Huawei is not as well known as the Samsung and apples of the smartphone world, but they just keep going and produce decent and often underestimated phones in all market segments. At the top of the current product stack are the Huawei Mate 10 and the Mate 10 Pro, a duo of flagships with a large screen that offer the latest hardware and features.
The difference between the Mate 10 and the Mate 10 Pro is a bit confusing if you toggle between the two. The Mate 10 has a 5.9-inch 1440p 16: 9 LCD, while the Mate 10 Pro opts for a high 6.0-inch 18: 9 AMOLED with a lower resolution of 2160 x 1080. The Mate 10 Pro is waterproof, but does not have a microSD card slot or a 3.5 mm headphone jack: functions that the Mate 10 offers.
You'd think a combination of these two devices would create the ultimate Huawei flagship. Instead, the company has released two separate phones that meet different needs. In my hands today is the larger Mate 10, which, to be honest, looks like a better buy with its higher-resolution display and features like a headphone jack.
The Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro are the first phones on the market to include Huawei's latest HiSilicon SoC, the Kirin 970. This chip is billed as an AI powerhouse with an integrated neural processing unit, although the CPU and GPU are set up as Snapdragon 835 competitors. We have seen many flagships using the Snadpragon 835, so the Mate 10 with its Kirin 970 will offer an interesting discussion later in this review.
For the design of the Mate 10, Huawei used glass on the front and back, similar to a number of flagship phones that are currently on the market. The edges appear to be made of metal, although they're coated with an extremely shiny finish with a texture similar to the rear window. The result is a phone that looks fine but doesn't match the best metal-glass combinations of the year.
One of my main concerns with this choice of materials is how slippery the Mate 10 is. The use of glossy metal edges along with an expansive glass back makes this phone difficult to grip, a problem that is compounded by the size of the handset. The highly reflective nature on the back of the glass also makes the phone a fingerprint magnet, especially the black model that I received for review.
Perhaps the strangest element in the design of the Mate 10 is the corrugated stripe that encompasses the camera array. The corrugation is visible, but there is no actual texture for this area: the corrugation is under the glossy coating. Of course, Huawei tried to get some interest in the back, but what they did just looks a little weird.
The front of the handset is a completely different story. While this phone doesn't use a high aspect ratio, the 16: 9 control panel is integrated to minimize the frame. The 5.9-inch panel is huge, but the bezels on both sides of the display are very narrow. thinner than many other "slim bezel" phones. And above and below, only the bare essentials are contained in a small volume.
Surprisingly, the Mate 10 retains a front fingerprint sensor despite its small bezels. With a handset of this size, reaching and activating a fingerprint sensor so far in the front of the face is somewhat cumbersome. I think a rear sensor would have worked better here, like the Mate 9.
Despite these nitpicks, I love the Mate 10's expansive display, which is larger in screen area than the Mate 10 Pro's 6.0-inch 18: 9 panel, and although the Mate 10 is close to the limits of what I do I find the huge display not so difficult to use. However, if you prefer smaller devices like the Huawei P10, Pixel 2 or iPhone 8, I avoid this phone.
I'm really glad that Huawei kept the 3.5mm headphone jack. Frankly, there is no point in why the more expensive Mate 10 Pro removes this port when used so often. And it's not just a headphone jack that the Mate 10 has over the Mate 10 Pro: there's also a microSD card slot, another weird omission from what is supposed to be Huawei's premium option.
What you won't get with the Mate 10 is full IP67 water resistance, though the phone is IP53 certified for light splash protection. For many people, IP53 is all you need to prevent spilled coffee or rain from destroying the handset. A clear advantage of the Mate 10 Pro, however, is the superior toughness in this regard.
The Mate 10's speakers are not impressive. The lower speaker is combined with the in-call speaker above the display to achieve a stereo-like effect. However, the lower speaker is much more powerful. So when you watch videos or play games in landscape mode, the sound feels unbalanced. It would have been difficult to build real stereo front speakers into this device. Therefore, it is easy to see why Huawei chose this device instead.
It's great to see that Huawei is finally using a high-resolution display for its top-end handset. The Mate 9, the P10 and even the Mate 10 Pro all use 1080p class phones. This makes the Mate 10 the first to push to 1440p. As a result, this 5.9-inch IPS LCD has a pixel density of 499 PPI, and at this size, you can notice a little difference in clarity between 1080p and 1440p.
In the device settings, however, the Mate 10 is set to 1080p by default. To get the most out of the handset, you should increase this value to 1440p. There's even a dynamic option if you want a mix of resolution, performance, and battery life depending on the situation. I love the display quality, so I immediately set the phone to full 1440p mode and used this mode for all tests. We also did this with other phones that have different resolution modes, which ensures fair competitive conditions in our tests.
The Mate 10's display fulfills many criteria: excellent viewing angles with minimal color shift, high maximum brightness over 630 nits and an excellent contrast ratio for an LCD of almost 1600: 1 . B. the Pixel 2 XL, there are no burn-in problems or uniformity problems: this LCD is of much higher quality.
Similar to most modern displays, the Mate 10 uses extreme saturation, large color gamuts and a cold color temperature as standard, which leads to vivid colors that "pop". However, it is not very accurate and the strong shade of blue is harder than many of its competitors.
Fortunately, you can design the Huawei Mate 10's display precisely if you need color accuracy or just prefer compliance with sRGB. The default color mode is "vivid". So if you change it to "Standard", the supersaturation will be reduced. It is also worth changing the color temperature manually. The best results were obtained by selecting a value at the extreme edge of the circle in the orange area.
With these changes, the Mate 10's display across the board generated dE2000 values of less than 2.0, which is excellent. It is not very easy to create this color-accurate mode because you have to play around with the color temperature manually. However, the display seems to support almost perfect sRGB playback if you wish.