I admit, I’m skeptical of phablets still to some degree. True, I technically own one: A Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is my regular go-to phone. And I do like the large screen, but for the cost, I can understand the leeriness of some people. But Huawei wants to make the phablet a bit more tempting for those on the fence, in a move that has larger implications for mobile.
The Ascend Mate 2 is a fairly straightforward smartphone. It’s got 4G, a quad-core processor, the usual stuff you expect from a mid-range smartphone. Disappointingly, the screen is 1280×720, which is technically HD but not as sharp as some other phones out there. On the other hand, that’s not what stands out the most about the phone.
Huawei is selling the Ascend Mate 2, unlocked, no contract, no strings, for… $300. Yeah, it’s a mid-level phone and it’ll rapidly be a low-level phone once this year’s consumer electronics debuts roll around in the fall.
On the other hand, being freed from the tyranny of phone payment plans is awfully tempting, especially if you mostly use your phone to look up bus times, send texts and, oh yeah, make phone calls. Look at how much you pay for a phone, and weigh that against just paying up front for a smartphone that, while it may not be a Ferrari, will still get you what you need.
More Phones In the Future
This is also, surprisingly, just the start of a larger plan by Huawei to sell its phones directly to consumers. If this catches on, it’ll be more than just another place to get phones; it’ll be the start of a larger shift in mobile, where buying a phone isn’t controlled by your carrier. How carriers will react to that? Well, good question; we’ll see.
Dan Seitz is an obsessive nerd living in New England. He lives in the Boston area with a fiancee, a dog, a cat, and far too many objects with processors.