Huawei Ascend D Quad

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/ Updated: 28 February 2012 10:35 am GMT

Huawei's a manufacturer to keep an eye on, having produced some impressive mobiles in the last few years. This year the company is going all out, crafting a 4.5-inch quad-core mobile with a 720p screen and an 8-megapixel camera, dubbed (somewhat clunkily) the Huawei Ascend D Quad. Yes, very good, stop giggling at the back.

I've gone hands-on with the super-powered D Quad at Mobile World Congress, and I'm ready to hit you with some first impressions. Read on!

Design

I was really impressed with the look and feel of the D Quad, which boasts a simplistic, Samsung-esque aesthetic. It sports rounded corners and a slim build, and there are some neat design touches in place too -- I especially like the red accents on the camera and the grilles on the back of the phone.

Huawei Ascend D Quad back
The red piping round the camera is a nifty retro touch.

Despite its polygon-crunching power, the D Quad is surprisingly slim. Measuring 8.9mm deep it's very thin indeed, and it felt light in my hands as well.

Although the screen is definitely on the large side, this phone didn't feel bulky at all, and I was able to wrap my mitts around it with minimal fuss. You might have a little more trouble if you've got small hands though.

The screen is very impressive. It looked bright and colourful to me, and I was pleased with how the display itself seemed to be very close to the top of the screen. That always makes a mobile look extra classy. Better still is the beefy resolution -- the D Quad packs 1,280x720 pixels into this panel, making it a 720p display.

As a result, icons and text look very crisp, and photos and hi-def video looks a treat. The D Quad isn't alone is boasting this resolution -- the Sony Xperia S and the Samsung Galaxy Nexus offer the same pixel count, and I've seen other phones here at MWC that offer similarly hi-res screens. But that doesn't make the pin-sharp images this panel spits out any less impressive.

Huawei Ascend D Quad kitty
Everyone needs a phone that makes kittens look this good.

A higher resolution makes a huge difference to the look of a smart phone, so fingers crossed we see more 720p phones launching in the near future.

Processor and other hardware

Let's examine this smart phone's titular feature: the 1.5GHz quad-core processor.

It's impossible to gauge with limited hands-on time exactly how potent that processor is, and how it will compare to other powerful mobiles such as HTC's quad-core One X or the LG Optimus 4X HD until it's sitting in the CNET UK testing facility, but based on my experience, the D Quad is looking like a very nippy device indeed.

I couldn't detect any lag while moving through the phone's Android interface, and firing up a graphically intensive game didn't cause the D Quad to sweat at all, with games I tried moving very swiftly with no lag or stutter, even when there were lots of polygons being chucked around the screen.

Huawei Ascend D Quad game
The D Quad handled fast-paced gaming with aplomb.

I also played some high-resolution video, and was pleased with the smooth playback. I wonder if those four hungry cores will end up playing havoc on the D Quad's battery though.

Elsewhere, the D Quad packs some impressive components. I already mentioned the impressive display, and around the back there's an 8-megapixel camera. That's a healthy resolution for a smart phone camera, but it doesn't necessarily mean the D Quad will excel at capturing decent snaps and video.

I really hope it proves to be a good camera phone though, seeing as the phone has the display tech to do justice to high-quality photos. There's a 1.3-megapixel camera stuck on the front too, which will come in handy for video calling.

Ice Cream Sandwich software

Android addicts will be pleased to know that the D Quad will arrive running Ice Cream Sandwich , the latest version of Google's mobile operating system. Being as close to the cutting edge as possible is a plus, but from a practical standpoint ICS brings you a tweaked, Tron-esque interface, a neat multi-tasking system and cool features such as the ability to unlock your phone using your face.

Huawei Ascend D Quad angle
Huawei's latest is shaping up to be a real killer.

Being an Android phone, you'll also have access to thousands of apps, widgets for your home screens and the ability to heavily customise the look and feel of the phone.

Outlook

With a slick design, and impressive screen and monstrous processor running under the bonnet, there's not a lot to dislike about the Huawei Ascend D Quad. With Ice Cream Sandwich also in tow, the D Quad looks great on paper. I worry that the screen and processor will take their toll on the phone's battery life, but otherwise this looks to be one of the phones to beat at MWC.

Expect a full review as soon as possible, and in the meantime keep your peepers trained on mwc.cnet.co.uk for more Mobile World Congress news.

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