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Huawei Ascend Mate 2 Review: The Affordable Unlocked Smartphone

by on February 9, 2015
Info
 
Article Type
Manufacturer
Carrier
Price

$299.00 or lower

 

There are tons of flagship phones that range from a hefty price tag of $600 and up, but the top Chinese communication brand, Huawei, has ended that with the Huawei Ascend Mate 2. The phablet may not rock the latest Android update, fast processor, or superior camera like the rest, but this phone can still hold its weight in the ring with large smartphones on the market in terms of top-notch battery life. I’ve had a good run with testing out the capabilities of this phone, so let’s jump into the review.

Build/Looks

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When shopping around for a smartphone nowadays, large is in, but you also try to look for a great deal, right? What caught my attention about this phone was that the Huawei Ascend Mate 2 was only $299 across the board. In addition, the phone is 4G LTE GSM and is already unlocked. The Huawei Ascend Mate 2’s body sports a 6.34 x 3.33 x 0.37 in (161 x 84.7 x 9.5 mm), which puts it in the Phablet category. The size is one thing, but I must say the weight is light, which is a relief. It is at about 7 ounces. Aside from the specs, the initial impression on its looks is great. The Huawei Ascend Mate 2’s design is quite sleek and almost mimics some phones on the market in aesthetics.  When I first got to test it out, everyone thought it was the new Samsung Galaxy Note 4, but when I gave the answer of “Nope. It isn’t.” the curiosity gave lead way to explaining what it was, and people were intrigued.

The Huawei Ascend Mate 2 comes in two color options — white and black — and has mostly a plastic exterior. The edges, though, are a metal of some sort with a candy-type coating of paint. While testing the phone, the paint on the edges slightly chipped with wear and tear. Other than that, I would say the phone is very sturdy and does not feel cheap. It’s overall a very stylish phone.

Display

speed3Mobile

With a big exterior, the display follows with a 6.1 inch LCD screen. The glass on the screen does have Gorilla Glass 3 cornering for extra protection for those who may have butterfingers, but with a large phone, it is always easy to grasp. The screen is in full HD 720 x 1280 pixels and is, of course, multi-touch. Even though it is just an LCD screen without the glamour of LED, it displayed quite nicely and was still vivid. The large screen makes for a great phone to watch movies, video and play mobile games on the go. Speaking of gaming, because of the large display and extra finger room, a lot of games were easier to play.

Camera

Huawei Ascend Mate 2

Huawei Ascend Mate 2 secondary camera for selfies.

Wait — but first let me take a selfie! Yes selfies and becoming a mini photographer on Instagram with your smartphone is one of the biggest selling points with smartphones now. It can also be a deal breaker if it does not keep up with quality. While testing out the Ascend Mate 2, I noticed how the quality of the pictures was a give and take. A lot of the pictures were very fuzzy with the primary camera. The auto-focus would catch on quick but would delay again. The phone works in all different types of lighting, but certain settings give a delay.

huawei-ascend-mate2-review-an-imperfect-but-capable-and-cheap-phablet

Modes like the HDR gave a delay when taking a picture and when loading the picture as well. I did see an increase in the quality, but this mode needs to improve on future Huawei Ascend Mate models. The video recorded in 1080P, but a blurriness was still present. I will say that in a noisy crowd or in a performance/concert setting the sound picks up very well and does not let the various sound drown out what is actually playing.  The camera also features a smile capture which works great and also a panorama mode to capture grand pictures.

Huawei Ascend Mate 2

Panorama View of an event in Times Square

Features

Well, the Huawei Ascend Mate 2 may not have the latest Android update, but the interface alone from Huawei is on point. Its user-friendly layout is easy to grasp, with a variety of hot buttons to customize. The chipset is a Qualcomm MSM8928 Snapdragon 400 and CPU is a Quad-core 1.6 GHz Cortex-A7 to help with background and smooth response time. Going from app to app and even sliding pages on the home screen was very smooth and responsive.

Games responded well on this devise, and there was not too much of a lag, even with the powerful and graphical titles. Speaking of gaming, controls for movement on this device include an accelerometer as well as a gyro.

Another cool and forgotten feature is that this phone has a stereo FM Radio receiver. I thought it was a cool touch. Instead of having to download an app, there is one right on the phone to let you enjoy all of your favorite local stations. You can also make a favorites list as well.

The Ascend Mate 2 comes with a regular micro USB charger but does not come with any other additional accessories like headphones.

Calls/Reception

Being a New York City dweller in the 4G LTE zone, the calls were always on point. I will say though that the signal strength at times was not as strong in certain areas compared to other phones. I tested the Huawei Ascend Mate 2 with T-Mobile as a services provider. Certain subway stations in New York City provide signals for most of the main carriers, and when I tried to use my service with the Huawei Ascend Mate 2, the signal strength was very faint. With another phone, I was able to surf the net and make a call.

I would say the call quality on this device is very good. The device comes with a dual-mic noise cancellation feature to help with voice quality in noise-heavy scenarios, which is a plus.

Battery Life

The Huawei Ascend Mate 2 is king when it comes to battery life, and other phone makers should take notes. Not only does it give you long talk and usage times, but it is so powerful that it can even charge someone else’s phone as well. This device has reverse charging capabilities available by using a cord. You cannot remove the battery as it is a 40000 plus Mah for charging. Average hours is 28+ but I was able to use the phone without charging for 2 days. Without online usage, it would be more hours of time.

Edited by: Avery Osborn

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What's Hot
  • Battery life is unrivaled. It has reverse charging to even charge your friend's crappy battery on their phone (You know of that one friend)
  • Stylish design
  • Great price
  • Fast response
  • User friendly
  • Great selfie options for those who want to group more than 5 people in a picture
  • Even when off, the phone will power itself to wake you up if alarm settings are made
What's Not
  • Cameras need to improve to say it is 5MP front and 13MP back camera
  • Paint chips off the phone's edges
  • Bleeding backlight
Editor Rating
GF Product Score
9.0


Final Verdict
 

The Huawei Ascend Mate 2 is a sturdy, does-its-job phone for an even better price. The calls were great, the display is huge for gaming and movies and the battery life is beyond divine. The things that Huawei needs to improve for future models are the cameras and display. The camera is a bit fuzzy compared to rivaling phones on the market. Camera capabilities are now becoming a part of the deal breaker topic when it comes to making a phone purchase. Other than that, I would recommend the Huawei Ascend Mate 2 as a great device for new smartphone users or the techies out there that do not want to substitute quality for a great price.

  • glenn lewis

    Love the review. I have the Mate2 its my favorite phone 🙂

    • REDinfamy718

      Thank you for reading. Yeah I think they made a pretty awesome smartphone especially for the price. : )

  • Nonscpo

    It’s good to know that a brand like this is available in case you have to replace your phone on the fly, and the reverse charging sounds interesting.

    • REDinfamy718

      Thanks for reading, butt he review did mention it in the Batter Life section of the review. “You cannot remove the battery as it is a 40000 plus Mah for charging. Average hours is 28+ but I was able to use the phone without charging for 2 days. Without online usage, it would be more hours of time”.

      • Nonscpo

        Thanks, I don’t know how I missed that.