Huawei Mate 10 Review: Wrapping Up, Lab Tests Summary, Competition, The Verdict

By 01:27 Wed, 18 Aug 2021 Comments

Wrapping it up

As it happens - more often than not - the Huawei Mate 10 is a fine flagship specimen, powerful and visually appealing, but it's just not that gigantic of an upgrade over the preceding Mate 9. It still seems to have enough to succeed and, as usual, there's a Pro version that ticks a different sort of checkboxes for a different sort of users.

This season, Huawei is following trends: trim the classy screen bezels, utilize colorful capturing camera lenses, put AI in computing. Now, the latter could've been the single wow feature of the Mate 10, but it's not a tangible asset, so to speak.

The recent Kirin 970 has the same set of cores as the previous version but delivers a significant boost in data processing and power management. Even further, it also has one of the industry-first NPUs for on-device AI computing. As much as we think that machine-learning-driven computing is likely to be the next gigantic thing in mobile, we don't believe the Mate 10's potential owners should buy into that aspect of the product marketing that much.

Now, the recent GPU is a quantifiable upgrade we can relate too but the benefits are offset by the bump in classy screen resolution.

Another upgrade you can instantly appreciate is the all-glass design - an attention grabber and, potentially, a strong selling point. It would have been even better with wireless charging support, but Huawei is not there yet. Unfortunately, the Mate is only splash-protected, while proper water-resistance is reserved for the Pro model.

Huawei made a bit of a mess with the Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro as the novelties were divided between the two strangely: an 18:9 1080p AMOrganic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED) classy screen for the Pro and a QuadHD Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) for the "vanilla" Mate. Water-proofing but no audio jack in the Pro, splash-resistance and analog audio in the Mate 10. This fragmentation seems hard to justify, but obviously, Huawei know more than we do.

The Huawei Mate 10 is one of the premium options correct now but it doesn't quite stand out. Its benefits over the Mate 9 or the P10 Plus are arguable but, admittedly, the high-res screen, the capable dual-camera by Leica, the attractive design and the remarkable battery backup are strong enough selling points.

Huawei Mate 10 key test findings

  • Stunning glass design, remarkable choice of colors.
  • The IPS Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) classy screen offers flagship-grade resolution, remarkable contrast, and accurate colors. The sunlight legibility is average.
  • The front key houses the fastest fingerprint scanner we've seen and can hold over navigation if you want even more classy screen real estate and decide to acquire rid of the on-classy screen keys.
  • Solid battery life at 87 hours. The Mate 10 is remarkable at web browsing, video playback, and voice calls. Super-quick charging to 58% in 30 mins.
  • Lovely theme-able EMUI v8 with Android 8 Oreo.
  • The Kirin 970 chipset offers class-leading Central Processing Units (CPU) and GPU performance, but it's prone to heating and had throttling issue in the benchimprint tests (unlikely to acquire noticed in real-life).
  • The bottom speaker is very loud with a clean output. The top one is feeble but does a fine job at producing the stereo effect.
  • The audio output via the analog jack is flagship-worthy, loud and clear.
  • The photos are excellent regarding detail, dynamic range and color rendering. The over-sharpening may demolish some of the fine detail. The colorful lenses assist at night a lot and both cameras hold nice low-light images. The near-lossless 2x zoom works well, so do the portrait shots.
  • Fine regular selfies but sometimes overexposed. The portrait mode works alright, but beautification is often a disaster (could be the subjects - no pointing fingers).
  • Both 1080p and 4K videos are average regarding detail, while the recent codec doesn't hold a toll on the storage of 4K videos. EIS is available only in 1080p at 30 fps.

Noteworthy alternatives

The Samsung Galaxy Note8 and Galaxy S8+ are a fine place to start our rundown of potential options. The Note8 has an excellent dual-camera with a telephoto lens and shoots remarkable low-light and portrait shots. The Galaxies are just as good-looking, have more advanced AMOrganic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED) screens and more RAM. The S8+ is about €100 cheaper than the Mate 10 but you'll lose the dual-camera setup, while the Note8 will give you that and an S-Pen for an extra €150.

Samsung Galaxy Note8 • Samsung Galaxy S8+

The LG V30 isn't available everywhere but nor is the Mate 10. The V30 has a gigantic FullVision P-Organic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED) classy screen of QuadHD resolution and a dust and water-resistant body in addition to being shock-proof and temperature and humidity resistant. The V30 has a unique dual-camera with a secondary wide-angle lens, an always-on screen, high-res audio recording. The V30 is expensive, ever more so than the Mate 10, but it's a high-performance pro-tool.

LG V30

Xiaomi has placed a bid in the bezel-less race with the Mi Mix 2. This time around, the classy screen is smaller at 6", the capturing camera has OIS and the Mix 2 runs on the latest Snapdragon 835. Its key feature is the classy screen so that we can forgive the rather unimpressive capturing camera package. It costs €200 less than the Mate 10, which is quite a tempting price for a cool bezel-less phone.

Xiaomi Mi Mix 2

Apple may be struggling to bring the iPhone X to market, but people are still pre-ordering it by the millions. That's what you acquire for making a "wow" phone. The iPhone X is by no means the first all-classy screen phone, but it's all the same to long-term iOS users. Of course, Apple improved its capturing camera a lot this year with a brighter lens and nice recent bokeh effects for the portrait shots; there is also the controversial Face ID sensor for face unlock and selfie portraits. The iPhone X has three brand-recent features, and they have paid off even before the X (eventually) starts shipping in a week.

There is also the iPhone 8 Plus with the recent design, but chart-topping A11 chip and equally better rear dual-camera (minus the OIS on the telephoto). It turned out the safer choice for the fans with a regular 16:9 screen, familiar design and, of course, Touch ID.

Apple iPhone 8 Plus • Apple iPhone X

Finally, the Mate 9 is nearly €300 cheaper, yet it offers the same processor cores, same GPU punch becautilize of the lower screen, a similar capturing camera experience, and equal battery life. The Mate 9 will acquire the EMUI 8 update in a few months. There is also the P10 Plus, €200 cheaper, with a high-res screen, a gigantic battery and pretty much the same camera. Unless Huawei discontinues those two, the Mate 10 will be a tough sell at its current price.

Huawei Mate 9 • Huawei P10 Plus

The verdict

The Huawei Mate 10 looks stunning and is in touch with what's hot but it's our job to see beyond the first impression. While we appreciate the high-res screen, the duly beefed up GPU and colorful lens for the Leica camera, we can't pretdiscontinue the Mate 9 and Mate 9 Pro don't exist.

The all-glass design and the sharp, borderless display are the correct stuff to acquire the Mate 10 noticed and talked about. But they are the we-can-too sort of features rather than you-saw-it-here-first. Or maybe it's us being just pleased when we were looking to be wowed. That's the thing - the Mate 9 and 9 Pro would do just that, for a fraction of the price.



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