Ascend Mate 6.1 Huawei 'Phablet' - Specs, Reviews: Bigger, But Waterproof & Shockproof Too?

huawei ascend mate
Huawei's Ascend Mate is marketed almost solely on the premise that it’s the “smartphone with the largest screen in the world.” Reuters

Bigger is always better. At least, that's the logic behind the latest tablet-like smartphone from Huawei, the Ascend Mate recently debuted at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The device from the Chinese phone maker is the largest smartphone yet, dwarfing even the Samsung Galazy Note II "phablet," with its 6.1-inch, 1280x720p display.

Marketed almost solely on the premise that it's the "smartphone with the largest screen in the world," Huawei's Ascend Mate includes a 1.5GHz Hi-Silicon quad-core processor and 6.1-inch HD IPS+ LCD display with a feature called "Magic Touch" that promises perfect screen responsiveness even users are wearing gloves. The handset packs in 2GB of RAM, and has an 8-megapixel AF rear camera with HDR and 1080p video capture, as well as a 1-megapixel front-facing HD camera. The Ascend Mate also runs on a 4050 mAh battery, and is equipped with battery efficiency technology known as "Automated Discontinuous Reception" (ADRX) and Huawei's Quick Power Control (QPC), which is all techy-speak for "you get two days of average uses from a single charge."

The device ships running a Huawei customized version of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean with the company's own "Emotion" interface.

"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," noted PC World.

Huawei also boasts that the Acend Mate's casing is waterproof and resistant against drops and tumbles, too according to the Inquirer.

While the size of the Ascend Mate makes it easily the largest smartphone currently on the market, not everyone is so certain that's the best selling point.

"We must say, it really is enormous, and we found it difficult to hold the cumbersome smartphone with one hand," said the Inquirier in its first impression review. "It's plenty slim enough at just 6.5mm thick at its slimmest part, but the handset's 6.1in screen meant we found it difficult to wrap our hand around the device. It's quite a weighty device too, tipping the scales at 192g."

"In fact, the Huawei Ascend Mate is so big that we're struggling to view it as a smartphone, as it feels much more like a tablet device. For example, we'd feel pretty stupid holding the device up to our ear while making a call, and it would be pretty much impossible to squeeze the Ascend Mate into one of our pockets. However, we're not going to let the size of this device spoil our view of this phone, because in terms of performance it's a very exciting device. For starters, the 6.1in screen is absolutely gorgeous, albeit not quite on par with our iPhone 5."

The Inquirer concluded: "Swiping through homescreens was impressively nippy, as was firing open applications ... While we're not convinced that a 6.1in smartphone is a great idea, the Huawei Ascend Mate is a great phone if you look past its ridiculous size."

PhonesReview said there was plenty to love about the Ascend Mate's functionality, and interface, but was similarly perplexed by the device's gargantuan size.

"All things considered we're not convinced that consumers really want a smartphone this large but of course we could be proved wrong. Nevertheless we wonder how many people will want to lug around a device with a 6.1-inch display that weighs pretty hefty too and we wonder about practicality as we can't imagine many pockets that it would fit into easily. Although there's undoubtedly a lot to impress about the Huawei Ascend Mate we wonder if Huawei has taken size simply too far," said PhonesReview.

The Ascend Mate will be released in China next month, according to PC World, though Huawei reportedly has no current plans to bring the phone to the U.S.

What do you think?