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Huawei confirms sapphire display for Ascend P7

The Chinese handset maker gives its 5-inch Ascend P7 a sapphire display which will make it more resistant to scratches.

The Huawei Ascend P7 (pictured) will soon be available with a scratch-resistant sapphire display. Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Huawei has taken the wraps off a new version of its Ascend P7 smartphone which has a sapphire screen and ceramic back to make the phone more resistant to scratches. Huawei announced the Sapphire P7 at the IFA tech show in Berlin but has yet to give any word on pricing or availability.

Sapphire glass is considerably tougher than regular glass, making it particularly suited to phone displays, which are often bombarded by keys and coins in a pocket that can quickly leave a display looking worn. Sapphire is only beaten in durability by diamond.

It's quickly becoming the material of choice for high-end phones as various rumours have slated sapphire to be covering the hotly anticipated Apple iPhone 6. It's a cunning, although not really surprising, move by Huawei to get in with its own sapphire phone before the next iPhone is likely unveiled on September 9.

The back of the phone has been replaced with a ceramic panel, which should also be more resistant to scratching than the glass panel found on the regular Ascend P7 . The metal edge is now available in a rose gold colour.

The phone remains otherwise unchanged. It has the same full HD 1,920x1,080-pixel resolution, quad-core processor and 13-megapixel camera. It runs Google's Android 4.4 KitKat operating system. The standard version is extremely slim, although whether the new materials have changed the dimensions of the phone remains to be seen.

Although Huawei hasn't given specific pricing details yet, the new P7 is likely to be more expensive than the existing model, due to the higher cost of both the raw materials and the manufacturing process to make the phone. We'll update this piece when more information is available.