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Huawei Mate S Smartphone Review

Daniel Schmidt, Tanja Hinum (translated by Liala Stieglitz), 09/28/2015

Mirror, mirror in my hand … The Mate S is definitely one of the most beautiful smartphones that are currently available on the market. Whether it is all only beautiful illusion or the new style-icon from China has more to offer can be discovered in our report.

For the original German review, see here.

With its Huawei P8, the Chinese company has already proven that it can build beautiful smartphones. It even goes a step further with its Mate S. The review sample is not the successor of the Mate 7, but is a sister model within the Mate series. A Huawei 8 is also planned.

The Mate S was unveiled to public at this year's IFA (international consumer electronics exhibition) in Berlin, and is the very first smartphone to feature a Force Touch surface, or as Apple calls it 3DTouch. Unfortunately, the first devices will be delivered without this technology. However, according to Huawei, corresponding models are to be shipped to Europe this year, and they will not to be limited to only the 128 GB model.

Three storage versions will  be available. The 32 GB version is sold in the Titanium Gray and Mystique Champagne colors at a price of 649 Euros (~$725). A premium version with a 64 GB flash memory in Prestige Gold or Coral Pink costs an extra 50 Euros (~$56). Prices and availability of the 128 GB smartphone are not yet fixed. The latter will probably not be launched in Europe.

The price is considerably higher than that of Huawei's P8 flagship (RRP 499 Euros/~$558), which is probably due to the high-quality materials. At 5.5 inches, the Mate S is also somewhat larger. We have selected the OnePlus 2Honor 7Apple iPhone 6 PlusSamsung Galaxy S6 edge+, and LG G4 from this category for comparison.

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Huawei Mate S (Mate Series)
Graphics adapter
Memory
3072 MB 
Display
5.5 inch 16:9, 1920 x 1080 pixel, capacitive touchscreen, 10 multitouch points, Smart Knuckle 2.0, Super AMOLED, glossy: yes
Storage
32 GB eMMC Flash, 32 GB 
, 23.4 GB free
Connections
1 USB 2.0, Audio Connections: combo headphone and microphone jack (3.5 mm), Card Reader: Micro-SD max. 128 GB (SD, SDHC, SDXC), 1 Fingerprint Reader, Sensors: accelerometer, position, orientation, ambient light proximity and G sensors, digital compass, pedometer, HALL sensor, GPS, Glonass, BeiDou, NFC, Wifi Direct, Huawei Screen Share, FM radio, OTG
Networking
802.11 b/g/n (b/g/n = Wi-Fi 4), Bluetooth 4.1, GSM/GPRS/Edge (850, 900, 1800 and 1900 MHz), UMTS/HSPA+ (850, 900, 1900 and 2100 MHz), LTE Cat. 4 (B1, B2, B3, B4, B5, B7, B8, B12, B17, B18, B19, B20, B25, B26 and B28 (FDD) and B40 (TDD))
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 7.2 x 149.89 x 75.35 ( = 0.28 x 5.9 x 2.97 in)
Battery
Lithium-Polymer, 2700 mAh, Talk time 2G (according to manufacturer): 19 h, Talk time 3G (according to manufacturer): 13 h, Standby 2G (according to manufacturer): 353 h, Standby 3G (according to manufacturer): 380 h
Operating System
Android 5.1 Lollipop
Camera
Webcam: 8 MP (fix-focus, BSI sensor, LED flash, f/2.4), primary camera: 13 MP (auto-focus, dual-tone LED flash, RGBW, OIS, f/2.0)
Additional features
Speakers: mono speaker, Keyboard: virtual, premium headset, USB cable, modular power supply, Flip Cover, quick start guide, warranty card, 24 Months Warranty, nano-coating against splash water
Weight
156 g ( = 5.5 oz / 0.34 pounds), Power Supply: 62 g ( = 2.19 oz / 0.14 pounds)
Price
649 Euro
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

Case

The casing of Huawei's Mate S outer edges is just 2.65 millimeters (~0.1 in). The manufacturer specifies a height of 7.1 millimeters (~0.28 in), but we measured 7.7 millimeters (~0.3 in) at the tallest part, and it is even 8.3 millimeters (~0.33 in) with the protruding camera. However, this does not mar the excellent first impression. Quite the contrary: Due to its curved back, the slim smartphone is very pleasant to hold, the extremely slim edges make it look slimmer than it actually is and with a weight of 156 grams (~5.5 oz) it is not too heavy. Including the cover, the total package adds up to 199 grams (~7 oz).

The build is almost immaculate. The device's aluminum feels good, and the gaps are even and underline the high claim of the Mate S. The only minor drawback of the smartphone is its SIM card slot, which does not close quite flush with the rest of the casing's frame. However, it will be difficult to find something comparable in terms of quality on the market at the moment. Corning Gorilla Glass 4 protects the screen, and even high pressure or more vigorous warping attempts do not impress the Mate S.

We also like the narrow bezel, and only LG's G4 does a marginally better job here. The battery is not removable, but the storage can be expanded. Furthermore, the Mate S features a nano-coating that protects it against splash water. Our preliminary device is a single SIM model that accommodates only one nano-SIM card.

158.1 mm / 6.22 inch 77.8 mm / 3.06 inch 7.1 mm / 0.2795 inch 172 g0.3792 lbs151.8 mm / 5.98 inch 74.9 mm / 2.95 inch 9.85 mm / 0.3878 inch 178 g0.3924 lbs154.4 mm / 6.08 inch 75.8 mm / 2.98 inch 6.9 mm / 0.2717 inch 153 g0.3373 lbs148.9 mm / 5.86 inch 76.1 mm / 3 inch 9.8 mm / 0.3858 inch 155 g0.3417 lbs149.89 mm / 5.9 inch 75.35 mm / 2.97 inch 7.2 mm / 0.2835 inch 156 g0.3439 lbs143.2 mm / 5.64 inch 71.9 mm / 2.83 inch 8.5 mm / 0.3346 inch 161 g0.3549 lbs144.9 mm / 5.7 inch 71.8 mm / 2.83 inch 6.4 mm / 0.252 inch 147 g0.3241 lbs

Connectivity

Considering its high price, the connectivity of Huawei's Mate S could be slightly more extensive. Although a modern octa-core processor with 3 GB of RAM is installed, it lacks some connectivity features that are found in the competition's flagship models. The single-band Wi-Fi supports Wi-Fi Direct, but not Miracast. DLNA, Slim Port and MHL are not supported, either. This makes it difficult to  display the smartphone's content on a large monitor. Furthermore,  an infrared sensor is not incorporated.

On the other hand, the storage can be expanded to 128 GB via a micro-SD card. Moving apps was easy. Furthermore, the micro-USB 2.0 port supports OTG, which allows connecting input devices via an optional adapter in addition to external storage devices.

Upper edge: Audio, microphone
Upper edge: Audio, microphone
Left: SIM and micro-SD slot
Left: SIM and micro-SD slot
Right: Volume, power
Right: Volume, power
Lower edge: Microphones, USB, speaker
Lower edge: Microphones, USB, speaker

Software

Huawei's Mate S is based on Google's Android 5.1.1 Lollipop operating system. It is covered with the known EMUI 3.1 interface. The looks of the proprietary UI has not changed compared with the Honor 7 or Huawei P8, and it runs very smoothly.

Communication & GPS 

On the move, Huawei's Mate S accesses the Internet via HSPA+ or LTE Cat. 4 (max. 150 MBit/s). The good reception qualities and wide frequency coverage is positive. Unfortunately, the faster Cat. 6 or Cat. 9 standard are not supported.

The manufacturer also seems rather tight-fisted in terms of Wi-Fi, and does not utilize the 5.0 GHz frequency band. However, the transmission properties in the 2.4 GHz network are very good. The range is extremely high, and we could even stream an HD video at a distance of about 20 meters (~66 ft) from the router (Fritz!Box 6360) without interference. We were still connected to the router at a distance of 50 meters (~164 ft), but experienced periodic time outs. That was also only possible when the Wi-Fi+ option was enabled. This feature should actually help the smartphone switch between Wi-Fi and mobile network connection intelligently. However, it did not convince us because it did not always function reliably and appeared to favor Wi-Fi. The subjective power consumption also seemed higher.

Bluetooth 4.1 is also on board, and made a very good impression. The Mate S also presented a high range and stable connection here. There were never any interruptions in audio streaming during the test, not even when a smartwatch was additionally tethered to the phone. Even connecting with the car information system (Volkswagen) was fast and uncomplicated.

GPS Test: Indoors
GPS Test: Indoors
GPS Test: Outdoors
GPS Test: Outdoors

In the indoors, Huawei's Mate S had difficulties finding satellites and we often had to go to a window for a moment to prompt it. In the outdoor, positioning was very quick and accurate.

We checked the tracking accuracy in a comparison with the Garmin Edge 500 bike computer on a short bike trip. The bike navigation system recorded the route with a much higher accuracy while the smartphone seemed disposed to take shortcuts. The total route difference is about 3%. Although this is sufficient for everyday use, other devices do a better job.

Garmin Edge 500
Garmin Edge 500
Garmin Edge 500
Garmin Edge 500
Garmin Edge 500
Garmin Edge 500
Huawei Mate S
Huawei Mate S
Huawei Mate S
Huawei Mate S
Huawei Mate S
Huawei Mate S

Telephone & Call Quality

Compared with the P8 or Honor 7, the phone app has not been modified. The call quality of Huawei's Mate S is excellent. Whether the smartphone is held to the ear or the speaker is used, the device is always convincing and delivers a very good acoustic experience. The call is transmitted loud and clear when held to the ear. Furthermore, ambient noise suppression functions quite well.

The included headset also presented itself as surprisingly good. It reduces the noise of wind well and has a good sound. Making calls with it was very pleasant, even if the Mate S performed better when held to the ear.

Cameras

Like in Huawei's P8, an 8 MP front-facing camera and a 13 MP lens on the rear are used in the Mate S. The technical specifications of the components are identical to those of the sister model. Thus, it seems reasonable that the same camera modules are installed. However, the lens in the Mate S protrudes out of the casing slightly and is protected by sapphire glass.

Despite the front-facing camera's fix focus, it shoots quite decent photos, and is sufficient for selfies and groufies. The latter are even better when using panorama mode, which allows capturing even larger groups in the picture.

Frontkamera-Aufnahme
Front-facing camera shot
Front-facing camera panorama
Front-facing camera panorama

The primary camera is also convincing, and delivers good results. The focus could be slightly better, but differences compared to superior cameras are only visible in blowups. The range of dynamics is decent, but the camera from Huawei cannot compete with premium models like LG's G4 or Galaxy S6. The HDR mode remedies this, but it has to be enabled manually. Although the low-light photos are slightly darker than those of the competition, the sharpness is considerably higher. The photo's brightness can be adjusted via a control on the screen during the shoot. This makes better-illuminated photos possible, which could however take its toll on the picture quality.

Light painting is also available in the Mate S. The manual mode is new, which allows setting exposure time, light sensitivity, white balance and type of focus among other things. Also new, the automatic document correction: The camera simply has to be held over the object, for example a business card, and the smartphone automatically shoots a picture of it and crops it for an ideal view. This functioned quite well in practice. 

Videos are still only recorded in Full HD. UHD should be available in this price range; however, the recordings are quite good and convincing.

Camera Pro feature
Camera Pro feature
Camera Pro feature
Camera Pro feature

Image Comparison

Choose a scene and navigate within the first image. One click changes the position on touchscreens. One click on the zoomed-in image opens the original in a new window. The first image shows the scaled photograph of the test device.

Scene 1Scene 2Scene 3
click to load images

Accessories

The range of accessories included with Huawei's Mate S are relatively extensive. Besides a USB cable and the modular power supply, the smartphone is shipped with a flip case with a window and a high-quality looking headset. More cases are to follow.

Warranty

Huawei includes a 24-month warranty on its Mate S.

Input Devices & Handling

The 5.5-inch, capacitive touchscreen of Huawei's Mate S detects up to ten fingers simultaneously, and is protected by the latest Corning Gorilla Glass 4. The surface is pleasant to the touch and conveys a first-rate feel. Its accuracy is beyond reproach. A glove mode is also preloaded.

Unfortunately, the onscreen Android buttons cannot be faded out like in the Honor 7. However, swiping over it enables one-hand mode.

The virtual keyboard is similar to other Huawei models, and supports swiping and automatic word suggestion. Users who frequently use social networking will miss a button for the smiley gallery.

In addition to Google Now, voice control by Huawei is also on board. It functions in standby, but is currently only available in English. The detection speed was only average; Huawei needs to improve that a bit.

Then again, the fingerprint scanner on the rear of the Mate S is good. Not only does it unlock the device, but can also be used as a camera release, a touchpad for scrolling through the gallery or be used to open the notification center. The sensor functions very fast and accurately. It is just a bit awkward that the smartphone has to be picked up every time to unlock it.

Force Touch (3D Touch)

Force Touch was also touted during the presentation of the Mate S. Unfortunately, the devices featuring this extra layer will first be launched on the market in the last quarter of this year. We could, however, take a closer look at the Mate S with Force Touch and try it.

Huawei does not yet have many features available. It is possible to use the smartphone as a scale with some restrictions. The object to be weighed has to respond to the capacitive surface and weigh between 100 and 400 grams (~3.5 and ~14 oz). An orange was used during the presentation, and it functioned quite well. However, we do not see a practical aspect with such tight restrictions. In addition, Force Touch can replace the Android navigation bar. Common functions are performed reliably when tapping the corresponding area on the screen, without taking room on the screen. Furthermore, our preview device allowed opening apps directly by tapping different corners on the screen. Force Touch itself functioned very well here, but the diversity of features should be increased considerably before launch to provide a genuine benefit.

Display

Good screen, but not high-end
Good screen, but not high-end

The screen in Huawei's Mate S is 5.5 inches, and has a resolution of 1920x1080 pixels. This equates to a pixel density of approximately 401 ppi, and is razor-sharp. The absence of a higher resolution screen can be tolerated. We were surprised that Huawei relies on a Super AMOLED screen rather than the very good IPS NEO panel that was used in the Chinese manufacturer's flagship models to date.

The screen is supplied by Samsung and has a brightness of up to 374 cd/m². This rate is sufficient for an OLED panel, and is considerably brighter than, for example, the one in a Lumia 930. However, the Mate S cannot compete with the latest Super AMOLEDs in Samsung's own premium smartphones. Although they have a similar brightness, they can increase it even further via the ambient light sensor when required. The Mate S does not have this feature. The illumination of 87% is only average.

327
cd/m²
347
cd/m²
374
cd/m²
327
cd/m²
352
cd/m²
372
cd/m²
327
cd/m²
353
cd/m²
370
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 374 cd/m² Average: 349.9 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 87 %
Center on Battery: 352 cd/m²
Contrast: ∞:1 (Black: 0 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 4.95 | 0.6-29.43 Ø6
ΔE Greyscale 6.54 | 0.64-98 Ø6.2
Gamma: 2.27
Huawei Mate S
Mali-T628 MP4, Kirin 935, 32 GB eMMC Flash
LG G4
Adreno 418, 808 MSM8992, 32 GB eMMC Flash
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+
Mali-T760 MP8, 7420 Octa, 32 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
Apple iPhone 6 Plus
PowerVR GX6450, A8, 64 GB eMMC Flash
Nokia Lumia 930
Adreno 330, 800 MSM8974, 32 GB eMMC Flash
OnePlus 2
Adreno 430, 810 MSM8994, 64 GB eMMC Flash
Huawei P8
Mali-T628 MP4, Kirin 930, 16 GB eMMC Flash
Honor 7
Mali-T628 MP4, Kirin 935, 64 GB eMMC Flash
Screen
19%
22%
32%
-38%
24%
17%
17%
Brightness middle
352
566
61%
335.7
-5%
519
47%
275
-22%
451
28%
453
29%
442
26%
Brightness
350
536
53%
332
-5%
496
42%
278
-21%
446
27%
439
25%
440
26%
Brightness Distribution
87
90
3%
89
2%
90
3%
89
2%
90
3%
91
5%
92
6%
Black Level *
0.47
0.62
0.3
0.28
0.23
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
4.95
6.17
-25%
2.33
53%
3.67
26%
10.99
-122%
3.84
22%
4.7
5%
4.52
9%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
6.54
6.26
4%
2.15
67%
3.78
42%
8.29
-27%
3.97
39%
5.03
23%
5.47
16%
Gamma
2.27 97%
2.48 89%
2.15 102%
2.42 91%
2.16 102%
2.46 89%
2.27 97%
2.27 97%
CCT
6943 94%
8171 80%
6184 105%
7327 89%
6731 97%
7283 89%
7439 87%
7874 83%
Contrast
1204
837
1503
1618
1922
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
65.48
58.07
72.04
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
98.63
90.14
99.7

* ... smaller is better

The contrast ratio is virtually infinite owing to the installed Super AMOLED screen, and it is thus impeccable. Black is also pitch-black. The typical over-saturation is also seen in the Mate S. Unfortunately, there are no alternative color profiles to suit personal needs, such as in the Galaxy S6 (Edge).

The color reproduction looks very warm even subjectively. The measurements with the photospectrometer in CalMAN also confirm this. The grayscale levels exhibit a visible purplish tint. As usual, the color temperature can be adjusted in the settings .

Furthermore, the screen has a wide color space coverage, and thus the color reproduction is somewhat more accurate in AdobeRGB than in the smaller sRGB. However, very obvious shifts from the ideal can be ascertained and even exceed DeltaE 10. Thus, the screen in the Mate S is not suitable for color reference, but that will not be distracting in everyday use.

Grayscale (target color space: sRGB)
Grayscale (target color space: sRGB)
Saturation Sweeps (target color space: sRGB)
Saturation Sweeps (target color space: sRGB)
ColorChecker (target color space: sRGB)
ColorChecker (target color space: sRGB)
ColorChecker (target color space: AdobeRGB)
ColorChecker (target color space: AdobeRGB)
Colorspace (target color space: sRGB)
Colorspace (target color space: sRGB)
Colorspace (target color space: AdobeRGB)
Colorspace (target color space: AdobeRGB)

Huawei's Mate S is sufficiently bright for outdoor use, and primarily benefits from its great contrast ratio. We could usually recognize the content well in the autumn sun. Reflections on the glossy surface were occasionally annoying, but overall, the review sample fared quite well outdoors.

Mate S under lightly overcast conditions
Mate S under lightly overcast conditions
Mate S in the sun
Mate S in the sun

The viewing angle stability of Huawei's Mate S is very good, and colors do not invert even in very flat viewing angles - but that would have surprised us in view of the OLED panel. Only a minor decrease in brightness and a light greenish shimmer is perceptible in an angle from about 45 degrees.

Viewing angle stability: Huawei Mate S
Viewing angle stability: Huawei Mate S

Performance

A HiSilicon Kirin 935 SoC is installed in Huawei's Mate S. It is almost identical with the Kirin 930 in the P8, except that the 935 clocks up to 200 MHz faster. The SoC has two quad-core clusters with Cortex A53 cores. While the stronger cluster clocks at up to 2.2 GHz, the second only clocks at up to 1.5 GHz. 3 GB of working memory and an ARM Mali-T628 MP4 graphics unit supplement thatthis.

The performance is almost exactly 10 percent% higher than that of the Kirin 930, which is particularly evident in the Geekbench 3 single-core test. It is even 15 percent% when all cores are utilized. The higher performance is not as strongly noticed in 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited, where a performance plus advantage of only four percent4% over the smaller unit are is achieved. However, the Kirin looks quite weak compared with present current top SoCs. The Galaxy S6 Edge (Exynos 7420) outruns the Mate S by whole 51 percent% in AnTuTu v5, and the OnePlus 2 (Snapdragon 810) is also considerably faster. Only the Edge is faster in PCMark, which underlines the review sample's everyday suitability because the UI runs very smoothly.

The storage speed of the Mate S is in the midfield among the high-end devices. We looked closer at the micro-SD slot, and tested its speed with the swift fast Toshiba Exceria SD-CX32UHS1 (UHS-I Class 3, read: 85 MB/s, write: 55 MB/s) memory card. The Mate S provided good transfer rates (read: 63.1 MB/s, write: 17.76 MB/s). It only showed performance weaknesses in writing small data blocks (0.1 MB/s).

The browser speed is also good, but the review sample has to take a place at the back compared to the contenderscompetition. The Mate S primarily lags behind extremely especially in the Java JetStream 1.1 test.

 

 

 

Stagefright Detector
Stagefright Detector
CPU-Z (SoC)
CPU-Z (SoC)
CPU-Z (Device)
CPU-Z (Device)
CPU-Z (System)
CPU-Z (System)
CPU-Z (Sensors)
CPU-Z (Sensors)
AnTuTu v5 - Total Score (sort by value)
Huawei Mate S
47732 Points ∼48%
Huawei P8
45927 Points ∼46% -4%
Honor 7
47515 Points ∼48% 0%
HTC One M9
55374 Points ∼56% +16%
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
72094 Points ∼73% +51%
OnePlus 2
58535 Points ∼59% +23%
LG G4
49941 Points ∼50% +5%
Sony Xperia Z3+
49332 Points ∼50% +3%
Apple iPhone 6 Plus
50360 Points ∼51% +6%
Geekbench 3
64 Bit Multi-Core Score (sort by value)
Huawei Mate S
3970 Points ∼11%
Huawei P8
3458 Points ∼9% -13%
Honor 7
3888 Points ∼10% -2%
HTC One M9
3835 Points ∼10% -3%
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
5619 Points ∼15% +42%
OnePlus 2
4804 Points ∼13% +21%
LG G4
3556 Points ∼9% -10%
Sony Xperia Z3+
4009 Points ∼11% +1%
64 Bit Single-Core Score (sort by value)
Huawei Mate S
941 Points ∼19%
Huawei P8
864 Points ∼18% -8%
Honor 7
957 Points ∼19% +2%
HTC One M9
1275 Points ∼26% +35%
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
1503 Points ∼31% +60%
OnePlus 2
1140 Points ∼23% +21%
LG G4
1107 Points ∼23% +18%
Sony Xperia Z3+
1149 Points ∼23% +22%
PCMark for Android - Work performance score (sort by value)
Huawei Mate S
4872 Points ∼25%
Huawei P8
4479 Points ∼23% -8%
Honor 7
4625 Points ∼24% -5%
HTC One M9
4193 Points ∼21% -14%
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
5050 Points ∼26% +4%
OnePlus 2
4282 Points ∼22% -12%
LG G4
4579 Points ∼23% -6%
Sony Xperia Z3+
4670 Points ∼24% -4%
3DMark
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) Physics (sort by value)
Huawei Mate S
1051 Points ∼23%
Honor 7
819 Points ∼18% -22%
HTC One M9
1132 Points ∼25% +8%
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
1320 Points ∼29% +26%
OnePlus 2
1517 Points ∼34% +44%
LG G4
1216 Points ∼27% +16%
Sony Xperia Z3+
714 Points ∼16% -32%
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) Graphics (sort by value)
Huawei Mate S
259 Points ∼4%
Honor 7
190 Points ∼3% -27%
HTC One M9
1084 Points ∼15% +319%
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
1152 Points ∼16% +345%
OnePlus 2
846 Points ∼12% +227%
LG G4
440 Points ∼6% +70%
Sony Xperia Z3+
873 Points ∼12% +237%
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) (sort by value)
Huawei Mate S
311 Points ∼5%
Honor 7
229 Points ∼4% -26%
HTC One M9
1094 Points ∼17% +252%
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
1186 Points ∼19% +281%
OnePlus 2
938 Points ∼15% +202%
LG G4
513 Points ∼8% +65%
Sony Xperia Z3+
832 Points ∼13% +168%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Physics (sort by value)
Huawei Mate S
1052 Points ∼24%
Honor 7
804 Points ∼18% -24%
HTC One M9
845 Points ∼19% -20%
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
1553 Points ∼35% +48%
OnePlus 2
1414 Points ∼32% +34%
LG G4
1115 Points ∼25% +6%
Sony Xperia Z3+
631 Points ∼14% -40%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Graphics (sort by value)
Huawei Mate S
315 Points ∼3%
Honor 7
269 Points ∼2% -15%
HTC One M9
1892 Points ∼17% +501%
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
1492 Points ∼13% +374%
OnePlus 2
1854 Points ∼16% +489%
LG G4
1399 Points ∼12% +344%
Sony Xperia Z3+
1846 Points ∼16% +486%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 (sort by value)
Huawei Mate S
373 Points ∼5%
Honor 7
315 Points ∼4% -16%
HTC One M9
1484 Points ∼18% +298%
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
1505 Points ∼18% +303%
OnePlus 2
1734 Points ∼21% +365%
LG G4
1324 Points ∼16% +255%
Sony Xperia Z3+
1293 Points ∼16% +247%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Physics (sort by value)
Huawei Mate S
11671 Points ∼14%
Huawei P8
10494 Points ∼12% -10%
Honor 7
10360 Points ∼12% -11%
HTC One M9
10432 (min: 10432, max: 10786) Points ∼12% -11%
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
19260 Points ∼22% +65%
OnePlus 2
10985 Points ∼13% -6%
LG G4
11178 Points ∼13% -4%
Sony Xperia Z3+
9559 Points ∼11% -18%
Apple iPhone 6 Plus
9473 Points ∼11% -19%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Graphics Score (sort by value)
Huawei Mate S
8931 Points ∼2%
Huawei P8
8743 Points ∼2% -2%
Honor 7
10579 Points ∼2% +18%
HTC One M9
34429 (min: 34429, max: 34485) Points ∼6% +285%
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
23954 Points ∼5% +168%
OnePlus 2
31858 Points ∼6% +257%
LG G4
23390 Points ∼4% +162%
Sony Xperia Z3+
36316 Points ∼7% +307%
Apple iPhone 6 Plus
23937 Points ∼5% +168%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Score (sort by value)
Huawei Mate S
9423 Points ∼4%
Huawei P8
9080 Points ∼4% -4%
Honor 7
10528 Points ∼4% +12%
HTC One M9
22783 (min: 22783, max: 23171) Points ∼10% +142%
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
22723 Points ∼10% +141%
OnePlus 2
22400 Points ∼9% +138%
LG G4
18821 Points ∼8% +100%
Sony Xperia Z3+
22389 Points ∼9% +138%
Apple iPhone 6 Plus
17873 Points ∼8% +90%
GFXBench (DX / GLBenchmark) 2.7
1920x1080 T-Rex HD Offscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
Huawei Mate S
10 fps ∼0%
Huawei P8
10 fps ∼0% 0%
Honor 7
10 fps ∼0% 0%
HTC One M9
49 fps ∼0% +390%
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
53 fps ∼0% +430%
OnePlus 2
48 fps ∼0% +380%
LG G4
33.7 fps ∼0% +237%
Sony Xperia Z3+
49 fps ∼0% +390%
Apple iPhone 6 Plus
44.8 fps ∼0% +348%
T-Rex HD Onscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
Huawei Mate S
11 fps ∼0%
Huawei P8
11 fps ∼0% 0%
Honor 7
11 fps ∼0% 0%
HTC One M9
50 fps ∼1% +355%
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
32 fps ∼1% +191%
OnePlus 2
47 fps ∼1% +327%
LG G4
24.9 fps ∼1% +126%
Sony Xperia Z3+
47 fps ∼1% +327%
Apple iPhone 6 Plus
52.4 fps ∼2% +376%
Smartbench 2012
Gaming Index (sort by value)
Huawei Mate S
4293 points ∼93%
Huawei P8
4340 points ∼94% +1%
Honor 7
4217 points ∼92% -2%
HTC One M9
4454 points ∼97% +4%
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
4498 points ∼98% +5%
OnePlus 2
4325 points ∼94% +1%
LG G4
4118 points ∼90% -4%
Sony Xperia Z3+
4394 points ∼96% +2%
Productivity Index (sort by value)
Huawei Mate S
5932 points ∼32%
Huawei P8
5433 points ∼29% -8%
Honor 7
6586 points ∼35% +11%
HTC One M9
5738 points ∼30% -3%
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
13558 points ∼72% +129%
OnePlus 2
10472 points ∼56% +77%
LG G4
8940 points ∼47% +51%
Sony Xperia Z3+
7662 points ∼41% +29%
AndroBench 3-5
Random Write 4KB (sort by value)
Huawei Mate S
17.74 MB/s ∼7%
Huawei P8
10.04 MB/s ∼4% -43%
Honor 7
11.3 MB/s ∼5% -36%
HTC One M9
13.91 MB/s ∼6% -22%
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
19.84 MB/s ∼8% +12%
OnePlus 2
13.94 MB/s ∼6% -21%
LG G4
15 MB/s ∼6% -15%
Sony Xperia Z3+
13.57 MB/s ∼5% -24%
Random Read 4KB (sort by value)
Huawei Mate S
27.25 MB/s ∼14%
Huawei P8
22.46 MB/s ∼11% -18%
Honor 7
24.92 MB/s ∼13% -9%
HTC One M9
20.66 MB/s ∼11% -24%
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
77.43 MB/s ∼39% +184%
OnePlus 2
21.87 MB/s ∼11% -20%
LG G4
31.5 MB/s ∼16% +16%
Sony Xperia Z3+
18.64 MB/s ∼9% -32%
Sequential Write 256KB (sort by value)
Huawei Mate S
103.44 MB/s ∼18%
Huawei P8
39.58 MB/s ∼7% -62%
Honor 7
86.99 MB/s ∼15% -16%
HTC One M9
123.81 MB/s ∼21% +20%
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
139.12 MB/s ∼24% +34%
OnePlus 2
125.51 MB/s ∼21% +21%
LG G4
153 MB/s ∼26% +48%
Sony Xperia Z3+
76.61 MB/s ∼13% -26%
Sequential Read 256KB (sort by value)
Huawei Mate S
143.96 MB/s ∼10%
Huawei P8
139.95 MB/s ∼9% -3%
Honor 7
140.64 MB/s ∼9% -2%
HTC One M9
235.14 MB/s ∼16% +63%
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
319.25 MB/s ∼21% +122%
OnePlus 2
234.21 MB/s ∼16% +63%
LG G4
251 MB/s ∼17% +74%
Sony Xperia Z3+
248.1 MB/s ∼16% +72%
Octane V2 - Total Score (sort by value)
Huawei Mate S
4106 Points ∼8%
Huawei P8
4084 Points ∼8% -1%
Honor 7
4646 Points ∼9% +13%
HTC One M9
6493 Points ∼12% +58%
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
8650 Points ∼17% +111%
OnePlus 2
6955 Points ∼13% +69%
LG G4
7832 (min: 6791) Points ∼15% +91%
Sony Xperia Z3+
6796 Points ∼13% +66%
Apple iPhone 6 Plus
7276 Points ∼14% +77%
JetStream 1.1 - Total Score (sort by value)
Huawei Mate S
25.412 Points ∼7%
Honor 7
32.121 Points ∼9% +26%
HTC One M9
26.852 Points ∼8% +6%
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
49.193 Points ∼14% +94%
OnePlus 2
44.286 Points ∼13% +74%
LG G4
43.118 Points ∼12% +70%
Sony Xperia Z3+
35.557 Points ∼10% +40%
WebXPRT 2015 - Overall Score (sort by value)
Huawei Mate S
73 Points ∼9%
Huawei P8
70 Points ∼9% -4%
Honor 7
67 Points ∼8% -8%
HTC One M9
72 Points ∼9% -1%
OnePlus 2
80 Points ∼10% +10%
LG G4
82 Points ∼10% +12%
Sony Xperia Z3+
60 Points ∼7% -18%

Legend

 
Huawei Mate S HiSilicon Kirin 935, ARM Mali-T628 MP4, 32 GB eMMC Flash
 
Huawei P8 HiSilicon Kirin 930, ARM Mali-T628 MP4, 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
Honor 7 HiSilicon Kirin 935, ARM Mali-T628 MP4, 64 GB eMMC Flash
 
HTC One M9 Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 MSM8994, Qualcomm Adreno 430, 32 GB eMMC Flash
 
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Samsung Exynos 7420 Octa, ARM Mali-T760 MP8, 32 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
 
OnePlus 2 Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 MSM8994, Qualcomm Adreno 430, 64 GB eMMC Flash
 
LG G4 Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 MSM8992, Qualcomm Adreno 418, 32 GB eMMC Flash
 
Sony Xperia Z3+ Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 MSM8994, Qualcomm Adreno 430, 32 GB eMMC Flash
 
Apple iPhone 6 Plus Apple A8, PowerVR GX6450, 64 GB eMMC Flash

Games

The ARM Mali-T628 MP4 graphics unit in Huawei's Mate S is positioned in the performance midfield of mobile GPUs. It supports modern graphic standards, such as OpenGL ES 3.1. Even games with higher performance demands, like "Asphalt 8", are mostly rendered smoothly in maximum image quality. However, slightly more power will be needed in faster scenes where several vehicles are displayed.

The excellent touchscreen and impeccable functionality of the sensors make the Mate S a decent mobile game console. Unfortunately, in landscape mode, a hand can sometimes cover the speaker.

"Angry Birds 2"
"Angry Birds 2"
"Asphalt 8"
"Asphalt 8"

Emissions

Temperature

The surface temperatures of Huawei's Mate S are relatively low. The smartphone reaches a maximum of 31.2 °C (~88 °F) in idle with active screen, and it is at most lukewarm at 35.8 °C (~96 °F) under permanent load.

To assess the situation on the SoC, the Mate S had to face the battery test of GFXBench 3.1. The T-Rex test runs thirty times in succession, and records both the battery state and frame rates among other things. The performance dropped by almost 15% at the beginning of the third run, and settled at this level. The performance loss is not as significant as, for example, in HTC's One M9 (up to 40%), but that is not as tragic for the competition in view of its high performance since it still achieves approximately twice as many frame rates as the Mate S.

Max. Load
 34.8 °C
95 F
35.8 °C
96 F
32.3 °C
90 F
 
 35 °C
95 F
34.5 °C
94 F
32.2 °C
90 F
 
 34.4 °C
94 F
33.6 °C
92 F
32 °C
90 F
 
Maximum: 35.8 °C = 96 F
Average: 33.8 °C = 93 F
31.2 °C
88 F
31.9 °C
89 F
32.6 °C
91 F
31.5 °C
89 F
32.2 °C
90 F
32.9 °C
91 F
31.5 °C
89 F
32.3 °C
90 F
32.5 °C
91 F
Maximum: 32.9 °C = 91 F
Average: 32.1 °C = 90 F
Power Supply (max.)  33.4 °C = 92 F | Room Temperature 23.2 °C = 74 F | Voltcraft IR-260
(±) The average temperature for the upper side under maximal load is 33.8 °C / 93 F, compared to the average of 33.1 °C / 92 F for the devices in the class Smartphone.
(+) The maximum temperature on the upper side is 35.8 °C / 96 F, compared to the average of 35.5 °C / 96 F, ranging from 22.4 to 51.7 °C for the class Smartphone.
(+) The bottom heats up to a maximum of 32.9 °C / 91 F, compared to the average of 34.1 °C / 93 F
(+) In idle usage, the average temperature for the upper side is 30.5 °C / 87 F, compared to the device average of 33.1 °C / 92 F.

Speaker

Although it might look as if Huawei's Mate S has two speakers on the lower edge, only one is hidden behind the right grille when held in the hand. Basses are virtually non-existent, but the trebles are rendered very well. The presented quality is comparatively good, and the sound is very balanced up to a volume of 60%. Trebles start to distort beyond that in music playback. However, it must be noted that the Mate S can be very loud.

A 3.5 mm audio jack is also installed. Media sounds quite decent with the included headset, but echoes slightly. Users who connect high-quality stereo headphones will be satisfied with the available performance. The integrated DTS mode audibly improves the headset's sound.

The mono speaker is behind the left grille
The mono speaker is behind the left grille

Energy Management

Power Consumption

The idle power consumption of Huawei's Mate S is somewhat lower than that of the P8 due to the OLED screen. This advantage is offset under load, probably because of the slightly stronger SoC. The full load power consumption is generally surprisingly high when put in ratio with the performance. Smartphones based on a Snapdragon 810 usually do not need more power. Furthermore, the standby power consumption is slightly increased.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0 / 0.3 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 0.6 / 1.2 / 1.6 Watt
Load midlight 4.1 / 7.4 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Voltcraft VC 870

Battery Runtime

Although a relatively small battery is installed in Huawei's Mate S, it was very enduring in the test and excelled with outstanding runtimes. It outperformed its rivals in almost all fields.

Everyday use is also beyond reproach. The battery easily managed a day even when we extensively browsed through social networks, processed emails, used Messenger, and played a few games. A remaining capacity of over 40% was often displayed at the end of the day, even when a smartwatch was tethered to the Mate S.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
18h 44min
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3
9h 35min
Big Buck Bunny H.264 1080p
9h 29min
Load (maximum brightness)
4h 42min
Huawei Mate S
Mali-T628 MP4, Kirin 935, 32 GB eMMC Flash
Huawei P8
Mali-T628 MP4, Kirin 930, 16 GB eMMC Flash
Honor 7
Mali-T628 MP4, Kirin 935, 64 GB eMMC Flash
LG G4
Adreno 418, 808 MSM8992, 32 GB eMMC Flash
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+
Mali-T760 MP8, 7420 Octa, 32 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
Apple iPhone 6 Plus
PowerVR GX6450, A8, 64 GB eMMC Flash
OnePlus 2
Adreno 430, 810 MSM8994, 64 GB eMMC Flash
Battery Runtime
-19%
-14%
-17%
-1%
6%
-8%
Reader / Idle
1124
826
-27%
888
-21%
1654
47%
1459
30%
1436
28%
1393
24%
H.264
569
581
2%
553
-3%
501
-12%
675
19%
580
2%
WiFi v1.3
575
434
-25%
484
-16%
326
-43%
501
-13%
356
-38%
Load
282
215
-24%
241
-15%
114
-60%
223
-21%
199
-29%
229
-19%
WiFi
777

Pros

+ Top notch build
+ Swift system performance
+ Expandable storage
+ Decent cameras
+ Outstanding call quality
+ Good speaker
+ Extensive accessories
+ Long-life battery

Cons

- No Force Touch at market release
- Dubious price design
- Only middling GPS
- No MHL, Miracast or Slim Port support
- No UHD videos
- LTE Cat. 4 only
- No infrared port

Verdict

In Review: Huawei Mate S. Review sample courtesy of Huawei.
In Review: Huawei Mate S. Review sample courtesy of Huawei.

Huawei's Mate S is a successful smartphone that primarily convinces with its outstanding build and stylish design. It provides great battery runtimes, a decent camera, first-rate call quality, and an up-to-date operating system in the form of Google's Android 5.1 Lollipop, which runs very smoothly.

However, we do not quite understand why Huawei charges 150 Euros (~$168) more for it than for its P8. Although the device makes a higher quality impression and twice the internal storage capacity as well as a faster SoC, buyers who opt for the premium P8 will more than compensate these advantages and even save 50 Euros (~$56).

Huawei offers a superb smartphone with its Mate S; however, its greatest drawback is its unusually high price.

It is also too bad that Force Touch is not available for the Mate S at launch. However, it is to be available in Europe this year. Huawei could not confirm whether that will affect the price. This feature increases the height by half a millimeter due to the extra layer over the touchscreen.

The greatest shortcoming is the somewhat limited connectivity. Neither LTE Cat. 6 nor an IR port is installed, and the interfaces for media playback are also relatively sparse. On the other hand, the Mate S is equipped with a very good fingerprint scanner, which has some extra features. Overall, the device is a great smartphone.

Huawei Mate S - 09/16/2015 v4(old)
Daniel Schmidt

Chassis
94%
Keyboard
70 / 75 → 93%
Pointing Device
97%
Connectivity
52 / 60 → 87%
Weight
92%
Battery
93%
Display
81%
Games Performance
57 / 63 → 90%
Application Performance
41 / 70 → 59%
Temperature
91%
Noise
100%
Audio
86 / 91 → 95%
Camera
83%
Average
80%
88%
Smartphone - Weighted Average

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > Huawei Mate S Smartphone Review
Daniel Schmidt, 2015-09-28 (Update: 2018-05-15)