The Huawei Ascend Mate7 comes in a flat box with a 2A compact charger, a microUSB cable and a one-piece headset. There's nothing more than the absolute must-haves, just like the cheaper Mates before it, the Mate7 isn't overly generous with the accessories.
The Huawei Ascend Mate7 is big, there is no denying that. It measures 157 x 81 x 7.9mm and weighs 185g, about the size of an Apple iPhone 6 Plus - which however comes with a smaller, 5.5" screen. Samsung's Note 4 isn't any more compact either - and thicker - featuring a 5.7" screen. The Ascend Mate7 offers a bigger screen and battery than two very prominent rivals. Well done!
95% metal on the outer body, the Huawei Ascend Mate7 has premium looks and build quality unseen before in the Mate series. The aesthetic influences are easy to spot - a potential red flag for a certain kind of users - but the execution is tasteful. And the build quality is top notch.
The sides remind of the iPhone 5's tapered edges, while the back looks a lot like the HTC One Max, the fingerprint scanner placement and all. There's a dash of HTC at the front as well, but the Mate7 has better reasons to be looked at: the massive 6" is almost bezel free, for an impressive screen to surface ratio of 83%.
The Huawei Ascend Mate7 is probably the best device the company has built to date. The ultra-slim Ascend P6 looks gorgeous but the build quality of the Mate7 is even superior. And when you realize the phablet is as big as the 5.5" Apple iPhone 6 Plus, your respect for the Mate7 and Huawei's engineering chops will grow.
Almost the entire front of the Huawei Ascend Mate7 is taken up by the 6" IPS display of 1080p resolution. The side bezels are super thin and, when the screen is off, you can't even tell there are any. The Huawei logo is printed below, while the earpiece, the front 5MP camera and a couple of sensors are above the 6" display. Pity the Mate7 borrowed the HTC One Max's design sans the stereo speakers. There is only a single speaker on the Huawei's smartphone.
The hot-swappable microSD slot and the microSIM compartment are on the left side of the Ascend Mate7. Both require a SIM ejection pin to open.
The Dual SIM version of the Mate7 (pictured below) has a nifty trick. The microSD card tray can alternatively host a nanoSIM card if you need a second SIM card. Unlike the microSD card, the nanoSIM card is placed perpendicular to the direction of insertion. It's an ingenious solution indeed, and a flexible one at that.
The right side has the volume rocker and power/lock key. Both are made of brushed aluminum and while thin, they still have great press.
The 3.5mm audio jack and the secondary microphone are at the top of the Ascend Mate7, while the primary mic and the microUSB port are at the bottom.
Around back is where things get interesting. The decidedly HTC One Max-inspired design is complete with fingerprint identification - but while the layout may have been copied, the sensor itself is quite innovative. The fingerprint sensor offers 8-bit grey level detection, 360-degree readability, and can even be used with a wet finger - a big no-no with other sensors. It only requires a tap with a finger to activate, rather than the tedious drag-your-finger-over-the-sensor routine on Samsung devices.
Despite the upgrade to 13MP for the primary camera, it's only able to record 1080p videos @30fps, while the 5MP front-facer stops at 720p. The 4,100mAh battery is non user-accessible due to the unibody design.