The Huawei Ascend Mate (“The HAM”) – A Non-Techhead’s Review

Huawei Ascend Mate in hand

The Huawei Ascend Mate is a 6.1 inch display, 1,5 GHz quad-core, 2GB RAM Android Jelly Bean phablet with 8 GB internal storage and SD card support. – Editor

Someone put the HAM in my hands a few weeks ago and told me that I could keep if it I liked. I was still enjoying my budget/value Motorola Moto G, so I didn’t hurry to switch phones. Last week, I finally put my SIM card into the HAM, to give it a whirl and I must say, it’s been a bit.. meh.

It was relatively easy to set up, although this is probably more of a tribute to Google/Android than to Huawei, so my contacts and various email and social media accounts were all up and running pretty quickly. For all its Jellybean-ness, however, it came with a pretty crap keyboard. Today’s smartphone user is now accustomed to swiping or predictive text input, so I had nearly pulled out the remaining hair on my balding head before my good friend Jesse Oguntimehin downloaded the KitKat keyboard for me. Even then, because the phone is a little unwieldy, I couldn’t really swipe/type with one hand.

The themes and wallpapers that come with the HAM are not very impressive either. In contrast to the HD world we now live in, they look and “feel” like a rerun of the 1984 World Cup final in all its analogue glory. The phone, SMS and browser icons, to mention a few, simply don’t measure up to other smartphones’ in crispness, innovation, colour or whatever metric you want to use, really. There’s also a default music player in the HAM, which if not for Play Music which thankfully comes with the Android OS, is pretty uninspiring. It’s almost all a little anachronistic, to be honest.

Size Matters

Huawei Ascend Mate size comparison
The HAM has a 6.1 inch screen, so for someone like me who transited from a Samsung Galaxy S3 to the Moto G, it was like switching from a mallet to a pile-driver. It meant that if I was wearing fitted trousers, then the phone was too bulky to stay in my pocket and that I could no longer keep it in the cup holder of my car. But large screens are better for watching videos and for reading on. I do a fair bit of both and while the screen resolution is a bit “meh”, I’ve enjoyed the text and video experience.

Camera

The HAM’s camera is also extraordinarily mundane. The pictures aren’t sterling by any means and I would rate the dodgy Moto G camera higher than the HAM’s, both falling slightly short of my old S3. I’ve tried tweaking the settings a little, but depending on surrounding lighting, the HAM’s pictures mostly have a purple hue to them. Unlike with the Moto G, I could insert my memory card into the HAM and view my old S3 pictures and this is probably what even put the camera and screen resolution’s iffiness in stark relief.

Huawei Ascend Mate rear

Battery Life & Conclusion

The only amazing feature of the HAM, for me, is its battery life. You’ve probably never seen a battery that last as long’s as the HAM’s. Apologies to Duracell (unless they built it). A fully charged HAM typically lasts a rigorous, full working day of emails, social media, talking, gaming and so on. So, if you’re mostly a phone calls, emails, news, BBM and WhatsApp user (and you’re looking forward to seeing your grand kids this weekend) then this phone would be perfect for you.

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