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Huawei Mate 10 Pro review

Huawei's best phone yet

Verdict

Huawei has cracked it with the Mate 10 Pro. This is a beautiful smartphone with a stunning screen, water resistance and stereo speakers. It also combines an excellent enthusiast camera and plenty of power under the hood - not to mention tons of storage and class-leading battery life.

Is the Mate 10 Pro going to be for everybody? Definitely not. Many won’t be able to forgive the lack of a headphone jack. 

Meanwhile, others will grimace at the idea of a phone with no microSD card support, while Android purists may begrudge Huawei’s heavy user interface, Emotion UI.

It’s also not, despite its aperture, the best point and shoot smartphone camera around.

Those objections aside though, it’s hard to argue with the price of the Mate 10 Pro, it continues to undercut its main rivals while, in many cases, offering more for less.

The specific areas it steps above the pack are out of the box storage, with only the 128GB variant confirmed for general release thus far, and battery life - lasting 50% longer than most of its main rivals.

The addition of a pre-fitted screen protector and a soft plastic case in the box only help Huawei’s latest phone feel like a great combination of premium and comparatively decent value for money.

Who's this for?

The Mate 10 Pro is for photo buffs and enthusiasts who really enjoy tinkering with their tech. If you fall into this user-type, this phone is nothing short of a joy.

You can spend hours taking advantage of all the camera modes, figuring out which screen color, transition and navigation key combo works for you, and fiddling with EMUI Desktop until it starts to do your bidding - provided Huawei keeps up support for it like Samsung is doing with DeX.

If however you actively want a simple, unflustered UI with no bells or whistles, the Mate 10 Pro will probably overload your sensibilities - you may be better off with the Huawei P20 or P20 Pro.

Should you buy it?

Yes. If you're looking for an excellent smartphone across the board, don't mind the idea of no headphone jack or microSD card slot, and don’t quite want to pay iPhone and Samsung Galaxy Note 8 prices.

The premium design will be for most people. If you want a flashy smartphone, use it without a case and it has as much sparkle and pop as any other high-end, glass-backed flagship on the scene.

If you want something a bit more durable, water resistance and a case in the box will give you some assurance that it won’t crumble under pressure.

Not sold on the Mate 10 Pro? Check out these alternatives.

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 and S8

There are three main manufacturers competing with the Mate 10 Pro for a place in your pocket.

The first is Samsung with the Galaxy S8 and Note 8. While the Mate 10 Pro is cheaper than the Note 8, if you can find an S8 or S8 Plus at a lower price than Huawei’s flagship, it will offer a more refined UI experience, albeit with worse battery life.

As for the Note 8, opt for this if you want that S Pen, a superior display and a secondary telephoto zoom lens.

Huawei P20 and P20 Pro

The latest flagship Huawei smartphones offer up style and substance, with the P20 Pro the standout device with a triple camera setup on the rear and a large 6.1-inch display which is slightly larger than the Mate 10 Pro.

It's considerably more expensive though, and while the P20 sits between the two Pro models in terms of price, if you want the very latest from Huawei you will have to be willing to pay for the privilege. You won't be disappointed if you do though.

iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X

Finally, Apple’s iPhone 8 Plus is currently on the market with the iPhone X hot on its heels. These offer iOS, a significantly more refined user experience to that found in Emotion UI, but at the same time, a much more rigid, less playful one.

First reviewed: October 2017