Huawei's Mate S looks to take on iPhone 6 Plus

The big-screen device sports 13-megapixel camera, 'Knuckle Control' and force touch.

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The Huawei Mate S aims to take on the premium smartphones from Apple and Samsung Image: Huawei

Huawei has unveiled its new flagship Mate S Android smartphone, a big screen device which aims to take on the phablets of Apple and Samsung.

The Huawei Mate S features a 5.5-inch screen - the same size as Apple's iPhone 6 - which accounts for 73 percent of the front of the phone.

The device features 'force touch' technology, which means that pressing on the screen with different amounts of force will create different effects - for example a hard press to zoom in on an image (the feature also allows you to use the screen as a set of scales). Apple is believed to be including similar technology in its next generation iPhone, expected to launch next week.

It also features Huawei's 'Knuckle Control' which allows users switch between apps and take screenshots with their knuckles. For example drawing a 'C' with their knuckle activates a camera, while double-clicking the screen with a knuckle records the screen in the form of a video.

The phone features an updated fingerprint reader which the company claims will halve recognition times compared to the Huawei Mate 7. The scanner can also be used to control the notification bar, double-click to erase unread notifications, slide to preview pictures, and hold and take phone calls, all of which will improve one-handed operation of the phone, the company said.

The Mate S packs a 13-megapixel rear camera with a RGBW sensor, optical image stabilizer, dual color-temp LED flash lights, and an independent image signal processor camera unit. There's an eight-megapixel front camera for selfies, plus three to allow clearer recording with minimal background noises.The Mate S will be available to order from September 15 across European countries including the UK, Italy, France, Germany, Belgium, Spain and Portugal. The 32GB model will retail at €649, the 64GB model at €699.

Huawei's smartphone market share has grown rapidly in recent years. It is now the third biggest smartphone maker behind Samsung and Apple, with an 8.7 percent market share in the second quarter of this year according to IDC: just three years ago it stood at less than half of that.

Huawei Mate S specifications

  • Screen: 5.5-inches, AMOLED, ONCELL, FHD
  • Front camera: eight-megapixel
  • Rear camera: 13-megapixel
  • Size: 149.8m x 75.3m x 7.2m
  • Weight: 156g
  • CPU: Hisilicon Kirin 935, Octa Core: Quad 2.2GHz + Quad 1.5GHz
  • GPU: MALI 628 MP4 680M
  • RAM/Memory: 3GB/32GB
  • Battery: 2700mAh lithium polymer
  • Sensor: Accelerometer, Compass, Gyroscope, ALS, Proximate, HALL