back to article Huawei unwraps Ascend P6: World's slimmest smartphone

Huawei's latest handset ticks all the right boxes, and is only 6mm thick, but surrounded by headlines about government intrusion, the timing of the launch could've been a lot better for a company that was being accused of government spying well before PRISM made it fashionable. Huawei desperately wants to be taken seriously, …

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Thinner and thinner

Eventually, will we have a paper thin, rollable or foldable device [once known as a 'phone']? And then one day an amorphous device consisting of trillions of little elements which can reconfigure their position relative to one another AND their function (display, computing, etc.) while still keeping in contact to make the whole thing amazingly - but controllably - flexible...the kind of device that would wrap itself around your wrist or leg or neck and interface with both you and the 'cloud'. And of course the NSAs of this world.

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Re: Thinner and thinner

"Eventually, will we have a paper thin, rollable or foldable device [once known as a 'phone']?"

William Shatner is about 30 years ahead of you on that particular vision. Refer to old Tekwar episodes (although by the era they were filmed they were calling 'em PDAs)

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Its too early to make a proper assessment of this phone, as theres no technical data on it in this article.

Initially it looks like just another handset where form follows fashion, which is a pity.

When is a phone maker going to have the courage to actually analyse what business users might want, like Nokia did when the defined the Communicator? A phone where form followed the percieved function of its time? If and when theres a proper assessment of this phone here on the Reg, ill write a proper post with more on this theme.

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Anonymous Coward

@ted frater - Very recently

What do you think the BlackBerry 10 models are? Thorsten Heins is betting the company on two phones optimised for business. Will he succeed? Don't ask me, I bought one so I'm biased.

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Re: @ted frater - Very recently

Id buy one too ie, the Q10 "IF" I could use it!!. The keyboard is for kids ie 5yr old sized hands.

I wouldnt have one if it was free.

The Nokia communicator 9210i I currently use has a keyboard for LARGE hands.

Mr. Thorsten Heinz, copy that and youd sell millions. Making it as it is, your doomed to be a has been maker.

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Meh

Not bad

Not a spectacular looker, but on the face of it, it does look polished. Ok, so there are a few less features that an S4 but who uses them all anyway.

Not a bad effort if the battery stands up to abuse and use. My favourite hardware feature is the built in phone home to China chip. You'll always know where it is, brilliant.

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Re: Not bad

"My favourite hardware feature is the built in phone home to China chip"

No big deal for retail users. On balance I think I'd trust the Chinese more than I'd trust the Yanks (or the Queen's own at GCHQ). I'm sure my mobile operator hands over all my data anyway, so what's the harm in a few Chinese trying to work out if I'm working for the Dalai Lama?

On a more prosaic level, a bit of competition to Samsung would be most welcome, given the eye watering prices they want for the S4.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Not bad

"On balance I think I'd trust the Chinese more than I'd trust the Yanks (or the Queen's own at GCHQ)."

Really? Really?

I'm not for a minute suggesting the NSA or GCHQ are paragons of truthiness, but that is one of those pretty damned ignorant attitudes you are expressing there where you clearly have little understanding of the world. To clue you in, just a year ago I worked at a company with a team of engineers in Beijing. One of the engineers in the Beijing office disappeared (not one on my team, but he was well known nevertheless and I had been on conf. calls in which he participated). If ever the question was raised, "what happened to x" his colleagues would just shrug. One of the western managers later told me he was last seen being dragged off by the police. No explanation was given. No charges were brought. Nobody dared ask. He has not been seen since.

Yer, go ahead trust the Chinese. Don't worry, they won't run you over with that tank if they disagree with any of the views you air.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: phones home to China

Any worse than phoning home to Google all the time?

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Facepalm

Competent phone

Looks reasonable and from a specs perspective, its a competent piece of kit.

The £380 price tag is a bit of a turn-off, personally I'd rather pay the extra and get a HTC One.

If its properly subsidised by the networks- no reason this couldn't be a massive seller- but at its current SIM free price tag- its a non-runner.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Competent phone

At over £100 cheaper than a HTC One, how is the price tag a turn off?

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Trollface

Re: Competent phone

"At over £100 cheaper than a HTC One, how is the price tag a turn off?" - because the Google Nexus 4 is cheaper?

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"6 refers to its girth"

Is this another British English thing? On this side of the pond girth refers to a circumferential measure and would typically be twice the sum of the thickness and width given the phones shape. Of course Huawei could be using it to mean something odd like 6 cm x 6 mm but that seems a bit of a stretch.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "6 refers to its girth"

Indeed. Our* national anthem contains the phrase "our land is girt by sea" (stop sniggering up the back), which suggests that your interpretation is correct.

*Australia

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Re: "6 refers to its girth"

Speaking as a woman, I am keenly aware of the difference between girth and depth and your interpretation is correct.

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OS?

What OS is it running? I thought it would be android but no mention of it in the article - unless I'm going blind...

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Re: OS?

Well the picture shows the device sporting an Android home screen, if that's any help.

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Where are the home and back keys?

The pictures show no capacitive nor onscreen buttons. Perhaps Huawei has taken the next step and implemented getsure controls.

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Anonymous Coward

Autofocus

I am quite amazed if they have managed to screw autofocus into a camera in a phone only 6mm thick. If so, that is quite a technical breakthrough.

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Thumb Up

Looks good!

As a satisfied owner of a Huawei G300 this looks pretty good. The build quality of the G300 is excellent and the battery life is much better than my old HTC Desire. I used to get about 1 possibly 2 days out of that old thing when it spent most of its time in my jacket pocket, even with HTC Sense removed, CyanogenMod installed and data/GPS/WiFi turned off unless needed. The Huawei I'm on now I can get a full working week, using it for music and light web/e-mail.

If this P6 can buid on that then I'd be tempted if the price is right. If this is the slimmest phone ever I bet the battery life will be dire though.

I can't say I'm concerned about the prospect of the Chinese possibly being able to access any of my data. Google already have their fat fingers throughout Android, my network operator probably does whatever it likes for the UK gov so I may as well help the Chinese along a bit as well since I have no particular fondness for any of these three countries.

On a vaguely related note, it's a disgrace that you can get phones with resolutions equal to or better than most laptops. I just do not understand why it's so hard to get a laptop with a resolution better than 1366x768 for around £500 or less. Just a half-decent screen resolution please. It's annoying that I can't find much better than my 8 year old Asus with 1680x1050 without spending £800+. Yeah I know, these first world problems.

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Re: Looks good!

>> I just do not understand why it's so hard to get a laptop with a resolution better than 1366x768 for around £500 or less

I guess for a couple reasons, bearing in mind that screen is probably the most expensive single component within a laptop:

1. Wintel tax has brought actual manufacturer's profits to near 0, so they have to make some money anywhere

2. Microsoft has as yet failed to bring its OS into late 20th century by auto-scaling fonts and UI in accordance with display's physical size as opposed to pixel count

3. MS is trying to present their crap as value-add, although they haven't input any value in IT for the past 10 years - so the laptops must cost 1000+

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Megaphone

Re: resolution on laptops

as mentioned by another poster, user interface developers and application software developers haven't really grasped resolution independence yet (it's not insurmountable, but it is a hard problem to get things looking right once you step off the pixel grid). But the main problem is manufacturing a quality screen with millions of pixels that is 13+ inches and has no dead pixels. Again, not insurmountable, but because people will only pay 500 for a laptop, that's what the manufacturers pump out. What's worse is that it's very difficult to get a laptop that isn't 16:9 aspect ratio. I value a bit more vertical space, so I made sure to get myself a 16:10 laptop. In fact, work supplied me with a 4:3 17 inch monitor and I'd rather have it than some of the sparkly new 16:9 22 inch models I've seen dotted around the office.

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'For all that tech, Huawei will be asking for €449, a shade over £380, when it hits shelves by the end of July. Naturally, you'll cough less with a contract.'

Really? My guess is more or less the same over the lifetime of the contract.

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It could be 2mm thick

But if it still has that execrable launcher Huawei inflicted on their other models I would steer well clear of this handset. For some reason Huawei decided that people didn't need a launcher *and* an all apps view and combined the two into one very crappy experience. Install an app and the icon gets dumped in the first available spot in the launcher which could be screen 1, 2, 3, 4, .... And if you don't have enough screens, well tough no icon for you.

Why phone makers are so keen to butcher the perfectly usable default 4.0 experience is beyond me.

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Re: It could be 2mm thick

A better launcher (Nova or whatever) is one tap away in the Play Store and from what I've seen elsewhere the launcher isn't really THAT bad anyway. Certainly a bit iPhone-like, but quite straight and simple if you don't want to install hundreds of apps and have only a dozen of them on the home screen.

Still, I think EVERY Android phone should come with an option to install Android straight from Google. Google should just make this a rule for licensing out its apps to the manufacturers. This would ensure a level playing field and motivate the manufacturers to really improve on what Google offers instead of just forcing it down on the users.

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Re: It could be 2mm thick

Better launchers might be one tap away (and I installed one my wife's phone) but this stuff is baked into the firmware and can never be removed. They've also hacked the system settings to "simplify it" which is something which can't be changed even by installing another launcher.

The very presence of this complete arse of a UI also cuts into free storage space, substantially lessens the chances of future firmware updates and is totally redundant.

Android 4.0+ has a nice default UI. If someone is going to mess around with it they really need to know what they are doing and Huawei obviously doesn't. It's hard to think *what* was going on in their head when they wrote this since it's a mess.

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Anonymous Coward

Realistic price?

Should be around £200-£230 mark. That would tempt me.

Carrier subsidy? What subsidy? Thats long gone, guys.

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Facepalm

Ann Droid

It runs Android ... who know who spies for whom?

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This is... interesting

What really impresses me here is the camera on the back that can focus down to 4 cm. In a 6.2 mm deep body. With no camera bump on the back. And with a f/2.0 lens even. Wow. OK, doesn't help much if the photos should still be crappy, but from the specs this really is something. I'm looking forward to an actual review.

What totally sucks here are the speaker on the back and the audio jack on the side. With the audio jack on the top and a decent speaker at the rounded bottom it could have been a really nice phone.

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Meh

The main feature I look for in a phone now is a stable release of Cyanogenmod being available for it.

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