If you were following Huawei’s presser from earlier today, you may have thought the company’s CES 2013 story was “All About Android.” Turns out, it’s not. On the showfloor here at Pepcom, the company was able to give us a first look at the Ascend W1: it’s first entry for the Windows Phone 8 space. Admittedly, the W1 doesn’t share any of the lust-worthy, high-end specs that adorn the Ascend Mateand D2, but that’s not its angle. As one Huawei rep put it, this is a value proposition, outfitted with a 4-inch display (we couldn’t verify resolution) and 1.2GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 paried with 512MB RAM. Software-wise, this is about as stock WP8 as it gets, so don’t expect to see any applications come pre-loaded onto the hardware.
Dimension-wise, the W1 is a girthy phone, cutting a silhouette that’s just about 10mm — so, it stands far outside the “world’s thinnest” category that we’ve heard so much about at this CES. It also bears a bit of heft which we can’t ascribe to its battery size. At 1,950mAh, the W1 should pack enough juice to last seven to nine days on standby and given the reduced power requirements of WP8, it’s sure to get moderate users through a full day. There’s a paltry 4GB of storage onboard, but thankfully, users can augment that via a microSD slot, allowing for up to 32GB.
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UI navigation on the W1 lives up to the elegant, sweeping transitions that have become trademarks of Windows Phone 8. It’s appreciably quick and responsive. And somewhat surprisingly, viewing angles on the display held up remarkably when we tilted it about in various degrees. As for that standard micro-USB port, it seems Huawei’s done something different by allocating it to the bottom right of the handset.