CES 2013: Hands-On with the Huawei Ascend W1

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Huawei is kicking off 2013 with a bang, introducing not one, but three high-end handsets at CES this year. Besides the oversized Ascend Mate and the souped-up D2, the Chinese manufacturer also introduced the Ascend W1, the company’s first Windows Phone 8 handset.

The most striking feature of the W1 is its colorful, slab design. Available in a variety of bright colors, the W1 reminds us of the Nokia Lumia series of Windows Phone handsets. The W1, though, is decidedly mid-range with a  a dual-core 1.2 GHz Snapdragon S4 processor and a 4-inch display with a resolution of 480 x 800 pixels. Though colors were good, the  lower-resolution display is a slight mark against the Ascend W1.

On the outside, the Ascend W1 has a top power button and side volume rocker. It also has a dedicated camera button for those camer phone shutter bugs in our midst. On the back of the phone is a 5-megapixel shooter with LED flash. Though not as dazzling as the 13-megapixel camera on the Ascend D2, the W1 is at a megapixel that’s appropriate for most applications. There’s also a thin speaker at the bottom and a microUSB charging port.

Performance-wise, the W1 did just fine on Windows Phone 8 with its dual-core processor and its 512MB of RAM. The 4GB of internal storage was a disappointment, though. Based on the spec and the overall feel of the phone, the W1 won’t turn heads like the Lumia 920, but it could attract thrifty buyers if it launches with an entry-level price tag.

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