Ascend P2 powers up Huawei's Android lineup

The Huawei Ascend P2 features Android 4.2, a 13-megapixel camera, and a sleek design.

Jessica Dolcourt

Jessica Dolcourt

Editorial Director / CNET Money, How-To & Performance Optimization

Jessica Dolcourt leads the CNET Money, How-To, and Performance teams. A California native who grew up in Silicon Valley, she's passionate about connecting people with the highest standard of advice to help them reach their goals.

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BARCELONA, Spain--The Huawei Ascend P2 is Huawei's next step in its mission to advance its Android presence worldwide.

Succeeding the Huawei Ascend P1, the P2 has a similar tuxedo look, with a sleek, glossy black face that curves along the top and bottom to dip into points that meet the white backing. Huawei credits the infinity pool as inspiration. While there is a slim bezel, the screen approaches the edges, giving the display an expansive feel. There's an all-black version as well.

A taller, more narrow configuration (a slim 8.6 millimeters thin,) the Ascend P2 felt good in the hand. While I love the look of the phone overall, I did notice a little bit of a gappy seam on the back that makes it look cheap. It wasn't just one demo unit, either. I saw the same tiny trough on at least 6 others at Huawei's booth. The phone's volume rocker is fairly flush to the surface, which isn't my favorite profile, but buttons seemed responsive.

Since the back cover isn't removable, you'll find the SIM card slot on the right spine. There's convenient access, to be sure, but on the other side of the coin, the SIM flap doesn't look as high-end as a slide-in drawer that's also harder to reach.

The P2 runs Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, with Huawei's Emotion UI on top. It features a 4.7-inch, 720p HD display with a 315-pixel density and promises high contrast for outdoor legibility. Huawei also crowed about the P2's 85-degree viewing angle, 500-nits of screen brightness, Gorilla Glass 2 topper for scratch resistance, and lower power consumption.

As with Nokia's Lumia 920, the Ascend P2's screen is sensitive enough to use with gloves on. As for the decision to go with a 1,280x720-pixel resolution rather than the 1,920x1,080 resolution favored by today's top phones, Huawei defended it with the claim, "Your eyes can't identify higher resolution than this."

In addition to the screen specs, the P2 features a 1.5GHz quad-core processor, and a 13-megapixel camera. Double-clicking the handset's physical camera button takes a shot. What's more, facial recognition software helps organize photos in the gallery by contact. The camera is backside illuminated for increased low-light performance, and includes HDR mode.

Huawei Ascend P2 unveiled at Mobile World Congress (pictures)

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Just as rumored, the Ascend P2 has a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera, and also 16GB internal storage and 1GB RAM. It packs a 2,420mAh battery.

Although the rumors were a little off -- the P2 does not pack a 1.8GHz quad-core processor, 2GB RAM, or only 8GB internal storage -- it's still a high-end showing.

The P2 is expected to go on sale in Europe in the middle of 2013 for 399 euros (roughly $525, £350 plus tax), a Huawei executive told CNET, with U.S. availability limited to online retailers.