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Huawei Ascend Mate smartphone review

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huawei612You certainly get a lot of smartphone for your buck with the Huawei Ascend Mate which boasts a pocket-stretching screen size of 6.1 inches.

The 3G Android device dwarfs other smartphones and is actually more in the tablet ballpark. But since it can make calls we’d be happy to call it more of a “phablet”.

And with a name like Mate you’d expect it to have a lot of appeal here in Australia.

The Huawei Ascend Mate is priced for outright purchase at just $429 from Harvey Norman.

DESIGN

OK, let’s get the obvious out of the way right now – the Huawei Ascend Mate is big, very big.

It is dominated by the 6.1-inch high definition LCD display which has a resolution of 1280 x 720 with IPS (in plane switching) to make it easy to view at any angle.

The device itself has a solid build quality and is 16.35cm long and 8.35cm wide and weighs 198g.

The Huawei Ascend Mate has a 6.1-inch screen

The curved rear panel of the Ascend Mate is 9.9mm at its thickest point and tapers to the edges so it can rest more comfortably in your hand.

The top edge has a SIM card slot and a 3.5mm headphone jack while the right side has the on/off/lock and volume controls.

Down the left side is a microSD card slot to expand the storage capacity and the bottom has the microUSB charging/sync port.

As we said, the Ascend Mate is big and while many people focus on the burden of carrying such a large device we preferred to think about the benefits of having such a

The Huawei Ascend Mate has a tapered rear panel

large screen.

Web browsing, emails, viewing pictures, watching movies and using apps are a lot easier on a display this size.

But it is probably on the borderline of sizes where people would be comfortable holding it to their ear when making a call. But there’s always Bluetooth so you can connect a headset.

FEATURES

The Huawei Ascend Mate is running the Android 4.1 Jelly Bean operating system but also has its own Emotion user interface.

The Huawei Ascend Mate dwarfs (from left) the Samsung Galaxy Note II, the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the iPhone 5

This offers a minimal look and feel and even arranges apps into folders according to their type, like Tools, Google apps and Social, rather than lumping all apps in one place.

Some users may appreciate this but we preferred to have our apps arranged alphabetically in one place.

Naturally there are options for one-handed use on the large screen which makes unlocking the device and dialling numbers easier by putting the keypads to the left or right side.

The top edge of the Huawei Ascend Mate has a SIM card slot and a 3.5mm headphone jacl

Interestingly there is also a Magic Touch mode to operate the screen while wearing a glove.

The Ascend Mate also has an 8-megapixel rear camera with flash which takes decent quality images along with a 1-megapixel front facing camera.

PERFORMANCE

It should be pointed out the Huawei Ascend Mate is not a 4G device – it operates on 3G networks.

Under the large hood is a 1.5Ghz quad-core processor and 1GB RAM to power the large device.

Performance was impressive – most of the time. There were occasions where it took apps a few seconds to open and connect.

The Huawei Ascend Mate has a microSD card slot to expand the onboard memory

Now while the speed of the product isn’t equal to the snappy performance you’d expect to see on the LG Optimus G and the Samsung Galaxy S4, it’s still not too shabby.

We only had a few hiccups with apps taking a while to open and an additional half a second wait time in other areas but it was never sluggish enough to prevent proper usage.

One big tick for Ascend Mate is for the battery. Being such a large device means you can fit in a large battery. A 4050mAh battery to be precise. Just to compare, the battery in the Samsung Galaxy S4 is 2600mAh.

This easily lasted a whole day and well into the next even with heavy usage.

The right edge of the Huawei Ascend Mate has the on/off/lock key and the volume controls

VERDICT

The Huawei Ascend Mate is not for everyone but it does offer great value for anyone looking for a smartphone/tablet and doesn’t want to pay the earth and be locked into a contract.

While the 6.1-inch display of the device might be its greatest asset it might also be the feature that turns people away because they don’t want to lugging around a larger device.

But for those willing to take on the Ascend Mate they will enjoy a useful range of features and a screen that’s big enough to be both a workspace and a playground.

Huawei Ascend Mate

Price: $429 from Harvey Norman (comes with a bonus $40 Boost recharge)

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