Huawei had more to show off at IFA this week than the Huawei Watch we told you all about yesterday. This is their Mate S, a 5.5-inch phablet set to go toe-to-toe with the Apple iPhone and, well, any other phablet that exists.
The first thing you might notice is the device’s metal build, which isn’t special by today’s standards but still makes us happy that they haven’t skimped or cut any corners in terms of build.
Huawei has adopted that all-too-familiar dual stripe design on the rear, which we’ve seen in the HTC One lineup for a few years, and more recently on the rear of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6+. You’ll be happy to know that it’s not just for show, though: this is necessary to ensure proper attenuation in a sea of metal.
That said, Huawei’s model does change things up a bit by sticking a fingerprint scanner on the rear instead of the front (though this design decision is hardly unique as the HTC One Max sported a similar configuration).
Said fingerprint scanner has 100% more read speed than the previous model, says Huawei, and it can also be used to navigate system elements, such as upward or downward swipes for scrolling through photos and notifications. We’re not sure why you’d forego doing that business on the display, but it’s there anyway.
The Huawei Mate S boasts some pretty neat specs:
- 5.5-inch AMOLED 1080p display
- Hisilicon Kirin 935 64-bit Octa-Core chipset
- 3GB of RAM and 32G, 64GB and 128GB of storage
- Bluetooth 4.0, WiFi N 2.4g, GPS/aGPS w/ Glonass and USB 2.0
- 13MP rear camera with dual-tone flash and OIS, 8MP front camera with dedicated flash
- 2,700mAh battery
- 149.8mm x 75.3mm x 7.2mm,156g
- Android 5.1 + Huawei’s Emotion UI
That should be plenty of power for most users’ needs, though such a low resolution on the display means virtual reality applications will suffer, and lack of dual-band WiFi AC might be a dealbreaker for those who prefer that networking setup.
The display does have some interesting technology, at least. The most interesting is Force Touch, which makes it a pressure sensitive display that can detect how hard you’re pressing it. You can zoom in and out of pictures as close as you want by adjusting the amount of force you use to press the display. You can also weigh an apple if you wanted.
Cool? Yes. Necessary? Probably not, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t cool. There’s also Knuckle 2.0, which lets you do things that you can do with your fingertips, only with your knuckle. Someone out there will appreciate that.
Want one? The Huawei Mate S will arrive later this month, and you can pre-order one September 15th at Huawei’s website. It’ll start at 649euro for a version that has 3GB RAM and 32GB of storage while a 699euro version brings storage up to 64GB. The 128GB model — which seems to be the only one with the new Force Touch display — has yet to be priced, though we’re assured that information will be along shortly.