As expected, the Huawei Mate S sets afoot in Malaysia — Huawei’s most premium and best built phone to date. The all-metal, sleek flagship is flanked by two other products — the mid-range Huawei G8, and the high-end Mediapad M2 tablet. All three products showcase Huawei’s focus on design, build quality and user experience and from the looks of things, the future is bright for this mobile device maker.
Huawei has been churning a lot of great stuff lately. The Huawei P8 is a fantastic piece of kit, and really shows what the Chinese phone maker can do. Its sub-brand — honor has upped the ante too, with the latest honor 7 muddling the lines against its premium Huawei line. Huawei also gained the trust of Google, subsequently collaborating and launching the new Nexus 6P (which looks fantastic by the way).
The company’s commitment to quality and service is commendable too. Huawei acknowledges that after-sales service during device ownership is as important, if not more important than the sales of the device itself.
One fine, Mate
Make no mistake. The Huawei Mate S is the most refined, best-built Huawei smartphone to date. From the all-metal unibody, to its beautiful chamfered edges as well as 2.5D glass, the Mate S is stunning. It boasts a 5.5-inch FHD AMOLED display, and thanks to the minimal bezel, the phone is small enough for single-hand use.
Under the hood, the excellent HiSilicon Kirin 935 octa-core processor is tasked to deliver the best performance, mated to 3GB of RAM. Huawei is making available a single 64GB variant, which is expandable up to 128GB via microSD.
At IFA 2015, Huawei demonstrated the highest-end 128GB that features its very own version of “Force Touch” — another, more immersive way of interacting with you device. Force Touch or 3D Touch was first introduced by Apple in its Apple Watch, MacBook and now iPhone 6s.
In the camera side of things, the Mate S utilises the familiar 13MP RGBW camera module with OIS, coupled with a dual-tone LED flash. If the Huawei P8 and honor 7 is any indication, the Mate S’ camera is likely to impress, especially in low light.
On the front, the Mate S brings something new. It now comes with an adjustable soft flash that works closely with the 8MP f/2.4 front camera. You’re now almost guaranteed perfect, well-lit selfies!
The Mate S’ fingerprint scanner is located below the rear camera module, perfectly placed for your index finger. It doesn’t just scan and unlock your phone in a hurry (0.5s, tops). It can also be used to scroll through your photo gallery, or used to press the camera shutter. Pretty neat, and intuitive.
Something Huawei introduced with the P8 was “Knuckle Sense.” I initially felt this was gimmicky but with the enhanced 2.0 version, it all makes sense. Double tap the screen with your knuckle to take a snapshot. Trace a shape to capture a specific part of the screen. With the latest update, you can also fire up apps by tracing an alphablet. Trace ‘C’ to open the camera app, or ‘E’ to fire up the browser. The cool thing is that you can customize these alphabets.
The Mate S runs Android 5.1 Lollipop with the customisable EMUI 3.1 on top.
Despite its ultra-thin profile, the Mate S is packed with a 2,700mAh battery that should see the phone running the entire day. It’s available in two colour options: Prestige Gold and Coral Pink.
Huawei didn’t only up the ante on the Mate S, it has also upped the price of its new generation Mate series. From RM1,999 with the Ascend Mate 7 (also a brilliant device), the Mate S comes in at a cool RM2,698 (incl. 6% GST). The price brings it close to other premium smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy Note5 and iPhone 6s.
As mentioned earlier, Huawei is committed to quality and great user experience. So, RM2,698 not only buys you the stunning Mate S, but also gives you a two-year warranty, a free one-to-one exchange within the first year of purchase. It also covers a free cracked screen replacement (one-time only) within the first year of purchase.
Wait, there’s more. Be the first 3,000 buyers and be entitled to a Bespoke Pewter membership card from Royal Selangor which gives you VIP service from Exclusive Huawei Service Centres. This will give you delivery/pickup options for servicing.
Additionally, Huawei is throwing in a free pair of exclusive Huawei ANC (Active Noise Cancelling) designer earphones.
Also introduced at IFA 2015, the Huawei G8 is a good-looking, curvy mid-ranger that’s packed with good hardware. It sports a 5.5-inch FHD display and surprisingly also features 2.5D edge glass. It has a similar look and feel to the Mate S with its metal build but overall curvier round the edges.
Strangely, Huawei has opted for the popular mid-range Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 SoC and not from its own HiSilicon stable. It comes generously packed with 3GB RAM. There’s 32GB of internal storage, expandable up to 128GB via microSD.
Another surprise is the inclusion of a fingerprint scanner, unheard of at its RM1,499 price point. Kudos to Huawei for bringing fingerprint authentication to the masses.
In terms of camera optics, the G8 gets a 13MP rear camera with a 28mm wide-angle lens. Up front, there’s a 5MP unit.
The Huawei G8 is a dual-SIM, dual-LTE device and packs a large 3,000mAh battery.
It also runs Android 5.1 Lollipop, flavoured with EMUI 3.1. It’s available in Grey or Silver.
The Mediapad M2 is Huawei’s premium 8-inch tablet with a FHD display. It uses the 64-bit Kirin 930 running at 2Ghz, the same chipset that powers the Huawei P8. There’s 2GB of RAM and 32GB of built-in storage. If that seems inadequate, there’s the option of microSD expansion.
While we tend to not take photos with tablets much, the Mediapad M2 is still adequately equipped with an 8MP rear camera, and 2MP selfie camera.
Huawei is touting the Mediapad’s audio capabilities and has worked with renowned audio specialists Harman Kardon. The side-facing dual speaker set up works well with Clari-Fi technology and Super Wide Sound 2.0 technology by Harman Kardon. 180-degree sound? Done.
Powering the device the entire day is a 4,800mAh battery.
There’s a single 4G LTE SIM slot to ensure you’re always on with cellular connectivity.
The Huawei Mediapad M2 is available only in Gold.
Pricing and availability
As a wrap up, the Huawei Mate S retails for RM2,698 while the Huawei G8 is priced at RM1,499. Both phones are available across all Huawei stores nationwide today.
The Mediapad M2 tablet on the other hand, retails for RM1,499. Available is expected in late November.