Although Huawei has been making phones in partnership with Porsche Design when the Mate 9 launched, these phones have really only been a more polished design of the identical product that's packaged more lavishly.
But with the latest Porsche Design Huawei Mate RS released alongside the Huawei P20 and P20 Pro, we are seeing a product that takes the best Huawei has to offer and add enough on top to make it a new, separate product.
You get a better and higher-res screen, wireless charging and the world's first in-screen fingerprint sensor on a commercial phone. All that in a polished, reflective, curved glass and metal finish with IP67 water resistance. Oh, and there is plenty of space inside with a 256GB and a 512GB model.
All of that translates to the Porsche Design Huawei Mate RS transcending above every other phone in terms of hardware. The caveat? The price. You'll want to prepare yourself for the bill.
Porsche Design Huawei Mate RS price and availability
- Priced at AED 5,999
- Limited availability
It shouldn’t come as any surprise that the Porsche Design Huawei Mate RS costs a lot of money.
Pricing for the 256GB model is AED 5,999. The 512GB version isn’t available yet, but the price was announced in euros which, using the same conversion as used for the 256GB version, translates to about AED 7,999.
Available in two colours, red and black, the red version looks set to be exclusive to China, with the Black version currently being sold across the UAE in Porsche Design shops, Huawei shops and a few other retailers.
S9 front meets Porsche Design back
- An S9-like look
- Great-looking mirrored finish
There’s no getting around it – the Porsche Design Huawei Mate RS screams Samsung Galaxy S9. It all starts with its curved OLED display, extends to the rounded metal frame with machined antenna bands in identical locations and continues to the curved glass back.
It’s only when you look and feel very attentively that you notice, but Porsche Design’s influence adds more curvature at the top and bottom of the Mate RS’s front and back panel of glass.
It really does feel excellent in the hand, with the added assurance of IP67 water and dust resistance being a welcome one when handling such a pricey gadget.
Rather than shy away from the S9 comparison, Porsche Design’s Design Director, Christian Schwamkrug embraces it, explaining that his team prioritises symmetry and clean lines in its products – stating that the Galaxy S9 is a well-designed product, but that the Mate RS design is better.
As a result, Porsche Design’s new Huawei Smartphone has a symmetrical back, unlike the Galaxy S9.
This focus on design and clean lines also explains Porsche Design’s decision to ditch the P20’s notch and instead go with a QHD curved screen, symmetrical on both axis.
As for the glass back’s mirrored finish, it does two things well – looks spectacular after every polish and broadcasts fingerprints in between every polish.
The Mate RS also has a USB-C port at the base, all its buttons to the right, a dual SIM slot (with an accented red line) to the left and an IR blaster at the top.
The in-screen fingerprint scanner is coupled with a traditional rear fingerprint scanner and the triple camera setup sits stacked vertically on top of it.
There’s no doubt about it, as a package, the box is impressive with everything from two USB-C cables, a UK and European power connector through to a leather folio case that fits well and looks good.
You also get USB-C headphones, a 3.5mm-USB-C adaptor, a proof of authenticity card and the usual SIM eject tool and paperwork.
But just when you start to get sucked in by the luxury hype and that story that the Mate RS is its own handset independent of the competition, the spec sheet serves up one final reminder that at 8.5mm this Porsche Designed phone is the exact same thickness as both the Galaxy S9 and Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus. Samsung Huawei Galaxy S9 RS anyone?
Mate, I could look at you all day…
- Curved AMOLED screen
- 1440 x 2880 resolution
- Huawei's best smartphone screen yet
OLED is widely regarded as the apex of today’s smartphone screen tech, so Huawei’s decision to go with a curved AMOLED display on the Porsche Design Mate RS is welcome.
So too is the QHD resolution. Clocking in at 1440 x 2880 pixels, it delivers a pixel density – aka, sharpness – of 538ppi. This further cements the Mate RS smack bang in the middle of the Samsung Galaxy S9 family when it comes to screen size, tech and sharpness.
Its aspect ratio however is slightly different to the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus at 18:9. With the S9s clocking in at 18.5:9, the Mate RS’s screen is slightly squatter.
As for quality, the default screen mode is ‘vivid’ and this capitalises on all things OLED, imbuing on-screen content with all the zing and pizzazz of a Pride parade float.
Unlike Samsung’s adaptive display, Huawei’s doesn’t augment the experience depending on what you’re doing with the screen, so you might find yourself opting for the more subdued ‘normal’ mode if it’s all a bit too 24/7 carnival for you.
Also of note, this screen gets bright – just as bright as the Galaxy S9 and Huawei P20 Pro, so will be no problem to see clearly, even in direct sunlight.
As a result, it’s safe to call it Huawei’s best screen to date.