Huawei Ascend G600

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/ Updated: 31 August 2012 12:48 pm BST

Huawei may not (yet) have the brand cachet of a Samsung, but the Chinese phone maker isn't letting that get in the way of the important business of making smart phones.

Quite the opposite. It's unboxed another blower to bulk out its expanding Ascend range of phones: meet the Ascend G600, a mid-range 'droid that runs Ice Cream Sandwich and packs a dual-core 1.2GHz chip, a 4.5-inch display and a beefy battery.

The G600 carries the tag-line "that little bit extra" -- and is positioned as a more premium mid-range device than the excellent budget G300.

If it's a mid-range Android with dual-core power you're after, read on.

Software

Details about the G600 remain scantier than a Brazilian swimsuit, but Huawei has confirmed it will be running Android 4.0 -- aka Ice Cream Sandwich.

This isn't the latest version of the Google OS any more -- that honour goes to 4.1 Jelly Bean -- but since loads of mid-range 'droids still come packing Gingerbread it's good to see. Since the G600 has a front-facing camera you should also get the ICS Face Unlock feature -- something that's not always present on cheaper ICS devices, since it requires that piece of hardware to function.

Atop ICS you should also expect to get Huawei's own Android wrapper -- which judging by other Ascend devices, is a fairly lightweight skin. It delivers the usual Android staple of multiple home screens to kit out with apps and widgets.

Huawei has also knocked up a nifty directional lock screen so you can swipe in different directions to dive straight into specific functions.

With a dual-core 1.2GHz chip under its hood, the G600 should be a pretty capable beast when it comes to apps and web browsing. There will still be apps that tax it -- such as high-octane 3D games - -- but basics such as social networking and YouTube should be well within its powers.

Huawei Ascend G600 home screen
Scoop your fingers into this helping of Ice Cream Sandwich, Google's sweet operating system.

Hardware

With a 1.2GHz dual-core processor under the hood, 768MB of RAM and 4GB of ROM, the G600 looks like a slighter more potent version of the HTC Desire X -- judged on specs alone -- so I'm hopeful that its performance should be pretty slick.

Huawei's blurb claims the phone will offer "smooth, seamless gaming, surfing and videos", but it remains to be seen whether it's affected by the laggy sluggishness that can afflict so many mid-range 'droids. Once we get the phone in for a full review we'll be sure to put its through its performance paces.

On the front of the G600 is a 4.5-inch display -- which is roomy without being hand-stretchingly huge. This has been toughened with Gorilla Glass to protect against careless knocks. Here's hoping the protective glass doesn't degrade the responsiveness of the touchscreen.

Huawei Ascend G600 home screen
At 4.5 inches, there's plenty of pixels to wrap your digits around.

The resolution is 540x960 pixels, so it should be well suited to watching good quality video content when you're away from home.

Huawei is boasting about the beefy battery it's stuck inside the G600 -- specifically it's a 2,000mAh cell. It reckons this will be good for up to 6 hours of talk time on a single charge, or up to 380 hours on standby. When we get the G600 in for review we'll be sure to test its longevity.

The rear camera is an 8-megapixel lens -- which sounds like a decent amount of megapixels for a mid-range blower. A decent phone camera requires a lot more than mere megapixels though. Stay tuned for test snaps in the full review.

You also get a front facing camera for video calling, plus a front and rear speaker for pumping out crisp audio.

Also on board: an NFC chip which means the phone will be compatible with contactless readers so in future you might be able to use it to pay for your lunch at shops such as Pret-a-Manger, which have contactless payment terminals.

Huawei Ascend G600 side
At 10.5mm thick, it's not the slimmest Android in town.

Design

The G600 is standard, round-edged slab fare. It's a fairly large phone -- albeit nowhere near as big as Samsung's whopping Galaxy Note 2 -- so if you have really small hands you may want to consider something smaller.

And while it not super chunky, at 10.5mm it's not super skeletal either.

If you're a fan of bright splashes of colour you'll be disappointed that there's only a choice of 'mysterious black' or 'pure white' finishes.

Outlook

Huawei says the G600 is expected to arrive in the UK in Q4 this year -- with pricing expected to be around €300 (£235) SIM-free. Official UK pricing will be confirmed nearer launch day.

At the right price -- and if performance lives up to Huawei's claims -- the G600 could be a decent option for people with a little bit of extra cash to spend on a mid-range blower. But stay tuned for a full review.

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Huawei Ascend G600

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