Huawei Ascend G6 is a mid-range smartphone which the Chinese company first unveiled in February during the Mobile World Congress. Huawei, which does not have much presence in the Indian smartphone market both in terms of mindshare and sales, brought the phone to the country in May pricing it at Rs 16,999.
Unlike other Chinese players notably Lenovo, Gionee, Oppo and now Xiaomi, Huawei and ZTE have never been very aggressive when it comes to pushing their phones though they have been present in India far longer. Huawei Ascend G6’s USP is its sleek design and 5MP selfie camera. Is that enough to make it a competent smartphone? We try to find out in our review.
Build and design
Huawei Ascend G6 follows the same design philosophy as seen in Ascend P7. The compact and slim phone looks nice with its rounded bottom edge. It is surrounded by a metallic looking frame on the other three edges, giving it a premium look.
The front of the phone features a 4.5-inch display, three capacitive keys for navigation, an earpiece and the front camera lens. The 3.5mm headset jack is placed rather unconventionally towards the bottom of the left edge. This makes for poor usability if you want to keep the phone in your pocket with headphones plugged in. The power and volume keys are located at the right edge. These keys don’t wobble and offer good tactile feedback.
The micro-USB port sits at the top. The back features a removable plastic cover that sports a grey matte finish; hides a non-removable, sealed battery, micro-sim and microSD card slots. While the phone is well-built, we feel that the back cover could have been made a little more sturdy to give a feeling of durability. The back also features a camera lens and LED flash.
Overall, Huawei Ascend G6 is a sleek and compact smartphone that looks good and feels nice to hold.
Huawei Ascend G6 runs Android 4.3 with Huawei’s Emotion UI 2.0Lite skin on top. Similar to Gionee, Lenovo and Xiaomi’s MiUi ROM, the interface does not include a separate app launcher. App icons and widgets are spread across the home screens (one can have up to 9 home screens).
The UI can be themed and the G6 comes with four preloaded themes, each of which comes with a different set of icons, wallpapers, font style, sounds and lock screen unlocks. The themes can be customized further. Some of the themes look good but we found the others to be bland.
The unified home screen-app launcher style may come across as user-friendly to people who have not used an Android phone before. But it will take some time to get used to if you have already been using an Android smartphone.
The notification tray has also been skinned and features a white background. It features customisable toggles for frequently used settings in addition to notifications. At times, we noticed some usability issues with the white background reducing the visibility if a notification featured white text.
Huawei has customized system apps in accordance with its UI style and some of these show a hint of skeuomorphism. It has also added additional features. For instance, the Music app is capable of displaying lyrics and also comes with a sleep mode to automatically turn off after a preset duration.
The phone also comes with a Phone Manager app that allows power users to tinker with advanced settings and optimises the phone’s performance by cleaning cache and large files, closing background tasks that are not needed, and allowing users to control notifications, app permissions and power settings. The phone doesn’t come with a large number of third party apps, which is a good thing, especially when it offers limited storage.
Overall, we’re happy with the software experience offered by the phone barring some minor niggles. We hope Huawei updates it to Android 4.4 KitKat soon.
Huawei Ascend G6 sports a 4.5-inch qHD(540x960p) IPS display. The display is underwhelming and text and graphics don’t look as crisp and sharp as they do on 720p phones. Viewing angles are good but sunlight legibility is average. The qHD display of the phone pinches as there are several phones with 720p HD display in the same price range.
Huawei Ascend G6 features an 8MP rear camera with LED flash and a 5MP front-facing camera.
The camera app is simple to use and features controls for granular settings such as brightness, ISO, white balance and contrast. It also offers HDR and panorama modes.