The Huawei Ascend Mate is a smartphone with a display of tablet-sized proportions. The 6.1 inch, 1280 x 720 display is closer in size to a 7 inch tablet than a 4 inch smartphone.
Still, the Mate is surprisingly easy to hold in one hand. It weighs less than 7 ounces and fit comfortably in my palm when I picked it up from the table. I could imagine this device making a great media player or eBook reader since it’s something you can easily hold for a long period.
Actually using the phone, on the other hand… requires the other hand.
There’s simply no way to reach across the entire screen with your thumb to pull down the notification tray or perform other swipe animations. There are software solutions that are designed to make some of those actions simpler on big-screen devices, but this is pretty much a phone that’s going to work best when you can use it with two hands rather than one.
Spec-wise, the phone features a 1.5 GHz Hi-Silicon quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, and 16GB of storage. It has an 8MP rear camera and a 1MP front-facing camera, and runs Android 4.1 with a special Huawei skin.
The phone also has a 4050mAh battery which should provide some heavy duty run-time despite the ginormous display — but clearly the CES show floor wasn’t the best place for me to perform a long-term battery life test.
After playing with the phone for a few minutes I’m starting to think there could be a market for 6 inch tablets. I’m not convinced there’s much need for 6 inch phones, though.