After several years of sitting on the sidelines, packing prepaid shelves with super-cheap Android devices, it looks like Huawei is ready to make waves in 2013. The Ascend Mate is a phone that will turn heads, but maybe not for the right reasons.
With a screen measuring 6.1-inches diagonally, the Mate is definitely more on the side of tablets, though Huawei is pitching it as a phone. At the end of 2010, we joked about people using the 7-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab as a phone — imagining them holding the paperback-sized tablet to their ear to take a call. The screen on the Mate is less than an inch smaller than that on the Tab, but will this make it any less funny?
All said, Samsung's Galaxy Note has proved popular, especially (but not exclusively) with young women. We often see these women with their small hands handling the Note with ease around our office here in Sydney, and as much as it may seem funny, it doesn't look funny when these same smartphone users take calls with the 5.5-inch Note. Perhaps the concept of a device being "too big" is dissolving as the size of handsets creeps up each year.
The Ascend Mate is powered by a quad-core processor, designed by Huawei's HiSilicon and clocked a 1.5GHz. There is 2GB RAM in there too, and with the speed enhancements in the Android Jelly Bean platform, this phone should run extremely well.
The screen isn't the 1080p resolution we're expecting to see from brands like HTC, Samsung and Sony this year. Instead, Huawei uses a 1280x720-pixel resolution for the 6.1-inch LCD. This results in a far lower pixel density than in the competition this year, and is something we'll look forward to comparing when we have a chance to review the Mate, though it's hard to tell when this will be exactly. Huawei will launch the Mate in China in February, but no plans for the rest of the world have been announced yet.