|Huawei is rightly proud of battery performance on the Mate 7.|
Packing a 6" screen into a phone would have been considered lunacy just a year ago. When Nokia released the Lumia 1520 it felt more like a table tennis bat than a phones. However Huawei have managed to make the Mate 7 feel no bigger than smaller screened contemporaries like the Note 4 and iPhone 6 Plus by practically doing away with screen bezels and slimming the phone down to 7.9mm. The result is a phone that doesn't feel enormous in the hand.
That feeling is helped by the phone's construction: its metal body has a nice tactile finish and it never feels as if its about to slip from your hands, unlike some metal phones I could mention.
With the phone held normally in your hand you'll find the first surprise on the Mate 7 - your index finger will naturally into the dip in the back panel for the fingerprint sensor. It's not a swipe sensor like the Samsung GN4, so its a bit easier to get good first time recognition. As a bonus the sensor recognises your finger and turns the phone on at the same time, meaning you'll never need to use the power key.
Also on the back is the 13mp camera from Sony, which was acceptable for a smartphone camera - especially in good light. Flip the phone over and you'll find a 5mp camera for selfies, which was also performed adequately well.
Whilst you've got the phone flipped over you'll have a chance to admire the screen. Its a 1080p IPS panel with excellent colours and a very strong backlight. Whilst not up to the colour reproduction of Samsung's SAMOLED displays, its a good match for other IPS displays.
Inside the mate 7 are Huawei's own processor, 2GB RAM and the biggest battery I've ever experienced in a phone - 4100mAh. As I only had the phone for two days I can't tell you what the battery life is, save to say that it easily coped with a two day stint without charging. That partially compensates for the lack of a removable battery. You do get a microSD card slot though - however it isn't just a microSD slot. You could alternatively choose to pack a second SIM card in there and switch networks on the fly, although if you do the 32GB version might be a better buy.
And that's where the positives stop. Because once we start talking about software Huawei falls flat. The Android skin isn't nice and still doesn't support the Android app drawer. Instead all installed apps end up on the home screen. Like some terrible hybrid of iOS and Android where widgets and apps have to co-exist. If you're going for this phone I strongly recommend ditching the Huawei launcher for something more sensible like Apex.
So why would you consider the Huawei Mate 7? It does everything you need a phone to do adequately well, is very nicely made and has a nice screen. There are no real stand out features though, until you get to the price.
Here the Mate 7 really does stand out - its currently retailing at NZ$599 - around $400 less than the Galaxy GN4 and almost half the price of the iPhone 6 Plus. For the money it represents astonishing value for money. The biggest problem would be if you were unable to see past the Huawei branding. If you're looking to buy a phablet there have been three standout devices to consider - the LG G3, Samsung GN4 and iPhone 6 Plus.
The Huawei doesn't ave one standout feature like each of those, but it's still worthy of being in their company.