The Huawei Mate 10 Professional stretches the boundaries of what justifies the phrase “professional” in a product identify, even within the hype-driven tech world. It’d look extra spectacular than the common Mate 10, which sports activities a front-facing fingerprint scanner, however each fashions have the identical chip and digital camera parts. The Mate 10 Professional truly has a decrease-resolution display screen, and Huawei has deserted the headphone jack and microSD storage slot that stay on the cheaper mannequin.
However even with an identification disaster, the Mate 10 Professional is the type of flagship telephone you’d anticipate from Samsung and Google: full of premium options, and oozing with energy and efficiency. Whereas it’s going to little doubt battle to compete with the likes of the Galaxy Note 8 and Google Pixel 2 XL as soon as it releases within the U.S. (primarily because of a scarcity of service help), Huawei has nonetheless confirmed that it’s worthy of its No. 2 position on the smartphone charts.
No-frills design will get the job finished
The Mate 10 Professional flips Huawei’s flagship characteristic technique in comparison with the Mate 9 Professional—for higher or worse. The place final yr’s top-of-the-line telephone was the one with the front-facing fingerprint sensor, for example, Huawei relegates that to the non-pro mannequin this yr. Following the lead of different high-end competitors, the fingerprint sensor’s new location is on the Mate 10 Professional’s backplate.
The Mate 10 Professional additionally echoes its friends within the broad curves of its corners, very similar to the Pixel 2 XL’s. The one actual figuring out marker is the reflective Huawei identify on the chin (which I may do with out).
At 7.9mm, the Mate 10 Professional is a contact thinner than the eight.2mm Mate 10, however the slimness comes at a worth: The Mate 10 Professional doesn’t have a headphone jack (although it does embrace a USB-C adapter and USB-C earphones within the field). Huawei blames that on its need to have IP67 water resistance, however that argument doesn’t actually float, because it’s not an either-or proposition on Galaxy telephones.
The Mate 10 Professional has just a few different compromises. It doesn’t supply expandable storage, although the characteristic is on the market on the common Mate 10. Additionally, regardless of shifting from aluminum to glass for the backplate, there’s nonetheless no help for wi-fi charging.
display screen that needs to be higher
The Mate 10 Professional’s show needs to be its crowning glory, however it’s not. Huawei has introduced again the OLED display screen from final yr’s Mate Professional, however in a curious transfer, it’s decreased the decision. Whereas the Mate 9 Professional had a best-in-class 1440×2560 Quad HD show with a 534ppi density, the 18:9 Mate 10 Professional solely packs a 6-inch Full HD 1080×2160 display screen with a 402ppi density. Confusingly, the common Mate 10’s 5.9-inch, 16:9 LCD truly has the next 1440×2560 decision.
That being mentioned, the Mate 10 Professional’s display screen has its charms. It has a vivid setting (just like the Pixel 2 XL), however flipping the toggle creates a way more noticeable distinction on the Mate 10 Professional, with vibrant reds and greens, and terribly deep blacks. Colours are extra reasonable in regular mode, however they’re nonetheless daring and full of life.
If I didn’t know the Mate 10 Professional had a 1080p display screen as a substitute of a 1440p one, I in all probability wouldn’t have suspected something was amiss. Nonetheless, it’s upsetting high-end telephone would have a measurably lesser display screen than an entry-level one, even whether it is OLED vs. LCD. Huawei appears to be defining professional by display screen ratio relatively than decision, and it’s giving customers a tough alternative within the course of: extra pixels or extra top.
A sooner chip that’s smarter, too
As soon as once more, Huawei has made its personal silicon for the flagship Mate telephone, forgoing the favored Snapdragon 835 chip. Like Apple and its A sequence chips, this serves the Mate 10 Professional properly—it is simply the quickest Android telephone I’ve ever used.
Absolutely the speediness of app switching was helped by the 6GB of RAM in my check unit (a 4GB model can also be accessible), however even in uncooked velocity checks, the Mate 10 Professional’s Kirin 970 professor carried out no less than in addition to the Be aware eight and Pixel 2 XL, each of which showcase Qualcomm’s newest chip.
Huawei says the actual efficiency advantages of the chip may be seen within the devoted neural community processing unit, a singular AI-powered structure devoted to boosting the productiveness and effectivity of your telephone. Whilst you gained’t see it working more often than not, Huawei says the NPU provides 25 instances the efficiency and 50 instances the power effectivity when in comparison with a “dumb” model of the identical chip. It additionally says the Mate 10 will keep speedy over time, because the NPU retains OxygenOS from getting slowed down. Clearly I wasn’t in a position to check these claims, however after witnessing the NPU in motion in different areas, I’ve no motive to doubt them.
Battery retains going and going
Like final yr, Huawei has fitted the Mate 10 Professional with an enormous four,000mAh battery, and because of the Kirin 970’s energy administration capabilities, it lasts even longer this yr. Moreover, the bundled SuperCharge charger fills up about half the battery in a half-hour.
In straight benchmarks, the Mate 10 Professional powers previous each Android telephone I’ve examined, lasting for a formidable 9 hours and 18 minutes. For these protecting rating, that’s higher than final yr’s Mate and the Galaxy S8+, the earlier benchmark leaders.
However whereas the Mate 10 powers by way of a day after which some, it’s truly extra spectacular once you’re not utilizing it. Standby life isn’t one thing I often check when reviewing a brand new telephone, however the Mate 10’s is just too good to disregard. With the always-on show turned on, I misplaced a median of 1 to 1.5 % per hour of downtime versus a median of two % for different Snapdragon 835 telephones. After I turned off the always-on show (or used the super-handy scheduling perform), I barely observed any battery loss in any respect. The truth is, over a 12-hour interval, the Mate 10 Professional misplaced simply three % in whole, that means it may conceivably sit in a bag for a few weeks without having a cost.
The battery appeared to get even higher as time went on. Whereas I misplaced round 11 % of my battery over the course of my first nights with out plugging in, two nights later I misplaced simply 7 % over the identical six-and-a-half-hour time interval. That’s the NPU’s machine studying in motion, Huawei says, and it’s arduous to argue with the outcomes. The companion chip is ready to dial again background processes when the telephone isn’t in use, making it final even longer than the benchmarks say: I routinely had between 30 and 40 % on the finish of a standard day of use with my Mate 10 Professional, measurably higher than the Be aware eight and the Pixel 2 XL’s efficiency underneath comparable circumstances.
A very good digital camera with some neat methods
Flip over the Mate 10 Professional and you will find a vertically mounted, Leica-branded twin digital camera setup with a dignified reflective stripe. Each Mate 10s have the identical digital camera, and its specs are according to what you’d anticipate from a premium telephone. The twin system pairs a 20MP monochrome lens with a 12MP RGB one, and each have f/1.6 aperture, the very best you’ll discover in a smartphone. There’s additionally optical picture stabilization in the primary lens, twin LED flash, and section detection autofocus.
The digital camera is as soon as once more Leica-branded, however it’s arduous to quantify precisely what that brings to the desk apart from a well-known identify. In my testing, I discovered the Google Pixel 2 carried out barely higher total. In sufficient mild, its pictures have been just about indistinguishable from the Pixel 2’s and Galaxy Be aware eight’s. The OIS and aperture saved low-light photos wanting first rate, too. Nonetheless, in harsh mild it took an additional second or two to focus, inflicting it to overlook particulars that the opposite cameras caught. Total, nevertheless, the Mate 10 Professional provides a improbable digital camera telephone, one which’s simply on a par with Android’s bests.
Just like the Pixel telephones, numerous the Mate 10’s picture-taking skills don’t have anything to do with the precise , however relatively the heavy lifting finished behind the scenes due to the NPU. Most notably, Huawei has 13 taking pictures modes that set off routinely when the digital camera detects one thing it acknowledges, corresponding to a face or a flower.
The taking pictures modes are my favourite characteristic of the Mate 10 Professional. I detest most digital camera apps’ settings and menu screens, and on the Mate 10, I barely needed to go to them. Even accessing the professional controls is straightforward, through a easy swipe upward above the shutter. It’s a detailed name between the Mate 10 Professional and the LG V30 as to my favourite digital camera app, however ease of use positively goes to the Mate 10 Professional.
Oreo is a pleasant shock
Huawei has jumped its EMUI OS from model 5.zero to model eight.zero for no different motive than to brag that it’s one of many first telephones to ship with Android Oreo out of the field. It’s a pleasant shock, as many more recent handsets haven’t but made the leap, however it’s not practically as huge a deal as Huawei—or the three skipped model numbers—would have you ever consider.
The largest change (along with the common Oreo options corresponding to picture-in-picture and notification dots) is the addition of a navigation dock. As a substitute of the static navigation keys on the backside of the display screen, you possibly can decide to overlay a circle on the display screen to go dwelling, again, and see current apps. It is a type of options that is completely different relatively than higher than the inventory answer, and I turned it off fairly rapidly.
A specialised model of Microsoft’s Translator app works with the NPU to ship speedy translations. In my testing, it labored very properly, and it’s good that Huawei didn’t got down to construct its personal (presumably inferior) model.
Aside from that, EMUI eight is fairly much like EMUI 5. The overly skeuomorphic icons stay, however you possibly can tweak the looks considerably through the theme retailer. It nonetheless has the very best lock display screen within the enterprise, courtesy of a rotating library of pictures and a small pedometer above the time. I like the double-knock gesture that simplifies the screenshot gesture, although I discovered myself getting it blended up with the widespread double-tap-to-wake gesture (which EMUI would not have).
Do you have to purchase a Mate 10 Professional?
Slapping a professional moniker on a telephone usually implies that it’s the very best model of that exact mannequin, however that’s not precisely the case with the Mate 10 Professional. In comparison with the cheaper Mate 10, it has a lower-resolution display screen, no headphone jack, and no expandable storage. The one actual advantages come within the type of a sleeker design and OLED display screen.
For most individuals that in all probability gained’t be well worth the $100 premium Huawei is charging internationally for the 64GB Mate 10 Professional. It is perhaps a moot level within the U.S. anyway, since we don’t know but whether or not the Mate 10 Professional is definitely releasing stateside. However should you don’t thoughts the house button, the non-pro Mate 10 is clearly the higher deal right here. It has the identical chip, digital camera, and battery, and also you get a headphone jack. And the display screen is simply zero.1 inches smaller.
That’s to not say you shouldn’t purchase the Mate 10 Professional. For those who don’t thoughts the show deficiencies, it’s among the finest handsets of the yr, with great battery life, unbelievable velocity, and beauty. I simply want the delineation between the fashions have been just a little extra simple. I personally don’t like dwelling buttons, however $100 is loads to pay to eliminate it. And the technical information that you just’re shopping for a lower-res display screen might be a non-starter for some individuals.
Going professional shouldn’t be about sacrifices, and with the Mate 10 Professional, you may really feel such as you’ve made too lots of them.