Home Icon
huawei-ces-2013-hands-on-07

Phones for Goldilocks: hands-on with the S, M, and L-sized handsets of Huawei

By Leigh D. Stark | 5:29 pm 15/01/2013

Huawei has been making a name for itself with budget mobiles for over a year, and at the Consumer Electronics Show last week, the company was about more than just the low end, showing off phones for the small, medium, and large hands out there.

Smaller hands will appreciate the first Windows Phone on offer from Huawei, which we played with, offering up competition in what is becoming the interesting third ecosystem of choice.

That model continues the Ascend name already used by Huawei for its handsets, but starts the “W” range, presumably for “Windows” in the form of the W1, this model offering up Windows Phone 8, a dual-core 1.2GHz, Adreno 305 graphics chip, 512MB RAM, a five megapixel camera, and a 4 inch IPS display.

No 4G on offer in this phone, and from the specs, it’s reasonably comparable to HTC’s Windows Phone 8S model, which we’re reviewing at the moment.

In the hands, it’s comfy and quite light, though it does feel a touch plasticky for us, though this could be something fixed when the handset reaches full production cycle.

Middle ground was set with Huawei’s Ascend D2, a 5 inch handset offering a Full HD 1080p IPS+ (plus) screen, and a whole bunch of technologies inside that could put it at the top of the pile if it ever makes it down to Australia.

The D2 features what we assume is Huawei’s own quad-core processor clocked in at 1.5GHz, Android 4.1 “Jelly Bean”, 32GB internal storage, a massive 3000mAh battery, 13 megapixel rear camera, and 2GB RAM which should help to make Android quite fast.

No word on 4G in this model, though that’s hardly surprising given that CES is an American show, and the US equivalent of 4G LTE is a little different from our own.

In fairness, we didn’t get as much hands on time with it as we’d like, but from the initial experience, it’s a big phone that feels a little chunkier than you might expect, sitting at a hefty – by flagship standards, anyway – 9.4mm thickness.

And then there was the big phone, with possibly the most sizeable handset we saw across the show.

Hinted at before the show began, Huawei’s Ascend Mate is massive, featuring a 6.1 inch screen showing a HD 720p resolution. While it’s a big screen, it’s not the best resolution on offer, and doesn’t even compete in clarity with the previously mentioned Ascend D2, which manages 440 pixels per inch, compared to the 240ppi on the Mate.

That said, it’s not a terrible pixel rating, but doesn’t quite go near the quality of Apple’s iPhone, and with a bigger screen, will likely make you notice the pixel details more.

Mind you, this phone boasts the biggest battery we’ve seen on any handset yet, with a 4150mAh battery on board, while the phone uses the same quad-core 1.5GHz processor as the 5 inch Ascend D2 handset.

Playing with it, the Mate feels very much like a plastic handset, but is quite slender, managing a truly svelte 6.5mm thickness.

It won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, mind you, and we weren’t too enthused about the positively huge size, which is bigger than Samsung’s already-big second-generation Galaxy Note.

As with all things CES, Huawei has nothing to say on local availability on any of these, though given we’d expect to hear something from March onwards.

Leigh D. Stark traveled to CES as a guest of LG Electronics Australia.

Latest reviews

  • Review: Jawbone Up Move

    Summer's nearly here, and if you need a gadget to help kickstart the whole fitness thing, we're looking at Jawbone's $69 Up Move.
  • Review: LG G Watch R

    Smartwatches started off square, but now they're finally taking on a more watch-like design, with circles back in. Motorola got their first, but LG's is totally circular with no…
  • One of the best phones around: Sony's Xperia Z3 reviewed

    Sony has been improving its smartphones so much that it’s impossible not to see the electronics superpower as a serious competitor to Apple and Samsung, and here we are…
  • Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4 reviewed

    Now that we've seen Apple do its first take on the whole big phone thing, it's time to see Samsung make its Note phablet better than ever.
  • Review: Pendo Pad 8

    You’ve seen cheap Android tablets, now brace yourself for the onslaught of cheap Windows tablets, starting with the Pendo Pad 8, a Windows 8.1 computer in an 8 inch…
  • Review: Sonos Boost

    As more players enter the multi-room audio market, Player One -- Sonos -- is ready with a fix for people suffering from buffer and WiFi problems. If this is…
  • Review: Marshall Monitor headphones

    If you’ve ever played in a rock band in your teens, or even if you do now, you know the “Marshall” name. It’s a brand that practically screams rock,…
  • Thinking thin: Apple’s iPad Air 2 reviewed

    A new year means a new iPad, and here we are with another model ready for consumers to take home. Is the latest iteration Apple's best, and does it…
  • Aldi's $279 Bauhn Sphere smartphone reviewed

    Remember when you had to go to a phone store to buy a phone? No more, with phones available everywhere, and Aldi is getting on that with the Sphere,…
  • Review: HP ElitePad 1000 G2

    When you talk about business grade tablets, there aren't a lot of choices, but HP's ElitePad 1000 G2 looks to provide a dose of shiny silver aluminium professionalism to…

“How do you stop yourself from being caught out by these scam artists?”

Read More

Tell us…

Which smartwatch are you interested in buying?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

“There’s certainly no doubt that you can find a bargain, but like always, you get what you pay for.”

Read More