Think smartphones are getting ridiculously big? You best look away now. Chinese giant Huawei has just unveiled what is claims to be the smartphone with the largest screen in the world, the Huawei Ascend Mate.
Unveiled at the the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, the Ascend Mate features a whopping 6.1in display, making it larger than the oversized Samsung Galaxy Note and Samsung Galaxy Note II devices. The screen uses an IPS+ LCD panel, which is similar display technology to the one used by Apple on its iPhone 5.
Huawei says the Ascend Mate has a screen-to-body ratio of 73 per cent, which is apparently the highest in the industry. Disappointingly, the screen doesn't come with a full HD resolution, instead making use of the more common 1280x720 resolution found on most of last year's flagship devices. With 2013's top models expected to offer full HD resolution screens, the Ascend Mate is in danger of being left behind the pack before it even hits Australian shelves. Like the Nokia Lumia 920, the Ascend Mate's screen can be touched even when wearing gloves.
The super large screen of the Huawei Ascend Mate obviously doesn't come without compromises. The phone weighs almost 200g (198g to be exact), making it one of the heaviest smartphones on the market. Huawei says the phone is "designed to fit comfortably in a single hand" but although the company quotes a thickness of 6.5mm thin at its narrowest part, the Ascend Mate is actually 9.9mm thick.
Any screen this large will use plenty of battery power, so Huawei includes a huge 4050mAh battery on the Ascend Mate. The company also claims the phone has built-in power-saving technology which will enable it to provide two days of ordinary usage on a single charge. We're very skeptical of this claim, but will be keen to put it to the test when we get a unit in for review. Despite the large battery, Huawei says the Ascend Mate has the fastest battery charging capability of smartphones in its range, though the company hasn't clarified this claim any further.
The Huawei Ascend Mate will initially ship with Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) but is likely to be updated to the latest Android 4.2 version after its release. The software is skinned with Huawei's Emotion UI. There are a few interesting features including the ability to push the keyboard and other UI elements to one side of the screen to enable one-handed operation, pop-up apps that can sit over already open applications, and a re-designed set of icons for most apps. Interestingly, the Emotion UI doesn't include an applications drawer, so all apps sit either on the home screens or the dock.
The Huawei Ascend Mate is powered by a 1.5 GHz quad-core processor and has 2GB of RAM, though there's been no word yet on how much internal memory will be available. Thankfully, there's a microSD card slot present so users can make use of removable storage if they wish. Other features include an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera with HDR and a 1-megapixel HD front-facing camera for video calls. The Huawei Ascend Mate will work on all Australian 3G networks, but it's not a 4G-capable device.
There's no word of an Australian release of the Huawei Ascend Mate, but the phone will launch in China in February. It will be available in crystal black and pure white colours.
A promotional video of the Huawei Ascend Mate can be viewed below.