Huawei’s latest flagship smartphone, the Mate S, will be officially launched in Malaysia next week. Armed with a full metal unibody construction paired with premium hardware, this is Huawei’s most premium smartphone to date – and it is priced accordingly, too: the Mate S will retail for RM2,698.
If the Mate S’ design looks strikingly familiar, it is because it is distinctly similar to the Huawei’s sister company, honor’s most recent flagship, the honor 7. The back design is almost the same, save for a few minute details: the camera bump at the back is the same size, but the Mate S’ smaller sensor means it looks slightly different; the top and bottom of the honor 7 is made from plastic for better antenna signals, while the Mate S sports a full metal body.
We were told that the designs were similar due to both companies’ synergy, but the Mate S uses more premium materials both externally and internally to justify its higher price point. There are also finer details like the use of 2.5D Gorilla Glass 4 as well as a subtle curved back for better ergonomics.
Inside, the Huawei Mate S is powered by Huawei’s own HiSilicon Kirin 935 octa-core chipset (the same as the honor 7) paired with 3GB of RAM. Besides that, the Mate S sports a 5.5-inch Full HD display, 13MP rear camera with OIS and a 8MP front-facing camera. There’s also a 2,700mAh “step platform” battery, which has a shape that takes advantage of the device’s curved back – in theory it is similar to Apple’s liberal use of batteries on the new MacBook. Other notable specs include fast charging support, fingerprint sensor located at the back, hybrid dual-SIM support with dual-4G connectivity, and Knuckle Sense 2.0. The Malaysian model will be the 64GB version, and Huawei is offering a choice of two colourways: Prestige Gold and Coral Pink.
A point to note here is on the lack of Force Touch support on the Mate S. As some will remember, the Mate S with Force Touch is a limited release model which will be sold only in selected markets – Malaysia is not one of those markets, for now. We’re told that the 128GB Force Touch model would “easily” cost RM600-RM800 more than the Malaysian model, which was why Huawei is holding it back until the market is ready for the new feature.
As such, Malaysians will have to be content with Knuckle Sense 2.0 for now. A feature first seen on the Huawei P8 earlier this year, Knuckle Sense technology on the display is able to distinguish touch inputs made by a fingertip and by a knuckle. This allows the P8 and Mate S to support “knuckle gestures” like double-tapping with the knuckle to capture a screenshot, or new “draw” functions that lets you open specific apps by drawing a letter (like C for camera).
Speaking of cameras, the Mate S’ camera also gets a suite of features. Besides Huawei’s standard shooting mode, you can also try out interesting modes like Light Painting, Time-lapse, Super Night and Pro Camera, which unlocks manual control for enthusiasts. Unfortunately, HDR is still a separate shooting mode on the Mate S.
We’ll be spending more time with the Huawei Mate S in our full review, so check that out very soon.
In the meantime, here are more information about the Mate S in Malaysia. As mentioned in the headline, this will be the most expensive Huawei smartphone to date, at a retail price of RM2,698. However, Huawei is sweetening things with an array of after-sales services. This include a standard two-year warranty, and a one-to-one exchange policy for the first year only. There’s also a no-questions-asked one-time free cracked screen replacement within the first year of purchase.
And, perhaps most interestingly, the first 3,000 purchases of the Mate S will also receive a bespoke Pewter Membership Card, made by Royal Selangor. This card will allow Mate S owners to skip all queues for a VIP service treatment at all Huawei Exclusive Service Centres. All Mate S owners can also arrange a delivery and pick-up arrangement for their device for servicing purposes.
Finally, the first 1,000 customers will also receive a free Huawei Active Noise Cancelling (ANC) earphones which is not sold in Malaysia.