Huawei Mate 10 Pro Review: The Best Mate Yet

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It’s Time to Review the Huawei Mate 10 Pro!

Huawei’s Mate series of smartphones were released to complement its other brethren in the Chinese company’s flagship offerings. While previous iterations have been known for their larger screens, Huawei released three versions of the Mate 10; making sure that one of them had the funky 18:9 aspect ratio that is the latest display in smartphones these days. Today, we’re going to be taking a closer look at the Huawei Mate 10 Pro to see let you guys know what these it has to offer!

Huawei Mate 10 Pro Specs

  • 2.4GHz Hi-Silicon Kirin 970 octa-core processor
  • 6GB of RAM
  • 6-inch full HD+ OLED HDR display; 2160 x 1080 resolution
  • 128 GB of storage
  • 4G, LTE
  • Dual SIM
  • 12-megapixel + 20-megapixel rear camera, Leica Summilux-H Lenses at f/1.6 aperture, OIS, 2x lossless zoom, PDAF, CAF, Laser AF, Depth AF, LED flash
  • 8-megapixel front camera @ f/2.0 aperture
  • WiFi, Bluetooth, NFC
  • GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, IP67 resistance
  • Fingerprint scanner
  • USB Type-C
  • 4000mAh battery
  • Android 8.0 Oreo with EMUI 8

Going Glass!

The Huawei Mate 10 Pro and all its siblings in the line up for that matter have seen a huge change in its design and build quality. While the Mate 9 had a full metal build, Huawei has decided to encase the device in Corning’s Gorilla Glass on the front and the back; though they have been playing a little coy as to the exact level of protection we’re getting here. This makes the Huawei Mate 10 Pro look absolutely stunning when compared to past offerings.

Its antenna lines are hidden on the bottom and top of the phone, keeping the rear of the device pretty much plain aside from a bit of branding and the company’s new signature stipe that also highlights the camera array of the Mate 10 Pro. Sadly, that beauty will be marred by fingerprints if you choose to use the phone without its accompanying silicon case.

Huawei took a few jabs at Samsung for the odd fingerprint scanner placement on the Note 8 and they’ve definitely gotten the placement of theirs just right. The scanner is easily accessed whether or not you have huge hands like most of the team does. It unlocks the phones with just a tap and we can’t recall a time where it actually failed us.

One thing we missed on the Huawei Mate 10 Pro is the 3.5mm audio jack, which was most likely removed to make room for a bigger battery. Huawei made sure to include a USB-C to 3.5mm jack adapter, but we didn’t fancy bringing it around as we could easily see ourselves losing it and needing a replacement. You can, of course, go the wireless route to keep your tunes to yourself.

The Huawei Mate 10 Pro is also IP67 certified, so if you need not worry about accidental party fouls or when you get caught in the rain.

Full HD+ Does Just Fine

Many, including ourselves, were left scratching our heads when Huawei decided to put a QHD display on the vanilla version of the Mate 10 and just go Full HD+ on the display of the Mate 10 Pro since usually the Pro version of any device gets the lion’s share of the hardware. However, Full HD+ just does fine and thanks to the OLED panel plus HDR10 support, you’ve got rich color saturation with great contrast as well; plus it also means less power consumption, which you can bump down further to HD+ if you’re really saving on juice.

You’ve still got a good amount of pixel density at 402 pixels per inch; giving you clean and crisp images when browsing through photos you’ve taken or when watching videos on YouTube. It should really go without saying by now that not all apps have been adapted to make use of the 18:9 aspect ratio, though the device does allow you to scale them to make use of the added real estate and we haven’t encountered any funky issues during our time with the device either.

The lone speaker on the Mate 10 Pro also does well to compliment the display on the device. It produces a good amount of volume with little to no distortion even at 100%. Sound quality is great with an ample amount of bass notes, but we still recommend wearing earphones as a sign of respect to others around you.

Born Fast and Stays Fast, Indeed!

Inside the Huawei Mate 10 Pro beats the company’s new flagship SoC — the Kirin 970– along with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. The Kirin 970 has a dedicated NPU to help power the device’s AI functionality. The Mate 9 already had machine-learning capabilities that should have kept your phone at optimum levels by learning your usage habits.

This new SoC essentially takes what they’ve done in the past and given it a shot of steroids to help your phone stay as fast as it was when you first unboxed it; pushing their “Born Fast and Stays Fast” motto even further. The AI functionality isn’t really something that you necessarily can get a grip on (except when it comes to the camera that we’ll talk about later) when it comes to day-to-day use but, with our time using the device, we haven’t felt the Mate 10 Pro slow down at all.

If you’re into benchmarks, the Mate 10 Pro posted great scores all around as expected from the flagship level processing package that powers the device.

NBA 2K17: A Median FPS of 38 Frames per Second at 68% Stability at the Highest Settings Possible

As for gaming performance, the Huawei Mate 10 Pro didn’t disappoint either. Graphically intensive games were completely playable at the highest settings available. The Median FPS on GameBench might not reflect it, but the frame rates on NBA 2K17 was smooth with the dips you see on the charts coming in at times where Timeouts were called or when there were tiny cutscenes here and there.

Nothing to complain about call quality on the Huawei Mate 10 Pro. If you’re wondering about mobile data connection, most of the cell sites in the country are from Huawei too so you can expect to have stellar connections as they do know a thing or two about making use of the networks. The Huawei Mate 10 Pro maintained a stable 4G connection in places where other phones that we’ve had with us didn’t fare as well.

Android Oreo and the Jump to EMUI 8

We’re happy to see the Huawei Mate 10 Pro has gotten Android O out of the box, though you do still have the company’s EMUI overlay on top of it. They’ve made the huge leap in naming conventions from EMUI 5 all the way to 8, though there aren’t any huge changes that we’ve encountered that doesn’t come along with the added functionalities of Oreo.

We’re thankful that there aren’t a lot of pre-installed apps on the device, seeing as you can’t expand the storage. A few things like Huawei’s Health app and a Smart Remote App that makes use of the phone IR blaster are there along with a couple of other apps we’ve seen the company bundle with previous releases.

AI-Assisted Photos and Fast Lenses FTW

One of the big reason to jump on the Huawei bandwagon has been their partnership with Leica, which started with the P9 and its dual camera setup. The partnership continues on with this iteration of the Mate series with even faster lenses at an f-stop of f/1.6 combined with the usual RGB + Monochrome setup to get sharper details in your snaps. The results definitely show and is worthy of the score that DXOMark had given it. Let’s take a look at a few sample photos.

Great detail and a good pop of color.
The cameras on Mate 10 Pro has fantastic dynamic range which is great if you want to capture architecture when you travel.
Lighting wasn’t that great but there’s only a bit of noise plus the AI makes the necessary adjustments to create a better photo.
The AI bokeh is great, but it’s definitely not perfect. Choose focal points carefully and take safety shots!
The monochrome sensor does a great job, but we prefer a bit more contrast.
Photos from the front camera turned out awesome and the AI-assisted bokeh does its job brilliantly; giving just the right amount of depth.

Check out more sample photos in our First Shots with the Huawei Mate 10 Pro.

While we were sure that dual rear cameras would perform well, we were rather surprised how our seflies turned out as well. Personally, I only take selfies when the occasion calls for it (if there’s no one to ask to take the photo) or when I do smartphone reviews. But, because of how the photos from the Mate 10 Pro came out, I noticed I was using the front camera more and more. The AI-assisted bokeh made a world of difference, giving photos a great amount of depth without looking completely fake. Noise is still visible when shooting in low-light and you do still lose a fair amount of detail but completely passable for even the most curated Instagram feeds.

As mentioned above, another way you can see the dedicated NPU of the Kirin 970 in action is through the camera’s real-time recognition. This means that the Mate 10 series of phones can identify 13 scenes or objects (such as food, pets, plants, flowers, nightscape, text, etc) and adjust camera setting that fit the certain scene. The results are pretty awesome, but you can tweak it to your own liking by going into the camera’s pro mode too.

More Than Enough Juice to Last the Day

The Huawei Mate 10 Pro has a 4000mAh battery to juice up the entire system and running PCMark’s Battery Benchmark yielded a time of 10 hours and 5 minutes. This translates into a full day of use with more than enough left over for the commute home or a night out to blow off some steam. Do take note that mileage does vary upon use and these are the results we got with running around Metro Manila with mobile data on for the greater part of the day and only tethered to a WiFi hotspot in the morning before leaving and at night when we got back.

If you do forget to juice up the device after a long night out, Huawei has also outfitted the Mate 10 series with its Supercharge tech. This means that you can plug it in while getting ready for work and have enough power to last the whole day; depending on how fast it takes you to take a shower and get ready, of course.

You Can Get A Desktop Experience with the Mate 10!

Just like the Samsung DEX, the Mate 10 Pro can be used to simulate a desktop experience with a TV. The main difference between what Samsung and what Huawei did, however, is that you don’t need to have a dock with you. All you need is a USB-C to HDMI or any other display port and peripherals like a wireless mouse and keyboard, to get a decent desktop experience with the Mate 10 series.

We weren’t able to test this out during our time with the device, but the demo at the device’s launch in Munich was seamless and fast. If you don’t have a mouse with you and just a keyboard, you can even turn the screen of the Mate 10 into a trackpad. A pretty cool extra if you need a workstation to answer email and whatnot while on vacay.

Verdict: The Best Experience We’ve Had With a Huawei Flagship Yet

We’ve spent a lot of time with Huawei’s P10 Plus and it’s been our daily driver for the past few months. With everything we like about that device, it just pales in comparison to the Mate 10 Pro and the AI might that the Kirin 970 brings to the whole experience. It handled pretty much everything we threw at it and it didn’t even seem to task the system. It may be a little soon to tell if the phone can really stay fast due to the machine learning, but so far all signs say that it will; making this the best experience with Huawei flagship device yet.

While we wished it had a QHD display like the Mate 10 and that it still had a 3.5mm audio jack, it was worth the sacrifice to get more juice to last the day by squeezing in a larger battery to go along with that 6-inch 18:9 display. This point is absolutely debatable as many of the Southeast Asian media that were with us at the launch preferred the regular Mate 10 over the Mate 10 Pro.

The question is: Is it worth it? Well, it all depends on how much it’s going to be once the official Philippine SRP has been posted. But at the price that it’s currently valued abroad, €799 or around the Php 48k mark, it certainly makes choosing your next flagship device a little more interesting but the Huawei Mate 10 Pro should definitely make the shortlist.



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