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July 18, 2013

Huawei Ascend Mate Review

Huawei’s latest and biggest flagship handset started selling just last week. At 6.1-inches, it ranks among the biggest smartphones to be ever released in the local market. Check out our full review of the Huawei Ascend Mate after the break.

Huawei completely skipped the 5-inch market and went straight to the big 6. Few others have gone this big and positioned itself as a smartphone rather than a tablet.

The only other bigger devices in the same category are the Asus FonePad at 7 inches and the Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 at 6.3 inches (both also released in the Philippines).

Design and Construction.

Size does matter and there will be some segment of the consumer market that will be inclined to get an over-sized phone like the Ascend Mate. While most folks will refer to them as phablets, we prefer the term over-sized smartphone.

The Ascend Mate feels very solid, and aside from it’s gigantic size, it’s a fairly well-built device. The front panel is completely covered with thick, hard glass is surrounded by a thin metal frame and separated by a thin gap before the narrow bezel.

The power button and volume rocker are both found on the right side of the device while the microSD card slot is on the left side. The 3.5mm audio jack and the micro-SIM card slot are placed on top and the micro-USB port for charging is at the bottom.

At the back is where the rear camera is positioned along with the small LED flash. At the lower end is where they placed the stereo speakers. The unibody design and slightly thicker from factor (9.9mm) allows for bigger space for the 4,050mAh battery.

The silver trimming around is the sides gives it a two-tone treatment. The polycarbonate materials used in the body feels very sturdy and comes in a slightly matte finish. However, for the white variant, the back side is too glossy and slippery to our liking.

Display.

Perhaps the most compelling feature of the Ascend Mate is its extra-large display. At 6.1 inches, the screen size is almost at the border of your typical 7-inch tablets like the Nexus 7.

The other concern, of course, would have to be the resolution. With only 720×1280 pixels filling up the 6.1 inch screen, there might not be enough pixels to fill the screen. Surprisingly, the display still looked very good at 241ppi pixel density.

The IPS LCD produced good, bright colors while images are clean and crisp. The large slab of display is very pleasing when you watch movies, browse websites and read PDF files or eBooks.

OS, UI and Apps.

Huawei uses their own Emotion UI on top of the Android ecosystem. The native icon set and widgets are simple but clean although they’re still a little sparse. The three Android soft buttons are part of the screen (Back, Home, Recent Apps) and there’s actually no App drawer so everything you install from Google Play are all scattered in the various home screens.

There’s also an option to be able to hide the navigation bar at the bottom corner to give you more screen real estate.

If you’re not too comfortable with two-handed operations when navigating and typing into the virtual keyboard, the Ascend Mate offers single-handed option for the keyboard so you can still use it comfortable with either hand.

With the keyboard and keypad shifted to the left or right side oft he large screen, a user may still be able to use and type with just one hand.

Multimedia and Camera.

The Ascend Mate is big on multimedia. You’ll appreciate the large display when it comes with browsing the web, reading eBooks, or watching movies in HD. In fact, we feel that at 6.1 inches, it can very well replace or supplant the dedicated purpose of slightly larger tablets in the market, like the iPad Mini and the Nexus 7.

The single speaker grille found at the back may look tiny but it blasts a fairly loud amount of music when cranked right up to the top.

We found the rear camera to be decent to pretty good depending on the lighting conditions. Here are some sample photos taken with the rear camera:

Photos in the outdoors are actually really good but you will notice it significantly degrade in low-light scenarios. The camera has a dozen or so built-in filters which Intragram users might find useful.

Here are sample video clips recorded on full HD with the same camera:

We found that the contract of the picture is somewhat on the saturated side. There’s control for ISO and White Balance as well as Self-timer of either 5 or 10 seconds.

Performance and Benchmarks.

Huawei designed their own chip based on ARM so they’ve been getting a lot of optimizations as well as better scores from other processors in its generation. The quad-core Huawei K3V2 processors runs at 1.5GHz on each core and is the same one they used in their first-generation smartphones from last year, like the Ascend D Quad ZL (which we reviewed here).

Our standard benchmarks show the Ascend Mate perform somewhere in the middle of the quad-core pack with Quadrant scores of 5,343 and Antutu benchmarks score of 15,695. Nenamark 2 showed a GPU performance of 59.2fps.

The handset manages to chow down anything we throw at it — from graphics heavy games to multi-tasking apps and the lot.

Call Quality, Connectivity and Battery Life.

While it may not be very comfortable or ergonomic to use the Ascend Mate with one hand when making calls, call quality is exceptionally good. Audio is clean and clear, noise is significantly reduced by dedicated mics at the back and SMS came in mostly on time.

The alternative would be to use a hands-free earphone or wireless Bluetooth headphone to make the voice calls for better comfort.

As for connectivity, the Ascend Mate got the basics right with Bluetooth 4.0, WiFi, DLNA and GPS. We were expecting NFC and LTE which could have been a better deal but for the price point, we can’t really demand that much. Nevertheless, the HSPA+ will do just fine and we’re getting 3-4Mbps from that on any good day.

For battery life, our standard battery test took the Ascend Mate as far as 9 hours running a full HD 1080p video in a loop at 50% brightness and 0% volume. However, for regular use in making calls, SMS, mobile internet and running apps, we found it to perform much longer, thanks to the 4,050mAh battery.

Conclusion.

The Ascend Mate may not be for everyone but for those looking at over-sized smartphones, this could be it. It’s a very capable smartphone and could be an ideal replacement for a tablet-smartphone combo at a very compelling price point.

A combination of an XL display and an XXL battery in a M-sized price, the Huawei Ascend Mate is as good as you can get for an affordable flagship handset.

Huawei Ascend Mate specs:
6.1-inch IPS LCD 720p display @ 1280×720 pixels, 241ppi
Corning Gorilla Glass
Huawei K3V2 1.5GHz quad-core processor
1GB RAM
8GB internal storage
up to 32GB via microSD
HSPA+ 42Mbps
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, dual-band, WiFi Direct, DLNA, WiFi hotspot
Bluetooth 4.0
8MP camera with LED flash
1080p video recording
1.2MP front-facing camera
FM Stereo tuner
GPS w/ aGPS support
Li-Ion 4050mAh battery
Android Jellybean 4.1.2
163.5 x 85.7 x 9.9mm (dimensions)

The Huawei Ascend Mate has a suggested retail price of Php16,990 and is available in white and black colors. (Updated: The commercial unit only comes with 1GB RAM and 8GB internal storage)

What we liked about it:
* Very large display size
* Great performance
* Huge battery capacity
* Very affordable for a flagship device

What we did not like:
* No LTE connectivity
* Small internal storage

Disclosure: Huawei Philippines is a banner display advertiser on this site.

Huawei Ascend Mate & Review

Huawei’s gargantuan smartphone previewed
6.1-inch Huawei Ascend Mate becomes official
Huawei Ascend Mate goes on pre-order for Php16,990

38 Responses to “Huawei Ascend Mate Review”

  1. abuzalzal says:

    This is an OT post

    Oooooppps looks like I won lmao, ayan ayan huwag magtiwala kasi pag walang PHOTO EVIDENCE XDXDXD

    Mga utu-uto!!!!

    http://ph.news.yahoo.com/kobe-bryant-endorsed-lenovo-k900-hits-ph-stores-081111179.html

    ”Other specs you should know: PowerVR SGX544 graphics and 2GB of RAM. Built-in storage is set at 16GB with no option for microSD expansion.”

    LOOOOOOOOOLLLOOOOOLLLLLololololololol

    • jrome says:

      Congrats parekoy! :))) Hinihintay ko away nyo dun sa k900 post :)))

    • what the says:

      Bat ganyan, kahit tama ang mga sinasabi mo ang baho mo pa rin magsalita? Wala kang modo. Magaling ka nga sa gadgets pero hindi ka marunong makipag usap ng maayos. Nakakahiya sa mga nagbabasa… ok na sana nakaka-impress na well updated ka, kaya lang ang barubal mo magdeliver ng comments, walang manners.

    • Hugh Cebuano says:

      correction, Yung phone na available sa Philippines only has 8gb Internal memory and !GB RAM. 1.5GHz processor.

  2. eavesdrop says:

    i was waiting for the huawei ascend mate and lenovo k900 – but i played with the ascend mate last week and ended up buying it…stunning screen and awesome battery life

    ….k900 doesn’t have micro sd card – which is a must for me.

    • angelo says:

      hi eavesdrop! i also bought one but the specs are different! only 1gb ram and 8gb internal memory! whats the specs of yours? thanks!

  3. angelo says:

    hi everyone! i just bought one in pcexpress but unfunfortunately the specs are different! mine onlonlyy has 1gb ram and 8gb internal memory.whats hhappening here? thanks

  4. Jay Briones says:

    Please correct the post. The local variant being sold by authorized dealers comes with 1GB RAM. Was also confirmed by Huawei Philippines. Check your facts.

  5. Jay Briones says:

    Thank you!

  6. En'tee says:

    Quick question, is it true that Ascend Mate supports USB On-the-Go?

  7. moonfairy says:

    meron ako padala sakin from Riyadh.. eto ung about phone nya
    CPU
    quad core 1.59GHz
    RAM
    2G
    Phone storage
    8.00GB total
    Resolution
    720 x 1280
    Android version
    4.1.2

    @Yuga iba pala ung inilabas dito sa pinas… ask lang po …

    • Jay Briones says:

      Tama ka jan. Lahat ng parte ng mundo 2GB RAM, 16GB ROM maliban dito at sa Australia na 1GB RAM, 8GB ROM. May galit talaga ang China satin eh haha

  8. flitz says:

    May galit talaga chinese satin, Samsung nalang atleast made in Korea.

    • Vincent Eric says:

      Yes, dapat binoboycott lahat ng chinese brand na phone gaya ng Lenovo, HTC, huawei, ZTE.

    • Jay Jie says:

      Don’t mix politics here kaibigan… Huawei is a good smartphone and affordable pa..porket bat gawa ito ng China ehh dapat na itong boycottin…

  9. Charlito says:

    mga sir may nabibili ba nito sa MOA?

  10. KristineBeth says:

    Is it really bad or what? please help po.. i am thinking of buying this huawei ascend mate. thank you

    • Jay Briones says:

      If you’re still interested with this phone despite its shortcomings, Globe Postpaid offers this on Plan 499 with Php 4,800 cashout (can be divided in 24 mos). So it’s basically Php 699/mo. But if you think you will not be approved for a postpaid plan, their prepaid kit of the Huawei Ascend Mate costs Php 12,200. That’s a Php 4,790 savings from the SRP.

    • Jay Briones says:

      Anyway, performance is decent. Normal operations like swiping and web browsing are smooth and snappy. Screen is actually pretty good with wide viewing angles and is quite clear and crisp (despite what the PPI tells you). Has some issues loading HD games (e.g. NBA2K13 cannot seem to work properly). But overall, it’s quite a steal for its price (Globe prepaid kit price, I mean. Not the SRP)

    • Hugh Cebuano says:

      Actually, It’s a good phone.. superb yung camera niya.. both main and front camera.. nice.. Tapos nice pa siya for Skype purposes… KAso lang may tendency na mag-over heat yung phone. :P

  11. Menmen says:

    Question lang? Nag uupdate ba os ng huawei via ota?

  12. hmmm says:

    kung kukunin ko to sa globe family plan how much I will going to pay?.. eh mag 2yrs na kasi eh….

  13. Hugh Cebuano says:

    Ok lang yung specs. I got mine from Globe. Free siya when you avail Plan 999. Kaso lang, what happened to my unit is that nag-overheat yata.. Ewan… kasi napaka-init nong phone ko once I run multiple operations (example, Instagram and facebook at the same time). So I need to get back to Globe store.. 11 days pa yung phone ko. then it stopped working.. ayaw nang mag-on.. They need to have it fixed and it will be sent to Manila pa.. I need to wait for another 30 days for it to be procesed.

    • Sheena says:

      I will be receiving mine today from Globe also. Pero baka what will happen after how many days is same sa nangyari sa phone mo, mag overheat. Built-in pa nman ung battery na nya, cannot replace once na over charge/drain. Are you still going to pay ur monthly bill even if ur phone is under repair? Thanks..

  14. hmmm says:

    s3 mini or this phone? or galaxy core?

  15. Jay Jie says:

    Two thumbs up ang Huawei Ascend Mate

  16. rcj says:

    Advice naman po. I’m thinking na iavail sa Globe tong ascend mate. Ang ganda kasi eh. Hehe… kamusta naman po ang performance? Sulit ba? Actually, kakabili ko lang ng Ascend g525, pero nung makita ko tong ascend mate, eh nainlove ako. hehe.. kaya naman advice naman po jan sa mga nakagamit na. Salamat

    • oel says:

      by tomorrow darating unit ko from globe… post ko comment ko by next week… hopefully walng magiging problema.. by the way im currently using s3, sobrang bilis ma lowbat that’s why I’m going for the mate…

    • rcj says:

      @oel, ei, kamusta naman pre, sulit ba? Nagtanong na ako sa globe eh. Pero di pa din final yung decision ko. Sana po makapagbigay ka ng reviews. Thanks!

  17. rcj says:

    @oel, Kamusta po yung Unit? Nakuha mo na po ba? Feedback naman. Thanks

  18. amin says:

    I am using ascend mate,my score is16760

  19. rcj says:

    Magaapply na ako this saturday, gaano katagal po bago makuha yung unit?

  20. jhomz says:

    guys tulong naman. I got din ung mate from globe, ilang days palang din. Tapos nag hang na. Indi cya maturn off or marestart. Ayaw nadin magfunctiion ung mga keys nya. What do I need to do? Thanks

  21. cjweng says:

    naku may mga ganung probs pala..kukuha pa naman ako bukas from globe

  22. jim says:

    Been using this phone for a month now and never had problems. Best buy.

  23. […] also solves one other issue — the lack of LTE connectivity (in our Ascend Mate review, we …read […]

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