Huawei Ascend Mate2 4G review: Value king

The Huawei Ascend Mate2 4G is a landmark for the manufacturer in the United States. The 6.1″ LTE phablet is the first device, which the company will offer in the country as a standalone OEM, via its own online store, without partnering with a wireless carrier. The device offers mid-range specs, coupled with a large IPS display, a monstrous 3,900mAh battery, and affordable pricing sans carrier commitment.

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Huawei Ascend Mate2 4G official photos

Indeed, the Huawei Ascend Mate2 4G is strictly a niche product in today’s Android smartphone landscape, but its manufacturer is comfortable with such state of affairs.

Key features

  • 6.1″ 720p IPS+ LCD display with Gorilla Glass 3, usable with gloves; 79% screen to body ratio
  • Android 4.3 Jelly Bean with Emotion UI 2.0
  • 1.6GHz Cortex-A7 quad-core CPU, Adreno 305 GPU; Qualcomm MSM8928 Snapdragon 400 chipset; 2GB of RAM
  • 16GB of built-in storage; microSD card slot; 20GB of free Bitcasa cloud storage for 2 years
  • 13MP Sony BSI camera with LED flash, 1080p video recording; 5MP front-facing unit
  • 3,900mAh battery; ability to charge other devices via a dedicated cable
  • FM radio
  • Attractive pricing without carrier contract

Main disadvantages

  • Android 4.3 is already an outdated OS choice in mid-2014
  • Emotion UI 2.0 might not fit all tastes
  • No changes in design since the previous generation
  • No NFC

The large 3,900mAh battery is a standout in the phablet’s spec sheet. Coupled with the power-sipping chipset and the display with low resolution by today’s flagship standards, it promises to make the Huawei Ascend Mate2 4G a stellar choice for power users on a budget.

The presence of Android 4.3 Jelly Bean (or rather the lack of the more recent Android 4.4 KitKat) out of the box is a major question mark. Huawei is one of the largest smartphone manufacturers globally and few competitors have the resources that the Chinese giant possesses. Therefore, it is difficult to comprehend why the Ascend Mate2 4G doesn’t boot the latest Android build.

Emotion UI 2.0 might not suit all tastes either. The colorful, texture rich user interface is the exact opposite of today’s increasingly fashionable, flatter-looking custom Android solutions. It also lacks the traditional app drawer – which seems to be a trend among Chinese manufacturers.

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Huawei Ascend Mate2 4G official photos

At first glance, the Huawei Ascend Mate2 4G fully lives up to its manufacturer’s claim that it is a niche product. We are now going to find out if it is worthy of being on your shopping list. As always, we will kick the review off with unboxing, followed by design and build quality walkthrough.

Editorial: You may notice that this review is shorter than usual and doesn’t include some of our proprietary tests. The reason is it has been prepared and written away from our test labs. Still, we think we’ve captured the essence of the device in the same precise, informative and detailed way that’s become our trademark. Enjoy the good read!


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