The Huawei Mate 20 Pro is what the Galaxy Note 9 should have been
Android enthusiasts wanting the best of the best, no matter the costs, had a relatively easy choice until the Huawei Mate 20 family went official, trying to overshadow the impressive but somewhat repetitive Samsung Galaxy Note 9.
This writer already argued the Note 9 should have been canceled due to Samsung’s general lack of original ideas right now and what’s shaping up to be an epic Galaxy S10 lineup. Although the Galaxy Note 9 earned great praise in our in-depth review, my main points about its unoriginality and fear to innovate stand.
A risk taker
That’s no longer what the Note 9 suggests, whereas the Huawei Mate 20 Pro pretty much changes everything about its already well-reviewed predecessor. Where the Galaxy Note 9 iterates and incrementally upgrades, the Mate 20 Pro alters significantly.
While Samsung continues to perfect an (ultrasonic) in-display fingerprint scanning technology that’s been several years in the making, Huawei takes the best option currently available (the optical method) and just rolls with it.
The same goes for the 3D facial recognition system, which might not be flawless yet but it’s definitely cool, blazing fast, and decently reliable... in most situations.
While we’re comparing Huawei and Apple’s latest flagships, you’ll probably want to know that insane 40-watt SuperCharge wall charger sold as standard alongside the Mate 20 Pro gets the handset from 0 to 100 percent capacity in a little over an hour. In contrast, the iPhone XS Max takes an embarrassingly lengthy three and a half hours to charge fully using its standard 5 W power brick.
The Galaxy Note 9 is nowhere near as embarrassing, but at 109 minutes, it still needs considerably more time to recharge than a Mate 20 Pro that also remarkably packs a slightly bigger battery. The Note 9 is capped at 10 W wireless charging speeds too, settling for two average features Huawei is not afraid to take to the next level.
The Mate 20 family also leads the way with a 7 nm-based chipset (at least among Android high-enders), as well as unique NM (nano memory) card support. While the Kirin 980 SoC still has nothing on Apple’s A12 Bionic in terms of raw performance, its edge over the 10 nm-built Snapdragon 845 and Exynos 9810 is crystal clear and wholly unsurprising.
As for nano memory cards, it’s too soon to know if they will catch on, convincing other device manufacturers to leave the microSD standard behind, but either way, you have to give props to Huawei for trying to change the status quo in a way that would benefit both the user and the company.
And hey, if you don’t like the extra-wide notch, you can always get the “regular” Huawei Mate 20. Also, if you want something as big as a tablet, with an (optional) stylus in tow boasting a top-shelf 4096 level pressure sensitivity, the Mate 20 X looks great on paper too.
What can the Galaxy S10 do now to outshine arguably the most eye-catching Android flagship family in the world? Not much, it seems, unless Samsung somehow finds a way to drastically redesign the Galaxy S9 without embracing the notch, as well as deliver an even greater triple camera setup than this 40 + 20 + 8 MP Leica powerhouse.
Will it matter much?
Now, the US smartphone market is not as large and booming as it used to be, but it still guarantees essentially unrivaled exposure. Just ask OnePlus.
This might save Samsung from facing the consequences of its unambitious and unimaginative flagship release strategy in the short term, but if Huawei continues growing on a global scale, the US may not be able to resist its expansion much longer. After all, money talks louder than anything in this business. So, yeah, even if the Mate 20 Pro is almost completely inaccessible to a key audience, its breakthroughs and bold risks will be remembered when the Mate 30 or Mate 40 Pro eventually hits a major US network.