Face to face with Huawei's latest Ascend Mate.
Huawei this week unveiled the follow on to its massive Ascend Mate smartphone, the imaginatively named Ascend Mate 2. The phone's hardware isn't all that remarkable except for one feature: the battery. On Monday, Huawei unveiled this phone on stage and revealed that it is actually capable of charging other devices via its 4050 mAh battery. We love this feature, but what about the rest of the phone?
We took a quick peek at the Ascend Mate 2 on the show floor on Wednesday. The device has the same 6.1-inch 720p display as the old model and feels equally as solid to hold (you try making a phone this big that doesn't feel solid). Its curved edges make it very comfortable to hold, which is important in a phone this big. Lenovo's S930 has a 6-inch display as well, but it's squared off edges make it feel a little bit unpleasant in the hand. This panel is a 720p IPS Gorilla Glass display, which is a lower resolution than other phones of this size (like the Note), but we actually don't think it impacted the experience too much. The colors were crisp and vibrant.
The phone runs on either Qualcomm's MSM 8928 (Snapdragon 400) or Huawei's HiSilicon Cortex-A9 system on a chip. There's also a Snapdragon 800 or Huawei's HiSilicon Cortex-A9 system on a chip as well as 2 GB of RAM, 16 GB of storage on board (with option for expansion via MicroSD), a 13-megapixel camera on the back, a 5-megapixel camera on the front, and Android 4.3.
The device also has Huawei's Emotion UI 2.0 skinned on top of that Android experience. We only got a brief spin with the Emotion UI. Given the setup at CES, it's hard to get an accurate read on a piece of software like this. We found that while there were some lag issues with the OS, it wasn't too over the top or intrusive. We didn't like the fact that there was a movable launcher button on the screen. This "launch blob" as we nicknamed it, can be dragged around the screen and if you hold down on it, it brings up several options for action (as seen in photo one). We're not sure if this can be redone with your own preferences, but the version we saw had repeat functions that were already represented on the phone either via the bottom launcher, or the physical buttons.
We're excited to take the Ascend Mate 2 for a real test drive. No word on when we can expect availability, but we'll keep you posted on that one.