Smartphones large enough to be tablets, otherwise known as “phablets,” are once again a trend at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, and Huawei is getting in on the action with the Ascend Mate 2. A follow up to last year’s Ascend Mate, the Mate 2 actually retains the same 6.1-inch display as its predecessor. Where Huawei has chosen to supersize things this time around is in the battery, which is big enough to provide power to an additional device — like an iPhone.
Judging by the specs, the Ascend Mate 2 looks like a relatively high-end Android smartphone. It features 2GB of RAM, along with either a 1.6GHz quad-core Qualcomm MSM8928 processor, or Huawei’s own HiSilicon Cortex A9 chip, depending on your market. It also features a 13-megapixel camera on the back and a 5-megapixel shooter on the front. And the phone is an LTE Cat 4 device, joining the ranks of phones like the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c.
Given those specs, it seems surprising, then, that the phone’s 6.1-inch display only features 720p resolution. Not only that, but it weighs 7.1 ounces, which is hefty even for a phone this large. But there’s a simple explanation for both of these off notes: battery life. The Ascend Mate 2 is housing a positively enormous 4050mAh battery, which accounts for the added weight. And that lower screen resolution is so you don’t chew through battery life so quickly. (The screen still works out to 240 pixels per inch, which should look plenty sharp.) Huawei estimates you can get over two days of use with a single charge.
Not only that, but the Ascend Mate 2 is capable of reverse charging, so you can actually use it as a backup battery for your other devices. Huawei quite cheekily showed it being used to charge an iPhone, but in the real world I actually see this coming in handy from time to time when you’ve got a dying e-reader or tablet on your hands.
The Ascend Mate 2 runs Android 4.3 (Jelly Bean), along with Huawei’s Emotion UI 2.0 software overlay. Unlike most Huawei devices, Huawei chairman Richard Yu claims the phone will be released in the U.S., citing AT&T as a compatible carrier. AT&T has not yet confirmed whether it will be carrying the phone, and no additional pricing or availability information is known at this time.