While the Huawei Ascend Mate impresses in some areas, it's unlikely it will be able to fend off Samsung and Sony in the phablet market.
Good screen, great battery life, affordable price tag
Only 8GB storage, can be laggy, uncomfortable to hold, Emotion UI is overbearing
Processor: Quad-core 1.5GHz Huawei K3V2 processor
Display: 6.1in 720x1280 IPS+ screen
Storage: 8GB internal storage, 2GB of RAM
Camera: 8MP rear-facing camera, 1MP front-facing camera
Connectivity: 2G GSM 850/900/1800/1900; 3G HSDPA 850/900/1900/2100; 4G LTE (market dependent)
Operating system: Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean with Emotion UI
Huawei has seemingly taken the idea of a phablet further with its Ascend Mate smartphone, which hits the handset market with a huge 6.1in screen.
Aimed at those who don't want to pay for both a smartphone and a tablet, the Huawei Ascend Mate ticks both boxes for less than £350. However, with this low price reflected in the handset's performance it remains to be seen whether the Ascend Mate smartphone can fend off its competition in the market.
The Ascend Mate, despite Huawei's claims, is far too big to be classed as a phone. With dimensions of 163x86x9.9mm, it's nearly impossible to hold the device comfortably in one hand – and anyone we showed the device to was in disbelief at the handset's size.
However, those shopping for a Huawei Ascend Mate are clearly after a large-screen phone, and the device is just that. Due to the glossy black front design, the handset gives the illusion that it has an edge-to-edge screen, making it appear more expensive than it actually is, aided by the metallic trim around the edge of the phone.
The back of the device is good looking too, with Huawei opting for a matt black rear that gives the phone an air of sophistication, despite its 6.1in screen size.
Given its size, the Huawei Ascend Mate's screen is obviously the handset's standout feature. The 6.1in screen features 720x1280 resolution and a pixel density of 241ppi. That's low compared to the Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One, but given the handset's sub-£350 price it's not really bad.
With the brightness cranked up to full, the Huawei Ascend Mate's screen is impressively vibrant, with the IPS panel making colours pop and blacks appear deep. Viewing angles are just as good as those on phones that cost a lot more, although outdoor visibility isn't fantastic.
While image quality on the Ascend Mate has proven to be surprisingly good, we found that the screen is difficult to operate. Its size makes it nearly impossible to open apps with one hand, and we often found ourselves stretching our fingers to the limits to play certain games and use apps such as Facebook.
Saying that, the phone doesn't feel too large when held to your face to answer a phone call, especially compared with the Asus Fonepad and Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0.
Next: Performance and software