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[MWC 2013] Huawei Ascend Mate Hands-on: Quad-core Phablet with a 6.1-inch Display

Huawei Ascend Mate in the house. Ang laki niya. Bow.
Huawei Ascend Mate in the house. Ang laki niya. Bow.

Huawei Ascend Mate Hands-on and Initial Impressions

The Phablet category was pioneered by Dell and Samsung. However some companies are hell bent on pushing it to the extreme. Take for example Huawei with their Ascend Mate product. This quad-core device has a whopping 6.1-inch display. That’s ridiculously huge for a phone and dangerously close to becoming more of a tablet with phone features than a phone with a big screen. We played around with the demo unit on display at the exhibition floor of the Mobile World Congress and we want to chime in with our initial impressions. Before we get to that though let’s do a quick rundown on the specifications.

Huawei Ascend Mate Spec Sheet

  • 1.5GHz Quad-core Processor Huawei K3V2 Chip Set
  • 2GB RAM
  • Expandable storage up to 32GB via microSD
  • 6.1-inches IPS+ LCD capacitive touchscreen, 720×1280 pixels (~241 ppi)
  • 8.0-megapixels rear-facing camera with autofocus, LED Flash
  • Records video 1080p@30fps
  • 1.0-megapixel front-facing camera
  • WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, A-GPS, HSPA+
  • Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
  • Comes in Black or White
  • Li-Ion 4050 mAh battery

Massive, powerful, and blazing fast

Still manages to maintain a rather slim form factor despite all the power and the size
Still manages to maintain a rather slim form factor despite all the power and the size

The Huawei Ascend Mate is quite simply put a powerhouse. It has a roaring processor and RAM combo combined with Google’s Project Butter. The result is an almost lag-free user experience. There was a slight compromise though with the resolution as Huawei was only able to push 241 pixels per inch. That’s understandable given the power it would take to get it above 300ppi on a 6.1-inch display. They’d probably need an even more powerful chipset to do that. Animations, transitions, and website rendering were all blazing fast. Unfortunately there weren’t any high graphics games installed in the device so we couldn’t test it out for ourselves.

While we were holding the Ascend Mate we couldn’t help but be impressed that it still managed to keep a slim form factor despite the innards as well as the size of the screen. Upon checking we found out that the Huawei Ascend Mate measures only 9.9mm thick making it competitive against even the slimmest smartphones in the market.

Back reminds me of the Google Nexus 4
Back reminds me of the Google Nexus 4
View from the bottom
View from the bottom

Unwieldy at 6.1-inches? Depends on your hand size, hehe

Personally I didn’t have a problem with the Huawei Ascend Mate. However I do have big hands, lol. We did hear some comments from some people who were testing it that it was bordering on being unwieldy because of the size. That’s the common problem with phablets. It will polarize consumers. The Ascend Mate though belongs to the extreme side of phablets, just barely below what you’d call a full-sized tablet.

So what are the implications of the form factor? From our short time with it we can say that the Huawei Ascend Mate makes for a great media consumption device. Kinda like a great travel companion. You know, something you whip out while on a long flight and you just chill and watch all the TV series and movies you’ve stored in the last few weeks, lol. It’s not as “big” as a tablet so it’s a little more portable.

If ever Huawei PH is reading this, we want to borrow a review unit!

We walked away from the Ascend Mate “bitin”. Mainly because we wanted to run benchmark tests and test out graphics intensive applications to see if it can really live up to the “powerful” billing. If ever anyone from Huawei Philippines is reading this, we’d love to borrow a unit so we can put it through the paces and give everyone a more comprehensive and full review.

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We have more news about Huawei in MWC in the next post. For now excuse us as we hit the exhibition floor again to look for gadgets and gizmos!

Carlo Ople

Carlo is the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of Unbox.ph. During daytime he’s the Managing Director and Partner of a Digital Marketing Agency in the Philippines and by nighttime he’s living out his passion as a gadget enthusiast and story teller through Unbox.

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