Huawei Ascend Mate
If we exclude Samsung Galaxy Huge 6.3 than Huawei Ascend Friend would certainly be the smartphone with the largest screen on the market. These huge gadgets are taken into consideration to be phablets but we are very certain that there will be a respectable lot of users that will like exactly what this gadget has to provide.
The phone could be taken into consideration small for its screen size, many thanks to the on-screen navigation buttons, and the 163.5 mm x 85.7 mm x 9.9 mm (6.5″ x 3.4″ x 0.4″) chassis. It is fairly much shorter and additional narrow compared to the Mega 6.3, but still really feels no much less unpleasant to hold compared to Samsung’s largest, even with the conical back that goes to plain 6.5 mm by the edges. Thankfully, the required one-hand phablet UI is right here, also, cramping the key-board and dialpad left or immediately so you could reach them with your thumb without being Shaq, assisting one-handed usage.
Build top quality is suitable, yet the selection of plastics feels a little bit economical– the soft-touch coating on the back is very grippable, so it gets the job done, however its top quality doesn’t leave the same costs really feel that other such soft layers leave in the hand. Exact same goes with the rim surrounding the sides, which has a coarse-feeling surface area, helping the hold additionally, yet ruining the appearances somewhat. Huawei states the phone has a dual antenna design, and there are 2 notches cut in the side rim, which can mark an external aerial layout, like on the apple iphone and Nokia Lumia 925.
The side rim is additionally interrupted by protective flaps in the same shade, which cover the microSD and SIM card slots, as the phone is unibody, with covered battery area. The power/lock trick on the right, and the volume rocker below it are well-situated, and simple to feel and push, with great tactile feedback.
The whole front is recessed very a little bit, leaving a safety structure around the show component, so as it doesn’t scrape when positioned face down, or doesn’t shatter in to pieces from the least call with the ground.
Apparently Huawei couldn’t sound the supplier which generates Full HD screens at that dimension, and had to make do with 720×1280 pixels HD resolution for the 6.1″ IPS display, which still leaves it at a suitable 241ppi pixel density. The screen additionally sporting activities the “Magic Touch” technician, allowing you to utilize it with gloves on, which can be activated and off from the environments food selection, and it functions as marketed, permitting you to address a phone call with your mittens on, as an example.
The shade representation can be transformed with a slider in the show settings food selection, as well, varying from cozy to chilly, and is set in the middle by default, though the distinction is moderate unless you are a screen purist. Being an IPS screen, the Ascend Companion panel showcases excellent seeing angles, with only a shift in brightness and contrast at harsh angles.
Peak brightness has to do with 400 nits, the LCD standard, meaning that you will have problems outside under direct sunlight, though the phone sports pretty good layer, reducing the undesirable look of mirror representations when a light source drops on the screen directly.
Interface and performance
Very first point you see about Huawei’s Feeling UI overlay atop Android 4.1.2, is that it eliminates the traditional app drawer, and facilities everything around the homescreens. The widgets are compact, with minimized border proximity, so you could suit a lot of them on one screen. The apps are properly tucked into categorized folders on the next screen, the third houses the apps you download, and so on.
An additional great function is the capability to conceal and show the on-screen navigation bar at will, with a little arrowhead left wing, and flicking your finger up from all-time low of the display, whichever app you are into.
The various other good suggestion are the so-called Profiles, with their very own switch in the notification bar toggles. A ring dialer shows up when you push it, and you can pick from many presets like Job, Home, Sleep, Normal, Outdoors and more. Each profile can have a smorgasbord of settings for everything – from sounds volume through display options to connectivity choices, and you can add and tinker with your own, or make them automatically swap at a given time.
There’s an abundance of launcher themes as well, plus ways to customize your current theme manually. In short, the Ascend Mate is graced with a neat and functional Emotion interface that would barely make you look for another launcher in the Play Store.
Processor and memory
The upside of the “mere” HD resolution is that there aren’t as many pixels to push for the GPU, and a second-gen homebrew 1.5 GHz quad-core Hi-Silicon K3V2 processor is powering the handset, which puts it somewhere in the golden middle of benchmarks.
The subjective feeling when strolling the interface or going in and out of apps is that the chipset is fast enough, and we didn’t notice lag or stuttering. Huawei has had the decency to put 2 GB of RAM into the Ascend Mate, but only provides 8 GB of internal storage, only three of which are user-available, but there is a memory card slot for expansion, so no biggie.
The downside of homemade chipsets us that the processor might not support instructions optimized for the more popular chips like Qualcomm’s Snapdragon family or Samsung’s Exynos, so benchmark apps that are written to use Qualcomm’s set of instructions might be an issue. We ran GLBenchmark, for instance, and the phone froze midway, then reset iself. We ran it for a second time, and the handset froze completely, going into a coma for a few minutes and no key press or combination of keys could take it out, until it resurrected from the dead all by itself after pressing the power key for the umpteenth time.
Internet and connectivity
The default Ascend Mate browser is pretty barebones as interface, but renders pages well, and has the added benefit of supporting sideloaded Adobe Flash, so you won’t be left out when you come across a piece of the Web which needs Flash to run. Needless to say, browsing on the 6.1” display is a joy, despite the average pixel density, due to the sheer screen size.
The phone is pentaband HSPA phone, meaning that it supports all major frequency bands, so you can use it on both AT&T and T-Mobile in the US, for example, as well as Europe and Asia for international travelers. Huawei touts that the dual-antenna design supports high power data transmission and is optimized with ratio combining methods to increase network reception by up to 2.5dB, hence provide an increase of 20 to 30% of overall network coverage.
There is also Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, A-GPS and FM radios, plus Wi-Fi Direct and DLNA wireless streaming. The bottom port is regular microUSB, no additional MHL functionality.
The camera app interface that governs the 8 MP shooter on the back is comparatively simple, with a few basic shooting modes like Panorama, HDR, low light and burst shot, plus a couple of color and “laughing mirror” effects. Nothing fancy, but most stuff you might need is there.
Pictures from the Ascend Mate, however, come out overly soft at the edges, with sharp focus at the center only, which could indicate a low-quality lens issue. We wish it captured a bit more detail. Color representation is otherwise decent, and there generally aren’t any glaring issues with white balance metering or exposure compensation.
Video is recorded in 1080p with smooth 30fps, and exhibits good image quality when there is enough light around. Indoors at low light settings it becomes extremely noisy, though.
The Huawei Ascend Mate, however, is of the very few phones that can record stereo sound with its two noise-canceling microphones. Because of the phone’s size, their locations leave an abundance of space in-between, which makes for a very good stereo recording, though still not of the rank that comes with the Nokia 808 PureView, for instance.
The typical grid thumbnail view in the gallery is about all you get, with no fancy pinching rearrangements, and the picture editing options are more limited than what we are used to see recently, though the basic features like cropping, resizing and adding a few effects, are covered.
The music player is pretty basic visually, too, with the obligatory tune categorization by artists, albums and genres, as well as album art depiction. There are no built-in equalizer presets, but the Dolby Mobile faux surround sound button makes a difference when turned on, and the loudspeaker churns out pretty strong and clear sounding beats.
The Ascend Mate plays most popular video formats thrown at it out of the box, including DivX/Xvid files up to 1080p definition out of the box.
Voices sound loud and clear in the earpiece, very recognizable, with only a slight distortion at the highest volume. The two noise-canceling mics do a great job at weeding out background fluff and relayed our voices with strength and clarity that are way above average for the category.
Besides the largest stock battery capacity that has ever graced a smartphone, the 4050 mAh unit in the Huawei Ascend Mate features the fast charging option that some handsets now ship with, which pumps it full of electrons in a much shorter amount of time than your typical handset battery.
Huawei claims that with normal usage the battery should be able to drive you through a full weekend out and about, which is a pretty commendable achievement.
With big-screen handsets, the game is to replace your phone, tablet, laptop, camera and so on, with one converging device, but we’ll leave to Mr Market to decide whether this can be done via a 6.1″ smartphone successfully enough.
On the plus side, Huawei has equipped the Ascend Mate with the largest stock battery in a smartphone at 4050 mAh, so that you can keep watching movies on the plane for 10 hours straight. Not only that, but the phone is an all-around quality package for the sub-$500 price, with its stereo sound recording, great call quality, super-sensitive display and pentaband radio. The only gripe with the phone, if you love’em big screens, is the camera, as the lens seem unable to produce a well-focused image anywhere but in the center of the frame.
Direct competitors are phones like the Galaxy 6.3 and 5.8, but the larger one here comes more expensive, and the only advantage before the Ascend Mate is the comparatively sleeker design. Of course, for a Benjamin more you can get the wildly popular and slightly smaller Galaxy Note II, but if you are into the largest screen possible in the most manageable size out there, Huawei Ascend Mate can’t be beat.
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