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Ascend Mate 2 vs. Galaxy Note 3 vs. G Flex: Let the 2014 phablet wars begin!

Bigger isn’t always better, but it does seem to open up a lot of possibilities. There’s plenty of smaller phones out there that prove you can pack in tons of power into a small frame, so when you add a bigger body, you gain a lot more room to get creative with. The Ascend Mate 2 from Huawei was revealed at CES 2014 and made a point to note that not only is it huge, but it’s also capable of making use of all that space. It’s not the only phablet to do this. Samsung’s sizable Galaxy Note 3 and LG’s G Flex both break the 6-inch screen barrier and experiments with its size by adding extra features. How do the three big handhelds stack up against one another in specs and features? We take a look at the three to find out which stands out.

 

Ascend Mate 2

Screen Shot 2014-01-13 at 4.53.09 PM

Galaxy Note 3

GalaxyNote3

LG G Flex

LGGFlex

Size 161 x 84.9 x 9.5 (mm) 151.2 x 79.2 x 8.3 (mm) 160.5 x 81.6 x 7.9 (mm)
Weight 202g 168g 177g
Screen 6.1-inch IPS LCD 5.7-inch Super AMOLED 6-inch Curved P-OLED
Resolution 720×1280 pixels 1080×1920 pixels 720×1280 pixels
OS Android 4.3 (Emotion UI) Android 4.3 (TouchWiz UI) Android 4.2.2 (UX UI)
Storage 16GB 32GB 32GB
SD Card Slot Yes Yes Yes
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 Quad-core Snapdragon 800
RAM 2GB 3GB 2GB
Connectivity Wi-Fi, 4G LTE Wi-Fi, 4G LTE, NFC Wi-Fi, 4G LTE, NFC
Camera Front 5MP, Rear 13MP Front 2MP, Rear 13MP Front 2.1MP, Rear 13MP
Bluetooth Yes, version 4.0 Yes, version 4.0 Yes, version 4.0
Battery 4050mAh 3200mAh 3500mAh
Gimmick Reverse Charging Battery S Pen Curved Screen
Charger Lightning connector Micro USB Micro USB
Marketplace Google Play Store Google Play Store Google Play Store
Price $200+ $200+ $N/A
Review CES Hands On 4 out of 5 4 out of 5
Availability Q1 2014 AT&T, Sprint, T-Mob, Verizon, U.S. Cell AT&T, Sprint, T-Mob in Q1 2014

Performance

Samsung, thanks in part to its willingness to regularly offer new versions of its phones, has arguably the most impressive specs of these or almost any phone. The Galaxy Note 3 and it’s big display is backed by big power with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 and 3GB of RAM. It’s not all that different from the LG’s G Flex, which also sports the Snapdragon 800 processor and a slight bump down in RAM at 2GB. Both are older devices than the just-announced Ascend Mate 2, but Huawei has made a point to not focus on pure power and its reflected in the spec sheet. An older model of processor, the Snapdragon 400, and 2GB of RAM is the least impressive of these three phones, but the simplified UI and 720p screen demand less power. The Ascend Mate 2 is a marathon device when it comes to battery life, not a sprinter.

Special Powers

Each of these devices have been able to add some stand out features that make each phone a unique experience. Here’s how they compare.

LG G Flex and its curved screen: The LG G Flex focuses on comfort in your hands as opposed to in your pocket – and with a 6-inch screen, fitting it in your pocket can be a challenge – by adding a curve for comfort in your palm. When we reviewed the G Flex, we found this gimmick to work as designed and enjoyed the feel of the phone.

Galaxy Note 3 and its S Pen: Samsung added features to its Galaxy Note 3 that aren’t present in its smaller phones, most of which work in partnership with the S Pen (don’t call it a stylus!). Drawing a box on screen and having an app appear in it is convenient and makes the most of all that screen space.

Ascend Mate 2 and its bag O’ tricks: The Ascend Mate 2 has it’s share of gimmicks, but we kind of like them all. The most noteworthy of them is the big battery, which Huawei promises will provide two full days of usage. With a 4050mAh battery, you may find yourself with so much extra battery life that you choose to use it to charge up other devices. You can do that with reverse charging, a feature we’ve yet to see before the Ascend Mate 2 and look forward to trying out. The Ascend Mate also has a 5-megapixel front camera and a bunch of new selfie features we love to hate (to love).

If you’re looking to add a phablet to your lineup of mobile devices, just the Galaxy Note 3 is available now. LG’s G Flex is expected to make its way to the U.S. sometime during the first quarter of 2014 and will be picked up by most major carriers. As for as the Ascend Mate 2, it’s been hard for Huawei to break into the U.S. but this device appears poised to do it. It’s expected to reach the U.S. in the first half of 2014.