Huawei Mate 10 Pro hands-on: The questionable "Pro" model


Forging a similar strategy as its competitors, Chinese maker Huawei is bringing a one-two punch with its latest devices in the Mate series this upcoming holiday season. Just like Apple and Google before them, with their new iPhones and Pixels, the new Huawei Mate 10 smartphones are largely two slightly different devices. On one hand, you have the standard Mate 10, while on the other, we have its slightly beefier sibling in the Huawei Mate 10 Pro.

Naturally, the "Pro" attachment once again indicates it's going to have a few tricks up its sleeves that you won't find in the standard Mate 10. And when we look at its specs and design, it becomes instantly clear that it's the phone that diehard power users are going to want to gravitate towards – more so when it employs many of the trends we've been seeing in the space. Will that be enough to steer it above the other phones it's competing against?

Design


Comparing the Mate 10 Pro to the standard Mate 10 side-by-side to one another, it's apparent that the Pro is slimmer around the waist, making it marginally easier to hold in the hand. Following the same new design language as its sibling, shedding the all-metal construction of its predecessor, it's now sporting a slick all-glass construction that bounces light beautifully at different angles. And better yet, it benefits too over its sibling with an IP67 rating for water and dust resistance – at the expense of having a 3.5mm headphone jack.

While we're sad to see that the headphone jack has been axed, the fingerprint sensor at least is positioned at a convenient location in the back, just beneath the cameras. Still, you could say that it has some of the design characteristics approached by other devices, like the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 and LG V30, with their glass bodies and sloping edges. We wouldn't necessarily say that the Mate 10 Pro is any better, but it's still suitable enough for us to like. One distinction you'll find is in the rear of the phone, where its signature stripe offers a subtle amount of contrast to an otherwise shimmery frame.

Display


Once again we're seeing another trend being adopted by the Mate 10 Pro, as it sports a new FullView AMOLED Display with an aspect ratio of 18:9, which makes sense over the 16:9 aspect ratio found in the Mate 10, seeing that the Mate 10 Pro is narrower and longer. What's odd, though, is the resolution in this 6-inch AMOLED display – 2160 x 1080 pixels, versus 2560 x 1440 pixels in the Mate 10. You'd think that this so-called "Pro" version would be endowed with something better, or at least the same quad-HD resolution, but it gets less than that in reality.

Even though our eyes find it more than detailed, sharp, and vivid, we're still a bit stumped by the resolution. Yes, the aspect ratio and its support for HDR10 are intended to deliver a dynamic video watching experience, but it still irks us that this "Pro" model is actually lower in resolution than its sibling. Generally speaking, the trend here is to expect higher resolution, so we're still clueless as to this decision with the Mate 10 Pro. It looks stunning when you look at it, but that resolution on paper is a bit distracting.


User Interface


There's a reason why Huawei skipped a few numbers with the software. First and foremost, the Mate 10 Pro is running the company's latest software experience, EMUI 8.0, which supposedly skipped a few numbers in the process to keep it in line with the release of Android 8.0 Oreo. So yes, it's running Oreo right from the get-go, which is fantastic news given that there won't be any wait needed for it!

In addition to the cleaner, more simplified looking user interface, Huawei is focusing its efforts on local machine learning. By this, we mean that the phone is becoming more self-aware in the way that it can make predictions. For example, if you're reading something and it's late at night, EMUI 8.0 will offer the recommendation of lowering the brightness and changing it to night-time mode to make reading easier on your eyes. This is one of several scenarios that Huawei has developed, but the outcome is a phone with awareness.

Not only do we see an improvement in the way the Mate 10 Pro adapts to each user, it takes a feature from Samsung's playbook with its "Smart Screen" feature using an ordinary USB Type-C cable to HDMI. Once connected to a monitor/display, users are treated to a desktop experience where Huawei mentions that most third-party apps are supported. Similar in premise to Samsung DeX, Huawei's implementation ditches the dock in favor of a quick and easy cable connection. One feature particular to the Mate 10 Pro that you won't get in the Mate 10 is this new multi columns support in landscape mode.

Processor and Memory


Introduced about a month ago at IFA 2017, the Huawei Mate 10 Pro leverages the company's in-house Kirin 970 chipset. That's the same exact hardware found in the Mate 10 as well! On the surface during our quick hands-on, the phone exhibited all the instant responses you'd want to find in a high-end phone, but much like most things, it'll be interesting to see if it'll be able to maintain that consistency after months of use.

Huawei goes on to tout how the Kirin 970 represents a new age in processing, as they frequently go on to proclaim it as the world's first dedicated "neural processing unit." This NPU of sorts is what drives the machine learning on the phone with the software experience, always learning and adapting from your habits. It's intriguing to say the least, especially when Huawei goes on to say that there are infinite possibilities with the phone.

Two different models of the Mate 10 Pro will be available. One will feature 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage, while another jumps up to 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage. Regretfully, there's no microSD card slot in either of them, which is shocking when the standard Mate 10 has it. Who knows if the IP67 construction is the culprit behind the Mate 10 Pro lacking the expansion and headphone jack.

Camera


Before we saw the craze of dual-camera systems becoming prevalent this year, the Mate 9 was one of the few late last year to adopt the implementation – so it's no surprise that it's back again better than ever! This time, it's paired with new Leica dual Summilux-H lenses, broken down to 12MP RGB + 20MP monochrome sensors, which combined deliver a wide aperture of f/1.6. There is OIS, but it's only with the RGB sensor! Topping it off, it employs a new 4-in-1 hybrid focus and zoom system. Just so that you know, the camera system here is the same one found in the standard Mate 10.

The specs are drool worthy to say the least, while the dual-system camera means it'll deliver the bokeh effects with portrait shots we all know and love. However, what was more intriguing during our hands-on time is the intelligent photography brought on by the phone's AI-powered real-time scene and object recognition. The phone analyzes the scene and accordingly selects the best scene modes. For example, it'll increase the saturation level for food shots, emphasize the shades of green with plant photos, and much more.

Photography has been a focal point for many cameras announced in the last couple of months, but we're eager to see how the Mate 10 Pro compares against the competition. On paper, it seems like a powerhouse, but it'll need more than a solid arsenal of camera hardware to really rise above the rest that follow the same dual-camera recipe. If it can wow in low light, meticulously blur out background elements with portraits, and offer incredible video quality, it'll have a chance in becoming king.


Battery


Impressively, Huawei didn't skimp out on the phone's battery. In looking around the landscape, the Mate 10 Pro's 4000 mAh battery cell seems like a monster – especially on a flagship scale. That places it well ahead most of its contemporaries, so we can expect to garner longevity like no other. It'll be interesting to see if the Mate 10 Pro will have better longevity than its sibling in the standard Mate 10, especially with its lower-res screen.

Meanwhile, Huawei claims that its supercharge technology will deliver approximately 58% of battery life with 30 minutes of charging. The only thing missing here to complete the trifecta is wireless charging.

Expectations


Available in four colors, midnight blue, mocha brown, champagne gold, and pink gold, the Huawei Mate 10 Pro is also notable for the fact that it'll be dual-SIM with support for LTE in both slots, as well as having cat 18 gigabit LTE. Looking at it the Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro, we're gravitated by the latter's slicker looking aesthetics. Yes, there's something about that all-screen look and 18:9 display aspect ratio that calls for our attention. For all of its beauty, there are still some questionable things we're puzzled about.

The lack of expandable storage, no headphone jack, and a lower display resolution doesn't make for a convincing argument, so we're eager to know its pricing. Based on the "Pro" attachment, one would presume it's going be at least $100 more than the standard Mate 10. Now, the question that remains is whether or not consumers will be convinced by the pricing knowing the close similarities between the two new devices – like how they leverage the same cameras and processors.

Related phones

Mate 10 Pro
  • Display 6.0" 1080 x 2160 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 8 MP front
  • Processor HiSilicon Kirin, Octa-core, 2360 MHz
  • Storage 128 GB
  • Battery 4000 mAh

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31 Comments

1. Ahsanzafar

Posts: 36; Member since: Jun 07, 2015

whhats the difference in pro and simple model?

10. Nopers unregistered

Lower display resolution, more ROM/RAM. Unless Huawei can deliver on CPU performance then this will sell about as well than the Mate9. The “intelligence” that they think is unique to their phone has already been on Android for a couple of years and iPhones since iOS 10.

13. Martin_Cooper

Posts: 1774; Member since: Jul 30, 2013

Pro has amoled the other one has lcd Pro has water resistance the other one does not Pro has lower res than the other one Pro has fingerprint scanner on the back the other on front Pro has 2gb more ram Pro is 18:9 and the other one is 16:9 aspect ratio Pro does not have headphone jack but the other one does have Thats what I remember from presentation.

25. ShaikhJGI

Posts: 359; Member since: Jan 10, 2014

No matter whats the difference is but I am waiting desperatly to see what'll be PhoneArena's verdict on iPhone X display as it has a 1080P Panel as well. Because as per PA, 1080P OLED on Mate 10 Pro is low resolution (Said along with "Don't get me wrong" like Gazillion times) :D :D

2. Ninetysix

Posts: 2964; Member since: Oct 08, 2012

uh oh. HDR10 on a 1080P display. uncle_gadget/TechieXP, your thoughts pls? "First off, HDR10 and Dolby Vision, both require a minimum 1440p display." -uncle_gadget

14. ph00ny

Posts: 2031; Member since: May 26, 2011

iirc, HDR requirement was for brightness, color depth and tone mapping. I think I've seen 1080p TV with the HDR10 support

3. ShadowSnypa786

Posts: 573; Member since: Jan 06, 2017

Mate 10 pro has no audio jack and a 1080p display. Whereas the standard Mate 10 model has an audio jack and a 1440p screen resolution. If it had an amoled display and not lcd the standard version is by far superior to the Pro model.

7. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

The pro's display has a higher res than standard 1080p, easier to count pixels here, standard 1080p has 2,073,600 pixels the Mate 10 pro has 2,332,800 and the Mate 10's QHD display has 3,686,400. I still don't understand why the didn't give it a QHD display though, It can't simply be about battery life since you can change the res on oled displays with software to get better battery life.

9. Boast_Rider

Posts: 535; Member since: Sep 14, 2017

I think it's something to do with Samsung unable to supply enough QHD+ displays due to S8 and Note 8 series selling extremely well. Meanwhile, they are selling the old tech to others( 1080p(+) on Oneplus 5, iPhone X, Mate 10 pro) to milk profits to the max.

15. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

I don't think apple got the old displays with the iPhone X. Your explanation is plausible though.

17. Boast_Rider

Posts: 535; Member since: Sep 14, 2017

The Apple displays are definitely lower resolution and dimmer. I don't see how they are on par with the latest ones in the S8 or Note 8 series.

21. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

Lower res by choice though, you know Apple likes their retina display BS so the lower res is obviously Apple's choice just like the iPads and 4.7in iPhones have always had lower res(than average) displays by choice. Also since we are talking about the iPhone X that isn't even out yet how do you possibly know the display is dimmer than the S8? If you are simply taking about all iPhones well last time I checked the brightness of the iPhone is usually higher than the Galaxy series the iPhone 8 is well beyond the S8 and Note 8's brightness and the iPhone 8 plus is only 3 nits lower than the S8, sure the S8 has boosted brightness in auto mode but it can't stay that bright all the time. Apple uses high quality displays, the resolution that Apple prefers doesn't take away from the quality of the display, the color and brightness is always superb along with gamma, contrast and grey scale. If you like that saturated crap samsung employs on their devices then fine but you won't find a more accurate display than the iPhone. Just so you know because you statement makes you sound as if you don't, Apple display until the iPhone X has always been LCD not the Oled that Samsung favors.

26. Boast_Rider

Posts: 535; Member since: Sep 14, 2017

The reviewers at the event (multiple of them) claimed that brightness was significantly lower than note 8. OLEDs don't need to be as bright as LCDs to have same viewablity. Even at lower brightness, due to superior contrast and low reflectance, they appear brighter.

27. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

My 6s plus is much brighter than my sister's S7 edge, if nits didn't matter that much for Oled that wouldn't be true. Oled can't appear brighter than Lcd if they aren't as bright, it's as simple as that.

28. Boast_Rider

Posts: 535; Member since: Sep 14, 2017

I refuse to believe that. I have personally seen both models and in sunlight, the S7 edge appears much better. According to GSMArena, S7 edge has a sunlight legibility contrast of 4.439 while iPhone 6s plus has 3.530, despite the S7 edge having a much lower brightness display on manual brightness. Yes, LCDs can get brighter on 100% APL, but OLEDs can get much much brighter when it really matters(high-contrast scenes) and low APL.

29. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

Lol calm down man, i'm f**king with you, I know the big differences between oled and lcd. This conversation was never about lcd vs oled anyway but rather or not the iPhone X has the latest oled panel and I think it does. We will just have to wait until release day to know for sure.

30. Boast_Rider

Posts: 535; Member since: Sep 14, 2017

I'm waiting for the clusterf**k that the iPhone X is going to be too. Planning to get a couple and sell them at even more inflated prices due to super bad supply.

31. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

Good luck with your scheme!

4. IronTech

Posts: 153; Member since: May 27, 2016

It seems like every flagship phone will have no headphone jack in the near future. #RIP

5. Nathan_ingx

Posts: 4769; Member since: Mar 07, 2012

Why should one choose this over the normal 10? Pro seems like a downgrade. Or is there a Swiss army knife like hidden feature?

8. Boast_Rider

Posts: 535; Member since: Sep 14, 2017

The pro has a few advantages: 1. 18:9 OLED display over 16:9 LCD in the regular 10 2. 128GB storage/ 6GB RAM over 64/4 in regular mate 10. 3. IP 67 certification. I personally think Full HD+ resolution is more than enough and it's gonna result in higher performance and battery life since the battery size is same.

6. redmd

Posts: 1935; Member since: Oct 26, 2011

Not enough QHD AMOLED from Samsung??? The PRO has a few notable cons. 1. No expandable storage 2. No 3.5mm headphone jack 3. Full HD+ in a flagship

11. Mr.mobile

Posts: 130; Member since: Mar 09, 2017

Now waiting far benchmarks and battery life review big battery than all 4000mah battery

12. CreeDiddy

Posts: 2186; Member since: Nov 04, 2011

1900/6300 GB scores....I thought that the 970 was a more capable CPU.

20. Bondurant

Posts: 781; Member since: Jun 04, 2014

Yea the geekbench scores are disappointing as it is no different to kirin 960 scores. However the Kirin 970 powered up it's GPU and added NPU to increase performance. So geekbench scores don't say it all.

16. Plasticsh1t

Posts: 3106; Member since: Sep 01, 2014

“No headphone jack” f**k Huawei and f**k whoever started this trend.

18. jacky899

Posts: 430; Member since: May 16, 2017

Dumb decision Huawei to make the pro with lower resolution than standard. Even if you arent able to get a decent deal from Samsung on the oled screen, just stick with lcd. You cant really tell the difference between the iphone plus screen and samsung oled screens. They both look nice.

19. ph00ny

Posts: 2031; Member since: May 26, 2011

So is anyone going to comment about the location of the finger print sensor being just below the camera sensors? Same issue as the Note8/S8/S8+ being "next" to the camera sensor isn't it?

22. bur60

Posts: 981; Member since: Jul 07, 2014

Not as bad. You can reach your finger from below up, up to the sensor. When its horizontal next to it, you have to guess among 3 sensors which one the fps is.

24. ph00ny

Posts: 2031; Member since: May 26, 2011

how so? It's on the right side if you're looking at it from the front and left side if you're looking at it from the back. It's not like it's situated right between the sensors.

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