Huawei Ascend Mate Review
Barring the Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3, the Huawei Ascend Mate would have been in a league of its own. The League of Extraordinary Diagonals, that is, as the phone sports a monster 6.1” display. Huawei's largest handset, however, certainly has enough going for it to set it apart from Samsung's Goliaths, like stereo sound recording and the largest battery ever placed in a smartphone – a capacious 4050 mAh unit.
Thanks to the on-screen navigational buttons, it also sports "a screen-to-body ratio of 73% – the highest in the industry," though the Sony Xperia ZL would beg to disagree.
Are these making it a better handset than the other big-screen lover dream phones, like the Mega 6.3, Note II or G Pro? Read on our review to find out...
In the box:
- In-ear stereo headphones
- Wall charger
- microUSB cable
The phone can be considered compact for its screen size, 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 quite shorter and more narrow than the Mega 6.3, but still feels no less awkward to hold than Samsung's largest, despite the tapered back that goes to mere 6.5mm by the edges. Thankfully, the obligatory one-hand phablet UI is here, too, cramping the keyboard and dialpad left or right so you can reach them with your thumb without being Shaq, aiding one-handed usage.
You can compare the Huawei Ascend Mate with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.
Build quality is decent, but the choice of plastics feels a bit cheap – the soft-touch coating on the back is very grippable, so it does the job, but its quality doesn't leave the same premium feel that other such soft layers leave in the hand. Same goes for the rim surrounding the sides, which has a coarse-feeling surface, aiding the grip further, but spoiling the looks somewhat. Huawei says the phone has a dual antenna design, and there are two notches cut in the side rim, which could mark an external antenna design, like on the iPhone and Nokia Lumia 925.
The side rim is also interrupted by protective flaps in the same color, which cover the microSD and SIM card slots, as the phone is unibody, with sealed battery compartment. The power/lock key on the right, and the volume rocker underneath it are well-situated, and easy to feel and press, with good tactile feedback.
The whole front is recessed quite a bit, leaving a protective frame around the display part, so as it doesn't scratch when placed face down, or doesn't shatter into pieces from the slightest contact with the ground.
Apparently Huawei couldn't ring the manufacturer which produces Full HD displays at that size, and had to make do with 720x1280 pixels HD resolution for the 6.1” IPS screen, which still leaves it at a decent 241ppi pixel density. The screen also sports the "Magic Touch" tech, allowing you to use it with gloves on, which can be turned on and off from the settings menu, and it works as advertised, allowing you to answer a call with your mittens on, for instance.
The color representation can be changed with a slider in the display settings menu, too, ranging from warm to cold, and is set in the middle by default, though the difference is mild unless you are a screen purist. Being an IPS display, the Ascend Mate panel flaunts very good viewing angles, with only a shift in brightness and contrast at extreme angles.
Peak brightness is about 400 nits, the LCD average, meaning that you will have issues outside under direct sunlight, though the phone sports pretty good coating, diminishing the unpleasant effect of mirror reflections when a light source falls on the screen directly.