IFA 2015: Huawei Mate S is the best phone of the show

huawei mate s ifa 2015

Over the past day or so I have seen a lot of new phones but nothing comes close to the new Huawei Mate S, this is a phone I would happily own myself.

After trying the ZTE Axon Elite yesterday and being throughly unimpressed I was eager to try something a little more exciting. The Huawei booth came a calling and the Mate S jumped in to my hand, what a phone!

Design and size wise the Huawei Mate S is very similar to the OnePlus 2. That’s to say that they are both equally as wide, and long, but the Huawei Mate S is much thinner, and lighter too. Thankfully Huawei have gotten the balance between lightweight and quality right. It’s light enough that you appreciate it, but not to the point it makes the phone feel cheap and unsubstantial.

huawei mate s ifa oneplus 2

Like all of the current crop of flagship phones, the Huawei Mate S packs a fingerprint scanner (on the rear in this case). There is also a 5.5-inch FHD display, 3GB RAM and a decent camera. Huawei use their own Kirin 935 chipset on the Mate S, it’s a powerful chipset and compliments the premium phone well.

While much of this seems the same as every other flagship on the planet (well except for the exceptionally well made chassis), the Mate S has a few other special features up its sleeve.

huawei mate s ifa 2015

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One of them is the finger-print scanner/gesture sensor. In the gallery and certain other apps you can use the fingerprint scanner to swipe from left to right. Swiping down will open the notification menu and 4 taps will clear the bar of any notifications. The phone is already compact enough for one handed use, and these features help keep your other hand free further still.

Read Also:  Honor 80 Pro confirmed with all-new 160MP camera

The real big features though are to do with the new Smart Knuckle 2.0 and Force Touch elements. Smart Knuckle is actually a neat feature that I can actually see myself using. Basically the system will see the difference between a finger touch and knuckle touch meaning that any screen can use gestures.

From the home screen draw a C with your knuckle to open the camera (or whichever app you have set up to that shortcut) but try the same with your finger tip and the screen will just see it as a regular navigation swipe.

Smart Knuckle can also see double taps, and as default a double knuckle tap will begin screen recording.

Force Touch seems to be in its infancy still and only a few apps take advantage of the feature. One way you can use it is in the gallery again to zoom in and out on a particular area simple by pressing more or less on the detail you want to see. The other function is a scale! The app allows you to weigh items up to 400g in weight.

Huawei Mate S Smart Knuckle and Force Touch Demo Video

Huawei Mate S Gallery

The Huawei Mate S might be an expensive phone but of the premium devices I have tried over the year it is one of the best, and I would happily switch my OnePlus 2 for one (an offer the Huawei guys sadly turned down).

More from IFA later.

Previous IFA 2015: Lenovo PHAB Plus might be huge but it fits me like a glove
Next JiaYu could be the first to offer Android M


  1. E8hffff
    September 4, 2015

    Looks very much like the Elephone Vowney.

    • September 4, 2015

      Perhaps in the photos it does

  2. Guaire
    September 4, 2015

    If they are asking so much for this, I can’t imagine how much they would charge for a REAL flagship. It seems nice, but not 650-700 euros worth nice.

    Specs are decent, but that price is in high-end territory, too much for just decent.

    I’m turning a blind eye when budget phones take inspiration from other brands as long as it isn’t a real clone, but if Huawei considers itself as a premium brand and feels it’s right time for such a high prices then better come up with not a rip-off design like that.

    As fas as I see when you stripped it from a few gimmicks basically you will end up with a phone which hardly better than Meizu MX5.

    • bojan radovanovic
      September 7, 2015

      it is not better in any point…ok, it does have “force touch”, but is it so good and useful!? We need to wait to see it..

      • Guaire
        September 7, 2015

        Seems like even 649 euros and 699 euros models doesn’t have Force Touch.

  3. PaulBV
    September 4, 2015

    Do you have a price tag estimation ? I am afraid that with Huawei devices we need to pay more for the “brand”…..

  4. Markus
    September 4, 2015

    To me there is only little difference between Mate S and the Honor 7 (Made by Huawei aswell) Am I missing something here? Honor 7 have 5.2″ FHD, Kirin 935, 3G ram, metal build, IMX230 camera, probably same FP sensor, 3100mah. 249GBP.

    • Faux-News
      September 4, 2015

      Mate S has 5.5″ Amoled, OIS, force touch, 2.5D screen. And as usual Huawei brand is not sold as mere online or only from China like budget phones. That is by subbrand Honor.

      • bojan radovanovic
        September 7, 2015

        That is what Markus was saying…not so big difference. 0,3` screen…ok it is bigger…and for some of us better(not to all of us).
        OIS, ok it is good to have it…
        force touch…hm, well, can be useful, but it have long way infront of it to be natural to use.
        2,5D? Who cares!? It`s just marketing joke for chinese buyers…no one in west are not “buying” it.
        And that little diference cost a phone to be 2x more expensive???

  5. Wesley
    September 4, 2015

    I just can’t believe that they put a small battery inside (more suited to a device with a 4.5″ screen) when Huawei is known for excellent battery life. Even less than their own Honor 7 and G8.

    I also thought that Huawei gave all most all tech journalists a free Mate S. Did they really not give you one Andi?

  6. french harp
    September 5, 2015

    i agree

  7. Rob
    September 5, 2015

    Unfortunately this is still being (under) powered by the kirin 935 chipset. Was hoping to see an announcement at least of a 940 and possibly 950 powered phone.

  8. September 6, 2015

    It’s too bad Huawei is pricing this right up there with the big boys.

  9. MickyLo
    September 6, 2015

    it is pricy