Huawei Mate 10 Pro

Gulf Business - - CONTENTS - By Robert An­der­son

Fol­low­ing new re­leases from Ap­ple and Sam­sung it is Huawei’s turn to en­ter the rush for end of year sales with its Mate line.

For those un­fa­mil­iar with the Mate de­vices, the fo­cus is very much on power users with the pro vari­ant in par­tic­u­lar cater­ing to those that want top spec­i­fi­ca­tions in a ph­ablet-sized pack­age.

At first glance there are many of the things you can ex­pect from a flag­ship de­vice th­ese days. Dom­i­nat­ing the front is a six-inch OLED dis­play with the thin bezels that have come to de­fine top-end smart­phones this year. The aes­thetic is per­haps a lit­tle generic on the screen side but makes more of a state­ment on the rear with an easy to hold curved glass de­sign and a metal­lic layer vis­i­ble un­der­neath.

The back is where you will also find a re­li­able fin­ger­print scan­ner on the pro vari­ant, with the stan­dard Mate 10 boast­ing the sen­sor on the front. Another no­tice­able dif­fer­ence be­tween the two is the lack of a head­phone jack and SD card slot on the pro, which Huawei has done away with to in­tro­duce wa­ter and dust re­sis­tance. This may dis­please some users with ex­pen­sive head­phones or high stor­age needs but didn’t bother me given the in­cluded adapter and 128GB of in­ter­nal stor­age.

Among the key sell­ing points for the line this year is Huawei’s new Kirin 970 chipset, which has an on­board AI pro­cess­ing unit claimed to of­fer bet­ter speed and en­ergy ef­fi­ciency. Dayto-day us­age is silky smooth whether you are flick­ing be­tween mul­ti­ple apps, watch­ing a se­ries on Net­flix or gam­ing. The pro vari­ant comes with 6GB of RAM as op­posed to the reg­u­lar’s 4GB and should prove a work­horse when it comes to pro­duc­tiv­ity. A longer term ques­tion will be the im­pact of the AI chip, which in the­ory means the de­vice will of­fer the same per­for­mance a year from now.

Other high­lights in­clude the lat­est ver­sion of Google’s An­droid oper­at­ing sys­tem, Oreo, out of the box - with Huawei’s EMUI on top. A new ad­di­tion among the in­cluded Huawei apps is a trans­la­tor util­is­ing the on-board AI chip. This can be used to trans­late text on pic­tures taken by the cam­era and proved some­what ef­fec­tive for un­der­stand­ing menus writ­ten in Ger­man, but un­for­tu­nately it doesn’t work with Ara­bic for now. There is also a desk­top mode that al­lows the de­vice to be plugged into a mon­i­tor to act as a PC for Pow­er­Point pre­sen­ta­tions or word pro­cess­ing and a split screen mode to take ad­van­tage of the phone’s larger dis­play – all use­ful in a work con­text.

The screen it­self has been the sub­ject of some de­bate at launch be­cause the pro vari­ant has a lower res­o­lu­tion than the reg­u­lar Mate 10 and other com­pet­ing An­droid de­vices. Whether this makes a dif­fer­ence to you may de­pend upon what smart­phone you are re­plac­ing. If it is one from last year you will more than likely no­tice a pos­i­tive dif­fer­ence with the pro’s OLED but more re­cent re­leases may of­fer more de­tailed vi­su­als.

The slight re­duc­tion in pix­els per inch does have one key ad­van­tage, how­ever, in us­ing less bat­tery power than com­peti­tors. Com­bined with the larger (4,000mAh) cell in­cluded it leaves oth­ers in the dust when it comes to longevity, last­ing a full two days with 20 per cent to spare dur­ing test­ing with mod­er­ate us­age. When it is time to charge you can also be sure it won’t take long with the fast charg­ing cable com­ing close to the nearly 60 per cent top-up in half an hour promised.

This fi­nally brings us to the cam­eras, which con­tinue Huawei’s part­ner­ship with Ger­man op­ti­cal firm Le­ica. New fea­tures on the dual rear cam­era in­clude 2X loss­less zoom and a wider aper­ture, with the lat­ter pro­vid­ing bet­ter low light per­for­mance. Shots in general are great qual­ity with crisp colours and no slow­down be­tween tak­ing one photo and the next, mean­ing the front or back cam­era is un­likely to dis­ap­point. As an added bonus, the on-board AI also recog­nises when cer­tain ob­jects are in front of the cam­era to au­to­mat­i­cally al­ter its set­tings and there is no short­age of modes from wide aper­ture where you can al­ter the depth of field to por­trait ‘bokeh’ ef­fects and mo­tion cap­ture.

All in all the Mate 10 Pro is a great pro­duc­tiv­ity de­vice that de­liv­ers in sev­eral ar­eas. As men­tioned, the main stick­ing point for some users will likely be the dis­play and the lack of a head­phone jack, in which case the reg­u­lar Mate 10 may pro­vide the an­swer, but the bat­tery life is hard to beat. And, given Huawei’s his­tory, it is likely to be a sim­i­lar story when it comes to pric­ing.

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