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Huawei wants to take on the Note 4 with the Ascend Mate 7

IFA 2014 brought to you by Sony Mobile

Large-format smartphones are a big thing both literally and figuratively. It seem customers can’t get enough of them and smartphone manufacturers are quick to capitalise on this demand. The Ascend Mate 7 from Huawei is the latest entrant into this lucrative market and it looks like this network equipment manufacturer from China has big aspirations in the mobile device universe. Dare we say it, with the Ascend Mate 7, Huawei may even have its sights set on taking the fight for large-format phone dominance to Samsung.

The Ascend Mate 7 features a 6-inch display and in the universe of large smartphones, that’s a pretty big display but thanks to the slim bezel (just 2.9mm), the device has the same footprint as the Galaxy Note 4, which has a smaller 5.7-inch screen.And despite being made mostly out of metal, the Ascend Mate 7 is only 9 grams heavier than the Note 4. That’s an amazing feat, considering.

The display is a 1080p IPS-NEO unit that Huawei says produces darker blacks and features a wider viewing angle over traditional IPS displays. Under the hood, the Ascend Mate 7 packs an Octa-Core HiSilicon Kirin 925 chipset (Quad-core Cortex-A15 @ 1.8 GHz + Quad-Core Cortex-A7 @ 1.3 GHz) with a either 2GB or 3GB of RAM depending on your choice of the 16 or 32GB storage variants. At the back, there’s a 13MP camera sourced from Sony complete with BSI and F2.0 28mm-equivalent lens while at the front, you get a 5MP shooter. There’s also dual-SIM slots (one nano SIM and one micro SIM) and a micro SD card that takes cards up to 128GB, if you’re wondering, both of the Ascend Mate 7’s SIM card slots support cat6 LTE 300Mbps networks. To keep things running, there’s a 4,100mAh battery which is over 800mAh bigger than what’s available in the Note 4. Huawei says the massive 4,100mAh battery will keep the Ascend Mate 7 running for up to two days.

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The device runs on Android 4.4 KitKat and like the MiUI Huawei has removed the app drawer in its EMUI 3.0 which means all your installed apps will appear on the homescreen, something iOS have been doing from the start. Depending on what your preferences are, this could be a good or a bad thing.

Beyond that, the Ascend Mate 7 packs a fingerprint scanner on the back. To some degree, the scanner here is better than the ones used on other Android devices and perhaps the iPhone 5S in that there is no need to press any buttons to wake the phone. All you need to do is tap the scanner and the phone immediately wakes up making it very intuitive to use which will in turn encourage users to actually use the feature and not consign it to the novelties bin once you get bored of it. But on the other hand, having the scanner on the back of the device can be a source of annoyance because you will have to pick the device up to access the back panel every time you want to access the display. This is not practical if the Mate 7 is sitting on your desk and all you want to do is see if you’ve missed any calls.

To mitigate the issue of wireless signal interference caused by the way you hold the device, Huawei has packed toe radio antennas into the Ascend Mate 7, one at the top and the other at the bottom of the phone. Both are fully functional, but the device knows to switch to the antenna on the opposite end of the phone when you’re holding it, reducing signal interference.

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The Huawei Ascend Mate 7 is priced at €500 (about RM2,060) and €600 (about RM2,470) for the 32GB version. Huawei has not announced a launch date for Malaysia yet. Full details on the Ascend Mate 7, here.