Huawei Ascend Mate review

At 6 inches, can we really class this as a smartphone?

TODO alt text

Towards the end of last year we began to hear about the Huawei Emotion UI, a user experience which Huawei hoped would help define it as a unique smartphone maker -- the way the Sense UI has for HTC.

The Ascend Mate is our first time playing with the Emotion UI, and the experience is pretty underwhelming. There is a single Huawei-designed widget which can be customised to show the time, weather, music and favourite contacts, and a selection of themes which can be applied to the phone, but this is about all there is.

Huawei Ascend Mate 4

To be fair, the themes are pretty comprehensive. Each gives the user experience an overhauled appearance, including wallpapers, ringtones and customised application icons.

Huawei themes
The same screen with 3 different themes applied

Interestingly, Huawei's UI does away with the application drawer that is common on almost all versions of Android. Instead, Huawei takes an iOS-like approach, with all application icons living on the numerous homescreens, mixed in among the widgets

Huawei UI

To spare you from having a dozen screens of app icons when you first turn the phone on, Huawei bundles a bunch of them into folders, like a Google folder with all of your Google-made apps in one place, for example.

Dipping into the system menu reveals a few other interesting tidbits in the Emotion UI interface. There is an option ofr one-handed operation tucked towards the bottom of the list, which gives you alternate ways to unlock the phone and type messages without needing to take a seat and use both hands.

There is also something that Huawei calls "Suspend Button" which, when on, places a semi-transparent grey ball on the screen that hovers over any apps you might be using. Pressing this ball opens a circular menu with four apps that can sit on the top of any screen. There is a note-taking app, an SMS app, quick access to the camera and a calculator.

Tech Specs

Product TypeSmartphone
Network BandQuad Band
Input MethodTouchscreen
Wireless LANYes
Contract TypeSIM-free
Maximum Memory Card Size Supported32 GB
Built-in FlashYes
Memory Card SlotYes
Cellular Data Connectivity TechnologyEDGE, GPRS, HSDPA, HSUPA, UMTS
GPS ReceiverYes
Multi-SIM SupportedNo
Near Field CommunicationNo
Integrated TV TunerNo
Product FamilyAscend Mate
Cellular Generation3G
Cellular Network SupportedGSM 850, GSM 900, GSM 1800, GSM 1900, WCDMA 850, WCDMA 900, WCDMA 1700, WCDMA 1900, WCDMA 2100
Multi-touch ScreenYes
Rear Camera Resolution8 Megapixel
Number of SIM Card Supported1
Front CameraYes
Phone StyleBar
Operating SystemAndroid
Brand NameHuawei
Screen Size15.5 cm (6.1")
Screen Resolution1280 x 720
Touchscreen TypeCapacitive
Weight (Approximate)198 g
Processor CoreQuad-core (4 Core)
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080
Processor ManufacturerHiSilicon
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11a/b/g/n
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 4.0
Operating System VersionAndroid 4.1 Jelly Bean
Messaging TypeSMS (Short Message Service), MMS (Multi-media Messaging Service), Email, Instant Messaging
USB StandardUSB 2.0
Pixel Density241 ppi
Height163.5 mm
Width85.7 mm
Depth9.9 mm
Radio TunerYes
Battery Standby Time216 Hour
ManufacturerHuawei Technologies Co., Ltd
Product NameAscend Mate Smartphone
Processor Speed1.50 GHz
Product LineAscend Mate
Screen TypeLCD
Sensor TypeAccelerometer, Gyro Sensor, Proximity Sensor, Digital Compass
Manufacturer Part NumberAscend Mate
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

6.1"HD Screen with Highest Screen-to-Body Ratio

A 6.1-inch HD Screen. It offers optimal experience for gaming, reading text-heavy webpages, and also viewing photos and videos. Its compact design with highest screen-to-body ratio is a huge step ahead. We manage to place a very large screen into a small case and thus the phone still fits into your pocket and also gives a comfortable grip.

4050mAh Super Large Battery

Ascend Mate features a 4050 mAh battery and 1.5 GHz quad-core processor. With QPC and ADRX smart power-saving technology, the smartphone provides up to two days of ordinary usage on a single charge. It has the fastest battery charging capability of smartphones in its range, which saves over 30% of battery charging time.