LAS VEGAS—Chinese phone maker Huawei is subscribing to the “bigger is better” school of thought. Its latest smartphone, the Ascend Mate, is positively massive. Its 6.1-inch, 720p display is the largest on any smartphone to date, dwarfing even the Samsung Galaxy Note II in stature.
With a 1.5GHz quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, and 8-megapixel camera, the Huawei Ascend Mate doesn’t feel out of place next to other current top-of-the-line smartphones. In order to power all that beefy hardware, the Ascend Mate comes with a 4050mAh battery, which the company says will keep the phone running for over 20 hours of use on a single charge.
The Ascend Mate ships running Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean), which Huawei has customized with its proprietary Emotion interface. Huawei believes that Android is too complicated for regular folk to use, and hopes that its overlay will make the phone accessible to more people. The overlay includes tweaks such as floating windows that allow you to run multiple apps at once (much like on the Galaxy Note II), and a one-handed control scheme that shifts the keyboard and keypad depending on which hand you’re holding the phone in.
I managed to get some hands-on time with the phone while at CES and was impressed with what I saw. The phone’s curved back allows it to rest comfortably in your hand, and prevented the phone from feeling overwhelming large. The phone’s quad-core processor had no trouble keeping up as I flipped through menus and apps, though it didn’t feel quite as fast as phones running on Qualcomm’s quad-core S4 Pro processor.
Unfortunately, it’ll be a while before you at home get a chance to experience this behemoth of a phone. Huawei plans to launch the Ascend Mate in China next month, and the phone maker didn’t make mention of the handset making its way stateside. Perhaps they are saving that announcement for Mobile World Congress.