Huawei Mate 10 Pro Review

Boy has it been one busy fall season so far! All the major players in the smartphone space have announced their offerings for the upcoming holiday season, including Huawei, who is banking on the Mate 10 Pro to make a splash stateside. On paper, Huawei's high-end is looking like a solid contender, but it is surely going to face stiff competition from direct rivals in the space – the Samsung Galaxy Note 8, LG V30, Google Pixel 2 XL, and Apple iPhone X, to name a few. So let's find out how the Huawei Mate 10 Pro will fit into the mix.

Design


Huawei Mate 10 Pro Review

Ditching the line's previous formats, the Huawei Mate 10 Pro instead dons a totally new, fresh-looking design that holds its own amongst its peers. Gone is the all-metal construction of its predecessor, replaced by a now-trendy glass-meets-metal-trim design. Even though this approach has been done countless times by now, Huawei's interpretation is differentiated, mostly by the signature stripe running across the camera lenses – adding a hint of charm to an otherwise typical design.

Much like its peers, it too follows in the same near bezel-less look with its screen, conjuring up a pretty good screen-to-body ratio of 80.97%. Adding to that is its subtly curved glass wrapping around the phone, which causes it to shimmer under the light at certain angles, but also makes it prone to being a fingerprint magnet.

Bettering last year's construction, the Mate 10 Pro benefits from an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance. That's wonderful news, of course, also marking a first in the line, so to that degree, we're happy that it compares to the competition. Even though we're happy to see that the fingerprint and IR sensors make a return, we're sad that the headphone jack had to be axed. As a consolation, Huawei does package in a USB Type-C to 3.5mm headphone jack adapter, as well as an Earpods-esque pair of USB-C headphones.

We seriously love how this looks and feels in the hand! By now, however, this glass-meets-metal-trim design language is becoming the norm – and to some degree, tiresome as well. At the very least, it exudes a premium finish, features a water-resistant construction, and is differentiated by that stripe on the back.

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Front view | Side view
Huawei Mate 10 Pro
Huawei Mate 10 Pro
6.07 x 2.93 x 0.31 inches
154.2 x 74.5 x 7.9 mm
6.28 oz (178 g)

Huawei Mate 10 Pro

Apple iPhone 8 Plus
Apple iPhone 8 Plus
6.24 x 3.07 x 0.3 inches
158.4 x 78.1 x 7.5 mm
7.13 oz (202 g)

Apple iPhone 8 Plus

Samsung Galaxy Note 8
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
6.4 x 2.94 x 0.34 inches
162.5 x 74.8 x 8.6 mm
6.88 oz (195 g)

Samsung Galaxy Note 8

LG V30
LG V30
5.97 x 2.97 x 0.29 inches
151.7 x 75.4 x 7.39 mm
5.57 oz (158 g)

LG V30



Display


Squeezing in a 6-inch 2160 x 1080 FullView OLED display, its all-screen and minimal bezel appearance is also attributed to the 18:9 aspect ratio it's sporting. Again, this is another trend that's been big throughout the year, so it's no surprise to find Huawei following suit. And they should, obviously, given how it helps to cram in more screen into the body.

Huawei Mate 10 Pro Review

All in all, there's very little to complain about. The display is more than detailed enough for our eyes, colors have an iridescent tone to them, and it manages to remain visible under direct sunlight. There's some distortion with the screen when tilting or viewing it at angles, usually giving it a colder (more bluish) tone, but it's not that distracting.

Huawei Mate 10 Pro Review

Boy has it been one busy fall season so far! All the major players in the smartphone space have announced their offerings for the upcoming holiday season, including Huawei, who is banking on the Mate 10 Pro to make a splash stateside. On paper, Huawei's high-end is looking like a solid contender, but it is surely going to face stiff competition from direct rivals in the space – the Samsung Galaxy Note 8, LG V30, Google Pixel 2 XL, and Apple iPhone X, to name a few. So let's find out how the Huawei Mate 10 Pro will fit into the mix.

Design


Huawei Mate 10 Pro Review

Ditching the line's previous formats, the Huawei Mate 10 Pro instead dons a totally new, fresh-looking design that holds its own amongst its peers. Gone is the all-metal construction of its predecessor, replaced by a now-trendy glass-meets-metal-trim design. Even though this approach has been done countless times by now, Huawei's interpretation is differentiated, mostly by the signature stripe running across the camera lenses – adding a hint of charm to an otherwise typical design.

Much like its peers, it too follows in the same near bezel-less look with its screen, conjuring up a pretty good screen-to-body ratio of 80.97%. Adding to that is its subtly curved glass wrapping around the phone, which causes it to shimmer under the light at certain angles, but also makes it prone to being a fingerprint magnet.

Bettering last year's construction, the Mate 10 Pro benefits from an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance. That's wonderful news, of course, also marking a first in the line, so to that degree, we're happy that it compares to the competition. Even though we're happy to see that the fingerprint and IR sensors make a return, we're sad that the headphone jack had to be axed. As a consolation, Huawei does package in a USB Type-C to 3.5mm headphone jack adapter, as well as an Earpods-esque pair of USB-C headphones.

We seriously love how this looks and feels in the hand! By now, however, this glass-meets-metal-trim design language is becoming the norm – and to some degree, tiresome as well. At the very least, it exudes a premium finish, features a water-resistant construction, and is differentiated by that stripe on the back.


Front view | Side view
Huawei Mate 10 Pro
Huawei Mate 10 Pro
6.07 x 2.93 x 0.31 inches
154.2 x 74.5 x 7.9 mm
6.28 oz (178 g)

Huawei Mate 10 Pro

Apple iPhone 8 Plus
Apple iPhone 8 Plus
6.24 x 3.07 x 0.3 inches
158.4 x 78.1 x 7.5 mm
7.13 oz (202 g)

Apple iPhone 8 Plus

Samsung Galaxy Note 8
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
6.4 x 2.94 x 0.34 inches
162.5 x 74.8 x 8.6 mm
6.88 oz (195 g)

Samsung Galaxy Note 8

LG V30
LG V30
5.97 x 2.97 x 0.29 inches
151.7 x 75.4 x 7.39 mm
5.57 oz (158 g)

LG V30



Display


Squeezing in a 6-inch 2160 x 1080 FullView OLED display, its all-screen and minimal bezel appearance is also attributed to the 18:9 aspect ratio it's sporting. Again, this is another trend that's been big throughout the year, so it's no surprise to find Huawei following suit. And they should, obviously, given how it helps to cram in more screen into the body.

Huawei Mate 10 Pro Review

All in all, there's very little to complain about. The display is more than detailed enough for our eyes, colors have an iridescent tone to them, and it manages to remain visible under direct sunlight. There's some distortion with the screen when tilting or viewing it at angles, usually giving it a colder (more bluish) tone, but it's not that distracting.

Interface and functionality


Huawei Mate 10 Pro Review

Skipping a few software version numbers, what we get here with the Mate 10 Pro is Huawei's Emotion UI 8.0 experience running on top of Android 8.0 Oreo. Visually, EMUI 8.0 is a drastic departure from the style and aesthetics of previous iterations. Customization is available in nearly every aspect of the interface. From the customizable floating navigation dock, to leveraging the fingerprint sensor to pull down the notifications panel, there's a ton to enhance the experience to your liking.

Huawei talks big about the phone's real-time on- device AI, which leverages the power of the Kirin 970 chipset to form a dedicated "NPU" (Neural Network Processing Unit). At first, we believed that most of this AI-driven experience would be something tangible, much like Samsung's Bixby, but they're more behind-the-scenes stuff. Essentially, this neural processing unit endows the Mate 10 Pro to possess a real-time vision engine, language understanding, effective power management, and much more!

Most of the features are nothing new, like its knuckle gestures and one-handed UI, but rather, they've been enhanced to some degree. Some of the new things we appreciate with EMUI 8.0 is PrivateSpace, which creates a second user account, but can only be accessed by a specific fingerprint. Therefore, if your left index finger is associated with your main account, you can create this "private" account and access it with your right index finger.

What's most compelling, though, has to be "Projection" mode! Similar in premise to Samsung's DeX, wherein the _phone_ can be tethered to a monitor/ display to offer a desktop-like experience. In addition, you can pair a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard to complete the experience. But best of all, you don’t need a special dock for those! Instead, all you need is a USB Type-C to HDMI adapter – and nothing more! Our only minor complain about Projection is that the _phone_ needs to remain on in order for it to work, so you can't turn off the display to preserve power.

Processor and performance


Huawei Mate 10 Pro Review

Introduced officially back during IFA 2017, Huawei's octa-core Kirin 970 chipset, which breaks down to 4 Cortex A73 cores running at 2.36 GHz and another 4 Cortex A53 cores at 1.8 GHz, the Mate 10 Pro surely runs smoothly as expected. Basic operation performance is on par to other high-caliber smartphones in its class, so we're pleased by the results here.

Our particular unit is paired with 6 GB of RAM, which is more than plenty to handle even the most processor-intensive operations. For gaming specifically, the Mate 10 Pro is more than capable in consistently delivering smooth frame rates with little lag. If you're passionate about gaming, you'll dig the kind of fluid responses it has to offer.

Our unit has the plentiful 128 GB of storage, while the model below it is equipped with 64 GB of storage (and 4GB of RAM). Sadly, there's no storage expansion here, so if you intend on shooting a ton of photos and 4K videos, it'd be a smart idea to go with the larger capacity of the two.

Performance benchmarks

AnTuTu
Higher is better
Huawei Mate 10 Pro 175462
Apple iPhone 8 Plus 220618
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 175439
LG V30 174456
JetStream
Higher is better
Huawei Mate 10 Pro 57.887
Apple iPhone 8 Plus 224.62
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 67.884
LG V30 55.338
GFXBench Manhattan 3.1 on-screen
Higher is better
Huawei Mate 10 Pro 59
Apple iPhone 8 Plus 59.3
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 39
LG V30 19
Basemark OS II
Higher is better
Huawei Mate 10 Pro 3286
Apple iPhone 8 Plus 4103
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 3422
LG V30 2690
Geekbench 4 single-core
Higher is better
Huawei Mate 10 Pro 1902
Apple iPhone 8 Plus 4243
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 1877
LG V30 1903
Geekbench 4 multi-core
Higher is better
Huawei Mate 10 Pro 6684
Apple iPhone 8 Plus 10330
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 6552
LG V30 6495
View all


Camera


Huawei Mate 10 Pro Review

Back before everyone decided to jump the dual-camera system bandwagon, Huawei was one of the earlier adopters, so you have to believe that they’ve been perfecting the craft since last year's model. With the Mate 10 Pro, they partnered with Leica yet again, as it receives iterative hardware improvements.

Similar to the P10 and its camera configuration, the Mate 10 Pro features a 12 MP color sensor and a 20 MP monochrome one – with only the color sensor employing optical stabilization. Equally impressive is that the camera has an aperture of f/1.6, which should in theory offer better light sensitivity and subsequently, better low light performance. Complementing the arsenal is its classic four-in-one hybrid focus, which combines laser focusing, phase detection, depth focus, and contrast focus to achieve the swiftest result! Around the front, it's slapped with an 8MP camera.

As for the camera interface, it doesn't deviate much from the norm. The usual array of modes and feature persist here, like its manual controls, slow-motion, and panoramic mode. And just like the P10 before it, there are specific "portrait" and "wide-aperture" modes that help to blur out background to put the accent on the subject. We'll say that it does a pretty good job with both, but better yet, it's also available with the front-facing camera.

Camera interface - Huawei Mate 10 Pro Review
Camera interface - Huawei Mate 10 Pro Review
Camera interface - Huawei Mate 10 Pro Review
Camera interface - Huawei Mate 10 Pro Review

Camera interface


Enthusiasts will be pleased by the wealth of options here, but that neural processing unit is being showcased here by the phone's ability to perform real-time scene and object recognition. Offering a total of 13 modes it can recognize, the phone is able to determine what you're capturing and apply the specific adjustments, like color saturation and sharpness to best make the photos pop. While we appreciate this gesture, it would've been nice to turn off this feature so that we can make custom adjustments later on.

So, how does it fair? Seriously, this rivals some of the greats in the space right now with its still-shot photography – offering a balanced performance throughout all sorts of conditions. When there's ample lighting in the scene, the Huawei Mate 10 Pro captures amazing-looking photos complete with sharp detail, rich colors, and a decent handling of dynamic range. Macro shots in particular are impressive! Under low light, the rear camera manages to handle the situation with enough favorable qualities – while staving off some of the noise and graininess that usually plague other phones.

Using the wide-aperture and portrait modes, too, will enhance the look and level of your snapshots. For the most past, the camera does a phenomenal job of determining the subject – allowing for the background to be blown out for that "pro" look. The only time the camera seems to underperform is using the wide-aperture and portrait modes under low light. There's just too much of a softening effect applied to the image, resulting in the loss of details. And the same thing can be said about the front-facing camera's performance, but it manages to do better under ideal conditions.


Shooting video, it's best to stick with the highest resolution capture – so that's 4K 3840 x 2160. That's because you'll get the best results there, as details are rich, the focus is spiffy, and there's not a whole lot of artifacting when moving around. What's strange, however, are the poor results with 1080p capture. Details are softened too much, making them unappealing. While it's nice that stabilization can be enabled with 1080p capture, we really wish there was a bit more sharpness and detail in the video. Under low light at 4K or 1080p, it struggles with its choppier capture and smeary looks.

Overall, the Mate 10 Pro is a stunning performer when it comes to still shots. The dual-camera system delivers sharp-looking photos with the help of its scene recognition system. For video, it'll suffice just as long as you stick with 4K capture.

Multimedia


With that gigantic 18:9 OLED display, the Mate 10 Pro is clearly adept in providing that visual feast to your eyes when it comes to watching videos. On top of it all, it supports the HDR10 standard for high dynamics range content. On the flip side, although the audio quality coming from the single speaker next to the USB Type-C port is clear and potent, this phone could benefit from a dual-speaker arrangement of some sort.

Using the included USB-C headphones, which closely resemble Apple's Earpods, there's no shortage of solid tunes coming out of them. We're thankful that an adapter is included for those wishing to stick with their own pair of headphones, but it's yet again another thing you'll need to keep track of.

Battery life


Huawei Mate 10 Pro Review

Longevity is something you'll get with the Huawei Mate 10 Pro's battery performance, allowing it to easily achieve two-days of normal usage. This proves the point that bigger is better, as it boasts a 4000 mAh battery cell, which is well above the sub-3500mAh capacities of its rivals. Complementing its battery prowess, it supports Huawei's SuperCharge technology, which can charge the battery up to the 58-percent mark in 30 minutes. Indeed, that's something useful if you're in a rut.

Call Quality


Huawei Mate 10 Pro Review
Phone calls pose no problems at all for the Huawei Mate 10 Pro, delivering a well-rounded performance. Through the speaker, voices tend to be mostly audible, but we find that we're required to mash it against our ear in order for sufficient tones to pass through. On the other end of the line, our callers mention nothing but clear and distinctive tones – even in noisy environments. Switching over to the speaker phone, there's a strong volume level for us to conduct conversations. There's also the omni directional speaker, which leverage the microphones on the phone for either a directional 120-degree focus, or 360-degree coverage.

Conclusion


Huawei Mate 10 Pro Review

US pricing for the Huawei Mate 10 Pro has yet to be revealed, but overseas in Europe, it's slapped with a 799 euro cost, which is the equivalent of 930 US dollars. While the Mate 10 Pro's price in the US should be lower due to Europe's higher tax rates, it is surely going to be one expensive phone.

On its own, the Huawei Mate 10 Pro is a refreshing new player. With its premium design, long-lasting battery and incredible snapshot performance, the Mate 10 Pro can surely compete with some of the best out there. And for Huawei, this is a dramatically improved model over its predecessor – adopting many of the cool trends we've grown to appreciate, like its water-resistant construction, 18:9 screen aspect ratio, and dual camera system.

Ultimately, we can say that Huawei has done enough to sell the Mate 10 as a strong competitor in the space, but we wouldn't necessarily go as far as to say that it has enough distinction to overpower the majority of the bunch out there. Get it primarily if you're looking for a fabulous camera for still shots and a long battery life.