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Huawei launches the new Mate S, the first smartphone with force touch

The rumours were right on the money as Huawei’s IFA preview event gave us the smart new Huawei Mate S.

Unlike last year’s Mate 7, the S treads the line between conventional smartphone and phablet in size, packing a 5.5-inch Full HD display, protected by pillowed 2.5D Gorilla Glass 4.

The phone’s big reveal was compounded by the news that the Mate S’ display supports force touch; similarly to what we’ve seen from the Apple Watch and one of the star features expected to grace the upcoming iPhone 6S. The feature presently lets users zoom in on areas of photos, guess the weight of small objects and navigate Android without the need for on-screen keys, however Huawei is actually inviting fans and developers to offer up their own concepts through its Force Touch Ideas Lab initiative.

Beyond that fancy new screen, the Mate S boasts a curved, milled metal body reminiscent of the HTC One M7 and integrates a fingerprint sensor with the same gesture flexibility of the Honor 7; letting you open the notifications drawer, snap a selfie or answer a call. The company even promised twice the accuracy and speed when using the sensor to unlock the device.

The specs:

Dimensions 149.8 x 75.3 x 7.2 mm
Weight 156 grams
OS Android 5.1.1 Lollipop
Screen size 5.5-inches
Screen resolution Full HD (1920×1080)
Processor 2.2GHz/1.5GHz octa-core HiSilicon Kirin 935
Memory 3GB
Storage 32GB/64GB
Battery 2700mAh
Cameras 13-megapixel w/ RGBW sensor auto-focus+OIS (rear), 8-megapixel (front)
Extras Fingerprint Sense 2.0, Knuckle Sense 2.0

The P8’s Knuckle Sense gesture controls also make an appearance letting users crop photo elements to custom shapes, quick launch apps and even capture entire web pages or images that span beyond the dimensions of the display.

Pre-orders kick off from September 15th via vMall – Huawei’s/Honor’s online retail portal. The functionality of the Mate S varies depending on the variant you pick up, with the standard version going for €649 and packing 3GB of RAM along with 32GB of internal storage (colours are limited to Titanium Grey and Mystique Champagne), whilst the 64GB model, aka the premium version will sell for €699. Huawei also explained that the force touch functionality is coming on a third, 128GB skew, but didn’t reveal pricing or an ETA.

There’s plenty more going on inside the Huawei Mate S that clearly pitches it against Apple’s upcoming smartphones and the recently launched Samsung Galaxy Note 5 and S6 Edge+, but we’ll explore what else it’s capable of in our full hands-on. Stay tuned.

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