While most people like a device that easily fits in their hands and pockets, some of us would really like a small tablet that makes calls. These aren’t just phones; they’re little computing devices that make calls. The problem is, which one do you pick? Luckily, we’re here to help.
The Huawei Ascend Mate wowed us when we first saw it back during CES 2013. The Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 has since come along, making things bigger and adding the trademark Galaxy user experience. That said, which one is the best for you? Read on and find out.
In a hurry? Check out our video review, or jump to the conclusion at the end of the article.
When it comes to specs, there is no clear-cut winner here. Each device has its weaknesses and stengths, so which one is better for you is really going to depend on how you use it.
For example, the processor in the Galaxy Mega 6.3 has a higher clock speed than the Ascend Mate–1.7 GHz compared to 1.5 GHz–but the Ascend Mate uses a quad-core processor while the Galaxy Mega 6.3 only uses a dual-core. The Ascend Mate has more RAM–2 GB to the Mega 6.3′s 1.5 GB–but the Mega 6.3 has an option for more internal storage.
Things become even more pronounced when we get to performance, but we’re getting ahead of ourselves here.
It’s likely that most people are going to prefer the design of the Galaxy Mega 6.3 to the Ascend Mate. Rounded corners, slick plastic, one home button: it’s a Galaxy through and through. The build proves this. The polycarbonate body is light, but has that same slick feel that most Galaxy-branded devices have.
The Ascend Mate on the other hand is an exercise in pragmatic design. It’s meant to be held, to be used, not to be observed and admired. It’s stark, straight lines aren’t going to be particularly attractive to most users, but you get the sense that Huawei isn’t interested in that; they’re interested in usability. This shows in the plastics used. They may not be the prettiest, but they definitely help you maintain a steady grip on the device.
Our main complaint when reviewing these devices was that the resolution was 720p instead of 1080p. The most common criticism we heard back was that many televisions and computer monitors have a lower pixel density. This is true, except I can’t remember the way I had a computer monitor or television a foot or two away from my face. Viewing distance matters.
Luckily with these phones, you won’t be holding tham that closely, so the pixelation and lack of sharpness isn’t very apparent on either phone. Are they equal? Not really. The Galaxy Mega 6.3 uses a TFT LCD display while the Ascend Mate uses an IPS+ display. Normally, an IPS display has better viewing angles than a TFT, and that is the case here, but it isn’t very noticable.
Outdoor visibility is much better on the Ascend Mate, which is somewhat suprising, espeically since the Galaxy Mega 6.3 has a brighter display overall. This, combined with the viewing angles makes the Ascend Mate’s display the better of the two, but not by much.
During out individual reviews of the Ascend Mate and the Galaxy Mega 6.3 we ran a few benchmarks on both of them, and surprisingly they each ended up winning, albeit in different categories.
AnTuTu Benchmark seemed to favor the Ascend Mate, with it reaching an average score of 15,639 over ten runs. The Galaxy Mega 6.3 on the other hand didn’t do as well, reaching only 13,309. When we turned to Epic Citadel on High Quality mode, the tables turned. The Mega 6.3 pulled in an average framerate of 57.4 FPS, while the Ascend Mate only managed 37.7 FPS.
In real world performance, the Ascend Mate felt faster when multitasking and in general performance, thanks to its quad-core processor. The Galaxy Mega 6.3 was the phone to beat when it came to gaming though, solidly beating the Ascend Mate in Real Racing 3.
The Galaxy Mega 6.3 runs the lastest version of Android: 4.2.2 Jelly Bean. This is skinned with the newest version of TouchWiz; the same version that the Galaxy S4 runs, so it’s definitely quite up to date when it comes to software.
The Huawei Ascend Mate on the other hand runs Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean, skinned with Huawei’s Emotion UI. This is going to be hit or miss with people, as it’s quite a bit different than the UI most Android users are used to. The main difference? No app drawer. Everything is right on the home screens. Different sure, but very simple.
Most people will likely prefer the Galaxy Mega 6.3, since it’s more familiar, but some may prefer the change of pace that is the Ascend Mate.
Both the Ascend Mate and the Galaxy Mega 6.3 have 8 MP rear-facing cameras, and both are very similar in many ways. It seems that both phones have fairly similar optics.
When taking test photos of the same subject from the same distance, it was difficult to tell the picures apart. The Ascend Mate seemed to have somewhat sharper focus, but the Galaxy Mega 6.3 had had better saturation and richer colors.
The 1080 video capture was very similar. Focus seemed about equal on either phone, though the Mega 6.3 still seemed to have deeper blacks and richer colors than the Ascend Mate.
The front cameras on either phone are nothing to write home about, as is usually the case. The Galaxy Mega 6.3 gets a slight edge here for its 1.9 MP front-facing camera compared to 1.0 on the Ascend Mate.
Long story short: the Ascend Mate straight up wins the battery category; no contest. It’s got a 4,000 mAh battery compared to the Galaxy Mega 6.3′s 3,200 mAh battery. That may not seem like much, but thing about how much it would matter if we were talking about a 2,000 mAh battery and a 1,200 mAh battery. See?
The Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 does get a nod, for having a removeable / replaceable battery. As nice as the Ascend Mate’s battery is, you’re stuck with it. If it goes bad, that’s all she wrote, unless you go the risky route and decide to change it yourself.
Objectively speaking, it’s very likely that the vast majority of users will prefer the Galaxy Mega 6.3, mainly because it does nothing wrong and it offers a very comfortable experience to anyone who has used a Galaxy device before.
That said, the Huawei Ascend Mate will definitely appeal quite a bit to some. The Emotion UI really takes advantage of the openness of Android as a platform, and this helps make the Mate a really unique device in a sea of phones that are all pretty similar. It takes some getting used to, but it’d definitely worth a look.
Which is your favorite? The Huawei Ascend Mate or the Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3? Let us know down in the comments!
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Great review. I’ll pick the Galaxy Mega though. Just a personal preference since I have nothing against the Ascend Mate. The Mate is the better device of the two if you ask me but I’m a sucker for removable batteries. I prefer switching batteries to adding more weight with battery packs. An expandable storage is a big plus too. The interface? Many may have their misgivings over Touchwiz but I’ll pick it over any custom skin any day. I’m a rare person, I’m used to the so-called “gimmicky” features that Samsung offers.
i would prefer.. the ascend mate.. because of the quad core processor.. dual core is “old school” these days.. camera? hmm ill pick the mate too.. its f 2.0 .which means it will be a good performer in a low light conditions..i use to take a photo during night outs and any other night life events.. im not impress with mate’s gpu.. i read a spec sheet and the gpu is rare to me..
Ascend Mate for me.. I prefer mate’s design, processor and battery.
So, does either of them have a notification LED? I really want the Mate, but I can’t find a conclusive answer, and lack of notification light is a dealbreaker for me.
It does have one, just onthe inside edge of the earpiece. It’s not pretty but it does the job :)