Smartphones today aren’t just getting bigger or more powerful—they’re getting cheaper, too. Huawei, a relatively unknown electronics company outside of China, has released its own entrant into the cheap smartphone game, and it’s one of the more compelling offers we’ve seen in a while. Say hello to the Huawei Ascend Mate2, a 6.1-inch behemoth that’s only $299 off-contract—and it’s available for pre-order starting today.
Specs-wise, the Mate2 is decidedly mid-range, so don’t expect this to challenge something like the HTC One (M8) or Galaxy S5 in terms of raw power. But we all know by now that specs don’t make or break a device; it’s the experience that ultimately matters. That said, the Mate2 features a 6.1-inch 720p screen, 1.6GHz quad-core processor, 3900mAh battery, 2GB of RAM and Android 4.3 Jelly Bean. In addition, the device also has a 13-megapixel camera (5-megapixel front), LTE and Bluetooth 4.0.
The device is pretty enormous, sure, but it isn’t unwieldy; the design is fairly unassuming, too, textured back, flat sides and rounded corners, just like 90-percent of the other Android smartphones on the market. On the bottom is the microUSB port, and on the top is the 3.5mm headphone jack. It feels a bit heavy, and certainly requires two hands in order to use comfortably, but it’s not any less usable than, say, a Galaxy Mega, which is one of the larger devices around.
At $299 without a contract, the Mate2 is a pretty compelling offer, especially considering some of today’s most popular flagships require a subsidy to hit that $299 price. Just buy the device, pop in your SIM, and you’re good to go. You can pre-order the device now in either black or white, with shipments expected to go out in a week or so.