Huawei Ascend D2 vs Google Nexus 4

January 15, 2013
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Another day, another fresh-faced 5-inch 1080p smartphone has entered the VS chamber, this time from a manufacturer whose name is still hard as ever to pronounce (for some). You may have met the Huawei Ascend D2 before, but you will want to stick around to see how the phone – and its rather impressive specs – fares against Google’s Nexus 4.

The battle between the Ascend D2 and the Nexus 4 starts here.

Specs

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Build Quality & Design

The Ascend D2 is pleasant enough to look at, but it’s neither groundbreaking nor awe-inspiring, despite the company’s attempt to jazz it up with some aluminum and metal.

The phone is well-built, but the sturdiness comes at the expense of its weight. At 170 grams, the D2 is heavier than the Nexus 4 (139 grams) and other 5-inchers as well. Given the bigger screen size, it’s not surprising to see that the phone is taller (140 mm VS 133.9 mm), wider (71 mm VS 68.7 mm), and thicker (9.9mm VS 9.1mm).

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A little bit out of the ordinary, the microUSB port and micro SIM card slot are placed on top, while the speaker sits on the bottom. It’s worth to mention as well that the D2 is dust and water resistant.

What about the Nexus 4? At a glance, the latest Nexus phone can be easily mistaken for the Galaxy Nexus, but this isn’t a bad thing at all. We’re a fan of the clean all-black front frame of the series. Turn the N4 over and you’ll be greeted with the oft-praised glass back that “sparkles”.

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LG – at the behest of Google – is making a design gamble by going with glass for both sides of the device; all in the name of making it look and feel more premium. While it has succeeded in meeting that particular goal, it does leave the burden to users to be extra careful with their expensive toy. Butter fingers should look into investing in a bumper or case for a better peace of mind.

The head is telling us to declare the Ascend D2 as the winner, but the heart is choosing the Nexus 4. You may face the same dilemma, but ultimately you get to make your own decision, based on your preference.

Display

Huawei’s Ascend D2, like other flagship devices of 2013, follows the unwritten rule of being equipped with a full HD display (1,080 x 1,920 resolution). To be more specific, the Ascend D2 boasts a 5-inch 1080p IPS+ screen with 443 ppi.

The Nexus 4 also uses an IPS+ panel, one that’s protected by Gorilla Glass 2, but the 4.7-inch screen only offers a resolution of 768 x 1,280 with 320 ppi. However, the N4 benefits from the use of Zerogap technology, which eliminates some extra layer from the screen for a brighter display that’s more responsive to touch.

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Thanks to its bigger and sharper screen, the Ascend D2 edges the Nexus 4 in this round. However, make no mistake that the Nexus 4 offers as brilliant and beautiful of a display as its competitor. Besides, some may argue that anything above 300 ppi on a phone can simply be considered overkill.

At the end of the day, both are top-notch displays.  If you’re planning to watch a lot of 1080p movies on your phone, then you may want to consider choosing the Ascend D2.

Hardware

The Ascend D2 is powered by Huawei’s K3V2 quad-core processor. It’s the same chip you’ll find on the Ascend D Quad XL, but clocked higher at 1.5GHz. Various benchmark test results place Qualcomm’s Snapdragon S4 Pro – used on the N4 – ahead, but in real life the K3V2 is an able performer that’s sufficient enough to run all your apps and games without hiccups.

The phone comes with 32GB of internal storage, which more than makes up for the lack of a memory expansion slot. Other specs include a 13MP rear camera with BSI sensor, a 1.3MP front-facing camera, and a 3,000mAh battery.

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Although the battery is non-removable, it has a bigger capacity than what most smartphones are packing. It can also take advantage of Huawei’s smart power-saving technology that reduces power consumption when the phone is idle by 20%.

Meanwhile, the Nexus 4 sports a quad-core 1.5GHz Snapdragon S4 Pro processor that can easily blow competing SoCs out of the water. It also comes with 2GB of RAM, 8MP rear camera, 1.3MP front-facing cam, and a non-removable 2,100mAh battery. The Nexus 4 is only available in 8GB and 16GB models, which makes the fact that it doesn’t have a microSD slot more lamentable.

It may be hard to believe, but apart from the processor, the Ascend D2 has the overall better specs, though not by a mile. For instance, Huawei’s offering doesn’t support wireless charging and NFC. Then again, getting the Nexus line is never about owning the latest and greatest in hardware.

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Software

Running atop Android 4.1 Jelly Bean on the Ascend D2 is the Emotion UI, which actually is a pretty light skin compared to Samsung’s TouchWiz and HTC’s Sense. You’ll get to choose between the 2D and 3D Home launchers; both actually look very similar to a pure Android interface – well, almost.

Aside from a customized lock screen, there’s also nifty feature that lets users hide the on-screen buttons on the phone. You can say goodbye to third-party solutions if you want to maximize the screen real estate.

The Nexus 4 ships with a pure and wholesome Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. It may not come with too many enhancements that an UI overlay has to offer, but Google has been doing a darn good job in making sure that it covers all the bases.

If there’s one reason to get the Nexus 4, it’d be for the promise of getting software updates straight from the big G. It should come as no surprise that the Nexus takes this round.

Video comparison

Pros and Cons

Huawei Ascend D2 Pros

  • 5-inch full HD IPS+ display
  • 3,000mAh battery
  • Sturdy

Huawei Ascend D2 Cons

  • Quite heavy
  • No microSD card slot
  • No NFC, wireless charging
  • No LTE
  • No release date, price

Google Nexus 4 Pros

  • 4.7-inch IPS+ display
  • Cool design
  • Guaranteed timely software updates
  • Great price

Google Nexus 4 Cons

  • Glass back
  • Non-removable battery, no microSD card slot
  • No LTE
  • Limited availability

Conclusion

Huawei is going all out with the Ascend D2 to ensure that it will make a big splash when it lands. The keyword here is “when” – especially for folks outside of China. While Huawei doesn’t have any problem flooding the market with low- to mid-range phones, the release of its flagship phones is often delayed.

We’re definitely interested in hearing more launch and pricing details of the Ascend 2, we can imagine you are too.

The Nexus 4 isn’t without its flaws. The glass back might be prone to scratches and cracks, and LG and Google have done an impeccable job in making the flagship Nexus device almost impossible to attain. But still, being that it sports the (currently) fastest processor in the market and has the full backing of Google, as well as the promise of a stock Android experience – it’s not a wonder that the N4 is highly sought after.

Which one would you go for?

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