Review: Huawei Ascend
The Ascend uses the stock Android browser, which is a fine tool for Web browsing. Our own homepage was rendered perfectly on the phone. The lack of pinch zooming barely bothered me, because you can also double tap on a section on the page, and the phone will zoom in and reflow the text to fit the window space. The phone was nice and responsive when navigating pages, too. I could flick my way through long sites quickly and smoothly.
My only complaint concerns the strange keyboard problems I found on the phone. Because Swype does not work as well for Web addresses, which are usually not everyday words, I had to type letters individually, and the Ascend has a real problem with this task. Quite often I would see a letter light up on the keyboard, then a different letter would appear in the address bar. This made for slow address entry, with plenty of mistakes to correct.
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With its nine panel homescreen, the Ascend offers more space to customize and drop your widgets and shortcuts than most Android devices. Huawei offers its own selection of widgets, and though most of these duplicate the functions of the stock Android widgets also on board, they did tend to look better and offer a bit more control, especially for the music player.
The phone does work with Live Wallpaper, but the image stays fixed in place on screen while the rest of the objects move about. For normal wallpapers, the image spreads across all the panels, so the background view changes slightly when you move from one panel up to the next.
If you hate the Swype keyboard, you can switch to the stock Android keyboard, though this layout also had the same touch issues that I found with Swype. Finally, there are the three themes that you can customize, but as I mentioned, they had an annoying habit of reverting to their default wallpaper when I switched between them. But for selecting apps and widgets that work well for Work or fun (Entertainment), it was convenient to have an easily switchable option on board.
CTIA Fall 2010
Phone Scoop is on site in San Francisco to take in all the breaking news and hands-on experiences of the fall CTIA trade show. Be sure to check for full coverage and handset first impressions here.
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