Huawei Ascend P2 camera test

We pit the Huawei Ascend P2's camera against the Nexus 4's at MWC.

BARCELONA, Spain--Huawei took the wraps off its latest high-end, superskinny Android phone, the Ascend P2 on Sunday. It has a 720p 4.7-inch display, a 1.7GHz quad core processor and a 13-megapixel camera, all stuffed into an 8.6mm body. I was given an early hands on with the P2's camera to see how it stacks up against the Nexus 4.


Huawei Ascend P2 (Click image to enlarge) Andrew Hoyle/CNET
Nexus 4 (click image to enlarge) Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Shooting outside the Mobile World Congress center, the P2 was off to an unimpressive start. It didn't have quite the level of control over its exposure that I'd like, resulting in blown-out highlights in the sky. The Nexus wasn't brilliant by any means but it saved some of the blue in the sky at least.


Huawei Ascend P2 (Click image to enlarge) Andrew Hoyle/CNET
Nexus 4 (Click image to enlarge) Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Both cameras feature a high dynamic range (HDR) function that combines multiple photos at different exposures to create an even tone overall. That's the idea, anyway, not that you'd know it from the P2. The only noticeable difference was that the darker areas were marginally lighter. The skies remained completely washed out. The Nexus, meanwhile, managed to capture a much better overall exposure, with rich skies and satisfying colors.


Huawei Ascend P2 Andrew Hoyle/CNET
Nexus 4 (Click image to enlarge) Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Getting up close with this plant, the P2 put in a better effort with exposure. Colors were fairly rich and the bright spots on the table were kept under control, whereas they were overexposed on the Nexus 4's attempt.


Huawei Ascend P2 (Click image to enlarge) Andrew Hoyle/CNET
Nexus 4 (Click image to enlarge) Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Indoors, the Nexus managed to capture a much warmer, more natural color tone than the P2. However, the P2's shot was much sharper and suffered less from image noise. Both cameras had their white balance set to automatic, so it would be possible to counter the P2's cold color tone with some settings tweaking.


Huawei Ascend P2 (Click image to enlarge) Andrew Hoyle/CNET
Nexus 4 (Click image to enlarge) Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Moving in for some macro shots, the P2 again put in the more impressive effort. It was able to gain a much sharper focus at the same close distance, resulting in much better clarity on the detail of the zip. It still suffered from cold colors but white balance settings should be able to take care of the worst of that.

In general, the P2 put in a fairly decent effort. It didn't seem to have the same control over bright exposures in outdoor scenes and its HDR mode seems basically useless, but its 13-megapixel sensor does a good job of bringing clarity to shots.

My tests were only a brief look at the cameras during MWC, so I'll have to leave the final verdict on the P2's snapper for the full review.

 

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