Despite the continuous stream of Android updates (now up to 5.1.1 in the Mate S), EMUI 3.1 has retained and borrowed most of its styling and features from its predecessor. The image gallery is a prime example. It still offers a Timeline view, which sorts your images by the date you've taken them. It defaults to the Timeline view, but you can opt for the standard Album view with all of your images sorted in different albums.
Opening a single image lets you quickly delete or rotate it, as well as gives you some basic sharing options (including streaming it over DLNA).
You can also go into a more capable editor with options for light and exposure adjustments (so you can bring out the shadows or the highlights), filters and beauty enhancements (which detects faces automatically).
It is very intuitive and packed with options, including things like filters, effects, levels and even special watermarks for time, location, weather, food and mood. Every teenager would be pleased with the selection.
When it came to playing videos, the Huawei Mate S default player does a good job supporting every common video codec, but unfortunately it lacks support for AC3 audio as is usually the case with most Android phones anyway.
We couldn't find a way to load subtitles, but Dolby Mobile enhancement is supported. Not much else, however, is available in terms of options and the player seems kind of basic. It still works great though.
The Huawei Mate S comes with Huawei's custom music player app. It offers four default playlists - songs, artists, albums, folders. You can create your own playlists, too. The background of the app changes dynamically to match the album art, which is a nice little touch.
The Now Playing screen is pretty standard, it offers album art and lyrics. There are no equalizers to speak off, but the app does have a few extra features. It would try to pull album art, song info and lyrics automatically for you.
Another nice addition is the ability to filter the songs by length, so no pesky ringtones show up in your library.
The Huawei Mate S has a built-in FM receiver. It can play through the headset or the loudspeaker, but you'll need to have the headset plugged in as it serves as an antenna.
We were disappointed not to find RDS support (Huawei is a frequent offender in this area) - you'll have to name your radio stations by hand.
The Huawei Mate S didn't start our audio quality test in the best possible manner. Its performance when connected to an active external amplifier was rather bad with frequency response and intermodulation distortion both being far from perfect. Loudness was below average too, so even though we got a few excellent readings elsewhere the overall result is still disappointing.
Plugging in our standard headphones didn't cause much extra damage - in fact the frequency response slightly improved (but still remained all over the place). The hike in stereo crosstalk was very minor and we didn't get any extra distortion. Unfortunately the starting point was so low that we still can't consider the final products is nowhere near acceptable for a high-end device.
Here go the results so you can do your comparisons.
|Test||Frequency response||Noise level||Dynamic range||THD||IMD + Noise||Stereo crosstalk|
|Huawei Mate S||+2.68, -3.68||-97.1||97.2||0.0069||0.482||-77.5|
|Huawei Mate S (headphones)||+3.88, -3.88||-97.4||96.8||0.0039||0.462||-97.5|
|Meizu PRO 5||+0.07, -0.17||-93.9||93.9||0.0015||0.053||-95.7|
|Meizu PRO 5 (headphones)||+0.08, -0.15||-95.9||95.9||0.142||0.421||-86.2|
|LG G4||+0.04, -0.07||-93.4||93.3||0.0021||0.050||-92.6|
|LG G4 (headphones)||+0.93, -0.13||-91.4||91.9||0.013||0.244||-50.4|
|Samsung Galaxy S6 edge||+0.03, -0.01||-95.6||92.8||0.0023||0.0078||-95.7|
|Samsung Galaxy S6 edge (headphones)||+0.05, -0.02||-92.6||92.5||0.0028||0.044||-76.9|
|Samsung Galaxy S6||+0.01, -0.04||-95.6||92.8||0.0024||0.0094||-94.5|
|Samsung Galaxy S6 (headphones)||+0.02, -0.05||-92.6||91.9||0.0025||0.042||-83.4|
|HTC One M9||+0.02, -0.06||-94.8||93.0||0.0049||0.026||-93.7|
|HTC One M9 (headphones attached)||+0.03, -0.05||-93.7||92.7||0.0082||0.030||-91.6|
You can learn more about the tested parameters and the whole testing process here.