Hands on with the Huawei Mate S
The Mate S is Huawei's new global flagship phone. Like most new flagships, it sports a 5 inch display, metal body, fingerprint sensor, and some advanced camera technology. It will also support Force Touch, sensing the pressure you apply, to the degree that you can use it as a scale, although we've heard that there will be several versions of the Mate S, and not all will include Force Touch. It's an intriguing phone. Read on for our hands-on impressions.
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The design and build quality of the Mate S is truly top-notch. Huawei nailed the metal unibody manufacturing technique in the Mate line a few years ago, and they've only improved. New here is the rounded edge on the front glass, much like the iPhone 6. It also has chamfers and a slightly rounded back, which might remind you of an HTC One, although Huawei has used these design touches before. If it sounds like a mash-up of the iPhone 6 and HTC One M8, it pretty much is, combining the best of both designs, including the thin-ness of the iPhone. It looks great and feels better.
The side keys are on the small side, but work well. The fingerprint sensor isn't pretty, but at least it's the touch type instead of the swipe type.
The screen is bright and sharp. It has a slight blue-ish cast, which we noticed in multiple lighting conditions, but it's slight and won't bother most people.
The processor is Huawei's Kirin chip. It seems generally fast, but not necessarily the fastest we've seen.
The software is typical for Huawei, including their unique approach of eliminating Android's app menu and instead simply having all app icons on home screens (sort of like the iPhone.) Elsewhere, Huawei has tweaked the style - which you can change with themes - but otherwise it's standard Android in the places that count.
The camera software is nice, with one simple, full-screen mode menu. A slick-looking Pro mode provides ample control over all the little tidbits you'd want to fiddle with for serious creative control.
In a quick test of the HDR mode outdoors, it performed very well, doing exactly what HDR should, while still looking natural.
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