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Huawei Mate 10 Pro review
Posted on 7-Nov-2017 19:00 by M Freitas | Filed under: Reviews

Huawei is a household name when it comes to an important category in consumer electronics - smartphones. Their newest release, the Huawei Mate 10 and Huawei Mate 10 Pro pushes the boundaries again with some cool new features.


I have been using a Huawei Mate 10 Pro for the last couple of weeks and I have to say - despite a couple of nagging things - it's my favourite phone at the moment.


First we have to talke about the design and screen. The Huawei Mate 10 Pro has a 6" AMOLED, 18:9 screen (2160 x 1080, 4-2ppi, 16.7 million colours) with HDR support. The colours are beautiful and vivid. Watching content with dark scenes - such as the new Star Trek Discovery series - is a pleasure. The picture is crystal clear and even in the scenes with lots of movement you can follow the action with no blurring. Also, this is one of those phones that come with a pre-applied screen protector. The backing is also a glass cover and it's just a pleasure to hold. The frame is metal with a very thin bezel on the front.


The fingerprint sensor is on the back of the phone below the camera lenses, which makes it a lot easier to reach when getting the phone out of your pocket. It's also a very fast sensor and there's no perceptible lag when unlocking the device.



Talking about lag, this is a seriously fast smartphone. The Huawei Mate 10 Pro is powered by a Kirin 970 octa-core CPU - four cores running at 2.36GHz and four cores running at 1.8GHz. With 6GB RAM moving from one application to another is really fast - and you can even have two apps on a screen at the same time, taking advantage of this power.


With 128GB storage, the Huawei Mate 10 Pro has an interesting differentiator: it has no microSD card slot. Instead it uses the space for a second 4G SIM card - yes, this is a dual 4G smartphone. Not only that but it's also the first LTE cat 18 phone with speeds of up to 1.2Gbps when connected to a compatible mobile network.


Huawei continues with its high-end photography offerings, with another device sporting Leica technology. There are two cameras - a front one with 8mp f/2.0 and the main camera that is again a combination of monochrome 20mp and RGB 12mp f/1.6 sensors/lenses with optical image stabilisation and dual flash. The camera has laser focus and a hybrid zoom that seems really good up to 2x (anything from that point to 10x is digital). It can also record videos in 4K.


As expected the camera can product brilliant photos - of course the photographer is still responsible for the composition - but with the help from some AI processing the camera can recognise different scenes and objects - including people, cats, dogs, food, stage, beach, paintings and more. This means the camera automatically adjust settings accordingly for these different environments. Fear not, you can always switch the camera to Pro mode and still manually change how the camera behaves.


The Huawei Mate 10 Pro does not have a 3.5 audio jack - it does come with a pair of USB-C earphones but the best experience is when paired to compatible LDAC Bluetooth headphones. I did have a small problem when using the Bose QC35 at first though - it paired and connected fine for sound but the Bose app couldn't see the headphones to manage settings. Using a different smartphone I managed to connect to the Bose QC35 - there was an update available for these headphones and actually after the update I had no problems connecting the Bose app again from the Huawei Mate 10 Pro.


Battery life is excellent - with a 4000mAh battery you an easily go over one or two days depending on usage (in my case more like a day or so). This does come as a benefit of an aggressive power management policy which at times conflicted with my interests. You have to apply a bit of micro-management here if you want an app to keep running in the background - things like Tile, Life360 even Spotify or Norton Security and Norton Privacy VPN will close as soon as you turn the screen off. This can sometimes affect even notification from time sensitive apps such as instant messaging.


There's a way around this. The problem is that you have to do this in two different places: the Apps Special Permissions and the Power Management Launch settings. Even so, the OS still seems to break some apps - Norton WiFi Privacy for example is one almost impossible to use.


With NFC support in both Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro, you can use Android Pay for mobile contactless payments everywhere the service is offered. I am using supported New Zealand bank account and the experience has been flawless on this - check with your bank for Android Pay support.


The Huawei Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro are running the latest Android 8 - the review unit I have is currently on Android Security Patch October 2017. What is yet to be seen is how many times we will see OS updates for this device, something that no Android OEM are really great at.


One interesting feature is Projection. Basically you can plug and external monitor or projector directly to your Huawei Mate 10 Pro. This means the monitor acts as an extension of your phone, but with a desktop interface. You are able to have multiple windows open simultaneously, plus a Start button and a taskbar. You can pin apps to the taskbar as well as change settings from the system icons on the bottom right. You can move and resize these windows (with a few exceptions) and basically work like you would with a full-fledged laptop. You can use your phone as a trackpad and virtual keyboard or pair a set of Bluetooth mouse and keyboard for  for a much better experience.


What's even better is that the phone interface is separate from this extension, so you can actually still use the phone as usual, including receiving calls and messages, that won't appear on your "desktop". The interface is fast enough that you can actually play videos fullscreen on extension monitor. In my case I tested this with a 55" TV, using a USB-C to HDMI cable that is found in electronics stores.



[UPDATE: Added images and comments on Projection]


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