By: Jacqui Mackway-Wilson

I remember the first time I heard the word ‘Huawei’ pronounced correctly.  It was at a conference early in 2013 and Cherylann Smith was on the stage promising a delightful tech gadget giveaway to the person who could tell her how to say it properly.

All eyes went front-facing.  No one moved. You could practically hear crickets chirping.

One or two brave souls mumbled something incomprehensible until Cherylann boldly stepped forward and broke the silence: “Wah-way” she said.

Blinks and half-nods of recognition made their way around the room.

“Wah-way – that is how you pronounce it” she smiled and I felt relieved at finally knowing how to say the name of the brand for the external dongle I’d been using for five years! Huawei ran a highly successful campaign to school consumers on the pronunciation of their name, as can be seen here:   https://youtu.be/KGAqvpYLiGw  Already a household name in Asia, they have since gone on to take their place as the world’s Number 3 smartphone vendor, but with their eye set on eventually taking the top spot for biggest smartphone vendor world-wide, Huawei has and continues to make,  aggressive strides in the market, not least of all here in Africa  but also in Europe and the US.

Apart from discovering how to say ‘Huawei’, an even better discovery for me perhaps, has been experiencing some of what they have to offer in terms of the technology they produce.  I recently had the good fortune to put the Huawei Ascend Mate 7 mobile handset to the test for a couple of weeks.

This Android handset competes with the likes of (and is in many ways somewhat comparable to) the Samsung Galaxy S5, the HTC One M8 and the Sony Xperia Z2.

At only a year old, the Ascend Mate 7 is a sleekly-styled charmer and, given the fact that its newer, shinier successor, the P8 was released in South Africa at a gala event at the Johannesburg Country Club just last Thursday, the Ascend Mate 7 is sure to be a classy extra-large smartphone option that’s easy on the eye, easy to use and even more easy on the pocket.

In terms of specifications, the Ascend Mate 7 provides all the usual bells and whistles of a phone in its class:

  1. OS Android 4.4.2 KitKat, with EMUI 3.1 Lollipop update to go with it
  2. 2GB RAM with a Hisilicon Kirin 925 octa-core chipset  (this is geek-speak for FAST cpu)
  3. 16GB internal storage
  4. microSD for external storage
  5. Display resolution of 1920 x1080, 368ppi, full HD
  6. Display size 6 inches, LCD
  7. Cameras 5 megapixels front-facing, 13 megapixels AF BSI F2.0 with Flash
  8. Dimensions 157 x 81 x7.9 mm available in black and silver, premium aluminium weighing  185g

As a self-proclaimed Apple fan-girl, using the Ascend Mate 7 presented something of a change for me and besides its sheer size (taking a one-handed selfie was slightly more awkward and/or challenging than usual, even although the Mate is only a smidge bigger than the iPhone 6 Plus!) I found the camera app vaguely reminiscent of iOS 8, intuitive and easy to use.  The fact that the single-touch activation fingerprint scanner is positioned at the back of the handset is convenient, making it quick and easy to unlock the phone in one touch because the button is always within reach of your index finger.  Other than that, although the Mate is a pleasure to use, I found no single distinguishing feature of the handset to really set it apart.

Having said that, however, I must give credit where credit is due and if there is one thing the Ascend Mate 7 ascended (and transcended my expectations) with, it is with phenomenal battery life.  The battery in this phablet is a beast of a 4100mAh battery (larger than that found in the Nexus 7 tablet) and even after two days of general use and abuse, I did not yet have to run for a recharge. Along with prominent tech gurus and reviewers like Liron Segev, the Techie Guy, I too found this rather impressive.

The fact that the Ascend Mate 7 ticks the boxes for styling, extra-long battery life and affordability* (not to mention the fact that Huawei is clearly working hard to up their game as far as regular, timeous Android update releases go – which will be necessary if they really want to compete for the top spot worldwide), I give it 3 and a half stars out of 5.  It gives plenty of bang for your buck but it’s not going to tear me away from my iPhone just yet…

*At the time of this writing, the newly released Huawei P8 can be purchased online in South Africa for R6730 whereas the Huawei Ascend Mate 7 is coming in at a more economical R5650.

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