[Review] Huawei Ascend D1 Quad XL Hands-on

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Huawe Ascend D1 Quad XL Featured

Huawei Ascend D1 Quad XL

This year Hauwei has talked a lot about its strategy around its devices by splitting them into separate classes of devices. The high end series is called the D-Series.  The most recent release is the Huawei Ascend D1 Quad XL, sporting a homegrown quad core processor.  Another problem Huawei has faced is that timely release of devices and the Ascend D1 Quad XL has unfortunately suffered the same fate.  This device was announced earlier this year and has taken almost 8 months to surface.  If it had been released closer to the original announcement, but competition is a plenty and it may be too late.

After countless delays, the Ascend D1 Quad XL is finally with us, but is it too late into the game with so much competition around?  Let’s take a look.

At the time of announcement, the Huawei Ascend D1 Quad XL was touted as the world’s fastest quad core superphone, which may have been close to true back when they announced this device at Mobile World Congress.  The problem they face today is that a number of devices have been released with quad core processors and most of them are fast and respectable superphones.

 

The Hardware

The first problem Huawei is facing is the size of this device.  While the width and height are relative to the 4.5 inch display, the thickness is what stands out.  The Ascend D1 Quad XL is 10.9mm thick, which is about the thickest device I’ve had in my hands for a long time.  It really makes this device look brick like and is a far stretch from other devices now available on the market.  Despite its size the Ascend D1 Quad XL fells pretty good in your hands.  It’s comfortable to hold for extended periods of time when you’re making phone calls and comfortable when your typing, playing games and surfing the web.  The complete size of the Huawei Ascend D1 Quad XL is 129mm x 64mm x 10.9mm and weighs in around 150 grams.

Huawei Ascend D1 Quad XL Top Back

The rear corner of the device are considerably rounded, which is probably part of the reason it feels so comfortable, and this also adds to the style of the device and does cosmetically take away some of the bulkiness.

The size does allow them to squeeze in a nicely sized 2600mAh battery, which I assumed was removable as the back cover of the device can be removed.  Alas, when you remove the back cover, the battery is there in plain sight, but has been molded into the frame of the device.  I’m not to sure why they designed the device this way.

Removing the back of the device exposes the SIM card slot and the Micro SD slot so for storage expansion.

Huawei Ascend D1 Quad XL Inside

Looking around the device reveals the standard array of connectors and buttons.  On the top is the power/sleep button located next to the headphone socket.  On the right side of the device you’ll find a volume rocker and on the left hand side is the Micro-USB connector for charging and data connections, which also supports MHL for connecting to a large screen.

The front of the device is where you’ll find the 4.5inch IPS display kicking out 1,280 x 720 pixels of resolution.  You’ll also find the front facing camera and LED notification light at the top.  Along the bottom are three capacitive buttons giving you Back, Home and Menu functions.  The screen itself is covered in Gorilla Glass 2 to protect the screen from getting scratched.

Huawei Ascend D1 Quad XL Size Note 2

On the back is the 8mp full HD camera with Dual LED flash and small orifice for the speaker.  The back cover is textured to give it a better feel and offer more slip resistance.

To give you an idea of the thickness, here’s a quick side view with the Ascend D1 Quad XL stacked on top of my Samsung Galaxy Note 2.

Huawei Ascend D1 Quad XL Size Note 2 Side

Battery and Performance

Battery life is one area that has always concerned me and a lot of android friends know.  With a Multitasking OS pushing your devices to the max, battery life suffers.  More manufacturers are starting to add larger batteries and Huawei are no exception.

During my everyday use of the device I was getting a full day of battery life, which is pretty good for a quad core superphone.  When I really pushed, played games, watched movies and listened to music I seemed to hover around the 10 hour mark or just above.  This is still a respectable result and among the top range of current devices.

The performance of the device is very respectable and gaming was smooth and responsive.  Playback of every piece of media including movies and TV shows was also excellent.  It’s no slouch, but it’s has nothing to make it stand out from the current crop of quad core superphones.

 

The Camera

I want to leave my point and shoot camera at home and be able to use my cell phone for everything, including taking photos.  My current Galaxy Note takes awesome photos, but still not quite as good as my Nikon point and shoot.  The Huawei Ascend D1 Quad XL has a good camera, but is it up to the task of replacing my point and shoot?

The results are pretty good, but it’s still not the focus point of this device.  And it’s not as good as my Samsung Galaxy Note.  Like most phone cameras, it takes a couple of seconds to complete a shot.  If you’re in a hurry to capture something in it instant of excitement, you’re out of luck.

Huawei Ascend D1 XL Camera Photo Skulls

Huawei Ascend D1 XL Camera Photo Yard

Huawei Ascend D1 XL Camera Photo Androids

Many new cameras like the HTC ONE series and the latest of the Samsung Galaxy range are starting to give almost instant picture taking and rapid successive shots and the quality of almost replacing your point and shoot camera.  Huawei missed the mark on this one.

 

Conclusion

While the Huawei Ascend D1 Quad XL is a little larger than the current crop of devices of comparable specifications  it does have one advantage going for it.  Huawei are good at pricing and always have been.  Entering the high-end superphone area with the latest devices is big task for any manufacturer with so much competition around, but with this device coming in cheaper than most others; it may have a small chance.

Besides the price, there isn’t really anything that makes the Huawei Ascend D1 Quad XL stand out and while I have enjoyed using the device, I personally wouldn’t go out and buy it.

Huawei has made huge strides with the their latest devices and if they keep moving in this direction, they have a chance of increasing their market share, but I feel they still have a long way to go to get out of the low end phone market and push into the higher end.

 

If you want to find out more about Huawei and the devices they offer, you can head over to the companies website at www.huawei.com/en.

About the Author

Simon Walker
I was an IT consultant for 20 years and ran my own web design and development company for an additional 3 years. I have been involved with technology from birth. OK, that maybe an exaggeration, but it sure is a long time. I'm also an avid Home Theater geek and self appointed installer for friends and relatives. My first serious modding of Smart-Phones started with my T-Mobile WING and now Android devices. I'm also a bit of a photographer, although Android has kind of taken over my life and photography has taken a back seat.

  • http://androidforumturkiye.com.tr Android Forum Turkiye

    Good phone.Dark is always better.

  • Tony Cerda

    That fence with the skulls is so cool!

    Nice review!

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