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Huawei serves up an XL Android with a 6.1 inch screen for less than $500

By Leigh D. Stark | 12:49 pm 17/04/2013

How do you like your phones: small, medium, large, or extra large? If you chose the latter, be prepared to be impressed, with Huawei going for more than just the budget section of the market in a massive phone that has a mid-range price.

Previewed at CES earlier this year in Las Vegas, the huge phone from Huawei aims to tackle the big phone or “phablet” market with a huge screen and a comparatively low price, competing with other large phones like the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 and Kogan’s big-screened Agora.

Called the Ascend Mate, this model arrives with a 6.1 inch IPS+ screen supporting the 1280×720 HD resolution.

Corning’s scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass will protect the screen from your keys, and Huawei says it has done some work to make the LCD panel thinner, similar to what LG has done with the Optimus G, which not only should make the screen perform better in sunlight, but offers what Huawei calls “magic touch,” which means you can use the screen while wearing gloves.

Inside the phone, this runs on the quad-core processor straight of the Huawei Ascend D1 Quad (which we’ve reviewed), built by Huawei and clocked at 1.5GHz, while the memory sits at 1GB RAM. Storage sits at 8GB, with a microSD slot for adding up to 64GB extra.

Google’s Android 4.1 “Jelly Bean” is the OS of choice, while Huawei has its own overlay here, now called the “Emotion UI,” which Huawei says offers up widgets that work on top of what you’re doing and special profiles for different environments.

Over on the connection front, Huawei is trying to make this perfect for the world traveller, with compatibility for every 3G spectrum (UMTS 850/900/1700/1900/2100MHz), some 2G ones too (GSM 850/900/1800/1900), and quite a few wireless modes that will keep you within range of an access point, including 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, and Near-Field Communication.

An 8 megapixel camera also sits on the back, while the front features a 1 megapixel module.

And there’s a massive 4050mAh battery to compliment this, almost twice the battery of the Samsung Galaxy S3, which Huawei said should be enough to offer around two days of usage, with as much as nine days on standby.

The price of Huawei’s Ascend Mate comes in under $500, offering the 6.1 inch smartphone for $429 with a bonus boost $40 prepaid kit. We’re checking into see whether this means it will be locked to Boost, though at this time, we doubt it.

Harvey Norman will be the only place you can find this to start, with Huawei’s Ascend Mate landing at these stores across the country from April 20.

UPDATE: Confirmed – it’s unlocked!

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