Huawei's 6.1-inch smartphone: Taking the 'phablet' too far?

How large can a smartphone get before it becomes completely impractical? Samsung's Galaxy Note II is already a behemoth with a 5.5-inch display, yet China-based Huawei feels it can push the limits with an even larger smartphone display. It's the world's largest, in fact.

The Huawei Ascend Mate is ridiculously big with its 6.1-inch HD IPS+ LCD. Heck it's one inch away from being categorized as a tablet. At the same time, the Mate's 0.4-inch thickness does give it the illusion that it's not bulky, but let's not kid ourselves — this phone won't fit in many pockets comfortably, if at all. Its large size makes it virtually impossible to use without some giant hands, and it's absolutely silly-looking when held up to your ear.

Underneath the massive display, the Mate has a 1.5GHz quad-core processor and 2GB of RAM to keep Android 4.1 Jelly Bean from chugging. It has a decent 8-megapixel rear camera with LED flash that's capable of recording 1080p HD video and a 1-megapixel HD front-facing camera. Huawei didn't mention how much internal storage the Mate will ship with.

And while the display is spacious, it feels like a missed opportunity that Huawei went with a 1280x720 resolution instead of a 1920x1080 resolution that is quickly becoming the norm in flagship phones coming out this year.

In terms of battery life, Huawei has smartly equipped the Mate with a 4050mAh lithium-ion battery, although the company didn't provide any figures on real-world use.

If big screens are your thing and gripping your smartphone like a classic Game Boy doesn't scare you, the Mate might be worth looking into. For most people, the Mate is just too big to carry around as a smartphone.

The Ascend Mate will be available in Crystal Black and Pure White. Sadly, Huawei didn't provide pricing or release date for it. In fact, there's a possibility the Mate not even launch in the U.S. Would you miss it?

Posted on location at CES 2013 in Las Vegas. All photos taken by Raymond Wong for DVICE.

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