Huawei unveils the Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro: putting the "smart" back in "smartphone"

Just like most other large players in the smartphone space, Huawei's high-end strategy is divided in two: it releases one "conventional" flagship series early in the year — the last of which was the P10 — and another, more niche one whose distinguishing feature is usually its larger size.

But unlike previous entries in the Mate series, the newly-announced Mate 10 series marks what looks like the beginning of a new era for the Chinese giant's products. In fact, the series' marketing boldly proclaims that "this is not a smartphone," thanks to the brand-new Kirin 970 chipset's inclusion of a neural processing unit (or NPU for short). In short, this means the device's software will use machine learning to adapt to users' behavior and surroundings.

And just like it did with last year's Mate 9 series, Huawei unveiled two "main" flagships sharing the Mate 10 moniker — the more conventional Huawei Mate 10, and taller taller and slimmer Mate 10 Pro. Alongside them, there will also be a Mate 10 Porsche Design (which is just the Pro with a slightly different design) and a Mate 10 Lite, but those two are beyond the scope of the article.

Tall display, but only if you want it

When it comes to looks, the Mate 10 and the Mate 10 Pro are actually extremely similar. The Mate 10 is the thicker and shorter of the two siblings, with a 5.9-inch, 2,560 x 1,440 screen with a conventional 16:9 aspect ratio. The Pro, on the the hand, goes for a 6-inch, "FullView" OLED display with an 18:9 aspect ratio and a resolution of 2160 x 1080 pixels. Also notable is that both of the devices' displays support the HDR10 standard.

Below the display you'll find one of two things: a pill-shaped fingerprint scanner if you're using the Mate 10, or the Huawei logo if you've opted for the Pro. But don't worry, the latter has a scanner as well, but one that's placed on the back, below the camera module.

And speaking of the back, that's where the design of the duo shines the most. The first thing users will notice is definitely the so-called "signature stripe," inside which you'll find the dual cameras. Unlike last year's Mate 9, the two camera lenses are not in a dedicated module, but jut out from the back panel on their own. And the panel itself is quite interesting, with a stylish-looking curved glass design.

The wider Mate 10 also has a couple of features its Pro sibling lacks: a top-mounted 3.5 mm headphone jack and a MicroSD card slot. While Huawei hasn't shared the reasoning behind this decision, we imagine space constraints had a role to play, since wider aspect ratios offer a larger surface area.

Dual cameras made smart

In classic Huawei fashion, the Mate 10 duo once again features a dual rear-facing camera module. And just like the P10, the configuration consists of a 12 MP color sensor and a 20 MP monochrome one, with only the color sensor featuring optical stabilization. Also present is the Huawei's classic four-in-one hybrid focus, which uses a combination of laser focusing, phase detection, depth focus and contrast focus to get the fastest possible result.

What's new is that, just like with the LG V30, the camera has an f/1.6 aperture, the lowest aperture smartphones can offer at the moment. And at least on paper this should mean higher light sensitivity and thus better low-light performance — but we'll have to test that out for ourselves, of course.

Here you'll also find one of the first uses of that fancy Kirin 970 NPU — the phones will use machine learning to help users take a better picture using automatic object recognition. In practice, detecting something like food or flowers for example, will adjust the colors according to one of several built-in presets.

As for the front-facing camera, don't expect anything particularly flashy: it's pretty much your standard, 8 MP selfie shooter, though it isn't yet clear whether it will also make use of the phone's machine learning algorithms.

Powerful new chipset, huge battery

But the differences between the Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro aren't only on the outside. While both devices will be powered by the shiny new Kirin 970 SoC and will be offered in a version with 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage, the Pro will also get another variant, which will be bumped up to 6 gigs of RAM and 128 GB of storage.

Also, only the Pro model will have an LTE Cat. 18 modem (as opposed to the Mate 10's Cat. 16 one), which uses 6CA (carrier aggregation) to deliver better download speeds. However, this is unlikely to affect users in the United States, where carriers only aggregate up to three channels, but it could prove to be useful as a future-proofing measure.

But the Mate 10 didn't exactly get the short end of the stick, since it's the only model to get an SD card expansion slot, as well as a 3.5 mm headphone jack, which evens out the playing field between the two models a fair bit.

And last but not least, both devices will ship with a massive 4,000 mAh battery, which is considerably more than other flagships of its caliber. Also, Huawei's fast charging solution promises a 30-minute charge will get the battery up to 58%. Notably missing is support for wireless charging, despite the shift towards glass for the devices' rear panels — hopefully this isn't a dealbreaker for many.

Software that adapts to you

With smartphones these days feeling ever more like just slightly different-looking versions of the same thing, Huawei seems to be trying to differentiate itself from competitors by breaking new ground in software. Thus, the Mate 10 series now tightly integrates the brand-new EMUI 8.0 with its own take on machine learning, as aided by the aforementioned Kirin 970 NPU.

So the improvements won't manifest in the camera app only — Huawei has several different scenarios where its software will use machine learning to aid the user. Examples include small but useful stuff like suggesting to dim the display while you're reading at night, or managing apps' battery consumption according to your usage patterns. However, the company makes sure to mention that there are "infinite possibilities," and hopes app developers will make further use of the new tech.

Another cool new feature is the so-called "Easy Projection," which can be summarized as being Samsung DeX but without the need for a dock. Or to put it simply, connecting the Mate 10 to a display using a USB-C to HDMI adapter will result in a desktop Android experience, with Huawei claiming most third-party apps will be supported.

And last but not least, enthusiasts will be happy to know EMUI 8.0 is based on the brand-new Android 8.0 Oreo, which also means it's one of the first devices to support Google's Project Treble.

Price and availability

The Mate 10 will be available for purchase from late October, and will cost €699. The Mate 10 Pro, on the other hand, will be released in mid-November, and will cost €799 for the 6 GB/128 GB variant. These are, of course, the prices for Europe only — U.S pricing and release dates will be announced at a later date.

And last but not least, both devices will be available in four color options: the Mate 10 will come in brown, pink gold, gold, and black, while the Mate 10 Pro will be available in brown, pink gold, grey, and blue.

Related phones

Mate 10
  • Display 5.9" 1440 x 2560 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 8 MP front
  • Processor HiSilicon Kirin, Octa-core, 2360 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 4000 mAh(25h 3G talk time)
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



1. Ahsanzafar

Posts: 36; Member since: Jun 07, 2015

were is te face recognition which they were mocking apple for ??????

4. Nathan_ingx

Posts: 4769; Member since: Mar 07, 2012

They decided it won't be good for Apple to be mocked at and owned consecutively.

2. AVVA1

Posts: 228; Member since: Aug 01, 2017

The plug and play desktop mode is ingenious and convenient :)

7. UnlimitedSkye03

Posts: 300; Member since: Apr 27, 2012

Yep, I agree with you, no need for a DeX like device :)

10. ph00ny

Posts: 2074; Member since: May 26, 2011

But will it charge out of HDMI port? How would you plug in non-wireless peripherals?

3. redmd

Posts: 1961; Member since: Oct 26, 2011

The regular Mate 10 reminds me of Note7. Which is a compliment for Huawei.

5. BGChicago

Posts: 228; Member since: Nov 16, 2014

Huge again. Why still no one making 80% screen to body ratio but with a 5" screen. There is so much market for compact phones.

9. disatrousrainbow

Posts: 71; Member since: Oct 24, 2015

Totally agree with this. Is it really THAT hard to make a "bezel-less" or "full-view" display in size that's as compact as the iPhone 8 or Pixel 2? I mean, I know the iPhone X and S8 aren't that much bigger either, but at the end of the day they're STILL bigger. That being said, these phone's look gorgeous. I just wish

11. ph00ny

Posts: 2074; Member since: May 26, 2011

iphone 8 vs GS8 5.45 x 2.65 x 0.29 inches (138.4 x 67.3 x 7.3 mm) 5.86 x 2.68 x 0.31 inches (148.9 x 68.1 x 8 mm) Sizes are almost identical minus the slightly taller overall length

12. BGChicago

Posts: 228; Member since: Nov 16, 2014

Sorry but 1cm+ is not slightly. On top of all that, the top section of the S8 screen is IMPOSSIBLE to reach for ME one hand. I have challenges even with S7 but it's acceptable.

13. ph00ny

Posts: 2074; Member since: May 26, 2011

hence the minus the slightly taller overall length. 1CM is less than a fingernail width. I do have big hands and have always preferred the Note variant over the S variant

15. BGChicago

Posts: 228; Member since: Nov 16, 2014

Well that is you. There are gazillion options for big screen, almost none for small. No need to argue with us (the guys that needs it)

16. disatrousrainbow

Posts: 71; Member since: Oct 24, 2015

That additional 10mm in height DOES make a difference though. That's what I'm trying to say here. I had an S8, it was a pretty nice phone, great to hold, but not necessarily to use. The combination of height, slippery glass, and curved edges just wasn't as ergonomically friendly as, say, an HTC 10, Pixel, or iPhone 7. Also, just because dimensions are similar, doesn't mean that will translate to an in-hand feel or experience. That's like, duh...

6. tiara6918

Posts: 2263; Member since: Apr 26, 2012

This is the best android device out now, no doubt

8. Sparkxster

Posts: 1260; Member since: Mar 31, 2017

Both the Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro look amazing more so the 10 Pro. Don't understand why they removed headphone jack from the 10 Pro and no micro SD card slot for the 10 Pro but that's to be expected I guess. The connect to a desktop feature without a dock is ingenious! Looking forward to the US release date!

14. Cat97

Posts: 2021; Member since: Mar 02, 2017

The Mate 10 looks just about perfect, with 16:9 screen and still sporting slim bezels, 4000 mAh battery and front-facing fingerprint sensor. That's an achievement, it reminds me of the old LG G2.

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