For years, the term “made in China” has been somewhat derogatory, implying that the product in question is inferior. Much of the blame lies squarely on China’s shoulders thanks to their emphasis on cost, often at the expense of quality.
Known as being a telecommunications-equipment supplier to networks across the globe, Huawei was an unexpected, yet well placed, company to change this perception.
Yesterday, the Huawei unveiled the Mate S and their first foray into the smartwatch segment with the rather obviously named Watch.
These latest devices show just how far the company has progressed since they first started selling mobile phones to the South African public, both in design as well public opinion.
While the Mate 7 placed the emphasis squarely on function and battery life, the Mate S places an emphasis on design as well as function.
Touch is at the heart of the Mate S, creating what Huawei calls an enhanced experience that simplifies your interaction with the device. Photos can be quickly previewed and enlarged by pressing the screen with one finger, streamlining the operations of a traditional phone. The Mate S can also be used as a scale to weigh objects, something we’re rather hesitant to try.
The phone is equipped with Fingerprint 2.0, an upgraded version of the advanced chip level security and one-key unlock technology pioneered in the Mate 7. Fingerprint 2.0 halves recognition speeds, with more accurate self-learning functions. It can also be used to control the notification bar, erase unread notifications, preview pictures, and hold and take phone calls. All of these options improve the one hand operation of the phone.
Fingerprint 2.0 and Knuckle Control 2.0 – technology first introduced in the Huawei P8 – simplifies how users switch between app operations and take screenshots. The feature offers users a new way to interact with their phone: drawing a “C” with their knuckle activates a camera, while double-clicking the screen with a knuckle records the screen in the form of a video.
The camera hasn’t been neglected with Huawei including a 13-megapixel rear shooter with an advanced sensor with optical image stabilisation, dual color-temp LED flash lights, and independent image signal processor camera units. There is also a professional camera mode that allows for manual adjustment of ISO, exposure compensation, exposure time, white balance and focusing, and functions such as the grid, and flash-assisted focusing.
Huawei knows that the selfie trend isn’t dying anytime soon and included an 8-megapixel front camera with soft, front lights.
“Our goal in designing the Huawei Mate S was to develop a smartphone that offers a personalised experience, rather than a commoditised one,” said Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei Consumer BG. “The Huawei Mate S is based on insights we gathered about human interaction – most notably that touch is a natural action we take to understand our world. The Huawei Mate S redefines how we incorporate touch technology into our smartphones, breaking through the conventional way of touch screen control and ushering in new imagination for human-machine interaction.”
With a 5.5-inch display and redesigned body, the Mate S seems like a winner on paper.
Keep an eye out for our hands on review when the Mate S reaches South African shores.
The Mate S will be initially available in more than 30 countries including China, France, Germany, Israel, Japan, Spain, South Africa and UAE.
Pricing and exact release dates have not yet been confirmed.
Huawei had previously released their TalkBand, a fitness band of sorts with a notifications display and the ability to function as a Bluetooth earpiece.
The Huawei Watch is the Chinese company’s first foray into the smartwatch field and we have to say, this is a beautiful device.
Smartwatches are arguably the most personal of all our connected devices, keeping this in mind; Huawei crafted a watch for the fashion conscious consumer.
The Huawei Watch features a fully circular 1.4-inch touch-sensitive AMOLED display, coated in scratchproof sapphire crystal and a cold-forged stainless steel frame.
Unlike the Apple Watch and the newly announced Moto 360 2, Huawei’s watch is only available in one size, 42mm, how this will fare on those with smaller wrists remains to be seen.
The watch comes in a three different colours including rose gold, stainless steel and black and the ability to select from a variety of bespoke watch face designs.
There is also a choice of straps including stainless steel mesh, stainless steel links, rose gold, and black-plated stainless steel links, and brown and black leather. Huawei says that the straps are easy to change and users can fit any watchstrap with 18mm width lug interface.
The Huawei watch has a heart rate sensor to measures heart rate and 6-axis motion sensor, which can track activities including walking, running, cycling and mountain climbing. It is also able to download music for offline playback via Bluetooth, which can also link up to wireless headphones.
The watch is powered by the latest version of Android Wear, which for the first time supports both Android and iOS devices, and packs in a 300mAh battery and 512MB RAM.
Unfortunately, Huawei has not confirmed whether or not they will bring their smartwatch to South Africa.