The Huawei Ascend Mate is just about to join Vodafone and, with its beautiful 6.1-inch display backed up by a quad-core 1.5GHz processor, it settles right in as our biggest smartphone ever. That’s great for multimedia, but a big screen is nothing without a battery life to match – something that, thankfully, Huawei’s well aware of.
We’ve been speaking to James Powell, UK Product Director at Huawei, to find out why powering our phones through the day is a bigger priority than ever.
The power to be powerful
“Battery life is hugely important,” James says, frankly. “Miniaturisation and power optimisation of batteries are two really significant areas of Huawei’s engineering. You need products that are really power efficient, have big batteries and that will really last and last.”
It’s clearly a key priority for Huawei, a company who’s making great strides to improve on existing battery technology already. “There are beautifully designed products out there that are paper weights by tea time,” says James. “You need your devices, especially if they’re built for work and entertainment, to go and go. From our perspective, there are very few parts of a phone that are more important than the battery.”
The Huawei Ascend Mate’s enormous 6.1-inch screen puts it right at the top end of phone sizes, but big screens and batteries are a strange chicken-and-egg scenario: you’ve got a bigger screen to power, but more space behind it to cram in a battery. In the case of the Huawei Ascend Mate, that means a huge 4050 mAh battery.
“It’s not just about putting a big battery in the phone, even though that is the case here – the Huawei Ascend Mate has the biggest battery in any smartphone by a long way. We’ve also got our own patented battery optimisation technology, which is designed to make phones last about 30 per cent longer than similar products.”
“The reason we’re able to do that,” James explains, “is that we’re experts at dealing with how the phone talks to networks, and how the phone wakes up and goes to sleep when needed. Battery is everything – without it all you’ve got is a very nice looking dummy device.”
Features like Huawei’s Quick Power Control (QPC) and Automated Discontinuous Reception (ADRX) power-saving technology are what really makes the difference here. But what about in the phones of tomorrow?
The future of battery life
We asked James about the growing influx of smartwatches – devices that can shoulder some of the battery responsibility by reducing the amount of times you need to actually look at your phone. Does Huawei’s focus on inbuilt battery performance make them unnecessary?
“I think the reason you have a phone in the first place is to have a device that does it all and is always on,” says James. “That’s the reason why a ‘phablet’ [part phone, part tablet] market exists; because people want to carry fewer devices around.
“You can’t get away from how important a battery is, which is why we put so much investment and research into it.”
“You can’t get away from how important a battery is.”
So the Huawei Ascend Mate is clearly built to last, benefitting from everything Huawei’s worked on to improve on the daily lifespan of a phone. And that’s not without reason: James sees the Ascend Mate as the first real warrior in a new smartphone battle…
“I think it’s one of the biggest battlegrounds coming over the hill for everyone,” he explains, “and we’re in a position where we’ve got a lead on everybody. These other products like smartwatches will no doubt do well, but the reality is that people need a phone that works all day long.”
Interested in more screen estate? The Huawei Ascend Mate is coming to vodafone.co.uk soon. Stay tuned to Vodafone Social for more from our time with James, in which he spills the beans on the future of big phones.