Huawei’s Mate gets a second go, adds 4G this year

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Huawei’s first phablet is getting a partner in crime, or a sequel anyway, as the Mate is joined by the Mate2 in 2014, with updates galore that we hope make it better than last year’s effort.

One of the announcements coming out of CES from communications provider Huawei is that of a new phablet, following up last year’s Ascend Mate, the company’s first real tablet-sized phone.

The new model, the Mate2, as Huawei is calling it, will take the 6.1 inch device we saw last year, and give it some much needed updates, while keeping a few things close to the original.

Inside, last year’s 3G phone receives a much needed boost to 4G LTE, with support for Cat4, meaning networks that support the technology could see download speeds as high as 150Mbps in Australia.

Most of the other wireless standards haven’t changed, with 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi (no ac here, sadly), Bluetooth 4.0, and GPS, with NFC missing in action once again.

Other things have changed on the inside though, such as the move to a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400, the same quad-core chip used in the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4, as well as a 13 megapixel camera on the back joining the 5 megapixel module on the front.

We’re told there will also be 2GB RAM this time, which will be nice because the first model of the Mate that came to Australia was only equipped with 1GB, and that really dented the performance, especially as 2GB seems to hit the sweet spot that modern versions of Android prefer.

Some of the software and features are apparently changing too, with a reverse charging function making it possible for other devices to draw and take power from the Mate2’s big 4050mAh battery, enhancements to the Android interface to make browsing through apps cleaner and easier for first-time users using Huawei’s “Simple UI” system, and some floating window multitasking, too.

Hopefully, the Mate2 is the improved version that Huawei needs, as it looks to be banking on this being a possible entry-to-mid-range phablet that undercuts the popular models released by Samsung and Sony, among others.

“With Huawei Ascend Mate2 4G, we are bringing the benefits and convenience of superfast connectivity to people everywhere,” said Colin Giles, Executive Vice President of Huawei’s Consumer Business Group.

“Huawei Ascend Mate2 4G is power-packed for the mobile generation who want non-stop entertainment on the go, such as the ability to snap and download photo albums in seconds or use their smartphone as their mobile office.”

Neither pricing or availability have been announced in Australia yet, but we’ll let you know when we hear anything.