Porsche Design Huawei Mate RS review

Big features at a big price

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Huawei’s Porsche Design Mate RS is a one of a kind – a luxury smartphone that doesn’t just bank on its looks to stand out. Thanks to the world first technology inside, its sleek design is complemented by authentic geek factor.

It’s also helped along by the fact that this is 2018 and the idea of forking out over a grand for a phone is much less daunting than it once was. The iPhone X 256GB costs $1,149 (£1,149, AU$1,829).

With the Porsche Design Mate RS 256GB coming in at around than $300 (£200) more, it’s not a total stretch to imagine this phone appealing to a wider audience (with deep pockets) than any luxury phone before it.

Despite its horsepower falling short of 2018’s flagships, its sports car credentials and the fact that it excels in other areas ensure this phone is still loaded with appeal.

And from a tech point of view, geeks will love the fact the Mate RS’s wireless charging is 80% faster than that of the iPhone X. Its battery also lasts longer and its screen is bigger and sharper.

The RS also packs a more flexible camera system than any competing smartphone other than the Huawei P20 Pro, and the world-first in-screen fingerprint scanner is just plain cool.

The thing is, the P20 Pro is the thorn in the side of the Mate RS. They’re almost equally as good on paper, but the P20 Pro is quite considerably cheaper. 

Okay, it has less internal storage (128GB is still more than enough for most) and doesn’t boast the in-screen fingerprint scanner, but considering the money you’ll save for the same experience it does make the Mate RS tricky to justify for anyone happy with the P20's design who doesn’t have money to burn.

Who's this for?

Android fans who have a lot of money and want the shiniest, geekiest smartphone that money can buy. 

It’s also an easy gadget to recommend for Porsche Design fans who want a Porsche-branded smartphone to go with their Porsche-branded watch, and maybe even car.

Should you buy it?

If you have a modest income and consider yourself even remotely frugal, probably not. The bulk of what makes this phone exceptional can be had for less in the Huawei P20 Pro, namely, tons of storage, great battery and a stellar camera.

However, if you want the most cutting edge smartphone currently available then the Huawei Porsche Design Mate RS delivers by the boat-load.

You can get phones that are almost as premium for a fair bit less, such as these handsets:

Huawei P20 Pro

The most obvious alternative to the Mate RS, the P20 Pro is its notch-bearing sibling, available for half the price, packing half the storage, a less classical, more edgy design and a flat, Full HD display.

Read our full Huawei P20 Pro review

iPhone X

The iPhone X is the most premium iPhone around and is the phone that normalised the idea of a £1,000 smartphone. It also features a much more refined interface with fewer bells and whistles, and a smaller body – ideal for anyone who considers the Mate RS to be a size and interface overload.

Read our full iPhone X review

Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus

The Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus could be the best Android flagship around and thanks to its stunning design and screen, delivers much of what makes the Mate RS look sensational for a lot less cash.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus review

Google Pixel 2 XL

If you aren’t a fan of Huawei’s EMUI, but love the fact the Mate RS packs the latest version of Android, the Google Pixel 2 XL will always keep you up to date with your operating system version, deliver an excellent, more subdued camera and cost less in the process. That said, you would sacrifice on screen quality by making the leap to Team Pixel.

Read our full Google Pixel 2 XL review

First reviewed: April 2018

Basil Kronfli

Basil Kronfli is the Head of content at Make Honey and freelance technology journalist. He is an experienced writer and producer and is skilled in video production, and runs the technology YouTube channel TechEdit.