Huawei Mate S Review
Performance and Benchmarks
The Kirin 935 chip on the Mate S added a few drops of nitro to the over-all performance of the device. With an Antutu score of 51,495, it added around 20% improvement over the Mate 7 running on Kirin 925. Compared to the Kirin 930 on the Huawei P8, it only added around 5 to 10% performance. This is because both devices run on the same chip architecture and their only difference is the maximum clock speed of the Cortex A53 cluster (2.2GHz on the Mate S against the 2.0GHz on the P8). Clock for clock, that’s 200MHz faster or a 10% performance bump.
Nevertheless, the Kirin 935 is among the very few processors that is able to break the 50k score barrier in our standard benchmarks, along with the Snapdragon 810 and the Exynos 7 Octa. However, the Mali-T628 MP4 graphics is quite dated but can still slug it out with the likes of an older-generation Adreno 330 GPU from Qualcomm.
The table below shows a comparison between the benchmark scores of the Mate 7, P8 and Mate S.
|Mate 7||Mate S||P8|
In real-world scenarios, the Mate S can practically handle anything we throw at it. The generous serving of RAM allows it to perform multiple tasks very well although there’s always a threshold for that 3GB of memory.
Call Quality, Connectivity and Battery Life
Call quality is very clear and crisp, messages are sent and receive almost immediately and we’ve never had any problems with connectivity except perhaps with the occasional network issues with the local carriers. It also features 3 directional microphones to effectively reduce background noise to give you better clarity when making calls.
The Mate S has everything you’d want in the connectivity department — it has fast WiFi, Bluetooth, LTE and NFC. It also supports at least 13 different LTE bands so you’re more likely be able to connect to any LTE network in the world.
Those visible antenna strips on the Mate S allows for better wireless reception of the handset. This is a natural issue of metallic unibody designs like the iPhone, Galaxy S6 and even the Huawei P8. Those strips looked ugly on the iPhone 6. Huawei made the antenna strips on the Mate S more subtle and blend naturally with the color and finish of the metallic surface.
Like the way they did it with the Mate 7, the placement of fingerprint sensor at the back of the Mate S makes really good sense. In fact, we find ourselves using it a lot due to its placement which aligns naturally with the positioning of our fingers at the back of the handset.
The sensor has also improved a lot — it’s faster and more accurate. Compared to the Mate 7 where we’d get a success rate of around 7 out of 10 attempts, we’re getting a solid 9 out of 10 successful attempts on the Mate S.
As for battery life, the 2,700mAh battery of the Mate S is about a third or 33% lower than the Mate 7 yet we get really good results in our standard video loop test. The battery lasted between 10.5 to 11 hours in a single full charge in our video loop test at 50% brightness and 0% volume. The Mate 7 still did a more impressive performance which went for up to 16.5 hours in the same test.
However, using PCMark Battery Test, the Mate S scored a decent 7 hours and 39 minutes at 50% brightness, 0% volume and in Airplane mode. This is 18 minutes better than the results of the Huawei P8 (7 hours, 21 minutes) which makes sense since the two only has 20mAh of difference in battery capacity. It’s also just 3 minutes below the score of the Huawei G8 which has 3,000mAh battery and the 7 minutes behind the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge at 7 hours, 46 minutes.
The Huawei Mate S has got everything you will need in a flagship smartphone — beautiful design and build quality, impressive performance, great camera, good battery life with a few extra sprinkles of goodness. Definitely better than the Mate 7 and just an inch ahead of the P8.
It’s good, wait scratch that, great in all aspects and has been very consistent since they introduced the P8. If there’s one thing we missed with this model, it is the monster battery life that we first saw with the Mate 7. Don’t get us wrong, the Mate S is efficient when it comes to battery consumption. It’s just that we got spoiled with the 4,100mAh of the Mate 7.
What could also make it unappealing is that Huawei decided to hike the retail price from the usual price range of their flagship devices. The Mate 7 was priced at Php24,995 when it came out last year so one would think the Mate S would be within the same range. However, Huawei pushed for a much higher price — Php31,995 — perhaps to put it in the same league as the other flagship handset. To compensate for it, Huawei has added premium items in the package — a Harman Kardon designer earphones (worth about Php10k) and personalized engraving among others.
Nevertheless, Huawei has made yet another flagship-worthy device in the Mate S.
Huawei Mate S specs:
5.5-inch AMOLED full HD display @ 1920×1080 pixels, 401ppi
Corning Gorilla Glass 4
HiSilicon Kirin 935 octa-core
ARM Cortex A53 1.5GHz quad-core, ARM Cortex A53 2.2GHz quad-core
Mali-T628 MP4 GPU
3GB LPDDR3 RAM
32GB, 63GB, 128GB internal storage
Up to 128GB via microSD card
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n/ac
13MP rear AF camera f/2.0, OIS, BSI, dual-LED, dual-tone flash
8MP fixed focus, f/2.4
GPS with aGPS support
2700mAh Li-Ion battery
Android 5.1 Lollipop
149.8 x 75.3 x 7.2mm (dimensions)
156 grams (weight)
What we liked about it:
* Great display quality
* Impressive performance
* Beautiful design and build quality
* Fingerprint sensor
* Great imaging quality
What we did not like:
* Un-inspiring UI
* Steep pricing
* Average battery life