The fall may as well be the season of phablets. Apple, LG and Samsung are the usual suspects but Huawei wants in too – as a front-runner, mind you, not an also-ran. Like its illustrious rivals, Huawei is also yielding to the pressure and the new Mate 10 is trying hard to please the fickle crowd.
Bezel-less is the latest buzzword and everybody is keen to oblige. Xiaomi has Full Screen, Samsung has Infinity, LG’s got FullVision and Apple’s pitching the Super Retina. FullView is Huawei’s contribution to both the borderless display concept and – let’s face it – less than stellar copywriting. But yes, they all have it.
Not only does the Huawei Mate 10 have those bezels duly trimmed but is hopping on the Quad HD bandwagon too. The HDR10 support is a welcome addition at a time when the HDR video content is clearly on the rise.
The Kirin 970 is the beating heart of the new Mate 10 and it seems Huawei has focused more on the new chipset than on the trademark dual-camera, to bring one of the best performers in the market. With a class-leading GPU, a new 10nm FinFet+ manufacturing process and one of the industry’s first Neural-Network Processing Units for on-device machine learning acceleration, the Kirin 970 is clearly bidding for one of the top spots.
Huawei has abandoned the full-metal unibody in favor of an all-glass design, but is still admirably consistent with a generous 4,000mAh of battery capacity. The dual-camera has been updated with f/1.6 bright lenses, while the new EMUI 8 and the NPU do offer a few nice perks.
Let’s have a closer look.
Huawei Mate 10 key features
Body: Dual glass body with metal frame, curved Corning Gorilla Glass, IP53 rating for dust and splash protection, more compact than the Mate 9 while keeping the same screen size
Screen: 5.9″ IPS LCD of 1440p resolution (499ppi); HDR10 support, up to 730 nits of brightness
Chipset: 10nm Kirin 970 chipset, Octa-core processor (Cortex-A73 2.4GHz + A53 1.8GHz), Mali-G72 MP12 GPU
Memory: 4GB RAM, 64GB storage, microSD slot (hybrid, uses SIM2 slot)
OS: Android 8.0 Oreo with EMUI 8.0;
Camera: 12MP color + 20MP monochrome, phase-detection and laser-assisted autofocus, 4K video capture, dual-tone LED flash, Leica branding
Camera features: F/1.6 lens, OIS, Hybrid Zoom, Variable aperture mode and Portrait mode
Selfie cam: 8MP, f/2.0 lens, Portrait mode
Battery: 4,000mAh; Fast charging (58% charge in 30 min)
Security: Front-mounted fingerprint reader
Connectivity: LTE Cat.16, Dual-LTE SIM, IR blaster, Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.2 + LE, NFC, USB Type-C, 3.5mm audio jack
No proper water-proofing
Limited market availability (some markets will get the Mate 10 Pro instead)
Lackluster camera update
No wireless charging
A few things have been left as they were on the Mate 9. You’ll notice right away that it’s the same eight cores as last year. Yet, the Kirin 970 chipset is more power-efficient given the 10nm manufacturing process and the NPU is said to leverage machine-learning algorithms in a way that will make a difference in terms of both processing speed and power management.
The Leica dual camera has also kept the same sensors as last year, but they’re behind brighter lenses this time around. And the battery? Well, we have no beef there.
The Mate 10 will be available where the Mate 10 Pro isn’t, and those two are quite a bit different. For starters, the Mate 10 isn’t actually water-proof, just splash resistant. It is the one with an audio jack and higher-screen resolution though, whereas the Mate 10 Pro comes with a 1080p AMOLED screen and IP67 certification. The fragmentation doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but it’s what it is.
The Mate 10 is an attention-grabber and you’ve probably noticed that already. Huawei seems well aware of what the market wants and has made sure the Mate 10 is properly equipped to face its competition. This phablet season though, we’re talking some really rough competition. So, let’s see.