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Chinese manufacturer Huawei is tapping into the rapidly growing phablet market with the release of its latest two flagship devices: the 6-inch Ascend Mate 7 and 5.5-inch Ascend G7. 

Phablets – smartphones with a screen between 5.5 and 7 inches – first started gaining popularity in 2012 and interest continues to rise. Worldwide phablet sales are predicted to reach 175 million units this year, overtaking global sales of portable PCs. Moving into 2015, the IDC predicts that phablets sales will top 318 million units, overtaking the 233 million tablets forecast to ship.

At the launch in Cape Town, Huawei showcased the two devices. Here's a quick rundown of what you can expect:

The Ascend Mate 7

The first thing you'll notice about the Ascend Mate is that it's big – you'll most likely have to use two hands to operate it. But it's very slim (7.9mm) and noticeably light (185g). The screen is bright and clear and the phablet has a sleek and understated design. Made from aluminium alloy, the Ascend Mate 7 will be available in moonlight silver, obsidian black or amber gold.

The Ascend Mate 7 has a 13MP main camera plus a 5MP front-facing camera. It also has a large 4 100mAh battery, which Huawei claims will last up to 648 hours in standby mode or up to eight hours of video streaming. It has Cat6 LTE technology, meaning super-fast downloads and internet connectivity.

Huawei will be releasing two different models, a single SIM model with 2GB RAM and 16GB on-board memory, as well as a premium Dual SIM, amber gold version featuring 3GB RAM and 32GB memory. All the new devices will run Android KitKat but have a bespoke EMUI 3.0 user interface.

The standard Ascend Mate 7 will be available from early 2015.

The Ascend G7

The 5.5-inch Ascend G7 LTE is a well-designed mid-range smartphone with a frame made from a single piece of metal. While it may not have all the processing power of the larger Mate 7, the smaller size will appeal to you if you find phablets a little too large to handle comfortably. The Ascend G7 is just 7.6mm thin and weighs 165g.

It has a 13MP main camera as well as a 5MP rear camera and has a range of fun camera modes including panorama, selfie and beauty. The front-facing panorama mode is great for group selfies.

The Ascend G7 LTE will also be available early 2015.

Earlier this year, Huawei released the beautifully designed Ascend P7 which we reviewed here

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