BARE KNUCKLE BEAUTY

We re­viewed the Huawei Mate S.

HWM (Malaysia) - - TELEPORT - By John Law

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.

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