Flagship phones don’t have it easy. There’s enough competition out there to make life complicated, and the giant weight of expectation means top-end handsets can often struggle to deliver the goods.
The Huawei Mate S, though, is a different beast. Stuffed to the gunwales with tech tricks, top performance and gorgeous design, it’s a flagship handset deserving of the name. Here are the discoveries and experiences you can expect to come your way from the second you take it out of the box.
Now this is a shiny phone. You can opt for it in understated Titanium Grey, but the Mate S also comes in Champagne, Rose Gold and, for those with a taste for bling, Luxurious Gold.
It’s thin, too. 7.2mm thick and roughly 156g, the finely tapered edges allow it to sit comfortably in the hand. Your first five minutes may very well be spent turning it over in your hands, admiring the 5.5in, Full HD screen with its tough Gorilla Glass finish. The phone itself is made from solid, space-age aluminium and is diamond-cut for a top-quality feel.
Press the power button and the Mate S springs into life. Running both Android 5.1 and Huawei’s EMUI software, there’s nothing you can’t do. As you’re about to find out.
Apps, apps, apps. Let’s get some. Google’s Play Store is absolutely (app-solutely, geddit) bursting with the things, and whether it’s a spot of TV streaming or next-gen gaming, the Mate S has you covered. Within its slender body is its beating heart: an eight-core, 64-bit processor with 3GB of RAM standing by to keep everything running smoothly.
Stick yourself on the bus and get somewhere to take a few snaps. The Mate S has some stonking photographic credentials, most obviously its ace 13-megapixel, optically-stabilised camera. The main camera has a dual-tone flash for natural looking low-light photography, while the secondary, 8-megapixel camera below it allows you to pull all kinds of neat tricks, such as adjusting the focus of a picture after you’ve taken it. For the more experienced, the Mate S’ Professional Mode allows you to take control of things such as shutter speed and exposure compensation.
Snaps in the bag? Top stuff. Spend some time on the way back making the most of the Mate S’ incredible Full HD screen. The 5.5in display is contoured (Huawei calls this 2.5D) for better control, while its AMOLED innards mean sharper pictures and brighter colours.
A brief stop for a snack, there. Photography is hungry work, after all. Now we’re back, it’s time to take security seriously. Your phone isn’t all selfies, after all, and the Mate S knows that. That’s why there’s a small fingerprint reader on the back, giving you an unguessable password. The fingerprint sensor also allows you to navigate web pages by sliding your finger across it, so you can navigate without changing the position of the phone in your hand.
It’s time to get to grips with one of the Mate S’ most interesting features: its smart, pressure-sensitive screen. It reacts to how hard you press the screen: press harder on an image and you’ll automatically zoom in; give a thumbnail of an image a hard press and you’ll be given a full-screen preview.
Time for some dinner. Not any old dinner – this time you’re baking a cake. You’ve been meaning to replace those tattered, broken scales in your cupboard for some time, but now you don’t need to. Mate S has its very own digital scales, using pressure pads on the screen – perfect for getting your quantities right in the kitchen. Celebrate this fine piece of innovation by eating your cake.
After dinner is your time. So while your partner/children/flatmate/pet is insisting on watching something dreadful on TV, you scoot up to you room to download something far more palatable on your Mate S. Get your favourite streaming app installed and make the most of one of the finest mobile pictures you’ll ever see. You’ll also find at least 32GB of internal storage (rising to a maximum 128GB), which means plenty of space for your own movies.
Time to learn a few shortcuts as you settle into bed (you’ve been up for 24 hours, you should really get some shut-eye). The Mate S uses Knuckle 2.0: a technology that can tell the difference between the tip of your finger and your knuckle. Why? To allow you to draw shortcuts on the screen to get where you want to go faster than ever. Describe a ‘C’, for example, and the camera app springs into life.