Huawei Ascend Mate
Functional midrange phablet, but unlikely to get your pulse racing
Ratings BreakdownEditor's Rating:
- Value for money:
Camera: 8MP single LED flash
Memory: 2GB RAM and 8GB of internal storage, expandable up to 32GB via micro-SD
OS: Android v4.1 (Jelly Bean)
Screen: 6.1-inch Corning Gorilla glass IPS+ LCD capacitive touch screen
Huawei is a prime example of how aggressive the smartphone industry has become in 2013. It is another vendor that has obsessively indulged in the game of record-setting box ticking.
In various models this year, the company has released record-breaking (it claims) handsets. Largest screen? Check. Slimmest profile? Check. Fastest LTE? Check.
But are they any good? We got our hands on an Ascend Mate to find out.
The Mate was the talk of CES in Barcelona in January, when Huawei introduced it as the smartphone with the world's largest screen. At 6.1 inches it certainly raised some eyebrows at the time, especially since Samsung's yet-to-be-released Galaxy S4 was (correctly) anticipated to be 5.5 inches. Of course Sony has since announced the 6.4-inch Xperia Z Ultra, thereby diluting the Mate's gravitas, but the Corning Gorilla glass IPS+ LCD capacitive touch screen accommodates 16m colours, and so it acquits itself nicely in the visual sense... until you hit sunlight and the screen washes out severely.
It is not the most portable of beasts, we agreed. While some of us could hold it in one hand, others struggled and all of us found it definitely more comfortable to be used in two hands.
The Mate is powered by a Cortex A9,1.5GHz Quad core chip and carries 2GB RAM and 8GB of internal storage, expandable up to 32GB via micro-SD. So not a particular powerhouse on paper, but we encountered no performance issues with 15 different apps running.
The main camera is a basic 8MP single LED flash, but we were still impressed with picture quality. Video, however, is mediocre at best, with a lot of blur. The 1MP, front-facing camera takes predictably pixelated still images. Sharing options include Facebook, Twitter, Picasa, Google Plus, MMS, Bluetooth, DLNA and Gmail.
The 4050 mAh Lithium-ion battery is non-removable - a problem if you haven't read up on the convoluted methodologies of maintaining modern batteries (in case you didn't know, the "always drain to zero before charging" approach is a myth for all but nickel-based batteries). Still, for what it's worth we were pleased with the life of the battery.
LTE and NFC are not supported and neither is wireless charging, but given the care you will have to take of your non-removable battery, this is probably a good thing as wireless charging has been shown to reduce lifespan.
The Mate is a functional, if not exciting, piece of kit (we agreed to place it in the "phablet" category). If you are not a stickler for speed and camera quality, the price tag of AED1,599 may make your decision for you.