• Our Huawei Ascend Mate 2 review


    When Samsung introduced the first Galaxy Note, (let’s conveniently forget about the Dell Streak 5) it spawn a new class of device; the Phablet. What is a phablet? Phone + Tablet. Back then, it was phone that had screen that was bigger than 5” and to a lesser degree, a phone that doesn’t fit in your back pocket. However, in the 3 years since we started talking about phablets, regular smartphones have been creeping up in size to the point now that there are many devices with 5” or bigger screens which we don’t really think of as phablets. Take for example the Blu Studio 5.0C HD or the ZTE Grand X (review coming soon). Both have 5” displays, and are quite inexpensive at around $150. people don’t usually consider those to be phablets.

    So these days, what makes a phone a phablet? Since many phones are now bigger than 5” and many don’t even try to fit in a back pocket, I’d say a Phablet is anything with a screen bigger than 5.5”. 0.5” doesn’t sound like a lot but it actually makes a big difference.

    Now we have some mild phablets like the Galaxy Note II which has a 5.5” screen. Then we have big phablets like the Huawei Ascend Mate 2 4G which I’m checking out today with is rocking a 6.1” display.
    At 6.1” and $399 from Wind or $299 unlocked from Huawei in the US, the Mate 2 doesn’t have a lot of competitors. Aside from the 6.1” LG G Flex which priced at a much higher price point, I can’t think of any other 6”+ phones available from carriers right now. Last year we also had the high-end 6.44” Sony Xperia Z Ultra and upper, midrange 6.3” Samsung Galaxy Mega. Since then, both phones have been discontinued and are no longer available.

    This pretty much leaves the Mate 2 unopposed in the ‘bigger than 6 inch’ segment of the market. Really, the closest competitors that I can think of are the Acer Liquid S1 and the Samsung Galaxy Note II. The S1 only because it comes with a 5.7” screen which makes it one of the bigger phones on the market. The Note II has a 5.5” screen which is a lot smaller but at $300, it’s priced pretty aggressively.

    You could argue that cheaper phones with better specs like the Nexus 5 are a better buy (and in many ways they are) but sometimes there’s no replacement for a bigger display.

    What about the Acer Liquid S1:



    The S1 is sold unlocked for around $379.99. To be honest, other than being unlocked, and having a removable battery, there’s no reason to pick one up over the Mate 2. The Mate 2 beats it in almost every other measure. The Mate 2 has a bigger screen, faster processor, more RAM, better build quality, more storage, LTE, bigger battery, better camera, and a more recent version of Android.

    Samsung Galaxy Note II:



    The Note II is now available for $300. While the Note II has been around for 2 years now and launched with Android 4.1, it’s now rocking Android 4.4.2. Whether it will receive any more updates is anyone’s guess. I’m thinking no, but I’d love for Samsung to prove me wrong. Anyways, 4.4 is one version newer than what the Mate 2 comes with.

    Digging deeper, at 5.5”, the Note II’s screen is a lot smaller than the Mate 2’s though both have the same resolution. The Note II has physical menu buttons, that means you get all 5.5” to play with whereas on the Mate 2, the on-screen buttons reduce the usable screen real estate a little bit.

    The Note II has a Super AMOLED screen which has very deep blacks but other than that, the Mate 2’s is better. It’s brighter and it runs circles around the Note II outdoors in direct sunlight.

    The Mate 2’s Snapdragon 400 SoC has roughly the same general performance and faster graphics performance.

    Both have 2GB of RAM which is more than most people need and 16GB of storage which is expandable with MicroSD cards.

    While both support LTE, the Mate 2 supports more LTE bands which makes it more versatile.

    The Note II has Samsung’s S-Pen stylus which as far as stylii goes, is the best you’ll find on a phone. The Mate 2 counters with a much bigger battery and slightly better cameras.

    To be honest, if I had to choose between the 2, I’d pick the Mate 2. If you’re going to buy a phone that’s too big for one hand, you might as well go all out.

    Specs:

    6.1” 1280x720 LTPS display
    Gorilla Glass 3 covered display
    1.6Ghz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor with Adreno 305 GPU
    2GB RAM
    16GB Storage
    MicroSD slot
    13 megapixel rear camera
    5 megapixel front facing camera with 88 degree field of view
    3900mAh battery
    Android 4.3
    LTE
    6.3 x 3.3 x 0.37”
    202g
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Our Huawei Ascend Mate 2 review started by howard View original post
    Comments 35 Comments
    1. kav2001c's Avatar
      kav2001c -
      Would have loved to see how the Mate 2 compares to the Mate
      If any improvements over older model or even if battery lasts longer
    1. RSX's Avatar
      RSX -
      Howard, is there an issue for your Mate 2 when you turn on and off the wifi? On my Mate 2, whenever i turn off the wifi and i checked the battery stats, The wifi stays on despite turning it off. The only solution to fix it is to turn on airplane mode and turn it back off.
    1. Frankie500's Avatar
      Frankie500 -
      Howard

      So even with a screen over 1/2" bigger and thus a lower PPI than the Note 2, the Mate 2's display looks better? Is that your assessment?
    1. howard's Avatar
      howard -
      Quote Originally Posted by Frankie500 View Post
      Howard

      So even with a screen over 1/2" bigger and thus a lower PPI than the Note 2, the Mate 2's display looks better? Is that your assessment?
      Yes, because it's brighter and works better outdoors.
    1. howard's Avatar
      howard -
      Quote Originally Posted by RSX View Post
      Howard, is there an issue for your Mate 2 when you turn on and off the wifi? On my Mate 2, whenever i turn off the wifi and i checked the battery stats, The wifi stays on despite turning it off. The only solution to fix it is to turn on airplane mode and turn it back off.
      I'll try this tomorrow and report back.
    1. dc2000's Avatar
      dc2000 -
      I've been on the fence on this device..

      Wish it was $299 and not $399... everywhere else has it for 299.
    1. kav2001c's Avatar
      kav2001c -
      Quote Originally Posted by dc2000 View Post
      I've been on the fence on this device..

      Wish it was $299 and not $399... everywhere else has it for 299.
      Just take a quick trip to the States to get reduced price
    1. howard's Avatar
      howard -
      Quote Originally Posted by RSX View Post
      Howard, is there an issue for your Mate 2 when you turn on and off the wifi? On my Mate 2, whenever i turn off the wifi and i checked the battery stats, The wifi stays on despite turning it off. The only solution to fix it is to turn on airplane mode and turn it back off.
      I have this problem too. But when the WiFi is off (even when the power manager says it's on), I'm not able to get online via WiFi.
    1. RSX's Avatar
      RSX -
      Quote Originally Posted by howard View Post
      I have this problem too. But when the WiFi is off (even when the power manager says it's on), I'm not able to get online via WiFi.

      Strange, doesn't seem to happen on mine with the issue you have.

      Thanks Howard, I sent a message to the people at Huawei Usa about the issue already. Hopefully they will fix this problem with the Kit Kat upgrade. On their Huawei blog, they confirmed that the Mate 2 will be upgraded to Kit Kat.
    1. dragon2knight's Avatar
      dragon2knight -
      Great review, as usual, Howard
      If you really wan't a phablet on the cheap, even cheaper than this one, try out the Blu Life View. It's got a huge 1280x720p 5.7" screen, has a 12mp rear/5mp front camera, is running 4.2, has a good sized battery(I get over a day of usage easily), Quad core MediaTek processor, and is built really well for the low price of around $200.00-220.00US. It's also a dual sim phone for those who need that function. The drawbacks are only 16GB of ram/1GB rom, no sd slot and the battery is as fixed as the Mate's is. But if you use cloud storage, the lack of an sd slot isn't that bad, and at least the battery is a good one with above average life. It's also strictly 4G, no LTE here, but it's really fast on T-Mobile's network. For the money, it''s a sweet phone I'll do a video/ written review of it next week and put it up on here if anyone is interested.
    1. flyguyset's Avatar
      flyguyset -
      Great review Howard! The specs for the price for this phablet is an amazing value. In real life, price is always a factor, so it's great that you compared it to similarly priced phones off contract.
    1. dc2000's Avatar
      dc2000 -
      Quote Originally Posted by kav2001c View Post
      Just take a quick trip to the States to get reduced price
      I can't :'(
    1. ijcy's Avatar
      ijcy -
      Quote Originally Posted by dc2000 View Post
      I've been on the fence on this device..

      Wish it was $299 and not $399... everywhere else has it for 299.
      no need to take a trip, it is $299- here as well via CanadaGsm http://www.canadagsm.ca/products-Hua...-4G-61-Phablet
    1. X-Nemesis's Avatar
      X-Nemesis -
      After seeing the Mate7 from IFA, I'm going to hold out for that but the Mate 2 really does look like quite a phone for the price. Only thing I've picked up though about the 7 is that the outdoor performance with the 1080p screen isn't as bright as the 2 so that may come into play.
    1. nelly_85's Avatar
      nelly_85 -
      Quote Originally Posted by X-Nemesis View Post
      After seeing the Mate7 from IFA, I'm going to hold out for that but the Mate 2 really does look like quite a phone for the price. Only thing I've picked up though about the 7 is that the outdoor performance with the 1080p screen isn't as bright as the 2 so that may come into play.
      Also the price point will be much higher than the current price on the mate 2.
    1. FormerSlacker's Avatar
      FormerSlacker -
      Quote Originally Posted by howard View Post
      I have this problem too. But when the WiFi is off (even when the power manager says it's on), I'm not able to get online via WiFi.
      Wifi is reported as "on" if "scanning always available" is selected, but it's actually powered down and passively getting network info. That behaviour is normal. Maybe it's that.
    1. FormerSlacker's Avatar
      FormerSlacker -
      Quote Originally Posted by ijcy View Post
      no need to take a trip, it is $299- here as well via CanadaGsm http://www.canadagsm.ca/products-Hua...-4G-61-Phablet
      Is that retailer reputable?
    1. ijcy's Avatar
      ijcy -
      Quote Originally Posted by FormerSlacker View Post
      Is that retailer reputable?
      Of course, they have been on the Marketplace here for years AFAIK.
    1. Frankie500's Avatar
      Frankie500 -
      "6.1” 1280x720 LTPS display
      Gorilla Glass 3 covered display
      1.6Ghz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor with Adreno 305 GPU
      2GB RAM
      16GB Storage
      MicroSD slot
      13 megapixel rear camera
      5 megapixel front facing camera with 88 degree field of view
      3900mAh battery
      Android 4.3
      LTE
      6.3 x 3.3 x 0.37”
      202g"


      The specs from Huwei's site don't mention anything about "Gorilla Glass 3 covered display", only says the display is Gorilla Glass.

      http://consumer.huawei.com/en/mobile...mt2-l03-en.htm

      P.S. I've read reviews that claim both the screen and back-cover on the Mate 2 are fingerprint magnets and hard to clean. Even for the price this would probably be a deal breaker for me as I hate with a passion shiny greasy/smudgy-prone plastic back covers, they should be outlawed!
    1. ijcy's Avatar
      ijcy -
      Quote Originally Posted by Frankie500 View Post

      P.S. I've read reviews that claim both the screen and back-cover on the Mate 2 are fingerprint magnets and hard to clean. Even for the price this would probably be a deal breaker for me as I hate with a passion shiny greasy/smudgy-prone plastic back covers, they should be outlawed!
      Well i think that it doesn't matter to most people as they slap on a screen protector and a cover/case of some sort as soon as they get their phone.