The Good The Mate 10 Pro is sleek and durable, very powerful and takes great photos in both color and black and white. In addition, the waterproof and battery is great.
The Bad You cannot expand storage, and there is no headphone jack. Its additional software is tricky.
The Bottom Line While it doesn’t have all the features of the Galaxy Note 8, the Mate 10 Pro earns its place in a high-end, big-screen package.
The Huawei Honor 10 is a fast Android cutout phone. Check out our review.
Huawei has put its hopes on the Mate 10 Pro ($ 410 on Amazon) as its flagship phone for the year. It was designed as well as the Galaxy Note 8 ($ 464 on Amazon) . And thanks to its huge display, powerful processor and cool camera, it becomes very close.
The Mate 10 Pro is not nearly as full as the Note 8, as is the S Pen style, expandable storage and its own virtual assistant (although we are not fully sold on Bixby Voice). For around £ 700 or $ 1,099 (which translates to about $ 920), this phone is not cheap. But solid all-round performance makes it a good option if you need a gorgeous, large, high-end unnamed Samsung screen or the extremely high price of the Note 8 (£ 869 or AU $ 1,499; the Note 8 costs around $ 950 US).
The Pro here is not the only phone in the Mate 10 ($ 356 on Amazon) series. The standard Mate 10 has a smaller 5.9-inch display, a fingerprint scanner on the front (not the back), and it’s not waterproof. The internal characteristics are almost the same, and it should be a cheaper model, although prices and affordability have not been cemented yet.
However, only the Pro version is sold in the UK, while the Mate 10 will be available in Australia. No phones announced for US.
Huawei’s glass and metal Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro
The big screen needs big hands
With its 6-inch screen, the fact that the Mate 10 Pro is a great phone is not neglected. A tiny shell on all sides means that the body no longer has to run for air than it needs to, but even I tried to type with only one hand. The rear glass surface makes it a little slippery to switch when you try to touch an icon that is simply unreachable. If you have smaller hands, you will need to make some adjustments to hit this fingerprint scanner on your back.
To help with one-handed use, Huawei has added a screen button called the Navigation Dock, which can replace the navigation bar. It floats above what you are looking at and can be moved to the correct position to reach the thumb. One tap takes you a step back, press and hold to return home, or press and swipe right to open the multi-tasking wheel. This means that you have a small white ball that hangs over everything you look at, but it is easy to get off the road or completely shut down.
Huawei reaches for this slim panel by moving the fingerprint scanner from under the display to the back, below the camera. It’s fast and accurate. The screen now dominates the front of the phone, giving plenty of room to show your favorite Netflix shows. A resolution of 2 160 x 1 805 pixels is a step below the 260601,440-pixel Note 8, but in everyday use you are unlikely to see much difference. It’s crisp, with bright colors and bright enough to look for eyeballs right away.
Huawei put a bunch of gestures in the Smart Help section of the Mate 10 Pro settings app. For example, you can take a screenshot by tapping your screen with your knees and start split screen mode by swiping your finger horizontally across the screen. These are basically unpleasant tricks, not a time saver. You can largely ignore them, but they still failed us and knocked on our joints unnecessarily.
Huawei picked up Apple’s hint of switching the back design from metal to glass. While Apple has made a move to support wireless charging, Huawei’s solution is purely aesthetics – there is no wireless charging on this phone. I really love the design, however, despite the fact that glass is an absolute magnet of fingerprints. It looks sleek, modern and stylish. This is the kind of phone that you will not be discouraged from pulling out of the pocket of a smart jacket, and you will enjoy third-party views as people look and try to understand what it is.
CNET reviewers received the Mate 10 Pro in slate and brown shades. Surprisingly, we liked brown the most. It may seem the least exciting color for a flashy gadget (shout out to anyone who remembers the brown Zune), but it makes a refreshing change from regular black or silver phones on sale. I would choose a color if I bought the phone myself.
Great camera in color and mono
The back panel has the same dual camera setup we saw on the Huawei P10. The 12-megapixel sensor shoots colors, while the 20-megapixel sensor shoots exclusively in black and white.
Shots from both sensors look great. The colors are rich, with a great balance of exposure between the bright sky and the shady background. The white balance seems to be a bit misty on the cold side, but it’s a light pair of taps to adjust it and warm up the scene a bit. It also works well in low light, producing bright, crisp images with minimal image noise.
You can take portrait photos by tapping the on-screen control. Although the Mate 10 Pro does not store both versions, as does the Galaxy Note 8, portraits of the Mate 10 have a decent amount of background blur that helps your subject pop out of the scene. The cut around the theme is not always particularly neat (iPhone 8 Plus ($ 699 on Amazon) has been more consistent in my experience), but it’s good enough to help jazz up your portraits on Instagram.
Black and white photos look great too, with the dark black levels giving you the rich contrast you normally get when you spend time editing black and white images in applications like Snapseed. They are as good as the P10 black and white shots, so if you already have this phone, you don’t need to update the quality of the camera alone. If you are in your ugly monochrome portraits, Mate Pro is a good fit for you.
You will be able to quickly dive into the camera settings at the bottom of the built-in camera app, which helps you fine-tune settings such as ISO, measurement and white balance without having to spend time switching to another mode.
On the front is an 8MP camera that handles the captures of your smiling selfies. It is sharp and minimizes image noise when shooting indoors in low light. There is a beauty regimen that smooths out the imperfections on your skin (you can – and should – reduce the effect to avoid looking like a ceramic doll). It’s also a fairly wide-angle camera, so you probably won’t need any selfie stick to kill all your friends.
You can even apply portrait mode to selfie shots that make only a few phones, including Google Pixel 2 ($ 500 on Amazon) and Pixel 2 XL ($ 650 on Amazon) , and iPhone X ($ 899 on Amazon) . The blurry background is subtle, but it does cut out your face quite neatly (my ear was very blurry, though most of my hair was still sharp).
You can launch the camera application by double-clicking the volume down button on the lock screen. Do it again to take a quick snapshot. A quick-fire camera is useful if you’re worried about missing a shot.
Waterproof but priced headphone jack
Huawei also went down the iPhone-Pixel 2-Moto route and tore out the headphone jack. Instead, you’ll need to use a Bluetooth headset or find a wired pair that plugs into a USB-C outlet. This may be a good idea if you just splashed on new wired headphones, but Huawei says removing the headphone jack has made the phone water resistant.
The company stated that the waterproof headphone jack is just too hard – indeed, the standard Mate 10 has a jack and is not waterproof. Samsung completely coped with this on the Galaxy S8 ($ 500 on best purchase) like the LG with the V30 ($ 280 on Amazon) so I am not happy that Huawei did not make much effort. Pro is characterized by an IP67 level, meaning you can immerse it in 1.5 meters (5 feet) of water for up to 30 minutes at a time. It really is, though, for protection against spilled drinks or for calls in the rain. In my own testing, he survived being immersed at the foot of water for 29 minutes twice.
The phone has Huawei’s latest eight-core Kirin 970 processor, which supports 6GB of RAM, which is about as fast as you would expect from a higher-end phone. Navigation is fast, applications are fast to download and require games like Asphalt: Xtreme, play well without noticeable stuttering. As for the Geekbench test, it ended up right there with the Note 8, although it failed on the 3DMark graphic test. Check out the comparison chart below to get the full run of points.
After launching the phone, Huawei explained that processor skills are not only good for everyday applications, but also provide particularly good performance for AI. This is all well and good, but for now, the only application optimized for this processor is the Microsoft Translator application, which provides near-real-time translation. It worked fine, but I can’t say I noticed that it’s faster than using Google Translate on the iPhone 8 ($ 599 on Amazon) .
It also helps the camera automatically recognize scenes and adjust settings accordingly. It worked quickly, though I’m not sure how much difference it actually made in the photos I received. For the processor, the early days are coming, and perhaps more services will be optimized for use with it. For today, all that really matters is that it burns fast.
Not just the AWOL headphone jack, there’s also no expandable storage. Of course, the phone comes with a standard 128GB of storage, which is probably more than enough for most people. Still, on my most popular Android phone, which calls itself “Pro,” I would like to see a microSD slot.
The Mate 10 Pro has a 4,000 mAh battery that Huawei considers to be at least two days in use. This is an ambitious claim, but it is not far off, based on our own testing. It lasted for 19 hours in our video rental test, which beat the Note 8, Pixel 2 XL and OnePlus 5.
Your own time, of course, will depend entirely on how demanding you are on the phone. If you are careful enough to use it (keep the screen brightness down to the right and avoid streaming video or games) then you will be able to comfortably go all day long and move on to the next.
Huawei Mate 10 Pro specifications comparison table
|Huawei Mate 10 Pro||Huawei Mate 10||Samsung Galaxy Note 8||Google Pixel 2 XL|
|Display size, resolution||6-inch; 2,160×1,080 pixels||5.9-inch; 2,560×1,440 pixels||6.3-inch; 2,960×1,440 pixels||6-inch; 2,880×1,440 pixels|
|Pixel density||402ppi||499 ppi||522ppi||538 ppi|
|Dimensions (Inches)||6.1x3x0.3 in||5.9×3.1×0.3 in||6.4×2.9×0.34 in||6.2×3.0x0.3 in|
|Dimensions (Millimeters)||154x75x7.9 mm||151x78x8.2 mm||162.5×74.8×8.6 mm||157.9×76.7×7.9 mm|
|Weight (Ounces, Grams)||6.27 oz; 178 g||6.59 oz; 186 g||6.9 oz, 195 g||6.17 oz; 175 g|
|Mobile software||Android 8.0 Oreo||Android 8.0 Oreo||Android 7.1.1 Nougat||Android 8 Oreo|
|Camera||Dual cameras, 12-megapixel (colour), 20-megapixel (mono)||Dual cameras, 12-megapixel (colour), 20-megapixel (mono)||Dual 12-megapixel||12-megapixel|
|Processor||Huawei Kirin 970 Octa-core||Huawei Kirin 970 Octa-core||Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (2.35GHz+1.9GHz) or Octa-core Samsung Exynos 8895 (2.35GHz+1.7GHz)||Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 835|
|Expandable storage||None||Yes||Up to 2TB||None|
|Fingerprint sensor||Back of phone||Beneath screen||Back cover||Back cover|
|Special features||Water resistant (IP67)||S Pen stylus, water-resistant, wireless charging||Google Assistant; unlimited cloud storage; Daydream VR-ready|
|Price off-contract (USD)||Converts to $860||Converts to $700||AT&T: $950; Verizon: $960; T-Mobile: $930; Sprint: $960; U.S. Cellular: $963||$849 (64GB), $949 (128GB)|
|Price (GBP)||£700||Converts to £530||£869||£799 (64GB), £899 (128GB)|
|Price (AUD)||AU$1,099||AU$899||AU$1,499||AU$1,399 (64GB), AU$1,549 (128GB)|