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Swipe, tap and knock on the Huawei Mate S

You can control Huawei's Mate S not just with your finger, the screen even responds to your knuckles.

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Richard Trenholm
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Richard Trenholm Movie and TV Senior Editor

Richard Trenholm is CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture over the past 15 years from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.

Expertise Films, TV, Movies, Television, Technology
3 min read

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BERLIN -- Bored of swiping and tapping your phone? You're in luck. The Huawei Mate S comes with a fistful of new ways to control your smartphone, using both your knuckles and your fingerprints.

All metal and Gorilla Glass

The phone has a curved rear and curved Gorilla Glass on the front. It's encased in metal with subtle gloss lines arose the top and bottom of the phone where the antennas sit inside. The body is water-resistant so you don't need to panic if you get caught in the rain.

The 32GB model comes in grey or silver for €649, which translate to $729, £477 and AU$1,041. The 64GB model comes in pink or gold and costs €699 ($786, £513 or AU$1,122). It goes on sale in the US, UK, Australia and other countries in September.

Th 5.5-inch screen packs in 401 pixels per inch for full high-definition movies, games and video. Despite having the same size screen as the iPhone 6 Plus and other similar phones, the Mate S is a smaller phone, thanks to a very slim bezel.

The screen registers how hard you're pressing and reacts accordingly. For example, if you take a photo and press on the screen it will zoom in. The harder you press, the further in it will zoom. It's so sensitive you can actually weigh things placed on the screen.

The phone has magic corners, similar to the hot corners familiar to Mac users. And it has what Huawei calls a 'magic bottom', which allows you to press and move your finger to navigate.

Mate S: Huawei's skinny metal powerhouse (pictures)

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Knuckle down (or just use your finger)

On the back of the phone is a fingerprint sensor for unlocking the phone and securing your data. The sensor requires a tap of your finger to read your identity. Huawei says it is faster and more sensitive than on previous models, but it doesn't stop at verifying who you are. You can slide your finger on the reader to control the phone from the back without touching the screen, for example summoning your notifications by sliding your fingertip down across the reader or swiping through photos by swiping across the sensor. And you can capture a selfie with a touch on the fingerprint sensor.

Another way to control the phone is to use your knuckle to draw on the screen. Tap on the phone with your knuckles as if you're knocking on a door and you can do things like cropping a video. Draw an 'M' shape on the screen with your knuckle and it opens the music, a 'W' for weather, or a 'C' shape to open the camera. You can also set up your own letters to open specific apps.

There are dual SIM slots so you can have two numbers in the same phone, or the second SIM slot can take a memory card. That does mean that you have to choose between a second SIM or extra storage however, as you can't have both.

Other features include a hefty 3GB of RAM, a 5V fast charger to quickly top up the battery, three microphones for directional sound recording, and a 13-megapixel camera with optical image stabilisation to cancel out blur from shaky hands. The camera has loads of control over manual settings such as aperture and ISO. An 8-megapixel snapper on the front has a soft light for flattering selfies.

The phone supports Mopria wireless printing technology, which allows you to send to printers from manufacturers such as Canon, Epson and Brother.

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