In further proof that the Dell Streak was ahead of its time, Huawei unveiled at CES its Ascend Mate phablet with its monstrous 6.1-inch screen.
Clearly, though, Huawei is not targeting the now-extinct Streak, but rather the immensely successful Galaxy Note line from Samsung. The current Note II offering has a 720x1280 screen that measures 5.5-inches. Huawei's Ascend Mate doesn't better the resolution any, but does push the boundaries even further of how big a smartphone can get.
We went hands-on with the Ascend Mate at CES and the phone is definitely the biggest case for the term phablet, as this was head and shoulders above how the Samsung Galaxy Note II feels in hand. Like Samsung has done, Huawei has provided customizations in Android to allow for one-handed operation, such as shrinking and moving the keyboard and dial pad to one side. Still, it's a device that generally demands two-handed operation.
With the reveal of 1080p high-end smartphones at CES 2013, it's a little disappointing that the Ascend Mate is only a 720p device. Its 6.1-inch display size would definitely make for a very compelling mobile full HD device. There's little doubt that the next version of the Mate will have a gorgeous 1080p screen.
The Ascend Mate is a handsome phone, err, phablet. OK, to be honest, we're still coming to terms that this is actually a phone and not just a tablet. We're not saying that it's too big of a device – far from it – we think that this 6.1-inch phone will find its audience just as the Galaxy Note has. Perhaps it'll even be the same customers who presently own a Note, and those who do are passionate about their phones being just the right size for them.