The Huawei Mate 10 Pro is the latest and greatest from the company, featuring a large high-quality display and premium build quality.
The Mate 10 Pro comes in a variety of colours, but for this review, I have been supplied with the copper colour of the device. The device is IP67 certified which means that it is dust resistant and also water resistant up to 1 meter for 30 minutes.
The overall design of the device is extremely nice thanks to the glass and metal construction. I’m glad to see that glass is starting to come back into phone designs as I personally much prefer a glass backed phone to a metal-backed phone – but having a glass back on the device does mean that it turns into a bit of a fingerprint magnet. As we’re talking about the back of the device, you’ll also find the dual Leica camera system here, as well as the fingerprint sensor as there is no room for it on the front of the device as it is all screen. The fingerprint sensor is very good as it is able to recognise my fingerprint very quickly.
The sides of the phone are metal, featuring a dual-SIM combo slot, no microSD card slot, on the left-hand side of the device, on the bottom you’ll find the USB-C port and speaker – but there is no headphone jack to be found. Huawei does include a pair of USB-C headphones in the box as well as an adapter so you can still use your 3.5mm jack headphones. On the right-hand side of the device you can find the volume buttons and the power button, the power button does have a different finish to the volume buttons but it is not as prominent as I’d like so it is a little harder to feel the difference in the buttons by touch.
On the front side of the Mate 10 Pro, you’ll find the 6-inch 1080p display, as well as an 8-megapixel camera above it and the earpiece which works in part with the speaker on the bottom of the device to separate treble and bass frequencies between the two to give better clarity when listening to audio. Covering the screen, you’ll also find a factory installed screen protector which I’m not an enormous fan of because my finger keeps catching on the edge of the screen protector because there is no side bezel around the screen. Since we’re on the topic, there’s also a case thrown into the box too if you want to use it.
The display on the Mate 10 Pro is fantastic, it’s a 6-inch display which takes up the majority of the front of the phone, giving it an 80% screen to body ratio, so like many other modern smartphones it’s nice to see a large screen on the device on a device that isn’t much larger than a standard iPhone.
The screen itself is an AMOLED panel, giving the screen very rich deep blacks and bright whites with full support for HDR10. Colours are also well saturated on the display, nothing looks oversaturated and watching videos and looking at images is a great experience. The aspect ratio of the display isn’t 16:9 but 18:9, so if you are going to be watching videos there are going to be black bars on the side of the display unless you pinch to zoom in.
The display gets very bright, allowing you to see the display clearly in bright daylight and on the contrary – the display also goes very dim if you’re using it at night. Viewing angles on the display are also very decent as there is little to no obfuscation of the display – with it only going a very slight green tint when looking at it directly side on.
As with all Huawei devices, the Mate 10 Pro comes with the EMUI Android skin running on top of Android 8.0 Oreo. Huawei is putting a lot more attention into machine learning with a dedicated NPU (Neural Processing Unit) in the device’s chipset. This machine learning will allow the device to automatically sense and give you suggestions depending on the setting you are in or what you are doing on your device. An example of this would be if you got a notification and were watching a video on the phone, you could act upon the notification without even closing the video thanks to split-screen mode. The machine learning will also come in handy when you want to launch apps as the phone will learn your behaviour so apps will load faster when you open them.
Another trend that is being seen on smartphones nowadays is desktop modes, and Huawei has brought their offering to the table – with Projection. All you need is a USB-C to HDMI adapter and you can have a full desktop user interface at your fingertips. I personally haven’t tried this out as I don’t have an adapter, but it is nice to have the functionality there.
The Mate 10 Pro also has some Huawei bundled apps, but the bloatware doesn’t seem to be as bad as it used to be. Huawei has one app called Phone Manager that allows you to do a variety of functions such as optimization and virus scanning so it appears that they’re moving everything into one simple place.
EMUI is still EMUI so it still seems to be quite iOS inspired, as by default the app drawer is disabled and has to be enabled in the settings (which I did straight away) and the whole EMUI interface shows a lack of stock Android but its certainly not an awful interface by any means – it’s just still quite full on.
Also, just before I move onto performance a nice software feature is that if you forget to turn off the display and put the phone into your pocket, the proximity sensor on the front will stop touch input from happening on the display so you won’t accidentally pocket dial anyone! This is a great feature because I may or may not have pocket dialled people every now and then on my phone.
Performance on the Mate Pro 10 is great, apps load quickly and everything feels very fluent. I haven’t experienced any stuttering using the device which is very nice to see, and whether its gaming or simply just browsing Twitter – my experience is the same, no stuttering and an exceptional experience.
I have tested my usual games on the device – those being Asphalt 8, Leos Fortune and also Real Racing, and all of those ran without any issues. So, you’re certainly getting flagship performance with this device.
With the camera on the Mate 10 Pro, Huawei has continued with the trend of the Leica dual-camera system and I think this may be the best camera I’ve personally seen and used on a smartphone.
The dual-camera system that comes with the device is a pair of 20-megapixel sensors that shoot 4K video. I left all the default settings on, so the samples you are going to see are 12-megapixels as the camera software uses the extra 8 megapixels not being used for image stabilisation and digital zoom. Similar to how the video shot on the device at 1080p will have stabilisation and footage shot at 4K will not, the camera crops the sensor to stabilise footage. The second camera helps gather extra detail from a monochrome image taken, as well as to work with AI to create a toggleable depth of field effect.
Overall, the images look sharp and crisp – but I’m glad to say that they do not look over sharpened. I am very impressed and pleased with the quality of the camera on this device as when I went back to my iPhone the camera looked softer than what I had been used to on the Mate 10 Pro. There was one thing I noticed though, some of the landscape images I had taken looked a little desaturated and lacking in colour, even in HDR mode.
The camera also shoots 4K video at 30 frames a second, and 1080p video at 30frames a second with image stabilisation, which works surprisingly well. But one thing to note is that if you’re planning on shooting 1080p/60 or 4K video – you won’t be able to use the stabilisation. The front-facing camera carries an 8-megapixel sensor and the photo quality from that is fantastic.
The camera app also has some useful modes and smart recognition to use the best settings for shooting and it also has full manual controls – so if you’re familiar with Manual modes on cameras you may like the ability to shoot in the manual mode.
Battery life on the Mate 10 Pro is exceptional thanks to the 4000mAh battery which would easily get you through a day’s usage and maybe two if you really needed it. The device also supports fast charging so if you need to quickly top up your battery with some charge, you can charge the device to 50% capacity in 30 minutes which is super useful.
One thing that I do wish was possible with this device but is not – is wireless charging. Huawei went to the hassle of having a glass back on the device but didn’t add the ability to have wireless charging, it would’ve been a nice feature to have seeing as so many other flagship smartphones have quick charging.
Overall, the Huawei Mate 10 Pro may be the best Android phone you can buy right now. If you’re out looking for a new phone I would put this one under consideration to be your next daily driver for the next few years, Huawei has said that they’re committed to providing updates for their devices (which can be rare for Android phones) and it has a great build quality and features that I think many people would be happy with.