Huawei's assault on the smartphone market is wisely platform-agostic, and with the Ascend W1 it's produced perhaps the best-looking Windows Phone 8 device yet.

Weighing just 120g, we can't get over how light it feels – it's simply staggeringly light, and we can't fathom how Huawei has achieved such a feat. It will win fans for that fact alone. 

Huawei Ascend W1 white

Slightness aside, the Ascend W1 – which is built around a four-inch IPS display – is an impressive handset. Running a Qualcomm MSM8230 chipset, its completely unmodified Windows 8 Phone OS runs quickly and smoothly, merely changing base colour from phone to phone. Talking of colours, there's a choice between red, sly blue, black and white, with the latter by far the prettiest since the protruding plastic lip at the bottom of the device is least obvious. 

Huawei Ascend W1 back and top
O2 has confirmed it will be ranging the Blue and Pink versions

The screen itself is probably the Ascend W1's weakness. There's nothing wrong with the viewing angle or touch sensitivity, and nor did we particularly notice the standard 800x480 pixel display. No, despite a 'no air gap' approach to panel bonding, the screen does appear quite reflective. It's also got a nasty habit of picking up fingerprints, so much so that one member of staff on the Huawei stand at the CES spent thew entire time polishing the review samples. The design certainly isn't edge to edge, with a gap of at least 5mm along the sides, 10mm above and around 15mm below. Huawei told us that NFC is an optional device, and will depend on the network. 

Huawei ascend w1 pink and depth shot
The Ascend W1 is 10.15mm deep, yet the battery offers 470 hours of standby time
The Ascend W1 is 10.15mm deep, yet the battery offers 470 hours of standby time

 

The Huawei Ascend W1 is available from Q1 from O2. Find out more Huawei Ascend W1 Information.