Sunday, September 7, 2014

A Geek Daddy Takes the Huawei Ascend Mate2 for a Test Drive at the Mall

Photo taken with Huawei Ascend Mate2's 13 megapixel camera
I recently combined a trip to Great Lakes Crossing Outlet Mall for back to school shopping for my kids with a chance to take the Huawei Ascend Mate2 smart phone for a test drive.  We spent an afternoon shopping at children's clothing stores like Children's Place, The Disney Store, Gap, Gymboree, Marshall's, and Osh'Kosh B'Gosh, enjoyed dinner at the Rainforest Cafe, and stopped at this Geek Daddy's favorite store Bass Pro Shop.  During our whole day out, I carried along an Ascend Mate2 smart phone that Huawei had loaned me to review which I used for a whole lot of things like calling Rain Forest Cafe on the car ride to Great Lakes Crossing making dinner reservations, taking pictures of my kids enjoying our roadtrip, going online to compare item prices/features and look up a variety of other things like the way back to the freeway when I took a wrong turn heading home, and texting my wife about where to meet up when we got separated (lost) in the mall.

The Ascend Mate2 is a 4G compatible smart phone that runs the Android Jelly Bean operating system.  It's standout feature is a 6.1 inch high definition screen that provides a stunning display of graphics, visuals and videos.  The screen is not just huge but also provides for an exceptional viewing experience that wowed! me and was truly impressive.  Taking a photo of the high definition imagery doesn't do it justice because the pictures I took didn't capture the stunning visuals you were able to eyeball from a firsthand personal view.  This was the feature that my 17 year old niece and my mother-in-law both found most desirable about this phone when they saw me using it; each  telling me that this would be a great Christmas present for us to think about giving them.  Hmmm while the $300 price tag for this phone isn't bad that is a bit more than the gift cards those two each get for the holidays.

The second best feature about this smart phone which is just plain out AWESOME is its battery life.  I used the Ascend Mate2 pretty extensively for a whole day using a variety of features and apps that would normally drain the everyday phone I normally use within a few hours and it's battery life was only reduced to 50%.  I used this phone for a whole week without having to recharge it!  The Ascend Mate2's battery promises 60 hours of standard use and it lived up to that during my test drive of the phone.  This is accomplished by having 3 power settings to select from that allows the phone to be smart about how your battery power is utilized maximizing your power and minimizing your drain.  In fact the Ascend Mate 2 is so efficient with its battery that it has a nifty feature that allows other people to plug into this phone to recharge their phone's drained energy.  Out with a friend whose phone dies you don't have to look for an electrical outlet to plug into they can get a recharge by plugging into your Ascend Mate 2. That's a darn cool feature to have on a phone.

Some other nice features about this phone include that it allows floating screens so that you can have multiple windows open and accessible at once plus the Ascend Mate 2 provides a glove mode that you can flip on during the winter.  I threw on a glove to test this feature which I thought would be very valuable during Michigan's cold winters and it worked great.  I was able to easily type and open up apps with my gloved hand just as easily as using my bare hand.  Often times you can't operate a phone's touch screen with gloves on or you need to buy "special" gloves to wear when using one, not in this case...just pull your gloves or mittens out and you are ready to go! (Note you to do have to manually turn on / off the Glove Mode in the Settings Menu). With the extra large screen size of the Ascend Mate 2 it is also a snap to type with a gloved hand too which is an extra bonus.  You also don't have to worry about over-extending this phone's memory with your photos, videos, documents and other misc stuff you may store on it because you receive 20GB of cloud storage from Bitcasa for FREE during the lifetime of the phone.  If you don't want to store on the cloud the phone also has about 13 GB available for internal storage which is pretty practical for most average phone users and a microSD slot for additional memory if needed.

 The Ascend Mate2 isn't completely without negatives though. After enjoying the high-def screen features you'd think its 13 megapixel rear camera (it also has a 5 megapixel front camera) would be outstanding on this phone and while it is adequate it didn't standout as overly impressive in the photos I took.  It was a little cumbersome and not easy to just point and click to record great shots.  The camera on "normal" setting took decent pictures outdoors but not so great pictures inside.  Once I set it to HDR mode though the quality of the pictures really improved.  HDR mode takes 3 pictures very quickly and merges them into one shot improving the details in the lightest and darkest areas of the photo to create a high quality picture.  The trick with this feature is you have to keep the camera steady to avoid blurry pictures.  There are a bunch of features to this camera that can improve the quality of your shots and if someone uses it for a longer period of time than for a quick product review so they can play with and become accustomed to all the setting they may find it a very a good camera.  For someone who wants a good quick click and shoot camera that you can just simply take out of the box and use without making menu selections and taking time to learn to use this may not be your best choice. If you like to take videos the phone is a little easier to manipulate than it is with still photographs and provides 1080 full HD video at 30 frames per second that turn out really crisp and sharp although the audio at times can become crackled.

Taken with Ascend Mate2 camera in "normal" mode
Taken with Ascend Mate2 camera in HDR mode

A few other nitpicky type complaints for me were the power button was located at the side of the phone and I occasionally would bump it during handling it and the drag to unlock feature to open the phone's functions you sometimes had to fumble with awhile.  I particularly didn't care for the size of the phone, although I'll admit for its screen size it was very light to hold and not bulky at all, because it wasn't convenient for me to carry around.  If you are traveling around with a purse or backpack this is a much more ideal phone than for someone trying to carry it in a sports jack or slacks pocket.

I used this phone on the T-Mobile 4G LTE network and had exceptional sound quality on phone calls and blink of the eye quick download data speeds and instantaneous connectivity when online that worked great.  I'm not sure who should get more credit for the incredible service, T-Mobile or Huawei, but the fact that the Ascend Mate 2 was so compatible with my mobile service provider's network is obviously a plus.  I had nothing but a positive experience from this perspective using the Ascend Mate 2.

Display at Bass Pro Shops - photo taken with Ascend Mate2

Dinner @ Rain Forest Cafe - photo taken with Ascend Mate2
We found the Huawei Ascend Mate2 to be a very useful and convenient phone during our roadtrip to Great Lakes Crossing. It's exceptional battery life and screen really make it stand out. From my experience it is probably the ideal smart phone for the SENIOR in your life whether that be a high school/college student who could find it very useful for their studies but probably would love it for watching movies and playing video games or the older parent who could really benefit from the large screen for viewing and typing.  Of course, if you are between these stages in life, I'm sure you would appreciate this phone too.

For more information about the Huawei Ascend Mate2 please CLICK HERE.

Disclaimer:  I was loaned an Ascend Mate2 for thirty days by Huawei to review the product.  I did not receive any compensation for this review.  The opinions and views in this post are my own.  The product was returned to Huawei when A Geek Daddy Blog completed this review.


  1. What a neat looking phone. I bet it has been super handy!

  2. Battery life is so important to me now that I have been taking tons of pictures for my blog. That is a definite perk!

  3. I love the glove mode! I hate having to take my gloves off in the middle of winter to be able to use my phone! I definite plus in my book ;)

    Sarah M

  4. That is a large phone. The megapixels are nice!

  5. Nice review! I love that you can use gloves and still use it!

  6. How fun! Looks like you had a great time. Love that Rainforest Cafe too. Yum!

  7. We like Great Lakes Crossing. Thanks for the reminder that we need to go back soon.