Hands on: Huawei Mate 10 Pro review

This is the Mate 10 you want

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Our Early Verdict

The Huawei Mate 10 Pro offers everything we expect from a flagship. The headphone jack and microSD slot are axed, but the new design and gorgeous display make up for it.

For

  • Striking design
  • Top-end internals
  • Massive battery

Against

  • No headphone jack
  • Lacks microSD
  • No wireless charging

Although Huawei proved that it can match the performance and features of high-end phones with the Mate 9 last year, the Mate 10 Pro shows its design skills are also on par with the best.

Artificial intelligence within the internals of the new Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro are the buzzwords Huawei is using that to sell this phone, and that AI may well be a feature that changes the way we use our devices and that offers a lot of benefits to the end user.

On top of that though there's upgraded screen tech, new camera features and a redesign, leaving the Mate 10 Pro looking like the most exciting phone in Huawei’s range right now.

Huawei Mate 10 Pro release date and price 

The Huawei Mate 10 Pro will be coming to the UAE early November. We will have a more precise date following it's Middle East launch event in the next few days.

In Europe, the Huawei Mate 10 Pro price is set at €799 for the 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. However, we expect the UAE pricing to be lower and close to AED 2,999. We will find the Middle East pricing during the UAE launch event.

While the phone is confirmed for a UAE release, we will find out more on the release date for the rest of the GCC countries such as Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Kuwait soon.

Huawei Mate 10 Pro design and display

The Huawei Mate 10 Pro is the first Huawei phone with a longer body and an 18:9 aspect ratio display. That seems to be the trend this year with flagships from Apple, Samsung, LG and even Google going for such a design. 

It will become increasingly difficult for phone manufacturers to differentiate in looks as phones move towards an all screen design so it doesn't surprise us that the Mate 10 Pro looks similar to the Galaxy Note 8.

The large 6-inch screen is beautiful with barely there bezels or the edges of the phone. Huawei could have removed its logo from the front of the phone to give it a more clean and minimalist look. Still, the Mate 10 Pro can easily hold it's own amongst other bezel-free phones like the iPhone X or LG V30.

Huawei has used glass on the back of the phone instead of metal this year, but it still feels premium with shiny metal edges. It’s easy to hold in the hand despite the large screen although it does attract fingerprints easily which is one of the trade-offs when using an all glass design.

This is the first device from Huawei that’s water resistant too. It comes with an IP67 rating, which means you can drop this in the bath or use it in the shower without having to worry about ruining your device.

Huawei is saying goodbye to headphone jack on the Mate 10 Pro with waterproofing and the support for higher quality audio output through USB being mentioned as the reasons for the change. But it's likely that the decision was driven by the desire to make a thinner phone.

The fingerprint scanner sits on the back of the phone, right below the camera sensor. We would have preferred the scanner to be a bit lower so you don't confuse it with the camera and smudge it, but this design is much better than the Galaxy S8 or Galaxy S8 Plus both of which are more prone to such accidents.

The Mate 10 Pro is releasing in four colors which are blue, gray, pink and brown. We have received the brown version for review, however we will say that the blue looks the best.

As for the display, Huawei has used OLED tech for this device, which makes it look far better and brighter than the screens on a lot of other phones you can buy right now. Colors look great and despite using a Full HD resolution the screen looks fantastic.

The Mate 10 Pro won’t be the best device for virtual reality because of the resolution, but the display looks great and that expanded screen real estate is useful for productivity. 

Games and videos are still mostly made in 16:9 format though so you might want to consider the Mate 10 instead if that's a priority for you.

Huawei Mate 10 Pro OS and power

Huawei’s Emotion UI 8 is debuting on the Mate 10 Pro and Mate 10. The new name is up from the Emotion UI 5.1 used on previous devices, with the jump in number being used to keep pace with the latest version of Android it’s running, which is Android Oreo.

All of the features Google has pushed with this upgrade will be ready and waiting on the device when you boot it up, but you’ll also have added features from Huawei.

These include smart tips that give you recommendations on how your phone can work better, as well as a new easy split screen mode that makes it easier to use two apps at the same time- right from a notification.

There's also a new floating keypad feature that you can move around the screen to help improve navigation. It works in a similar way to the home button on the Huawei P10, but we're not really certain if being able to move it around will prove that useful.

It's something we'll take a proper look at during our full review.

Power is one of the core upgrades for the Mate 10 Pro. To further ensure you’re getting the best performance out of your device, Huawei is now using artificial intelligence to better predict how you will use your phone.

The new Kirin 970 chipset - paired with 6GB of RAM - will look at how you’ve used your device in the past and use this data to help optimize the way you use your phone.

There are lots of implications for this technology and it should ensure your device runs smoothly and better than other phones on the market right now. This is set to help with Huawei’s aim of ensuring your device doesn’t slow down over an 18 month period too.

When it comes to storage, you'll have lots of space with the 128GB available in the Huawei Mate 10 Pro. There's no microSD support though, so if you want any more than that you'll be stuck.

We've found the Mate 10 Pro to speedily open up apps in our testing time, but we haven't been able to push it as far as we'd like to just yet. Stick around for our full review to see how we feel about the internals of the Mate 10 Pro.

Huawei Mate 10 Pro battery and camera

The Mate 10 Pro comes with a 4,000mAh battery, which we expect to last quite a long time. The Huawei Mate 9 has great battery life and considering this phone uses a more efficient screen tech, improved software and the optimized chipset we’ll hopefully see even better battery here.

We’ll be sure to put it through proper testing for our full review, and we'll also test the fast-charging technology used on the Mate 10 Pro, which Huawei claims will charge it from 0% to 58% in half an hour.

Despite including a glass design for the first time, Huawei isn’t opting to put wireless charging in the new phone, which is a major shame since the introduction of the feature on other devices should help the tech become standard.

There’s a dual-sensor rear camera on the Mate 10 Pro that comes with German camera maker Lecia’s approval and offers up a 20MP monochrome lens working in tandem with a 12MP color sensor.

That monochrome lens can be used separately, but it should give better detail to your shots when used alongside the color sensor. The Mate 10 Pro will use both images it takes and put them together to give a vibrant yet detailed photo.

AI tech is also being used on the camera, allowing for a new mode that auto detects what you're shooting and optimizes the settings. There are 13 different modes including cat, dog, plant, flower and many others.

This feature will be useful for those who want to just shoot photos on the fly quickly, but if you want to dive into the features of the camera you can also turn it off too.

Early verdict

The Mate 10 Pro is a flagship phone from every angle and easily competes with the best phones from Apple and Samsung. It shows Huawei's skills as a top phone manufacturer in design, features and performance. 

Exactly what the new chipset and artificial intelligence features will add to the day-to-day experience of the phone remain unclear, but everything else on the Mate 10 Pro looks exceptional right now and if it lives up to its on-paper specs it may well soon become one of our favorite phones.

What is a hands on review?

'Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view. For more information, see TechRadar's Reviews Guarantee.