Huawei keeps it pretty simple in terms of their own provided "added value" applications. I'll reiterate here that I'm not taking any closer look at Huawei's dedicated store, music or gaming apps as they seem to be strictly Chinese-market oriented and mostly not even translated from Chinese.

Various tool appsRemove control

The most commonly used applications that you expect to be found on any stock Android phone (beyond those that you see on the main home screen) are found neatly tucked in a "Tools" folder on the second screen.

In this folder, we find the IR blaster remote software. It's very simplistic and easy to use, with the ability to choose a manufacturer from a predefined list and pressing the power button until the target device successfully is turned on. If your device is not compatible, you are able to program it as any other smart-remote by pointing your original remote at the IR sensor to register the desired code and save it on any desired button.

Backup functionFM radio

Surprisingly I found a backup function on the phone that lets you backup all your application data either locally (and optionally cryptographically protected via a password) or to Huawei's cloud services if you wish to do so. It's very straightforward and you can even choose to restore individual apps from the backup.

The included FM radio app again provides the basic functionality to listen to the air-waves. I found it a pity though that it didn't include RDS functionality, something I wish was more prelevant in phones. FM radio is still popular in many areas around the globe so I'm always happy to see OEMs continuing to support it.


The magnifying glass application works remarkebly well, using the phone's rear camera macro function at a button without having to launch the main camera app.

There's a "Mirror" app which uses the front camera and allows you to admire yourself in it. I found it odd that by default this included a "steamy" glass effect which you have to clean with your finger or press the back button to clear. There are a variety of frames that you can choose from to embellish yourself for and take selfies with so that you can share them with your friends.

Mirror appTimerFile managerFile manager details

The default file manager provides all your needs in terms of moving around and managing your content on your phone. I still find it very disappointing that Google has effectively gutted all third-party file managers and rendered them virtually useless. This is also valid for Huawei's EmotionUI as it implements the same restrictions which are not circumventable without rooting the phone. I hope Android L finally fixes this issue which has caused quite an upheaval in the community.

Apps SD optionsBrowserTheme selectionTheme selection online

Huawei offers the possibility of moving applications onto the external SD card when your internal space gets too low. The stock browser keeps on the simple design that we see throught the OS and offers the most basic features. It's very fast and it works well, there's not much to say about it.

The OS offers a theming engine which changes the visual style of the icons, lockscreens and backgrounds. There's a wide variation of themes available in the online section, some which are for pay and most which are freely available.

Here's a gallery with various other screenshots of the UI such as the video and music players or the dialling pad, and some of the non-translated chinese-only features of the phone that I've skipped due to my language limitations.

In general, I'm pretty happy with Huawei's software. There is absolutely no lag or delay anywhere on the phone, the animations are smooth and apps open and switch virtually instantenously. It's easily one of the snappiest phones I've dealt with. While I'm no fan of the stock launcher's looks and the icon design, it's nothing that is inherently tied to the OS and can be easily replaced with customization. There are no gimmicks with the phone and it offers a very solid user experience.

EmotionUI 2.3 - Core OS Features Kirin 920 SoC & Platform power analysis
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  • Achtung_BG - Friday, September 12, 2014 - link

    Kirin920/925 is very intrasting SoC compared with MediaTek 6595( 4 cortex A17, 4 cortex A17 GPU PowerVR6200) in mid phone class 200-300$
  • johnny_boy - Friday, September 12, 2014 - link

    As someone who doesn't game, this SoC is pretty interesting. Being interested in mainly web performance, this phone looks fairly attractive for the price. This obsession with phone/tablet GPU performance is a bit puzzling, and there should be options with strong CPU performance and middling GPU performance for those of us who only do casual or once-in-a-blue-moon phone/tablet gaming. What percentage of tablet users are utilizing the full power of their Tegra K1 GPU, or phone users utilizing the full power or their Snapdragon 801 (Adreno 330) GPU? My bet is few.
  • johnny_boy - Friday, September 12, 2014 - link

    Whoops, I forgot there's only one K1 tablet out right now, and it's a gaming one! So probably 100% of K1 users ARE utilizing that fullness of that GPU!
  • hendry07 - Saturday, September 13, 2014 - link

    if im not mistaken, there are 2 K1 Tablets that are out right now. MiPad , and Shield.
  • soccerballtux - Friday, September 12, 2014 - link

    how do you burn through 3100mAh in 1.6483 hours that is beyond me
  • tuxRoller - Friday, September 12, 2014 - link

    By having it use about 6W/hr;)
  • masimilianzo - Friday, September 12, 2014 - link

    Great having reviews for chinese only phones! They are great! Nubias, Meizu, Xiaomi, Huawei. Please keep going reviewing this stuff
  • NeatOman - Saturday, September 13, 2014 - link

    I just want to note something that is not brought up nearly as much or at all, the lighting that affects the screens... over many years I've seen screen look better then other in certain light and in other light other screens come out ahead. Long story short, my Nexus 5 looks much better in the sun then my friends iPhone 5c.. the colors seam to be almost *enhanced* if you will while the iPhone although very clear in the sun still looked washed out. Also if you have polorized glassed on the iPhone screen gets wired (kind cool lol) and the Nexus 5 is perfectly visible both vertically and horizontally (the Nexus 4's screen would go totally black if it was held sideways with polarized glasses on).

    So despite not being as bright outright, it handles sunlight hitting the screen much much better then a iPhone 5//5s/5c, especially with glasses on.
  • johnny_boy - Saturday, September 13, 2014 - link

    Nice looking phone. Too bad about the crappy wifi and flash performance, because that should be a dealbreaker for almost anyone.
  • p51d007 - Saturday, September 13, 2014 - link

    I have a Huawei Ascend Mate2, and it has a non removable battery. Considering it is a 4000mAH battery, it doesn't matter. Even with a 6.1" screen, it lasts 2-3 days on average. Some have questioned when they released it with a Snapdragon 400 SOC along with a 720p screen. I even had doubts until I started seeing reviews & actual users that have it. Some also questioned the lack of kit kat, sticking it with JB 4.3, but, I bet the majority of users won't care. It's fast, the screen is crystal clear, unless you are a pixel peeper that holds the device 2 inches from your nose! If more and more "mid spec" devices start showing promise, perhaps the days of over priced super spec devices will start to dissipate. Do you "really" need an 8 core 1080p screen? The apps can't really take advantage of all that speed anyway.

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