• The Big Deal: Our Huawei Ascend Mate review

    Software:

    Huawei includes their Emotion UI which replaces the stock launcher. Thereís no app drawer, just today screens. Itís similar to iOS or MIUI in this regard. If youíre an Android user you might feel a little disorienting.

    I like how it makes things cleaner than most Android launchers. You canít create multiple shortcuts to the same program, instead of having 2 levels of program icons you just have one - that sort of thing.

    You can use widgets - they just co-exist with shortcuts the to your apps.



    You can theme the launcher. You get a couple of them built-in. Themes control the look of the icons, your wallpaper, the sounds, etc. My only problem with the themes is that they also change the look of other programís icons. No matter what theme you choose, thereís going to be a box around the icons.



    I donít know about you but I think they look terrible. I wish there was a way to tell the Mate to leave my icons alone.



    I like how thereís an option to hide the menu bar. When you turn this option on thereís an extra button to hide it. You can bring it back by swiping from the bottom of the screen up.



    Another cool feature is the suspend button - no, it's not a power button. Itís not the greatest name for it but basically it puts a transparent button on your screen.



    When you tap it, it can launch your calculator, the movie app, messaging app or the notepad in a small window that hovers over your other apps. If the transparent button gets in the way you can move it. Itís a great idea but I wish there were a better way of hiding it/bringing it back. Right now you have to go to settings to toggle it. Huawei should have made it an option in the notification panel switches or maybe copied Samsung and toggle it by pressing and holding the back button.

    Since the Mate has a gigantic screen there are some one handed optimized settings for the keyboard, dialer and unlock screen.

    There is a Gloves mode so you can use the Mate while wearing gloves in the winter.

    Performance:

    While the Mate has a quad-core processor. To be more precise Hi-Silicon K3V2 SoC With 4 ARM Cortex A9 cores with a Vivante GC4000 GPU.





    As far as web browser benchmarks goes, the Mateís SoC score similarly to last yearís batch of quad-core SoCs. This is no surprise since it was also found on last yearís D Quad XL. Itís not as fast as this yearís batch of dual and quad core processors but it should deliver sufficient performance for most users.







    The gaming benchmarks are in the same ballpark as the Note II (quad-core, LTE).

    Benchmarks are great but what do they mean for the Mate? What does this mean, in terms of real world performance? Well, it isnít always buttery smooth. Casual games run just fine but heavy-duty 3D games can be a slightly choppy at times.

    Still, I think the Mateís SoC provides sufficient performance for most people unless youíre a heavy duty gamer.

    Media Capabilities:

    Huawei includes T Player - a media player with support for a wide range of codecs. I like how it allows you to watch videos in a small window that hovers over your other apps. I did however find that it would crash from time to time. It would also be nice if it could could resize the window.

    Thereís also a DLNA app which has the codec support to let you view most files youíll throw at it.

    Huawei includes Dolby audio - it only works when you plug the headphones in. It does make things sound better.

    Since the Mate only has 8GB of storage (closer to 5GB available for use) make sure you pick up a MicroSD if youíre going to use it for any sort of media playback.

    The built in speaker is quite loud. It doesnít sound as good as my HTC Oneís speaker but itís still pretty good. Given the size of the Mate Iím mildly disappointed it doesnít have stereo speakers.

    As long as you remember to pick up a memory card, the Mate is a great device for watching video

    As a Phone:



    The Mate doesnít have LTE but it supports penta-band HSPA so it will work on any HSPA carrier in North America (and many overseas).

    Sound quality is excellent. Itís very clean. Just watch out - the earpieceís sweet spot is kind of hard to find. Maximum earpiece volume could be a bit louder. Here it lags my iPhone slightly.



    RF performance is average - it tested it on Rogers (sorry donít have Wind SIMís) and found it to be slightly worse than my iPhone 5.

    Maximum speakerphone volume is good - itís identical to my iPhone.

    Before I got the Mate I was really excited about itís 4050mAh battery. I was hoping it would be able to last me 2 days. Turns out while it should make it through the day for most people I doubt it will do 2 for anyone.

    Conclusion:



    When you look at the Huawei Ascend Mate there are two important points to consider; First off, itís only $400 outright and secondly, it has a 6.1Ē screen. There are no other phones in North America that have these 2 qualities.

    Itís closest competitors are all more expensive and or have smaller screens. The Samsung Galaxy Mega costs $150 more while the Sony Ultra Z costs double. The Note 2 also costs more but you might not be able to pick up a used one for similar money and it has a much smaller screen.

    The hardware on the Mate is good but not top notch. However, when you take the price into consideration, the compromises are perfectly acceptable. The Mate stands in a class of its own.

    Itís a good solid mid-range phone thatís awesome for watching video. Iíll give it 3.5 Howies out of 5.

    Pros:
    • Big battery
    • Big screen
    • Good for media playback
    • Solid Phone


    Cons:
    • May be too big for some
    • Earpiece could be louder
    This article was originally published in forum thread: The Big Deal: Our Huawei Mate review started by howard View original post
    Comments 14 Comments
    1. 416's Avatar
      416 -
      I want one of these!
    1. ahhong's Avatar
      ahhong -
      A couple of things I want to add:
      1. The Huawei in Wind is an unlocked pentaband phone. When it boots up, it only shows Huawei logo.
      2. With Nexus 4 still out of stock, the Mate is a rare mid grade phone (out of small selection) that is available in Can market that is not carrier locked. Wind is selling it even below that of Amazon.com (U S). Rarely does any unlocked pentaband phone available in a retail store in Can
      3.. Its battery life is amusing besides its sizeable screen
      The rest of Howard's input is just right on
    1. yyz123's Avatar
      yyz123 -
      This phone seems to be of good value but I just can't get over that monstrous screen.
    1. JKChee's Avatar
      JKChee -
      I'm using one now and while the screen is huge, you will get use to it. Looking at my old galaxy nexus, it just seems so small now.

      Sent with the HoFo App
    1. yyz123's Avatar
      yyz123 -
      Quote Originally Posted by JKChee View Post
      I'm using one now and while the screen is huge, you will get use to it. Looking at my old galaxy nexus, it just seems so small now.

      Sent with the HoFo App
      Yea but where do you keep your phone when you're not using it? I can't imagine it'd fit comfortably in my pocket.
    1. JKChee's Avatar
      JKChee -
      Haha, that's true. It does fit, but it creates an obvious bulge. I do have to hold it most of the time.

      Sent from my HUAWEI MT1-U06 using HoFo mobile app
    1. vinny13's Avatar
      vinny13 -
      Quote Originally Posted by yyz123 View Post
      Yea but where do you keep your phone when you're not using it? I can't imagine it'd fit comfortably in my pocket.
      I only find it to be uncomfortable when wearing fitted jeans and sitting, or sometime it might poke out of the pocket a little, but other than that everything else seems to work for me. Its a solid phone for the price with great battery life, and after owning one for a couple months now, I'm not sure if I'll ever be able to return to another miniature (<= 5") phone again.
    1. 2c's Avatar
      2c -
      Quote Originally Posted by skhan27 View Post
      Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (Linux; U; Android 4.1.2; en-ca; SGH-I317M Build/JZO54K) AppleWebKit/534.30 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0 Mobile Safari/534.30)

      Tbh my note 2 fits perfectly fine in all my pockets so I can't see this one being too much worse. But I don't wear skinny jeans or tight clothes cuz I'm an OG lol, but yeah, once you use a big screen and then try to use a ssmall one again, good luck. I can't even unlock my ipod touch anymore after using a note 2 for so long.
      what it has to do with unlocking your ipod? in any case you cant unlock it
    1. howard's Avatar
      howard -
      Quote Originally Posted by 2c View Post
      what it has to do with unlocking your ipod? in any case you cant unlock it
      I think the poster is saying that they no longer use their ipod because they're too busy using the Mate.
    1. Josh@everbuying's Avatar
      [email protected] -
      Used a Huawei smartphone this past year. It's performance was so horrible that I switched to a dumb text/call only phone for a while... Huawei makes great appliances but not convinced yet with their smart phones
    1. sable's Avatar
      sable -
      Please identify which model you were using. Otherwise you are implying that all Huawei's smartphones are no good.

      Sent with the HoFo App
    1. 2c's Avatar
      2c -
      Quote Originally Posted by skhan27 View Post
      Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (Linux; U; Android 4.1.2; en-ca; SGH-I317M Build/JZO54K) AppleWebKit/534.30 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0 Mobile Safari/534.30)



      The 'slide to unlock' is too difficult for me to do one such a small screen.
      Quote Originally Posted by howard View Post
      I think the poster is saying that they no longer use their ipod because they're too busy using the Mate.
      sorry i thought he was saying about carrier unlocking an ipod
    1. Harvid's Avatar
      Harvid -
      So which phone did you use? And based on your name, was it one of the China only models (I've been to the Everbuying website a few times). Personally, I'd trust Howard on this one...

      Sent from my CW-V88-QUAD using Tapatalk 4
    1. ahhong's Avatar
      ahhong -
      Pl accept my apology for giving the wrong info that the Mate from Wind is an unlocked phone. It was locked. I did not check as it boots up only with Huawei logo. Also I did not have a other micro sim to test.

      It is an unlocked phone now after $5 and 20 minutes of waiting on line
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