After yesterday's Huawei press event, I had an opportunity to briefly go hands-on with the company's newest super-sized phone, the Ascend Mate 2 4G. The original Ascend Mate also made its debut at CES, and this newest iteration really doesn't break the mold its predecessor set.
The new Mate 2 does boast a smaller size overall than last year's model, giving it a screen to bezel ratio that Huawei claims is the industry's best among large phones.
Huawei has been trying to break into the US market for years, but the current trend towards inexpensive, off-contract smartphones may be in their favor. That would explain why the company stated that it plans to bring the Ascend Mate II to American shores in its CES press conference. This big-screen, mid-range phone has a trick up its sleeve thanks to an oversized battery.
The Huawei Honor smartphones have been straightforward affairs, with the original being nothing to get excited about unless you were shopping on a budget and wanted something functional enough to do more than check Facebook (though considering how bloated the Facebook app is, even doing that is no small feat). However, we did consider it an example of what a budget phone should be, and the sequel was an improvement in every area - except for price.
We've been taking a close look at some of Japanese carrier NTT DoCoMo's 2013 offerings: LG's flagship Optimus G Pro, Panasonic's similar Eluga X, and the dual-screen NEC MEDIAS W. DoCoMo announced three other phones at the same time, all of which are at the head of their manufacturer's lineups. We've already seen Sony's Xperia Z, Xperia Tablet Z, and Huawei's Ascend D2. Fujitsu's ARROWS X F-02E matches up to both, more or less.
We had heard that Huawei was going to shock the world (or at least impressionable gadget lovers) with an enormous smartphone, and they've made it official here at CES. The Ascend Mate is real, it's got a 6.1-inch screen, and it will be coming to China in February. That monster panel is a 720p IPS LCD - strangely, a lower resolution than the new 5-inch Ascend D2 - and gives the device a 73% screen-to-body ratio.
For better or worse, five inches seems to be the new target for flagship Android devices. Huawei is bringing its game to CES (unlike most manufacturers that are holding back for Mobile World Congress) with the Ascend D2, a new Jelly Bean 4.1 device sporting a 5-inch 1080p LCD panel and the in-house K3V2 1.5 GHz quad-core CPU. Other highlights include a 13MP camera (narrowly beating out Alcatel's One Touch Idol Ultra) and respectable 9.9mm waist.
Every time I pick up my Nexus 7, I think to myself "you know, if this were 0.9 inches smaller, I'd definitely use it as a phone." Because there's no possible way I'd look even remotely silly holding something that large up to my head, right?
OK, that may be true about me personally, but it seems someone at Huawei had a similar train of thought, as the company is set to unveil a monstrous 6.1" 1080p phone known as the Ascend Mate at CES.
Huawei has been steadily increasing its high-end offerings for the last year or so, and their latest offering is the top-of-the-line Honor 2. Last year's model gets upgraded in just about every possible way, starting with Huawei's own quad-core K3 V2 processor clocked at a blistering 1.4Ghz. Pair that with 2GB of RAM and you've got potent hardware in anybody's money... though to put down a pre-order, you'll need some yuan.
Owners of T-Mobile's Huawei-made myTouch can begin anxiously tapping "software update" now – the carrier is rolling out a minor update to software build C85B839SP03. Among other things, this update fixes the myTouch device's "missing megapixel" problem, allowing the camera to "realize [its] full 5.0 Mega Pixel resolution."
The update also allows users to opt out of Carrier IQ, and brings a "compose" button to the Email app, and adds call-related bug fixes.
Huawei's list of announcements for this year's IFA conference is busting at the seams with a whopping four phones and two tablets, all with different screen sizes, specs, and prices, all slated for a 2012 introduction to the German market, with launch in other markets to follow, though we aren't privy to specific dates for other regions.
Ascend D1 Quad XL
The lovingly named Ascend D1 Quad XL is by all accounts the leader of Huawei's new smartphone pack, packing a 4.5" with an extremely impressive 330ppi density (and unknown resolution), a 1.2GHz K3V2 ARM quad-core processor built by Huawei, a 2600mAh battery, 8MP camera with 1.3MP front shooter, and a microSD slot for an extra boost of internal memory.