Call Quality


The Note 4 is a great performer when it comes to call quality - voices sound deep and clear in the earpiece, and on other end of the line, callers are able to make out voices in their natural tonality and with sufficient loudness.

The same cannot be said about the Mate7. It features a quieter than we’d like earpiece and incoming voices sound a bit robotized, with a digital undertone. On the other end of the line, sound is a bit better but still not perfect in terms of clarity.

Battery


The large size of phablets like the Galaxy Note 4 and the Mate7 allows manufacturers to bundle them in with gigantic batteries: the Note 4 has a 3220mAh cell, while the Mate7 ups the ante to the whopping 4100mAh juice pack.

Both rank on top of our battery tests, with the Mate 7 reaching a whopping 9 hours and 3 minutes of non-stop use (our battery test simulates regular phone use when you use the device non-stop, and with the screen for each device set at 200 nits), while the Note 4 scored 8 hours and 43 minutes. In reality, even under heavy use, both phones are capable of going a full day off the charger, and if you’re not using your phone that often, you could squeeze out as much as two days.

Samsung has also been one of the first companies to include a new, ultra power saving mode for its Galaxy series, a mode which turns the screen to black and white (a big battery saver for AMOLED displays that are capable of just shutting down individual pixels to achieve pitch black without using energy), and caps the processor. The Note 4 is no exception, as it comes with the UPSM on board. Huawei also has its own ultra power saving mode that only keeps basic call and messaging functions, but while on Samsung you can still use some apps like the browser, on the Mate7, Ultra power saving basically turns your phone into a phone and messaging machine only, with no connection to the Internet.

Finally, while the Note 4 does feature a user-removable battery, the Mate 7 does not come with such an option.

We measure battery life by running a custom web-script, designed to replicate the power consumption of typical real-life usage. All devices that go through the test have their displays set at 200-nit brightness.

hours Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy Note4
8h 43 min (Good)
Huawei Ascend Mate7
9h 3 min (Good)

minutes Lower is better
Samsung Galaxy Note4
95
Huawei Ascend Mate7
170


Conclusion


The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and the Huawei Ascend Mate7 are two of the best options on the market right now, if you’re looking for a smartphone with a large screen. With this in mind, the 6-inch Mate7 may be a bit too steep of a form factor for some, with its wide screen that is harder to operate with one hand, so before looking into the specs, we do recommend you considering the size difference with these two.

With the Galaxy Note 4, Samsung has made some big strides forward - the metal frame, new elegant design, and the simplified TouchWiz are all steps in the right direction. The Mate7, on its part, is even better in terms of style and build quality is solid with its sturdy metal back, but the software often feels like a blatant clone of iOS.

Then, we’re in love with the 16-megapixel OIS camera on the Note 4, a shooter capable of capturing some of the best images of any smartphone, while the Mate7 is good but not that great. The Snapdragon 805 chip is also a level above Huawei’s own HiSilicon chip - the Qualcomm chip is faster in terms of both CPU and GPU.

The Mate7 does have a more alluring price at around $600 for a basic model with 16GB of storage and 2GB of RAM, but the 32GB storage/3GB RAM model that is a more direct rival to the Samsung phablet comes in at $700, which is not that far off the $800 off-contract asking price of the Note 4. All in all, if you want the faster and more powerful device, the Note 4 seems like the better choice, but if you don’t mind sacrificing a bit in terms of performance, and if you want the larger screen, the Mate7 is not a bad option either.

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