BARE KNUCKLE BEAUTY
We reviewed the Huawei Mate S.
Huawei's smartphones have seen a steady improvement over the years that they've been around. The P8 and Ascend Mate 7 are testaments to that fact. Both phones feature some nifty hardware and features, and they aren't all that unreasonable in their asking price. So the question is, does the Huawei Mate S fare just as well?
To start, let's get the phone's performance out of the way. The Mate S performs exactly as you would expect of a flagship device. On 3DMark, the phone scored 422 on the Sling Shot test, and 10,897 on the Ice Storm Unlimited test. For the following synthetic benchmarks, it scored 46,153 on AnTuTu, 13,985 on Quadrant, and 4,565 on PCMark. On Epic Citadel, the Mate S was able to maintain an average frame rate of 29.1 fps on the Ultra High Performance settings, and believe us when we say that it was visibly struggling to maintain the frame rates.
Of all the visible characteristics that stand out on the Mate S, the display is probably it. While Samsung may have been the first to have done the same thing with their phones, its characteristic curved edges are hard to ignore on a phone with such a deliciously slim profile.
Sadly, the functionality of the Mate S' display wasn't quite as robust as we had hoped for it to be. Our Mate S didn't have the Force Touch functionality, mainly because our variant of the phone was the 64GB version, and not the 128GB Luxury Edition that actually has the function.
The cameras on the Mate S do actually warrant some praising. Being a 13MP rear camera sensor, we managed to capture some reasonably quality shots of our resident blue octopus (in all its fluffy details). But the true star of the segment is actually the 8MP front-facing camera. In fact, it was so impressive that, in a well-lit area, we found ourselves using it as a mirror to check for any blemishes on our face now and again.
Using the phone as our daily driver was a relatively decent experience. To be quite honest, the battery life expectancy of the Mate S is one of the few strong points that we can actually list down. On PCMark's battery life test, the benchmark stopped at a period of just eight hours and 46 minutes, and this was with the brightness level set at approximately 60 percent.
Just by looking at the phone, you could easily tell that security was a big concern for Huawei when they were making the Mate S. The embedded Fingerprint 2.0 sensor is an improvement over the last generation. It's quicker and ultimately wakes the phone from standby in about a second.