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Huawei Ascend Mate - Camera, Video, Battery Life and Verdict

Andrew Williams

By Andrew Williams



Our Score:


Huawei Ascend Mate – Camera

As we saw with Ascend Mate’s screen resolution, the phone’s camera is one step below the mobile game’s top players. It has an 8-megapixel camera when the top dogs use 13-megapixel snappers.Huawei Ascend Mate 10

The level of detail captured is very good, especially for a phone that’s not ostensibly camera-oriented. However, its photos do appear seriously processed in some respects.

Contrast and sharpness and significantly are boosted to make the shots appear lively and bold – this is in the standard shooting mode too, with all additional settings set to automatic. A closer look reveals that they also look quite grainy and artificial, though.

Huawei Ascend Mate 1

Huawei Ascend Mate

That additional image ‘pop’ will come in handy for online showing-off, though. Macro skills are commendable too, as the Huawei Ascend Mate has no trouble honing-in on subjects around 5cm away. That’s much close than most phones can manage. If only the resulting shots looked a little more natural, this would be a seriously commendable camera.

It may some impress image quality obsessives, but there’s a good amount of fun to be had with the Ascend Mate’s camera. It offers a good array of modes, including panorama and HDR, as well as plenty of fun filters. These include face-distorting ones – classic Facebook fodder.

Huawei Ascend Mate – Music and Video

One thing that should definitely benefit from the Ascend Mate’s giant screen is movie and TV watching. However, its video player app isn’t much cop.

Fresh out of the box, the phone refused to play half of our test videos and chugged through others – not what we’d expect from a quad-core phone.

To get videos playing reliably, you’ll need to install a third-party media player like Mx Player – and perhaps thanks to its custom processor, most needed to use processor-intensive software rendering rather than hardware acceleration. Huawei Ascend Mate 9

The Huawei Ascend Mate has an unadorned music player app too, although the phone does come with Dolby Digital Plus sound optimisation too. This is an EQ mode that, much like the Beats mode seen in HTC phones, makes music sound a little more vital. It’s better than Beats too, with an array of EQ presets rather than just a juvenile bass-boosting one.

Without Dolby mode engaged, upper mids sound a little forced, leading to coarse-sounding vocals – which makes us wonder if the non-Dolby mode has been made to sound worse deliberately. Dolby applies a volume boost too, which gives an instant impression of improvement. It’s a much-needed volume boost too as otherwise the headphone output’s volume is fairly low.

Huawei Ascend Mate – Internal Speaker

For such a large phone, the Ascend Mate’s internal speaker is a little disappointing. It’s output is mono, so you won’t get any sort of impression of stereo sound when watching a movie in landscape (unlike, for example, the HTC One), and top volume is average.

Huawei Ascend Mate 12

The sound doesn’t distort at top volume, though, and while there’s no real bass and treble detail is as limited as you’d expect from a teeny speaker driver, it’s tonally inoffensive enough.

Huawei Ascend Mate – Call Quality

Taking calls on the Ascend Mate is sure to earn you some derision from friends, but it’s up to the task. Call quality is clear – if not any louder than a ‘normal-size’ phone – and it uses a secondary microphone that sits on the phone’s top edge to use active noise cancellation on the other end of the line.

The second mic listens to ambient noise, which the phone then cuts from the signal before it reaches whoever you’re calling.

Huawei Ascend Mate – Battery Life

The Huawei Ascend Mate has a giant battery befitting of its huge frame. It’s a 4,050mAh unit that dwarfs virtually all others. The Galaxy Note 2 has a 3,100mAh battery, for example, and the Galaxy S4 a comparatively piddly 2,600mAh unit.

Huawei Ascend Mate 5

The reason for using such a huge unit is, obviously, that 6.1-inch screen and stamina is largely dependent on how bright you set the backlight and how much the screen is turned on. With default settings, the backlight is set high to show off how dazzling the display can be, and intensive use will see the battery drain down in a day.

Make that screen look more ordinary by dimming the automatic brightness and you’ll get a solid day and a half, or two days with close management of your connections. It's well above average in this regard, however you need to make your own tweaks for the best results. The phone doesn’t seem to use as intelligent power management as some others, despite having an intelligent power-saving mode, so the 4,050mAh battery won’t ever supply truly eye-opening stamina for many.

Huawei Ascend Mate – Value

Selling at £335, the Huawei Ascend Mate is a lot cheaper than the top-end 5-inch phones, like the Galaxy S4, and cheaper than the Galaxy Note 2 when that phone arrived last year. However, we should stress that the Note 2 is a device of a different, higher class – one that knows much better how to make its large screen seem a boon rather than an inconvenience.

The Huawei Ascend Mate has an excellent quality screen, especially given it suffers from some technical limitations. However, at 6.1 inches it lives in an uncomfortable middle ground between phone and tablet that sees it poke out of pockets, be a little too easy to drop and attract ridicule at every turn. It simply needs a more convincing reason why its screen should be that big. Huawei Ascend Mate 2


The Huawei Ascend Mate is a phone with a massive screen and a big battery. If that sounds like your idea of heaven, and you have giant hands, this phone offers a pretty sweet deal for £340. However, its general appeal is much less obvious than a large-screen phone like the Galaxy Note 2, and we found its extra inches as often an annoyance as a help.

Overall Score


Scores In Detail

  • Camera 7
  • Design 6
  • Performance 6
  • Screen Quality 8
  • Usability 5
  • Value 8
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February 11, 2013, 2:07 am

I'm really pondering whether to get a smaller phone and a 7" tablet, or a huge phone. I currently have a Note 1, and love it. I'd love it more if it were bigger though, and indeed I don't use the pen at all (handwriting recognition is not as good as the soft keyboard nor even voice recognition).

I also have a 7" Nook Color that's very long in the tooth though it works well enough except for HD video. I'm not using it a lot because it's sandwiched between the phone I always have on me and the 10" tablet that's so much more comfortable to use, and both the 7" and the 10" require 2 hands or a table.

So I guess I'm interested by the Mate, especially if the price is right, and depending on what the Note 3 is like.


May 27, 2013, 8:10 pm

A 'big' mobile, for me, is all about the screen. I love the Note 1 because I can use it as a full web browser, no need for 'mobile' version of web pages, and can mostly read the pages without zooming. That works because as well a being big, the screen is hi res (1280 x 800). So the BBC news home page is fully readable.

A tad bigger screen would be helpful, even so, but not at the expense of resolution. A bigger screen with a lower resolution just makes no sense - it is effectively just like zooming in, only without the option to zoom back out! A bigger screen with the same resolution, that would be easier on the eye. A bigger screen with a higher resolution, that would be the best.
The comments about the 'usability' deficit of larger phones should be contrasted with the usability deficit of smaller phones tasked with reading a full web page, or writing an email or document, or using it for sat nav, or viewing photos. In short, the bigger phone may be more difficult to range your thumb across single-handed, but the smaller phone simply doesn't do the job.

I think that overcoming the ergonomic challenges of a larger phone is less of a problem than trying to achieve the same purposes with a smaller phone.

Angus McKinnon Young

June 20, 2013, 5:40 pm

If you have the money buy smaller (4 inch range) phone and a tablet. That's the best option. Large phone (I would place the line over 5 inches) makes as much sense as small tablet (under 5 inches).

James Arnold

August 12, 2013, 10:26 am

android 4.2? why is mine Android 4.1.2


October 19, 2014, 5:26 pm

sir kindly upgrade your firmware. If u purchased the phone on an earlier date, the default version is really 4.1.2..
kindly download link on the internet to upgrade your android version

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