Chinese smartphone maker Huawei has made some big upgrades to its super-sized smartphone with the Ascend Mate 2 4G LTE, a feature-rich 6.1-incher with a huge battery that lets you charge other devices and a variety of multitasking options. We went hands on with the Huawei handset, which is hitting the States in March, and came away impressed with its camera features and slim build.
The Ascend Mate 2's most promising feature is its 4050 mAh battery, which Huawei claims will last through up to two days of "heavy use" on a single charge. The T-Mobile Galaxy Note 3's 3,200 mAh battery lasted over 11 hours on a charge, so we're looking forward to seeing how the Ascend Mate 2 stacks up once we have a review unit. You can also use the Ascend Mate 2's massive battery to charge other devices by plugging them into the phone's microUSB port.
The Mate 2 is a selfie-lover's dream, packing a 5-MP front camera and a panoramic mode for wider self-portraits. To utilize this feature, you need to take a preliminary photo before moving the camera left and then right, a process that took some getting used to. However, once we nailed the technique, we were able to capture a crisp self-shot that captured a good amount of the Huawei showroom behind us. For sharper shots, the phone has a 13-MP Sony BSI rear lens.
The Ascend Mate 2's design brings the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 to mind, with white plastic panels held together by an aluminum-brushed center. This behemoth of a phablet felt surprisingly light in our hands, though we didn't find it to be quite as sturdy as the Note 3. The thin smartphone sports a headphone jack at the top, volume and power on the right, and a microUSB port.
The Mate 2 runs Android 4.3 with an Emotion UI skin, which allows for floating apps and easy multitasking in the vein of Samsung's TouchWiz interface. The default home screen had contact icons for quickly calling loved ones, as well as weather, music, and photo slideshow widgets.
Huawei's new phablet is powered by a 1.6-GHz quad-core Snapdragon MSM 8928 with 2GB of RAM. The Bluetooth 4.0-enabled device will be Huawei's first to support 4G LTE, and while carrier partners have yet to be announced, the phone will be compatible with most major service providers.
We look forward to testing the Huawei Ascend Mate 2 further (and taking more panoramic selfies) once the phablet comes stateside this March. Pricing has yet to be announced, but stay tuned for more details as the release date nears.