IFA: Huawei unveils new curved Mate S smartphone

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Huawei kicked off IFA 2015 with the launch of its new Mate S smartphone in Berlin today

The Chinese manufacturer, which is on track to achieving record smartphone sales this year of 100 million, unveiled the device during a packed press conference hosted by Huawei CEO Richard Yu. (September 2).

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The “luxury” flagship device, a follow up last years Ascend Mate 7 smartphone, will be available this month and costs €649 (£476) for the 32GB model and €699 (£513) for the 64GB model. A 128GB model will be launching soon. It can be pre-ordered now through the firms recently launched Virtual Mall (VMall) website.

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According to Yu, the device “surpasses industry expectations”, thanks to its design and “innovative” technology features which make using the device a more personal experience.

“Our goal in designing the Huawei Mate S was to develop a smartphone that offers a personalized experience, rather than a commoditized one,” said Yu. “The Huawei Mate S is based on insights we gathered about human interaction.”

That insight has seen Huawei follow a similar route to LG, with the new device which has a 5.5 inch screen and just 7.2mm thick, incorporating a curved body, which Yu said provides extra comfort when holding the handset and is less likely to be dropped.

Touch

Huawei has also introduced a number of new and updated features around usability, with much of the launch centred around the subject of “touch”.

These include an updated version of the its fingerprint navigation button featured on the back of the device.

Fingerprint 2.0, according to Huawei, improves recognition speeds by 100 per cent compared to the original technology first featured on the P8. The button has a number of uses, including the ability to switch between photos answer and end calls, as well as taking “more natural” selfies without touching the screen and with one hand.

The device is water resistant, and the Fingerprint 2.0 has been designed to provide greater accuracy and sensitivity if hands are wet or sweaty.

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Knuckle control

The handset has an updated version of its  Knuckle Control technology, dubbed 2.0 – first introduced in the Huawei P8. The technology simplifies how users switch between app operations and take screenshots by tapping or writing on the screen.

For example, users can write the letter C on the screen, which will immediately bring up the camera, or the letter W to open a Weather app. A double click will immediately start recording video.

The Mate S also includes a new ‘Force Touch’ technology which performs tasks based on the level of pressure pushed down on the screen. For example, adding pressure can be used to zoom in on pictures. It can also measure the weight of small items, with an orange used as an example.

“Touch is a natural action we take to understand our world,” said Yu. “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.”

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World class camera

Other features include a “professional quality” 13 megapixel rear facing and eight megapixel front facing camera. The latter of which now includes improved ‘soft lighting’ for better pictures in low light, again using selfies as a prime example for usage.

The all metal device is also 4G LTE ready, and includes dual SIM compatibility, enabling, as Yu said, the ability to combine your “work phone” and “your life” phone” together. Alternatively, the second SIM slot can be used as a MicroSD slot.

It also supports wireless printing, meaning photos taken can be sent directly to compatible printers. More than 700 printer types across 29 leading brands are currently compatible.

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