Huawei Launches The Mate S

Why do you choose one smartphone over the other? What influences your purchasing decision? Is it the specs? The design? As these little devices have taken over all aspects of our lives, I believe that simply specs become less important. The reality is most, if not all, smartphones do the same things, have the same apps, etc. Apple showed the world how design in the tech space drives many of our purchasing decisions because it is about how you connect with something emotionally.

When you buy a pair of jeans, you may take note of the stitching but the decision to purchase is influenced more by the cut, the design, your personal taste and style, and how they make you feel.

Two years ago, I was fortunate enough to attend the launch of Huawei’s then flagship device, the Ascend P7, in Paris where they shared their design thinking. I shared my thoughts on that experience on the Destiny Man site in a piece titled Huawei Ascends with the P7 (yes, cheesy headline).

Since then they’ve launched a couple of devices including the P8 and their phablets, the Mate 7 and now the Mate S. I was lucky enough to win the Mate S at the launch and have enjoyed using it since.

Huawei Mate S_Side

Nitty Gritty

 For those interested in specs, they are as follows:

  • Front Camera: 8MP, FF, BSI, F4, LED soft light with skin polishing algorithm
  • Rear Camera: 13MP optical anti-vibration sapphire camera lens, AF, BSI, 0, Dual color-temp LED flashes, with Optical Image Stabilizer, RGBW, and independent ISP hardware configuration. You can also manually adjust ISO, exposure compensation, exposure time, and white balance. It has different focus modes, shutter speed control and flash-assisted focusing.
  • Thickness: 7.2mm, with 2.65mm side edges
  • Weight: 156g
  • Screen: 5.5inch AMOLED FHD screen, 2.5D Gorilla glass screen with a screen color saturation of 105 percent, and a contrast ratio 1800000:1
  • Body: Full metal
  • CPU: Hisilicon Kirin 935, Quad 2GHz + Quad 1.5GHz
  • RAM/ROM: 3GB/64GB (high version), 3GB/32GB (standard version)
  • Battery: 2700mAh (Typ.) 2620mAh (min.) Lithium Polymer
  • Sensor: Accelerometer, Compass, Gyroscope, ALS, Proximate, HALL GPS: Compatible with GPS/ Beidou/ GLONASS/AGPS
  • System: EMUI3.1, Android 1
  • Compatible with dual 4G SIM card (high version)
  • Audio Hardware: Compatible with 3Mic FM reception, external earplug antenna Supporting NFC function
  • Color: Prestige gold / Mystique champagne / Titanium grey /Coral pink

Huawei Mate S_Front Angle

Setup

I still haven’t got the whole backing up and transition of apps right so I spent a good 30+ minutes going through the Google App Store downloading all my apps and then putting them in the necessary folders. I will say that the one thing that bothered me was that the sync button, which is normally in shortcuts, is yet to be found. I generally switch off Auto-Sync when I am off wifi to avoid constant downloads in the background – data ain’t cheap.

With the admin done, I set up the fingerprint unlocking, which I must say Huawei has got right with this device. Unlike the iPhone, which is best suited to the thumb, with the ‘reader’ being the home button on the front, Huawei has the Fingersense 2.0 sensor below the camera lens at the back. It is easily accessible and works really well with the forefinger. You can also use this to scroll through pictures by swiping left or right, accessing the notification bar by sliding up and down, taking a selfie (which I’m not a big fan of) by touching the sensor in camera mode or answering calls by pressing the sensor. Conveniently, you can also turn off your alarm clock by pressing.

Another unique feature they have us Knuckle Sense 2.0 which, while kind of cool, I’m still trying to understand the why. You can capture a screenshoot by circling on the screen with your knuckle, turn on the screen when it is off by double tapping it or drawing letters on the screen to activate apps. You can designate the letter in your settings with the default options being “C” for camera, “e” for Internet Browser, “m” for music and “w” for weather. You only have these four options for letters and so if, for example, you wanted to have “w” for Whatsapp, you are replace weather.

Huawei Mate S_Knuckle

Taking Pictures

The pro camera is cool but one has to get their head around the capability, particularly if you don’t have experience with an ADSL. I did a Fundamentals of Digital Photography course some years ago but have forgotten most of what I was taught so I have been playing with the normal camera. It’s decent.

I find that, with mobile phone cameras, it’s more about how you shoot than the actual technical elements and, when you use it more to capture life moments, the technicalities are less important.

Overall

I have been using a Huawei with relative regularity for the last three years and it holds up well as an Android device. It is beautifully designed, functional with enough bells and whistles to keep you occupied if you are that way inclined. I’m really just about getting a device going out of the box, access to the standard apps I use and the occasional playing with features. I will say that I still have to experiment with Director Mode which allows you to capture video from up to three separate Android devices, all from your device. And there’s probably more to discover.

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