preview, hands on and photos

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Huawei launched the Ascend P6 earlier today, a smartphone which will be aimed more at the fashion conscious and at anyone who prefers looks over substance. That was in essence the quintessence of the event held near Camden and its chic and trendy neighbourhood.

The device is a mere 6.18mm thick, that’s less than a quarter of an inch, making the Apple iPhone 5 look positively bloated. It is made mostly of machined metal and is essentially, from the outside, like an iPhone 4 that has been flattened by a kitchen rolling pin.

Inside though it is similar to the Ascend P2, a device which was launched earlier this year at Mobile World Congress and which is on sale at Three for only £310 (including a £10 top up). Like the latter, the Ascend P6 has a quad-core SoC clocked at 1.5GHz, one which is presumably based on the Cortex-A9 and is in fact the HiSilicon K3V2.

The rest of the features include 8GB onboard storage (half of it free), 2GB of RAM, a 4.7in in-cell display with a 1,280 x 720 pixel resolution, Android 4.2.2 Jelly bean, a microSD card slot, a microSIM slot, a dedicated camera button and a 2,000mAh battery. Note the lack of LTE/4G capabilities. This, Huawei said, will come in November. Also lacking is a 3.5mm audio socket.

Huawei claims that using its patented battery optimization and power saving technologies can “improve performance by more than” 30 per cent compared with smartphone batteries of similar sizes.

When it comes to the optics, the P6 is pitched one for the “selfies”, that category of users that love taking pictures that end up on social networks. Ascend’s new top of the range device has a 5-megapixel front facing camera, possibly the highest resolution for any such camera on any portable products. There’s also an 8-megapixel rear camera with an F2.0 aperture, a 40mm macro, BSI technology, HDR full HD video recording and IMAGESmart software.

The phone will be available from July onwards on all major mobile phone networks in the UK (including Talk Talk mobile) and will carry a suggested retail price of 449 Euros, which equals to just over £380. A rather hefty premium over the (subsidised) cost of the Ascend P2 – which Richard Yu, the man in charge of Huawei Devices, described as the best in class - but that the price is bound to go down.

As for the smartphone itself, it is a terribly attractive piece of kit. All metal chassis with a dedicated camera button, a brushed metal back. Still, the P6 is essentially an 18-month old smartphone with a much newer and sexier chassis. We can’t help but wonder whether the updated version of the P6 (which may well be the P7), won’t come with a Cortex A15-class SoC and a full HD display.

Huawei, it seems, didn’t want to go the full length for whatever reason and offer a true rival to the Galaxy S4 or the HTC One. Check out all the rest of the juicy details, check out our live article about the launch of the Huawei Ascend P6.