Handsets from Chinese brands are usually associated with cheap quality but Huawei, which also has roots in China, is not of part of that league. It means serious business and wants its smartphones to do the talking.
Sometime back Huawei had launched Ascend Mate 6.1, which incidentally is the cheapest 6.1 display bearing smartphone in the country. We had used the smartphone for around two weeks. Here is our review.
Inside the box
Apart from having the unit itself, the box comes with a carry case, an in-ear stereo headphone, charger, micro USB cable, manual and screen guard.
Note that the Ascend Mate has no replaceable battery and hence no battery is in the box.
Huawei Ascend Mate comes in 163.5 x 85.7 x 9.9 mm dimension. Though it is huge, the Ascend Mate is comfortable to hold but not for people with smaller palms.
The Ascend Mate will fit in trousers’ pocket easily, but if you keep it in the upper pocket of your shirt, around 20 per cent of the device will be protruding out and invite attention. One may take some time in getting used to such a big smartphone but if you are going for a big screen device you should not have any qualms about it.
Considering its price, it has a good built quality. The plastic used in Huawei Ascend Mate doesn’t feel cheap, it’s non slippery and is not a finger print magnet. Even the bezel is minimalistic thus around 75 per cent of the front panel is covered by display screen only.
Ascend Mate has a metallic rim surrounding the sides, which not only gives a good grip but it also adds to the charm of the device. The rim also accommodates micro SD and SIM card slots, which make the two slots readily accessible. Mate has a unibody design and thus does not have a removable battery.
In the top right corner in the front, just above the display, the Ascend Mate has a 1 megapixel camera alongside which lies the proximity and ambient light sensors. At the bottom of the display one will find three capacitive buttons – return, home and task manager
The back panel has an 8 megapixel camera along with LED flash. One can also locate a loudspeaker grille in the bottom left corner.
The power/lock key is placed on the right panel and below it lays the volume rocker. On the top panel there is a slot for micro SIM and micro SD card slot, which are covered by a plastic flap, along with a 3.5 jack. In the bottom panel you will find micro USB port. The only thing missing is a dedicated camera key, though when the camera app is on volume rocker doubles up as a camera button.
In Ascend Mate, the 6.1 inch display screen has been kept on a lower level to that of the surrounding frame so as to protect it from scratches when placed face down, or avoid direct impact with ground in case it falls from your hand.
The display of Ascend Mate has 720×1280 pixels HD resolution. The colour reproduction in images is pretty good. Since it is an IPS panel, viewing content on the screen at different angles is not a problem.
The brightness control in Huawei Ascend Mate is not in the form of slider rather it is divided into four steps: Automatic, 100 per cent, 50 per cent and 0 per cent brightness.
On the other hand Ascend Mate has a given slider control to manage colour temperature from cooler to warmer.
Huawei Ascend Mate has the company’s latest Emotion UI overlay on top of Android 4.1. The beauty of this UI is that it has done away with app drawer (app menu button) and has put everything on the home screens. This means whatever you downloaded will be placed on one of the five home screens.
Also in the Emotion UI one can choose from multiple pre-loaded launcher themes and even customise it as they like. The new UI looks different from the usual launcher we are used to seeing the Android smartphones or the app store. It is neat and user friendly.
One can add upto nine home screen panes and since app drawer is not their one can accommodate apps and widgets on them. To arrange the app as per your wish, you have to use the pinch action on home screen to trigger overview mode. In this mode it is quite easy place app as per your need on different screen and one can all add or remove the number on panes in this mode.
In Ascend Mate, there is also a feature which can be used to change wallpaper by shaking the phone.
Processor, memory and performance
Huawei Ascend Mate is based on Android Jelly Bean and is powered by a 1.5 GHz quad-core, Hi-Silicon K3V2 processor. During our review we didn’t notice lag or stuttering. The touch response was smooth and typing was a pleasurable experience, especially because of Huawei keyboard.
The Huawei keyboard in Mate allows you to change keys’ height and allows one-hand mode, where the keyboard can have a right or left orientation by just swiping. It allows using the keyboard with one hand.
On the memory front, Huawei Ascend Mate has 2 GB RAM and 8 GB internal memory which can be expanded using micro SD card.
On the home screen of the Ascend there is also Suspend Button, which will give you a shortcut dial to access calculator, gallery, messages and notes.
Huawei has added an 8 megapixel rear and 1 megapixel HD front facing camera in Mate. The camera app comes with shooting modes like portrait, Panorama, HDR, low light and so on.
The picture quality from the rear 8 megapixel camera is quite nice but in low light condition it was decent.
We were able to take some amazing pictures using the device where the colour reproduction and detailing were at realistic level. The picture quality of front camera was as accepted but we will talk more on the same in our final review.
Huawei Ascend Mate has a humongous 4050 mAh battery. I was impressed by its back up.
Under normal usage where 3G and WiFi was always on, mail and social media feeds were on auto sync, one hour of gaming in two days and watching YouTube for around 45 minutes, I was able to use the phone for more than 48 hours without charging.
In another scenario when I used the mail sync feature, 3G and WiFi connectivity as and when the need raised and played one hour of gaming I was able to get 3 days of power back up.
Huawei Ascend Mate is a smartphone worth having if you love large screen devices, want good battery backup and don’t want spend above Rs 25,000 on a phone.
Huawei Ascend Mate just doesn’t have one killer feature, it has many like price (Rs 24,900), display quality and amazing battery life.
Huawei Ascend Mate is in direct competition to Galaxy 6.3 and 5.8, but the pull factor in Huawei is its price and better design. It is such a smartphone that one will not regret buying if they love big screen Android smartphone.
Photographs by: Sushil Kumar