Pedal to the metal.
The Huawei Mate S was unveiled during IFA 2015 in Berlin and showcased that Huawei can still make great smartphones. This one in particular is unarguably one of the best-looking smartphones they’ve made. It’s 2,299 AED price might put it in the more premium price bracket, but what Huawei has made here is turning out to be one of our favorite smartphones of the year.
Utilizing the same high-end metal materials used for its other high-end smartphones, the Huawei Mate S has a single unibody enclosure reminiscent of the first HTC One. It’s sleek and stylish, and the curved back makes it easy to hold on the hands.
Buttons are minimal, with the volume rockers and the power switch located on the side along with a fingerprint sensor located at the back. There is a microphone on top along with the 3.5 mm headphone jack.
Many might find the location of the fingerprint sensor quite bizarre since other smartphones have it embedded on the home button on the front, but once you start using the Huawei Mate S and unlock it using your index finger, it actually feels natural.
The Huawei Mate S boasts a 5.5-inch AMOLED Full HD display and while it doesn’t match other smartphones in terms of bigger resolutions, the display is great and delivers very good color accuracy. It matches the same screen as the iPhone 6 Plus, but in the way the smartphone is designed, its body actually looks smaller when compared side-by-side.
Powered by a HiSilicon Kirin 935 octa-core processor, the Huawei Mate S delivers a decent performance, especially when using multiple apps. The 3 GB of RAM also helps, though at times the occasional lag starts to show. It does work well with games, more or less matching the graphics quality of games played on the more expensive brands.
Based on Android Lollipop, Huawei’s Emotion UI delivers a straightforward experience, but the amount of icons and non-removable bloatware can be quite an annoyance. I ended up using a third party launcher just so that I can hide the apps I don’t want to see.
The Huawei Mate S uses dual SIM, a necessity for most users today. Along with that, you have the option to choose either a 32 GB or 64 GB internal storage which you can still expand using the micro SD card slot. All the usual connectivity options are present, including NFC, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth.
The fingerprint scanner at its rear is one of the fastest I’ve tried on smartphone – sometimes even faster than Apple’s Touch ID. Along with that, the fingerprint scanner can also recognize gestures, like swiping left and when viewing images in the gallery.
The Huawei Mate S includes a 13 megapixel camera along with an 8 megapixel front-facing one. The rear camera includes optical image stabilization and other features such as night mode, panorama and HDR. Images taken with the camera were very good, offering accurate color reproduction with minimal image noise, especially at night. The camera can also shoot full HD video.
The battery on the Huawei Mate S isn’t removable, which had to be done to keep the smartphone its slim profile. Battery performance was good, especially when I managed to use it on a full day before I needed a charger. Battery life varies, especially on how much you use the smartphone.
The Huawei Mate S proves that the company can offer a decent and premium flagship that can match current rivals. Great design and good performance make this a highly recommended alternative to those familiar flagship smartphones.