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Hands on: Huawei’s Ascend P2 caters to iPhone refugees with simplicity

Oh what can I say about this lovely Huawei (Hwah-Way). At first glance, there’s nothing particularly crazy or intense about the Ascend P2. It rounds out the lineup Huawei began debuting earlier this year at CES. With a 4.7-inch screen, it’s no small phone, but compared to the 5-inch Ascend D2 and the massive, monstrous, scary-big 6.1-inch Huawei Ascend Mate, it’s positively tiny. Yep, Huawei’s phone lineup has gotten so large that 4.7 inches is considered small. Any one of these phones could beat the hell out of an iPhone in a street brawl.

But there’s no need to fight. There’s room for everyone to give it a go these days, and the Ascend P2 brings some fun features to the table, mostly in the areas of customization and simplicity. 

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Huawei Ascend P2 front

Unlike almost every other Android phone, the P2 does not have an apps menu. Instead, much like the iPhone, every time you install an application, its icon is added to your home screen(s). If you want to delete an app from your home screen(s) then it’s deleted from your phone. There’s no extra layer. For those switching from iOS, this should make the Android ecosystem much more familiar to the iPhone. It was jarring to me at first, but I quickly got used to it. Since Android is still far more customizable than iOS, you can intersperse widgets and other doo-dads around your homescreens to make things more lively. Creating folders is as easy as dragging one app icon over another.

The Ascend P2 also packs some fun customization features. You can change the entire look and theme of the interface by choosing one of more than a dozen different theme options, most of which seem to look pretty good. I also liked how you can, much like the LG Optimus G, select different home-screen swapping animations. You can flip between home screens like Flipboard, rotate through them like a cylinder, stretch them, squeeze them, or even move between them like a windmill. Not every animation is super satisfying, but almost everyone should be able to find something they like.

The specs are pretty good. It has a quad-core Huawei processor, 1GB of RAM, a 13-megapixel rear camera, and a 1280 x 720 pixel LCD screen that is so sensitive you can use it through clothing, gloves, or even with objects like a penny or very short stylus.

Huawei Ascend P2 themes

The Ascend P2 won’t hit shelves until sometime before summer, and even then, we don’t yet have a North American release date. But if Huawei keeps making phones like this, it won’t be long before American wireless carriers begin to take notice. The Ascend P2 does not set any records, nor does it have any massive “breakthrough” innovations, but it is designed well and has some features that may actually make it easier to use for those migrating from the iOS ecosystem. I look forward to trying it out again soon.

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