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Huawei Ascend P1 Review: U9200 Unlocked Good And Bad

Updated on June 19, 2013

In recent years, there has been a trend away from feature phones and towards smart phones. Smart phones offer so much more practical use than their predecessors. They combine the functionality of many different devices into one single device, such as photo/video camera, music player and so on. They are, for all intents and purposes, really mini computers that you can carry with you all day long.

One of the many companies seeking to satisfy this demand for smart phones and their ever increasing features is Huawei. With its decision to also enter the consumer electronics business, it is launching their own brand of the latest smart phones with the introduction of the unlocked Huawei Ascend P1, model U9200.


Who is Huawei, the manufacturer of the U9200 Ascend P1

The U9200 Ascend P1 is manufactured by Huawei. Together with Ericsson, they are the two largest providers of telecom equipment for cellphones. For a long time, Huawei focused exclusively on providing telecom gear only. Since most people never get to see who made the telecom equipment that make their phone calls possible, the name Huawei remained mostly anonymous to the general public.

Despite this fact, it is one of the largest companies in the world with an annual revenue last year of over $30 billion. This makes it a larger company than other more well known names, including Motorola, HTC, RIMM Blackberry and so on.

Being a large company is important in my opinion in that a larger company is more likely to want to protect their reputation and stand behind their product. Huawei has seen impressive growth over the last two decades, which I think proves that it is able to produce good, quality products that customers like. Otherwise people wouldn't have bought their products and Huawei would not have grown the way they have.

What are the Huawei Ascend P1 specs

Smart Phone
Operating System
Android 4.0 ICS
1.5GHz dual-core Texas Instruments OMAP 4460
PowerVR SGX540
UMTS 850/900/1900/2100 MHz/AWS
GSM 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
Transfer Rate
HSPA+ 21Mbit/s
Dimension (H X W X D)
129mm X 64.8mm X 7.69mm
About 110g ( with battery )
4.3-inch Super AMOLED
LCD Resolution
qHD (960 X 540, 256 PPI)
8 Mega-pixel BSI Camera with Auto Focus at the back
1.3 Mega-pixel Camera at the front
1 Gigabyte (GB)
Flash memory
Memory card slot
Included, up to 32GB micro SD card
802.11b / 802.11g / 802.11n
Bluetooth 3.0
Video player
H.263, H.264, MPEG-4, VP8
Video recording
Music player
FM radio
3.5mm audio jack
Google Search; Music Player; Weather
Accelerometer sensor
Proximity sensor
Ambient light sensor
Lithium-ion 1670mAh

What comes in the box

The Huawei Ascend P1 box contains:

  • one Ascend P1 smart phone
  • one data cable
  • one user guide
  • one quality certification
  • one set of earphones
  • one warranty card
  • one battery

What is the Huawei Ascend P1 price

The Huawei Ascend P1 is currently available in the United States at many local shops depending on where you live. It can also be purchased online at retailers such at for roughly $400 at the time it was released.

When selecting the place to buy, make sure that you buy from a reputable store. Huawei itself may make quality products and comes with a warranty, but that doesn't matter if you buy from a dishonest retailer.

Some retailers, especially those at online auction houses, may pass used or refurbished phones off as new or even sent you something entirely different. In the United States, you want the US edition and not the International edition for the warranty to be valid.

The price of $400 is not chump change and you have to be careful. The world is full of scammers looking to profit. Don't get ripped off!

Why buy an unlocked phone

An unlocked phone means that you can change carriers simply by swapping out your sim card. Most phones you normally get, especially those under contract, are cheaper because they are locked.

The phone can only be used with that carrier only. That means you are stuck with for example T-Mobile and you will have to get a new phone if you plan on switching carriers because of

  • poor service,
  • poor reception,
  • cheaper calling plan,
  • international roaming charges, etc.

Purchasing an unlocked phone right from the start is highly recommended to help you save money and greater freedom in deciding whom your carrier should be. It may cost more initially, but it will pay for itself in the long run.

What is good about the Huawei Ascend P1

The Huawei Ascend P1 is thin, light and stylish. Overall, it's a good looking phone. Build quality is good and also feels good holding it. Screen looks good, but resolution could be higher. It pretty much has all the standard features you may need, including GPS, FM radio and so on.

The phone gives you the option of using either standard Android or the Huawei skin. Many times phone manufacturers tend to bloat software with custom apps or skins, but Huawei keeps it simple to keep the phone running smoothly. The 1.5GHz dual-core processor further ensures that everything works smoothly without any lags or jitters.

The Ascend P1 screen is made of something called Gorilla Glass that won't scratch or break as easily as normal glass. You really need to use it yourself to appreciate the absolute necessity of Gorilla Glass. You will never want a phone again without a reinforced glass screen. It will still break if you hit it hard enough, but it does make a huge difference, especially as the phone gets older and wear and tear starts adding up from everyday use.

When traveling abroad, the phone supports all the radio bands in use worldwide. This ensure you will be able to use your phone where ever you go in addition to being unlocked as previously stated. You can use a local sim card to save money and avoid being subjected to expensive roaming charges.

Like all other phone cameras, the Huawei Ascend P1 cannot replace a real camera. It does take good pictures for a phone and can be used as an everyday camera for taking casual pictures.

The phone comes with a MicroSD card slot, which allows you to increase the standard 4 gigabytes of memory. A lot of phones cannot be expanded, forcing you to decide how much memory you want or need at time of purchase. The Ascend P1 gives you the option to decide later or correct mistakes you've made.

Overall, the Huawei Ascend P1 is a phone with many strengths. It may not be the absolute best in any category, but it does offer good value for the money.

What is bad about the Huawei Ascend P1

The Huawei Ascend P1 is a very thin phone, measuring only 7.69 mm. The drawback here is that there isn't enough room to install a large battery. Note that there is also another version of this phone called the Huawei Ascend P1s, which is even thinner at 6.68 mm and weighs just 130 grams.

The included battery of the Huawei Ascend P1 is rated at 1670mAh, which should last a whole day depending on how you use your phone. Fortunately, the software is smart enough to adjust power use according to how you use your phone. You can save power even more by turning off some features that aren't essential such as WiFi.

Another drawback in my opinion is the resolution of the 4.3 inch screen, which comes in at 960x540. By comparison, the Apple iPhone 4 and 4S have a 3.5 inch screen at 960x640 and the iPhone 5 has a 4 inch screen at 1136x640. The screen of the Ascend P1 is still competitive and better than most phones out there, but I would have preferred at least 720P when watching HD movies. The latest phones even have support for full high definition at 1080P.

Lastly, $400 may be more that what people are willing to spend for a phone, even if it's unlocked and does offer a lot for the price without having any significant weaknesses.

Strengths and weaknesses comparison of the Huawei Ascend P1


  • thin, stylish and good looking without sacrificing build quality
  • speedy and responsive
  • bright, vivid screen protected with Gorilla Glass
  • unlocked and compatible worldwide
  • lots of features included
  • memory is expandable, although only 4GB is included
  • above average camera for a phone
  • good price/value combination


  • average battery life
  • screen resolution does not support high definition
  • not cheap

The Huawei Ascend P1 is a quality phone offering good value for the money. If you're looking for the absolutely greatest phone with the latest bells and whistles, you may want to consider looking elsewhere. But if you're looking for something slightly below top of the line and you can afford its asking price, it's definitely worth considering.


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    • profile image

      Daniel 4 years ago

      I don't know what I should buy Ksw or g610s.Please give me advice.

    • johntsang profile image

      John Tsang 4 years ago

      Just an update...

      Got a chance to see the Samsung Galaxy S2 and in my opinion, the 2 phones are not really comparable.

      For starters, the Galaxy S2 has a much lower resolution at 800x480. If you do a lot of web browsing, you'll find that most websites are designed for a much higher resolution than that.

      It's also a thicker phone and closer to an entry-level smartphone phone, unlike the Huawei P1. The phones are designed for different needs and different people.

    • johntsang profile image

      John Tsang 4 years ago

      martin321, thank you for your comments.

      I'm not familiar with the Samsung, so I can't really comment on which is better.

    • martin321 profile image

      David Martin 4 years ago from London, United Kingdom

      After comparing Huawei Ascend P1 vs Galaxy S2 as specifications are almost same...Samsung won the comparison.