Update: after Google suspended Huawei's future access to Android Play Store and security updates, there are serious question marks over the future of Huawei and Honor phones.
While Google and Huawei have promised to support phones currently on the market, it's not clear how long they'll receive Android updates or access to the Google Play Store, which would severely curtail their usefulness compared to the competition.
The Huawei Mate 10 Pro has a lot going for it. In addition to a slick, premium design, the screen packs vibrant, OLED technology with an 18:9 aspect ratio - similar to that found on the Google Pixel 2 XL and iPhone X.
Huawei’s Mate 10 Pro also has a dual camera set-up that's a bit different to the one on iPhone 8 Plus and Galaxy Note 8. It comes with Android 8, the latest version of Google’s operating system, meaning you get the operating system’s latest security features and UI highlights - such as picture-in-picture viewing and notification badges .
When its specs are laid out alongside the rest of the flagship competition, the Huawei Mate 10 Pro wins out in some key areas. For starters, it offers more storage - 128GB as standard vs 64GB on other flagships.
It also has a beefier battery than the competition - a huge 4,000mAh, compared with, 3,300mAh in the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 and under 2,691mAh in the iPhone 8 Plus.
The Mate 10 Pro even has an IR blaster for some added nostalgia-factor, meaning it can double up as a TV remote control for those times you’re trying to spook your mates in the pub, or simply can’t find your own.
The phone isn’t perfect though. The screen isn't the sharpest at 1,080 x 2,160, putting it below the crystal clear 2K and even 4K displays on competing smartphones like the Sony Xperia XZ Premium.
It also has no headphone jack, or microSD card slot - so you’ll need to use a dongle for your wired headphones but the ample internal storage should be enough to last the life-cycle of this phone. And even though it has a glass back, it does not support wireless charging- which certainly has us scratching our heads.
Huawei Mate 10 Pro price and availability
Huawei stepped out of the shadows with the Mate 9 which turned out to be the best phablet from last year. But Huawei had a few advantages last year- Samsung's phablet was recalled, Apple's design wasn't new and LG misfired with the V20. This year, all of Huawei's competitors have brought their A game.
And even though Huawei has made massive inroads with getting its name out as a premium brand in the last year, the asking price of the Mate 10 Pro at AED 2,999 puts it right up there with Samsung and Apple's handsets.
Due to launch in the UAE by the end of November, Huawei is be hoping it can finally mainstream its Mates.
What’s in the ‘Pro’?
- An OLED screen
- An f/1.6 dual-lens camera
- Lots of storage but no microSD slot or headphone port
The Huawei Mate 10 Pro launched alongside the Huawei Mate 10, which, is very similar on paper to the Huawei Mate 9.
The main differences between the Mate 10 Pro and Mate 10 as a result, are also the main differences between the Mate 10 Pro and the Mate 9.
For starters, Huawei has ditched IPS LCD screen technology for the Pro, instead opting for an OLED display - and it is absolutely the right call. This thing pops beautifully.
Also ditched is the headphone jack and the microSD card slot - though there is double the storage at 128GB.
The Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro do share some key commonalities not found in the Mate 9 however. They're both equipped with Huawei's latest Kirin 970 processor and adopt glass backs. In addition, they both sport the newest version of Android, complete with the newest version of Emotion UI which is 8.0, Huawei’s custom interface.
While the latest version of EMUI doesn't look very different than its previous iterations, it does enhances these two phones in a number of very tangible ways, the most notable being the PC experience generated when hooking them up to a monitor or TV using an HDMI cable.
The camera set-ups on the new Mates are similar to what we’ve seen on the Huawei Mate 9, P10 and P10 Plus, in so far as they offer dual-cameras, combining an RGB and a monochrome sensor. This time round though, Huawei has stepped things up in the aperture department, with f/1.6 lenses across each of the camera modules.
This should result in better low-light photographs, hitting home Huawei’s camera partnership with Leica.
Design and display
- The best looking Mate yet
- Sleek mix of metal and glass
- Punchy screen but rivals are sharper
The glass-back on the Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro have a darker shade strip that runs across the camera module. In pictures, this looks more pronounced but in real life, it's a lot more subtle. Also, the super polished glass has a slightly plasticy feeling.
We're not sure why Huawei chose to replace the more durable metal with glass on the back of the phone, considering there is no support for wireless charging- the main reason other manufacturers chose a glass back.
Nevertheless, the curved Gorilla Glass back panel combines with a metal frame to create a phone that looks sleek, feels rich and doesn’t disappoint alongside other phones in the same price-bracket.
Huawei Mate 10 Pro hands on gallery
The front of the phone is seriously screen-heavy, offering a 6-inch display experience while maintaining a smaller footprint than the 5.5-inch iPhone 8 Plus.
Its 80.9% screen-to-bezel ratio impresses compared to the classical iPhone 8 and 8 Plus design, though isn’t quite as light on bezels as the iPhone X. Like the iPhone X, Samsung Galaxy Note 8 and LG V30 though, the screen’s aspect ratio is ultra-wide with an 18:9 aspect ratio.
OLED technology with some added HDR10 support combine to gives the Mate 10 Pro’s display ample punch and pop - more than the comparatively muted Google Pixel 2 XL.
At full HD resolution though, it doesn’t have the clarity to compete with the likes of the Sony Xperia XZ Premium, Galaxy Note 8 and S8 series, nor is it quite as breathtaking with regards to color reproduction as the latter two.
Despite this though, it still fares better than the Google Pixel 2 and LG V30 when it comes to color integrity and viewing angles, positioning it firmly in the middle of the premium smartphone screen hierarchy.
Loaded up with a screen-protector pre-fitted, as well as a soft plastic case in the box, it’s also reassuring that you won’t have to make any additional investments to keep your pricey new smartphone protected from all sides.
Even without a case and screen protector though, the Mate 10 Pro is a sturdy contender thanks to Gorilla Glass 5 on both sides and IP67 water and dust resistance.
The glass back has a slight curve across both axis, softening the feel somewhat. It also seamlessly transitions into the high-gloss metal sides and produces a sufficiently easy to grip shape and texture combination. Like other phones with an all glass design, the Huawei Mate 10 Pro is very fingerprint-friendly.
The dual-cameras on the back result in two mini camera bumps, while the fingerprint scanner has is nicely recessed to ensure a quick finger fumble will naturally find it.
While camera bumps aren’t ideal, they do help in protecting the cameras in case the phone slips out of your hands or from your table.
Easy to press buttons adorn the phone’s right-side while the dual SIM tray sits on the left. And the bottom base house the USB-C port along with a rather loud speaker.
The overall design of the Huawei Mate 10 Pro is minimal and beautiful. It will be available in four colors, Mocha Brown, Midnight Blue and Titanium Gray. We received the Mocha Brown edition from Huawei for review which looks great but our favorite is the Midnight Blue.