Interface and functionality

Samsung's Nature UX on top of Android 4.2 is full to the brim of features like Smart Stay or Air View, as well as gesture navigation, which you may or may not use at all. It, however, sports the best way to multitask on Android – the multi-window mode of Samsung, which splits the screen in two, letting you run any two apps at once – a feature that comes very useful on such a giant display.

Huawei's Emotion UI is coated over Android 4.1.2 and keeps it simpler, even getting rid of the app drawer once and for all, shifting focus to the homescreens, where compact widgets can be arranged closely to fill the vast screen real estate, and tucking the apps in categorized folders on other screens. We can't say we missed the ragtag app drawer at all, but Huawei's fresh ideas didn't dry up here.

The Chinese introduce the smartest way to navigate with on-screen buttons we've seen yet, letting you hide the navigation bar in any app with a small arrow on its left, or flick it up with your finger when you need it. This allows you to take advantage of the whole screen area in apps other than the video player and the gallery – a better way to do it than Google's stock Android.

Huawei also supplies a nifty way to quickly load profiles with a jog dialer that can switch between Sleep, Home, Work, Normal and so on modes. Within them you can arrange screen brightness, sync and connectivity options to your heart's desire, and even schedule them for exact times. All of these above, together with the numerous themes available for the Emotion UI, make it one of the most simple yet functional manufacturer launchers we've seen yet.

Processor and memory

Huawei put its own K3V2 quad-core chipset in the Ascend Mate, clocking it at 1.5 GHz. Samsung used off-the-shelf Snapdragon 400 with two cores clocked at 1.7 GHz. Qualcomm's chip in the Mega 6.3 demonstrated to be faster in synthetic benchmarks, though that doesn't translate into more fluid interface performance or faster app loading than the Ascend Mate. The one hiccup we had with the Mate is that it couldn't run GLBenchmark, which is optimized for Snapdragon and Exynos chipset measurements, rather than the exotic Hi-Silicon K3V2 concoction.

Quadrant Standard AnTuTu GLBenchmark 2.5 (Egypt HD) Vellamo
(HTML5 / Metal)
Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 6828 13392 2980 / 25 fps 2000 / 698
Huawei Ascend Mate 5195 15615 n /a 1626 / 469

Huawei has put 2 GB of RAM in the phone, while Samsung makes do with the odd gig and a half, and it also sports different internal memory options, having 4/8/16 GB versions, while Huawei supplies 8 GB. Both handsets provide a memory card slot, though, so no worries about storage expansion.

Internet and connectivity

We can't complain at all from browsing on those huge screens. Rendering is fast, letters look larger at the same zoom level from the same distance, and both default browsers allow you to sideload Adobe Flash and play the respective content if you come across some while surfing.

The Hauwei Ascend Mate flaunts a faster 42.2 Mbit/s HSPA+ radio, whereas the Mega 6.3 makes do with a 21.1 Mbit/s, though it would be great if your carrier can provide even half of that in reality. The phones have Bluetooth 4.0, A-GPS and DLNA radios.

Samsung has put the fastest Wi-Fi/ac standard in its phone, though such routers and connections are yet to make it mainstream. It also provides an MHL port for wired connectivity, while Huawei placed a regular microUSB at the bottom of the phone.

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