The Huawei Ascend comes running the old Android 2.1, also known as Eclair. It’s pure Eclair, with little to no modification by Huawei. It does have a unique home screen design though, instead of the usual left/right swipe to get to the next home screen, the Ascend uses a 3x3 grid method. Which means you can sweep left, right and down or up, either way your are given access to 3 home screens with each swipe, which means the Ascend has a total of nine home screens. If you are a heavy widget user, the Huawei Ascend is the phone for you.
The phone's screen always takes a second or so to register touches, so patience is a virtue when using the Ascend. There is a slight problem with home screens though, when attempting to move to another screen, one should be careful to touch an empty space on the screen and not a widget, otherwise the phone will activate the widget.
The phone’s main menu has a diagonal sweep design common with most unadulterated Android phones, which means a lot of scrolling downwards if you have many apps installed. The main screen alway consists of the search bar and four touch buttons no matter which home screen panel you are on, the buttons starting from left to right are; Zoom, Messages, Phonebook, Dialer and Menu. The Zoom buttons serves the function of minimizing all nine home screen panels, it also shows all the widgets currently being used.
The Ascend has a limited phonebook, the phone's internal memory is used when contacts are added, as such once the phone's memory runs out, so will space to add contacts. The Phonebook is slightly modified by Huawei as a sliding mechanism has been added to the dialer, which allows for the integration of the group contacts tab as well.
Other than that there is photo tagging, ringtone tagging, multiple number, e-mail and other various entries per contact. On the phone's native memory, it can easily take in 6,000 contacts. There is no proximity sensor, so when calls arrive the phone locks itself up, as a result you have to manually unlock the phone to use any in-call functions. There is no social network integration in the phonebook, as the Ascend comes without any Facebook or Twitter apps.
Now onto messaging, the phone comes with the Swype input method, which is not a luxury but a necessity on the Ascend, as mentioned earlier the phone’s screen does not register touches or taps correctly, so tapping onto the QWERTY can be a very painful experience. So the Swype input makes messaging much easier.
As for the keyboard itself, it is big and comfortable to use, with the only complaint being the space bar shrinking and moving to the left side of the screen, when the phone is in landscape mode. The phone's auto correction function seems to have escaped from a mental facility for the linguistically challenged, as it almost never gets a correct answer to a typo or misspelling. The Ascend is not very friendly to social networking enthusiasts, as there is no IM app or functionality, except for Google Talk. There is e-mail support and all messages are shown in threaded view, however, there are only two native e-mail clients, one for common mail and another one for Gmail.