LIVE FROM IFA 2014: Huawei announced a trio of new products, with the spotlight primarily falling on the Ascend Mate 7 ‘phablet’ – with which the Chinese vendor is squarely targeting the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, also announced here at IFA this week.
Richard Yu, head of Huawei’s consumer business group, said the company is aiming to offer “the best big screen smartphone, so the consumer is the key”.
The executive described Ascend Mate as Huawei’s “big screen with strong battery life product line”, with several generations of devices reaching the market ahead of today’s launch. And when it comes to big screen, Ascend Mate 7 does have something over its rivals – the 6-inch display is said to offer 11 per cent more screen real estate than Samsung’s recently announced Galaxy Note 4.
While this obviously has an impact on size, it was also noted that 83 per cent of its body is screen, compared with 80 per cent for the Galaxy Note 4, and that it has a curved rear cover (one-piece metal) designed to make it easier to hold.
But the Ascend Mate 7 loses out to the Samsung device in terms of screen resolution, being HD compared with the South Korean vendor’s 2K.
And Yu also noted that Ascend Mate 7 has a bigger battery than its rivals, including the new Samsung device – “you never worry that your phone is out of battery – for heavy business users, you can never use up the power”.
The executive also made much of its fingerprint sensor, again a feature adopted by Samsung in its premium products. He said it is the first to include ‘single-touch’ finger print sensing. In contrast, Apple’s iPhone has two-step scanning, while Samsung and HTC require a swipe.
Also included on the spec sheet is LTE Cat6 support, offering peak speeds of up to 300Mb/s – where the technology has been deployed by operators. It has dual 4G SIM capabilities, with one slot for a standard Micro SIM, and the second doubling-up for a Nano SIM or MicroSD expansion card.
In terms of integrated cameras, it has 13MP rear and 5MP front sensors.
Ascend Mate 7 is available in three colours: black, silver and gold. Black and silver are ‘standard’, with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of ROM on board, priced at €499. Gold is premium, with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of ROM at €599.
Initial launch markets will see the device by the end of next month, ahead of a full global rollout.
Joining the G line – described by Yu as “Huawei’s affordable premium series” – is Ascend G7, a 5.5-inch LTE smartphone with 13MP camera and 3000mAh battery.
Other features include LTE support, and 13MP rear and 5MP front cameras.
Again, the company said it had adopted a narrow bezel and slim body, because users are not looking for a big phone, but a big screen.
It will be available in three colours, grey, silver, and a ‘warm’ gold – metallic colours which, when displayed together on screen, were reminiscent of Apple’s iPhone line.
The price is €299.
Finally, Huawei also announced a ‘Sapphire Edition’ of the company’s Ascend P7 flagship smartphone, which was announced earlier this year.
The Sapphire Edition Ascend P7 was trumpeted for the quality of the display material, as well as its anti-scratch properties – useful when phones are often put in pockets alongside keys. “Sapphire is now very popular in some luxury products. Today we are introducing this on the P7,” Yu said.
It is not just the screen that is premium, however. It also has a ceramic back – “it’s solid” – and a rose gold metal frame.
Availability details and – crucially – pricing were not revealed.