Huawei unveiled two new phones this year at Mobile World Congress 2012: the flagship Ascend D quad and its larger relative, the Ascend D quad XL. Both are powered by the company's own K3V2 quad-core SoC, which means Huawei is one of a select group of companies joining the ranks of Qualcomm, Intel, Nvidia, and TI.
According to the product managers that we spoke with, the K3V2 SoC is based on four Cortex A9s and a graphics processor of its very own. This chip won't be available to other smartphone vendors, as Huawei plans to feature it solely on its own products in 1.2 GHz and 1.5GHz variants.
Quality wise, the K3V2 an impressive piece of work. Riptide GP runs relatively smoothly and even features Tegra 3-specific graphic improvements. We did notice a few deficiencies in game quality, and it's unclear if Huawei modified a driver stack to emulate Nvidia graphic libraries found on Tegra 3-devices. During video playback, we did notice the occasional dropped frame, which leads us to suspect that performance isn't as good as Huawei is touting. We can't really dig deeper while we are here because the phones have been locked down, meaning we can't install any diagnostic software or GLBenchmark. However, we're planning to peel back the layers into once samples become available.
Incidentally, Huawei's competition is already making the rounds making sure everyone knows the company hasn't proven itself when it comes to SoC design. After all, it's one thing to deliver performance and quite another to do so with power. Based on our limited time, we still can't help but be impressed. The Ascend D quad stayed relatively cool under load, but we're not sure about battery life due to our limited time with the demo units. However, Huawei claims that power consumption isn't a problem because it is using performance profiles at the driver level to aggressively adjust CPU frequencies per load needs. That's something all SoC manufacturers do to some degree, so we'll have to reserve final judgement until we actually get a sample in the lab.
Back on the smartphone front, the Ascend D quad and quad XL feature Audience's earSmart noise-canceling technology. By using dual mics and a digital signal processor, earSmart is able to filter out background noise, which should help enrich the audio experience while you're in a noisy area. Huawei takes things further though with the quad and quad XL with Dolby Mobile 3.0+, which means you can enjoy surround sound provided you hook up your 5.1-channel audio system.