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Huawei Mate 10 Pro Review – Competitive Flagship Smartphone

Huawei’s Mate 10 Pro is the Chinese brand’s all new flagship smartphone, poised to compete with the likes of the Apple iPhone 8, Samsung Galaxy Note 8, and the Google Pixel 2 XL. But can it? Let’s find out.

Design

The Mate 10 Pro feels great to hold with a nice solid construction. The front bezels aren’t too bad while the sides are nice and thin. The impressively loud speakers are sadly downward blasting, so you’ll have to use your hands to redirect the sound.

The rear of the phone is clean, save for the dual Leica camera setup (more on that later) and the incredibly fast and responsive fingerprint reader. Despite having an all-glass back, the Mate 10 Pro still doesn’t offer wireless charging though. Thankfully, the Mate 10 Pro is IP67 rated water and dust resistant.

The power button and audio rockers are on the right and the dual SIM tray is on the left. As is the trend of smartphones these days, the Mate 10 Pro has ditched the headphone jack. But for some reason, they don’t include a USB Type-C to 3.5mm adaptor in the box so unless you’ve got one lying around, you’ll be stuck with a Bluetooth headset or the included earpieces.

Performance & Display

The Mate 10 Pro uses a Kirin 970 AI neural processing unit (NPU) instead of a CPU. Huawei touts this as an intelligent, adaptive, and responsive alternative that learns from your usage and real world situations. Although, in my short term usage of it, I didn’t really notice much of a difference, it should come into play with long term usage as Huawei claims it can optimise battery life for apps used the most.

Graphics are handled by a Mali-G72 MP12 GPU and the phone ships standard with Android 8.0 Oreo (yay) and 6GB of RAM. The Mate 10 Pro also runs Huawei’s Emotion UI (EMUI) 8.0. Unlike the standard Mate 10, the Pro model doesn’t allow for MicroSD expansion, leaving you with 128GB of internal storage.

The battery is a massive 4,000mAh and provides ample life throughout your day. At my longest, I used the phone from 645am to 2am, throughout an intensely long school day, Bluetooth, wifi, and mobile data on the whole time, and I still had 20% when I got home. Huawei’s SuperCharge Technology also lets you get loads of charge in a jiffy.

The Mate 10 Pro rocks a 6” OLED display with a rather low resolution of 2160×1080 at an extra tall 18:9 aspect ratio. Strangely, the pixel density on the Mate 10 Pro is lower than the standard Mate 10. Despite this, the screen is still bright and clear with very vibrant colours. Only at extreme viewing angles do you start the notice a blue-shift in the screen.

Camera

The Mate 10 Pro has a dual rear camera setup with the Leica name stamped on it. Huawei also boasts the AI integration being able to identify food, people, landscapes etc. to best adjust the settings for the photo. In practice, I didn’t feel it was very useful and didn’t make the picture any better.

I found that photos taken with this phone do leave quite a bit to be desired. Colours in the photos are vibrant and true to life. However, the focus and images in general were often very soft, the depth mapping on portrait mode was inaccurate, and low-light shooting needs much improvement.

Here are some images I took during my time using the phone in a variety of different locations, lighting, and settings. These images would be a pretty good representation of what the average person would take.

Pricing

Make no mistake, the Huawei Mate 10 Pro is a premium flagship smartphone, retailing for $1,098. It’s available now from Huawei Concept Stores, major consumer electronic stores, selected Huawei Authorised Resellers and the 3 main telcos.

Conclusion

I’ve really enjoyed my time using this phone, the user experience is smooth and the huge battery was much appreciated. While the camera didn’t perform as well as expected, photos were still decent. The average user of the Mate 10 Pro won’t find much to complain about. Without a doubt, this is Huawei’s best phone yet and a solid competitor in the flagship smartphone sector.

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