Sunday, December 15, 2013

Huawei Ascend Mate Phablet Review – Pros and Cons

Smartphones have steadily been getting bigger and bigger screens. Some of these smartphones have a screen so big that it approaches that found on tablets. For that reason, these types of smartphones are also referred to as phablets, a hybrid between a phone and a tablet.

Due to the demand from the public for these phablets, more and more manufacturers have started to introduce their own version. Huawei's entry into this class of smartphones is referred to as the Ascend Mate, which comes with a 6.1 inch screen.

However, a phone is more than just a large screen. Just because it has a large screen, doesn't automatically mean the phone is a good phone. To determine that, we need to look at the pros and cons of a phablet to determine whether the Huawei Ascend Mate is good or bad.

Good: the larger screen of the Huawei Ascend Mate does have practical value

The most defining characteristic of the Huawei Ascend Mate is its much larger 6.1 inch screen, which is also protected by a layer of scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass. That is not just a gimmick to impress people, but it can have substantial advantages depending on how you use your smartphone. For example, people with poor eye vision will appreciate how everything is much larger on screen.

Anything that requires comparing something can benefit from the Huawei. The larger screen gives enough room to put things side by side to better make a comparison. Spreadsheets are easier to use become there's less need for scrolling, which can waste precious time.

The Internet is better with a larger screen. Whether it's just browsing the web or doing some web development work. The larger screen gives you more room to operate and that increases the amount of work you can get done within a fixed time period. In other words, the Huawei Ascend Mate can increase your productivity.

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Good: phablets such as the Huawei Ascend Mate can last longer

Phablets are of course much larger and heavier than regular smartphones, which creates some issues while handling or carrying them around. These issues can cause someone to reject a phablet in favor of a smaller smartphone.

However, the benefit of large phones and phablets is that their larger size allows the inclusion of much larger batteries than would normally possible on a smaller phone. That translates into the ability to last a lot longer than normal smartphones.

Granted, some of the extra battery power is needed for more the powerful hardware that phablets come with. Especially, the large screen. Yet, the larger battery more than makes up for it and the Huawei Ascend Mate can be used in ways that's hard to do with regular smartphones.

Suppose that you need to check prices on a regular bases throughout the day. Not only is a larger screen beneficial when comparing numbers side by side, the larger battery allows you to do this often. That is a very significant benefit with lots of practical value.

Good: phablets tend to be more powerful than the average smartphone

While the large screen tends to get the most attention, phablets tend to come with better hardware than the average smartphone. The Huawei Ascend Mare is no different. Besides the 6.1 inch screen supporting High Definition (HD) resolution at 1280 x 720, there's a quad-core processor combined with two gigabytes of random access memory (RAM).

The eight gigabytes of internal storage can be expanded by installing a MicroSD card of up to 64 gigabytes. All the standard features that you expect from a smartphone such as 3G Internet, Wi-Fi, GPS, radio are supported. The Huawei can do anything that you could want from a smartphone.

That includes running any Android apps. Google Maps and all the other apps from Google work fine. Ditto for all the social media apps such as Facebook. Even high-end games can be played on the Huawei Ascend Mate, where the larger screen can be of great help.

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Neutral: phablets are larger and heavier than other smartphones

As mentioned earlier, the Huawei Ascend Mate is both larger and heavier than the average smartphone. This is unavoidable as the larger screen needs the space. You will therefore have to accepts the added bulk as the price you have to pay for the larger screen.

You can't put the phone in your shirt pocket, but it still fits in other types of pockets. People who tend to carry a bag with them at all times will not notice any difference. However, if you tend to walk long distances, you may find that carrying such a large phone for a long time can be somewhat of a hassle.

It's up to everyone to decide if the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. Large screens offer additional functionality, but come with added weight and size. So if the answer is yes, you can get the Huawei Ascend Mate. If the answer is no, simply get a smaller phone.

Neutral: who is Huawei?

Officially, Huawei is reportedly one of the five largest smartphone manufacturers according to statistics. Despite this achievement, the brand is not that familiar to most people. A lot of people shy away from a product if the brand is not something they're familiar with.

However, the fact that Huawei is such a large company should give people some sense of security. Large companies will generally stand behind their products because it's in their own interests to do so. If they did not and produced only crappy products, they would never have become as large a company as they are.

People will not consistently buy bad product from a company. If the company is able to sell large quantities of a product for a long time, that by itself is proof that their products must have been good enough for people to want to own their products.

So while it's understandable that some people may want a smartphone from a better known company, most people should have no problems using the Huawei Ascend Mate. If anything goes wrong, Huawei is almost certain to make sure that the issue is corrected.

Neutral: the cameras are about average for a smartphone

The Huawei Ascend Mate comes with two cameras, an eight megapixel in the back and a one megapixel camera in the front. Both are about average when it comes to smartphone cameras and similar to what you can expect from other smartphones in its class.

That is that the output is worse than even the cheapest digital cameras. The pictures are less sharp and the colors are more dull. They cannot replace a real digital camera and a digital camera is to be preferred if you want the best pictures in terms of quality.

However, the cameras are certainly adequate for everyday use. If you just need a good picture to show to someone else, the Huawei is more than adequate. The cameras are not useless, just not as good as a real camera. As long as you don't expect that from the Ascend Mate, there are no issues.

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Bad: the Huawei Ascend Mate doesn't support Full-HD

The Huawei Ascend Mate doesn't support Full-HD at 1920 x 1080, only regular HD. While the benefits of Full-HD are questionable for smaller smartphones and it's not a deal breaker or absolutely required, the Ascend Mate has a 6.1 inch screen that's big enough to benefit from the presence of Full-HD.

The Huawei also has enough battery power to support the added resolution. Huawei therefore certainly could have installed a Full-HD screen, but decided not to. That's too bad because the phone could have been even better with such a screen. It would have improved picture quality as the screen would be significantly sharper.

Summary and comparison of what's good or bad about the Huawei Ascend Mate

In my opinion, the Huawei Ascend Mate is a very good choice for people in need of a phablet. It has a few minor drawbacks such as lack of brand name, no Full-HD support, no LTE support for the fastest Internet possible, but nothing major.

The additional bulk is unavoidable as it's a phablet. In return, you get to use a much larger screen, which comes with all sorts of practical advantages, including a screen that can be read more easily by people with poor eye vision.

People who need to use their phone a lot and require a smartphone with a long battery life can also benefit from the Huawei. People who need to work using their smartphone and want to raise their productivity can use something like the Huawei Mate.

You just have to make sure that a phablet is what you want or accept. As long as the extra size and weight doesn't bother you, you won't have any problems with the Huawei Ascend Mate.

  • Big 6.1 inch screen allows you to do more
  • Screen is protected by Gorilla Glass
  • Phone can be used a lot longer
  • Cheaper than comparable phones from other brands
  • Good sound quality
  • Good build quality
  • Somewhat large and heavy
  • Somewhat iffy brand name
  • Does not support Full-HD
  • Does not support 4G LTE

Huawei Ascend Mate
Reviewed by Gadget Revue on December 15 2013
Rating: 4

Huawei Ascend Mate specifications

Type Smartphone
Style Bar
Brand Huawei
Color Black / white
Dimension (H X W X D) 163.5 mm x 85.7 mm x 9.9 mm
Weight 198 grams
Operating System Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
Skin Emotion UI
Network bands UMTS: 850 / 900 / 1700 / 1900 / 2100 MHz
- GSM / EDGE: 900 / 1800 / 1900 MHz
Processor Huawei Hi-Silicon K3V2, 1.5 GHz quad-core processor
Graphics -
RAM 2 gigabytes (GB)
Internal storage 8 gigabytes (GB)
Expandable memory slot MicroSD, up to 64 gigabytes
Screen type 6.1 Inch Multi-Touch IPS LCD /w 16M colors + Gorilla Glass
Screen resolution HD (1280 x 720, 241 PPI)
Rear camera 8.0 megapixels, autofocus, HDR, 1080p@30fps, LED flash
Front camera 1.0 megapixels, 720p@30fps
Wireless Connectivity WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n
- Bluetooth 4.0
Connectors microUSB (USB 2.0)
- 3.5 headphone earjack
Sensors Accelerometer
- Gyroscope
- Proximity sensor
- Compass
Navigation GPS + A-GPS
FM radio Included
Battery Lithium-Ion 4050 mAh
Special features -
- -

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