Huawei Ascend Mate 2 Review

by: Lanh NguyenJuly 7, 2014

A big phone with a small price

  • Large display
  • Fantastic battery life
  • Sturdy build quality
  • Great performance
  • Mediocre camera
  • Difficult to use one-handed
It’s a “phablet” device with a beautiful display, sturdy build quality, and exceptional battery life that isn’t going to break the bank. If that’s what you’re looking for, then the Ascend Mate 2 is going to be worth every single penny.
Huawei is looking to gain some ground in the U.S. market by offering an affordable off contract smartphone packed with features that many people want. That phone is the Ascend Mate 2, and it’s available at for $299.

Huawei Ascend Mate 2-19

Starting with the design the Ascend Mate 2 isn’t anything that’s going to stand out in the crowd but it’s a pretty decent looking phone. It’s an all plastic rectangular black slab with slightly rounded corners and a tapered back. Despite being made of plastic it feels extremely solid in the hand and the textured back gives the phone a very nice grip.

Huawei Ascend Mate 2-1

It is a large phone though so you’ll probably find yourself using this with two hands more often than not. The biggest reason why this phone is so large is because of the 6.1 inch 720p display on the front. If you’re a pixel junky you’ll most likely shy away from this display but it really isn’t as bad as it sounds. While you will notice some pixels in the finer details like folders for example, the display overall is fantastic with great colors, viewing angles, and brightness.  Just the sheer size of it alone makes it great for consuming media.

Huawei Ascend Mate 2 Phablet Hands on AA -1

When you boil it down, the Ascend Mate 2 is a midrange phone and with a midrange phone comes midrange specs. Inside is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 clocked at 1.6 Ghz, an Adreno 305 GPU, and 2GB of ram. The specs won’t blow anyone away but we all know real world performance is what really matters and the Ascend Mate 2 performs admirably through regular everyday usage. It handled everything I threw at it from opening and closing apps, multitasking, and heavy gaming without any noticeable hiccups.  It’s phones like the Ascend Mate 2 that prove that you don’t always have to have the latest and greatest specs to have a phone that performs well.

Huawei Ascend Mate 2-4

What doesn’t perform so well is the 13 megapixel camera. In terms of megapixel count it sounds like it’s going to be a very respectable shooter but in reality it’s an average camera at best.  The camera UI is very minimal which means you can spend more time taking photos than fumbling around with camera settings.

Huawei Ascend Mate 2-7

Photos do look very sharp and detailed but the camera always has a tendency to overexpose leading to a lot of unbalanced shots.  It’s not the best camera I’ve ever used but for the casual smartphone photography, it’ll get the job done. Typically front facing cameras aren’t talked about because most of the time they’re very basic but Huawei has managed to make the front camera on the Ascend Mate 2 interesting by adding a 5 megapixel wide-angle lens and a special feature called groufie.

A groufie let’s you take the selfie craze to a whole new level by allowing you to not only include yourself but also a bunch of your friends in a single frame. It’s nothing that is going to make you run out and by this phone but if you love taking selfies you’ll love this feature. With a big phone comes a big battery and the Ascend Mate 2 comes packed with a very large 3,900 mAh.

Huawei Ascend Mate 2-11

I can safely say that this phone can make it through an entire weekend before being plugged back in. This phone easily lasted me two days which amounted to over 8 hours of screen on time and for a smartphone in 2014 that is just ridiculous.  I’ve gone through quite a few smartphones over the last several years and when it comes to battery life the Ascend Mate 2 is the best that I’ve ever experienced.

Huawei Ascend Mate 2 Phablet Hands on AA -5

Another great thing  about the Ascend Mate 2 is the fact that it can act as a portable power bank. It’s voluminous battery enables it to be connected via MicroUSB to charge any and all other USB powered devices you might have in your midst. Definitely a huge plus!

Huawei Ascend Mate 2-1

When it comes to the software the Ascend Mate 2 is running on Android 4.3 Jellybean with Huawei’s Emotion UI layered on top and it’s quite the departure from your typical Android experience. There’s no app drawer so you’ll have to resort to folders for organization.

The UI is very colorful but it isn’t the heaviest skin we’ve ever seen and Huawei has packed in some very useful functions like an easy mode for a more simple experience, and the W.O.W button that’s lets you run a limited amount of apps on the screen at the same time for some true multitasking. While the Emotion UI strays quite a bit from stock android, it isn’t intrusive or gimmicky. The best part about this phone is the price.

Huawei Ascend Mate 2 Phablet Hands on AA -8

The Ascend Mate 2 is available now directly from Huawei for $299.99 (It’s also available on Amazon) without a contract and it supports 4G LTE on T-Mobile and AT&T in the United States. For 300 dollars this is a fantastic phone and while there certainly  are a lot of great options nowadays in this particular price range, you’ll be hard pressed to find another phone like the Ascend Mate 2 with it’s large display and gigantic battery for such a low price.  It’s a big phone with a small price and if that’s exactly what you’re looking for the Huawei Ascend Mate 2 is definitely worth a look.

  • deanerick

    i think i would take this review more seriously if it was NOT filmed in someone’s bedroom. but that’s just me. u know what i mean. let’s do this! maybe go to a park, a library, or rent a office at a storage locker?

    • Jayfeather787

      I’m more concerned about the fact that he has an imac.

      • celinadlittle

        My Uncle
        Riley got an almost new red GMC Canyon just by some parttime working online
        with a laptop. visit their website C­a­s­h­f­i­g­.­C­O­M­

    • Deanericksdad

      When was the last time you produce or created anything you scumbag.

      • deanerick

        Your mommy called, she is asking if you want your cookies and milk in your room…

  • illregal

    Ugh.. Johnson County Brown houses.. I’ll do reviews, I’m not that far off from this guy.

    • deanerick

      Lol. They only hire their cousins dude….

  • jrop

    If it weren’t so big, and it had closer to stock android, I might consider it. That battery is appealing though…

  • [A]dri[A]n

    This phone is FANTASTIC. I’ve had it for about 2 weeks and I’m blown away. Very fast performance and the battery life is nothing short of AMAZING. 3 days of use with 12 hours of screen on time :) Can’t beat that!

    • Kyth

      Can i know where did you buy it ? i want to order it but, no way to find it in Europe…

      • [A]dri[A]n

        I got it on

        • Kyth

          Oh… Okay thank you. They do not deliver in France so I will have to wait a moment (of forever :D)

  • xmod3563

    Is the back cover and battery removable? I know this phone has a huge battery but phones do get old and batteries do degrade in performance.

    • LightofHonor

      Back is removable, battery isn’t. You can still have the battery professionally changed if you ever need to.

  • Kyth

    Only available in North America I suppose…

  • socali

    You can bet your stars and stripes that this Chinese mobile company has backdoor software so that the Chinese government can spy on you.

    • Kyth

      What did Apple google and Co did ? Too easy to always blame Chinese Government for cyber attack and spy…

  • mikkej2k

    The phone may or may not be OKAY , just be careful with the website – lots of problems. Also the 1-800 number has customer reps that are not very good.

  • Mariano Perez

    After having promised to update the phone to Android Kitkat, Huawei has announced that it will not be updating the phone. I think the future updates was a big reason for people buying the phone. It is sad to see the company behaving in such a manner.

  • hasteya

    THNX! nice video review with all the info I needed..wilco with Consumer Cellular @$225 unlocked.
    And the whole bedroom thing was like …real!, even homey. So just appreciate, whiney.

  • hasteya

    Wondered about the battery too.

    •Re: “Is the back cover and battery removable? I know this phone has a huge battery but phones do get old and batteries do degrade in performance.” & “Back is removable, battery isn’t. You can still have the battery professionally changed if you ever need to.”
    The battery is accessed by removing 12 or so little screws, exposing the battery itself. Which is basically ‘stuck ‘ on (dunno the adhesive specs) but s’posed to be pryable and out. And you need to disconnect the little ribbon connection – not hard-. So doubt you need a pro if you’re atall handy.
    Anyway buying one, AND a battery (Newegg sells ’em [≈ $40], “Vintrons Replacement Battery For HUAWEI Ascend Mate 2”. I’m old and a Sustainist, so won’t ever buy another smartphone if I can help it. But will replace the battery if that gets it. Cheers