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Huawei Ascend D1 Quad XL Review

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Huawei has been one of the relatively new brands to have joined the Android smartphone race. It’s a Chinese brand, alright, but it’s one of the big ones and definitely not a brand that you should associate with knockoffs and cheap construction.  Rather, it’s a brand that’s trying to make a name as a legitimate option to Android users, as evidenced by the products it has launched recently.

One of the smartphone models launched by Huawei in the past is the Ascend D1 Quad XL smartphone, a quad-core handset as indicated in the name.  The Huawei Ascend D1 Quad XL was launched around December of last year but it was only recently that it was made commercially available and in the quad-core smartphone race, it’s still very much a strong contender.  Read on to find how the Huawei Ascend D1 Quad XL fared in my hands-on review.

Design and Construction

I should say this at the outset – the Huawei Ascend D1 Quad XL is not the slimmest quad-core phone around.  It is really thick, especially when compared to other handsets in the market. Its thickness might bother some users.  It’s actually behind by industry standards.  We’ve been bombarded by super slim smartphones in the past months and the Ascend D1 Quad XL is noticeably thicker compared to the recent phones.  Like I said, its thickness could bother some users.

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The design of the Ascend D1 Quad XL is not something revolutionary or unique.  It actually shares a few similarities with other handsets, and I can’t help but be reminded of the HTC Sensation XE when I look at the Ascend D1 Quad XL’s red accents. But overall, the Ascend D1 Quad XL still has a unique identity, so to speak.

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The Ascend D1 Quad XL is actually a nice-looking handset. The red accent on the top easily grabs one’s attention and the glossy outline on the edges actually adds class to an otherwise plain design.  There are capacitive control buttons at the bottom of the device and on the top sits the power button and the headphone jack while the volume rocker is located on the right side of the phone.

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The back of the phone has a textured rubber finish.  The back cover is removable but the battery is fixed and non-replaceable.  Removing the back cover reveals a regular SIM card slot and a microSD card slot.

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Overall, the construction of the Huawei Ascend D1 Quad XL is solid.  There are no loose parts and no creaking sounds anywhere.  It has quite a heft to it, something that makes it feel substantial, yet also a bit heavy compared to other handsets.  Some users love this, some refer the light ones.

Display and Hardware

The Huawei Ascend D1 Quad XL has an amazing screen.  It features a 4.5-inch IPS+ LCD display with 720×1280 resolution for a 326ppi pixel density.  It’s therefore a 720p HD screen, and for a display that measure only 4.5 inches, the sharpness is immediately noticeable.  The display is crisp, it’s bright enough and the colors are rendered nicely.  The phone also offers great viewing angles thanks to the IPS nature of the display.  If there’s anything I like most about the Huawei Ascend D1 Quad XL, it’s the display.

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The internals of the Huawei Ascend D1 Quad XL are also quite formidable.  The phone is powered by a 1.4GHz Huawei K3V2 quad-core chip paired by 1GB of RAM.  It has 8GB of internal memory expandable up to 32GB via microSD card slot.  It also packs an 8-megapixel autofocus camera with dual LED flash capable of 1080p video recording and a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera capable of 720p recording.  The phone uses a huge 2600mAh battery.  Here are the main specs of the Huawei Ascend D1 Quad XL

Huawei Ascend D1 Quad XL (U9510E) Specs

  • 4.5-inch IPS+ LCD display with 720×1280 resolution (326ppi)
  • 1.4GHz Huawei K3V2 quad-core processor
  • 1GB RAM
  • Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich
  • 8GB internal storage, expandable up to 32GB via microSD card
  • 8-megapixel autofocus camera with dual LED flash (1080p video recording)
  • 1.3MP front-facing camera (720p recording)
  • WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
  • Bluetooth 3.0 HS
  • HSPA+ 21Mbps
  • GPS w/ aGPS support, GLONASS
  • Dolby Mobile 3.0 Plus
  • 2600mAh Li-Ion battery

Software

The Huawei Ascend D1 Quad XL runs Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich out of the box.  It would have been better if Huawei loaded the phone with Jelly Bean but I’m pretty sure an update would be available in the future, although nothing is confirmed at this point.  Huawei has very few customizations on the Ascend D1 Quad XL and users are offered two types of skins, a 2D version and a 3D version.  The 2D UI is faster and smoother but the 3D version looks sleeker, with 3D animations and enhancements that make navigation more fun.  Here are screenshots of the 2D and 3D UIs on the Ascend D1 Quad XL.

Screenshot_2013-04-08-13-21-52  Screenshot_2013-04-08-13-21-36

The transitions and animations are smooth on the Ascend D1 Quad XL but if you want a smoother overall navigation, you may install Nova Launcher which is closer to stock Android but with more features and customization options.  There are a few pre-installed apps on the phone but these are just basic apps like Polaris Office and Flashlight.

Camera

The Huawei Ascend D1 Quad XL’s 8-megapixel autofocus camera delivers acceptable photos.  Optimal shots are possible when there is ample light source, like when shots are taken outdoors or in a well-lit room.  Colors are not perfect, however, as they tend to be washed out. Shots normally lack the necessary contrast. If you use automatic settings all the time, you’ll get washed out shots, but thankfully this not always the case.  Here are sample photos taken under well-lighted settings.

IMG_20130321_173846 IMG_20130319_112552

IMG_20130319_110931 IMG_20130318_092459

In low-light situations, the photos are still decent, but you’ll immediately notice the noise.  Good thing the Huawei Ascend D1 Quad XL has dual LED flash so if you really need to illuminate your subject, using flash does the trick.  Here are photos taken under low-light settings.

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The camera software is actually feature-packed.  There are built-in filters, effects and options for continuous auto-focus, face detection, and HDR shots.  The phone also shoots 1080p videos which are generally good.  Videos taken with the Huawei Ascend D1 Quad XL share the same characteristics as still photos, and this is only expected since it’s the same sensor used on both occasions.

Performance and Battery Life

The Huawei Ascend D1 Quad XL is fast.  The quad-core chip and the 1GB of RAM are mainly to thank here.  However, you’ll still get the occasional hiccups but overall, I got a good performance from the Ascend D1 Quad XL.  Gaming is smooth even when playing graphics-intensive games.  Performing Quadrant benchmark test resulted in a score of 5,168, which puts it only in the mid-tier when other quad-core handsets are taken into account.  Performance should be better if the OS is updated to Jelly Bean but as I previously mentioned, there is no word if an update will be available in the future.

As to battery life, I was not impressed with the Huawei Ascend D1 Quad XL.  The phone’s 2600mAh battery proved mediocre as the phone lasts less than a day under normal use.

 Wrap-Up

The Huawei Ascend D1 Quad XL is one decent device.  At first I was apprehensive about reviewing a Huawei product as I wasn’t expecting much from the brand. I was proven wrong somehow as the Ascend D1 Quad XL has good features like nice display and solid construction. However, it has flaws. It’s thick to begin with, and battery life is not that good. When the new Android phones in the market are considered, the Ascend D1 Quad XL’s P18,990 price tag is not justified.

The Ascend D1 Quad XL has a reasonably fast performance but it would have been better if Jelly Bean was running the device instead of Ice Cream Sandwich.  Hopefully, a Jelly Bean update will be made available in the future.

Rating: 7.5/10

Vivo X21

4 Comments

  1. Btw, my 3 year old Huawei Ideos U-8150 (523MHz) is still working perfectly. I dropped it several times but it’s still ticking.

  2. I just bought my Quad XL a week ago and I agree with your review especially the observation on the battery life. The 2600 mAh battery was just as long as my previous phone’s 1700 mAh battery. Not complaining though since I bought the brand new Quad XL for only P7,700.

  3. Being the world’s second largest producer of network equipment Huawei has financial muscle. Only thing is can they translate their brand to phone sales?! I doubt it. I haven’t seen one displayed on Malls. =(

  4. Naaah…Huawei phones has reliability issues. If only they have product centers like Cherry Mobile, the buying public will probably try out their products. Plus for good specs. Strong build. But if you ask me for that price point I’d go for Iphone, Nokia Lumia or Sony Xperia.

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