Huawei Ascend G6 Review – Midrange Spec’d Selfie Phone
The Huawei Ascend G6 is pitched as the “mini” of Huawei’s 2013 flagship, the Ascend P6, which we loved. At the time of launch, the G6’s package of specs, features, and price was aimed at the midrange market. Let’s go over some features before we hit the Good, the Bad, and the Verdict.
Huawe Ascend G6 (3G) Specs
• 4.5-inch 960 x 540 qHD display, 245PPI
• Android™ 4.3 Jelly Bean
• 1GB RAM, 8GB ROM, supports MicroSD card up to 32GB
• Front-facing Camera: 5.0MP, 88 degree wide angle lens
• Rear-facing Camera: 8MP AF with f/2.0 aperture
• Video capture: 1080p HD video recording and video playback
• 3G Version: 130mm x 65mm x 7.5mm, about 115g
• Connectivity: GSM / UMTS / HSPA+ / WiFi 802.11 b/g/n / Bluetooth 4.0 / NFC sharing
• Qualcomm MSM8926 quad-core 1.2GHz
• Battery: 2000 mAh lithium polymer
SRP PhP 9,990
An overlooked aspect of smartphones is whether they fit right and feel good in your hand, an aspect where the Ascend G6 shines. With a 4.5″ display, it’s nowhere near the girth of the now “standard” 5 inchers, or even the 5.5″ and above phablets. My wife has small hands and she loves the feel of the G6 and how “aggressively” it can detect and connect to WiFi networks. Three rooms away from our router and she can still make and take Skype calls.
Just to give your a visual on how smallish the Ascend G6 is. Underneath the white G6 above is the 5.2″ LG G2. The long phablet beside it is the 5.5″ Lenovo Vibe Z. Sometimes I “step back” and fail to understand how we got used to lugging around these large monsters. In particular, me, with my G2. Anyway…
You get an impression, from this angled shot, at how sturdy the Ascend G6 looks – metal sides wrapped in sturdy plastic. The rear plate can be removed easily without fear of ruining the plate. The speaker – see those tiny holes – are adequately loud, loud enough to share a cat video or movie trailer with your MRT seat mate.
Here’s what’s probably behind the solid feel of the G6 – it’s all tightly packed.
One of the things I love about Huawei phones – the keyboard. (I first encountered this with the Ascend P6.) First, there’s a clear visual hierarchy: the letters are presented with thicker “strokes” while the less visible ones, the numbers and symbols, come to your attention in a secondary manner: in thinner, grayed out lines. Second, you can, with a tap of the upper left key (the keyboard icon), change from Qwerty to number pad, and back.
Themes, each with its own unique feel, color scheme, and icon design.
This theme, for example, sports icons that, in tandem with its clean, bluish tone, comes off as calming. Small touches. We don’t all want flat design.
Speaking of small touches. The stock calendar app is good. Nothing fancy or overly transition-animated, but clean and utilitarian.
While we’re on the utilitarian topic, the stock Phone Manager is a comes-with Clean Master app. Boost your phone’s performance by clearing cache and uninstalling unused apps and files, save power by choosing a usage profiles, and block unwanted spammers, callers, and ex-lovers with Harassment filter.
The micro USB charging port is found on top of the Ascend G6, shown here with a connected and dangling USB OTG cable, with a USB flashdrive plugged in. Beside the G6 is the Nude Audio S bluetooth speaker (forthcoming review).
Not the most sophisticated or power-user-oriented camera UI, but it works. Now let’s look at some sample shots taken with the Ascend G6’s rear and front camera.
Very clear and detailed shot right there, with close to normal colors. You can feel safe that outdoor daylight shots will be great.
I noticed early on, with a few botched up food shots, that the G6’s rear cam has white balance adjustment and noise problems with indoor yellowish light scenes. However, this one turned out better than I thought. Yes, be hungry. There’s a perfectly sensible Razon for that.
While one weakness of the G6 rear camera is indoor yellowish lighting (see previous photo), the medium to low light scenario is surprisingly okay. Here is our Siamese kitten, Xing Yi Quan at four months.
This shot was taken, as you can see, slightly against the light, and using only the normal setting of the front camera. This isn’t HDR. This is what I mean by a freakishly consistent front camera, to the point of sometimes being better than the rear camera. Unpaid but happy selfie model is Deni Villanueva, who doesn’t need the front camera’s ten levels of Face Beautification, but it’s good that that feature is available.
- Solid build, feels good in your hand. Those who aren’t fans of phablets may like this.
- Front camera freakishly good, even better than the rear camera at times.
- Good onscreen keyboard, you can change to phone pad or Qwerty in a blink.
- Blacklist feature to block spammers and ex-boy/girl-friends from reaching you.
- Adequate battery life (7 hours of moderate usage), lengthened by power saving feature.
- Ten levels of Face Beautification camera feature. You can’t go wrong with that.
- 88 degree wide angle lens front camera, so you can fit in more friends. This really is a selfie phone.
- Inconsistent rear camera performance in medium to low light. Bad in low light, but images are crisp with daylight outdoor scenes.
- You can buy a phone with a camera that can see in the dark or an octa-core for less, or a high end phone for around the same price.
A capable, solidly built, mid-range spec’d phone, with a good enough battery life, an intuitive and thought-out Emotion UI with good theming options, plus an overly capable front camera (in keeping with being a P6 “mini” selfie phone) – that’s the Huawei Ascend G6.
At launch, the Ascend G6 had good specs for its P10k price range, the same price range the Xiaomi Mi 3 now belongs to, despite the Mi 3’s above-midrange specs (the same specs as the LG G2). The ASUS ZenFone 5 16GB variant, at P7k, runs on a dual core processor that rivals quad cores, plus its Pixel Master tech on its rear camera allows low light shooting on par with the LG G2 and iPhone 5s. In the local scene, the Cherry Mobile Pulse is a P6.5k dual SIM phone running on an octa-core processor with a 13MP rear and 5MP front camera. Crazy.
But the G6 does has a few traits neither the Mi 3 nor the Cherry Mobile Pulse have: a more drop-friendly and feels-good-in-your-hand build, and an absurdly consistent and good front camera.
But price is always a tipping point for buyers on a budget, and recent phones are changing what features we should expect for midrange prices.
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