Huawei Mate 10 Review – Huawei’s New $700 Beast

Huawei Mate 10 Review – Huawei’s New $700 Beast

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Huawei’s latest and brightest offering comes with an upgraded look over its predecessor with the latest co-developed Leica lens and a fingerprint scanner on the chin.

What’s up, Manila? This is Caesar of Manila Shaker for a review of Huawei’s one of two flagships – the Mate 10. Missed our last review? Check it out here.

SPECS Huawei Mate 10
Display [1440×2560] 5.9″ IPS LCD, ~499ppi
Size 150.5 x 77.8 x 8.2 mm , 186g
Design Metal frame, Corning Gorilla Glass
Colors Mocha Brown, Black, Champagne Gold, Pink Gold
Chipset HiSilicon Kirin 970
Processor Octa-core (4×2.4 GHz Cortex-A73 & 4×1.8 GHz Cortex-A53)
Graphics Mali-G72 MP12
Rear Camera Dual: 20 MP +12 MP, f/1.6, OIS, 2x lossless zoom, Leica optics, phase detection & laser autofocus, dual-LED (dual tone) flash

Video Recording:
Up to 4K@30

Front Camera 8 MP, f/2.0

Video Recording:
Up to 1080p@30

Memory 4GB RAM, 64GB internal, <256GB microSD
Connectivity GSM/HSPA/LTE-A Cat. 18, WiFi ac, dual-band, DLNA, Bt 4.2, A2DP, aptX HD, LE, A-GPS, GLONASS, FM Radio, USB 3.1 Type-C 1.0, OTG
OS Android 8.0
Software EMUI 8.0
Battery Non-removable 4000mAh Li-Po battery
Official Price PhP 32,990
Availability date November 2017
Where to buy Huawei Experience Stores and Authorized Retailers

Design

With the recent switch of flagships to having edge-to-edge displays and glass backs, the Mate 10 didn’t shy away from both. Executing these both in a great way, Huawei made the Mate 10 feel premium at the touch. The front is Gorilla Glass-protected with a QHD display, leaving really thin side bezels. The fingerprint scanner on the chin works fast despite its shorter profile. The all-metal frame is cold to the touch and buttons are responsive and clicky with proper height. The new glass-covered rear design is strikingly similar and attractive, with a decent amount of grip for bare use. As for expandability, there is a hybrid SIM tray.

Display

The 5.9″ QHD display is equal parts big and tantalizing. Even with the IPS LCD panel, colors, detail and color contrast are amazing to look at. While nothing new, the viewing experience is spectacular with an edge-to-edge display and minimized bezels. It is HDR10 compliant for still-limited content, but Netflix support is present with obvious improvements in dynamic range. The display can go up to 730 nits, making it legible outdoors under direct sunlight. Out of the box, the display is cooler than usual but can be fixed a bit through Settings.

Huawei Mate 10

User Experience

Right off the bat with the lock screen, the Dynamic Image 3D may be appealing for some, but we did find it annoying to some extent since the transition isn’t smooth. EMUI hasn’t changed much ever since, and just added in Oreo features on top of what’s already present with slight design changes. Still, it is impressive in itself and can be lacking sometimes, especially in the way of having an app drawer.

Minimalists will still hate similar ROMs for the same reason. But that is the default setting – an app drawer can finally be added, deep within Settings. It’s not a whole new ballgame for Huawei, but they definitely did something to spice things up a bit by being counter-culture. Now, the experience with the Kirin 970 cannot be felt in an instant since it’s a learning process for the cloud-based AI that runs via the neural processing unit (NPU) hardware that works independently from usual SoC workings.

It’s no Jarvis, but the AI will slowly optimize battery usage and performance through patterns of what you – the users – do on a regular basis. The NPU doesn’t run 24/7 for a good reason, and its use is limited to niche purposes. Moving to the camera UI, while having a load of features available that are a swipe and tap away seem good, it may get overwhelming for new Android users. Switching to Pro is easy while in Photo mode. What’s more is that users can take quick snapshots with a quick double-tap on the volume down button.

Camera

The details and dynamic range that the main 16MP rear camera produces are astounding. Being tied in 2nd with the iPhone X in DxOMark, it tells a lot regarding its performance. Colors are lovely, edges are sharp, and contrast is commendable. With the f/1.6 aperture, night shots are definitely the brightest I’ve seen that doesn’t rely on luminance to clean up noise.

Colors are also well-preserved in low-light, allowing for great evening shots. What I didn’t like is how long it takes for the lens to process what it’s seeing, requiring around 5 seconds of stillness for clear and blur-free low-light images. The 20MP monochrome lens can be used independently and also produces spectacular images. Portrait shots are really great, allowing for near-perfect subject selection.

The NPU does play a part on this one, allowing for faster and more accurate processing than most. Selfies are nothing to write home about, along with the Portrait shots that it can do. Still, the 8MP selfie snapper’s shots are reputable but will be put to shame compared to selfie-centric smartphones’. Videos can go up to 4K, but the video stabilization can only support up to 1080 at 30FPS, which is commendable. But if you do intend to use a tripod or gimbal stabilizer, 4K is the way to go for extra detail.

Performance

Benchmark Huawei Mate 10
AnTuTu 178423
GeekBench SC: 1902
MC: 6783
Androbench Seq. Read: 240.08MB/s
Seq. Write: 103.15MB/s
Rand. Read: 161.72MB/s, 41401.04 IOPS
Rand. Write: 158.32MB/s, 40351.07 IOPS
PCMark Work 2.0 6946

The NPU barely contributes to the overall performance of the Mate 10, and can be seen clearly in these benchmark scores. With a top-tier SoC, it does stand against other flagships and can be felt with day-to-day use of the Mate 10. And just for comparison, the near-800MB/s sequential read is as fast as most midrange consumer-grade computer SSD’s. With this, it also translates well into playing graphically-intensive games of 2017 at max details and 60FPS most of the time. What I didn’t find acceptable is how warm it can get, and I could only leave in thought how hot the Mate 10 could get when being used for gaming while charging, as most mobile gamers do.

Battery

Battery Huawei Mate 10
Battery 4000mAh
ManilaShaker Battery Rating 42h 29m
Charging Time (0-100%) 1h 54m

The non-removable 4000mAh pack lasted for around 2 days under our battery rating test. Charging it from 0-100 with the 22.5W took around 2 hours, which is well within the ballpark for such a fast charger.

Audio

The stereo speakers may not be the best in terms of clarity, but the room volume can be quite handy for quick song recommendations even in noisy environments. I’m quite confused with how the Stereo+ settings work since the front-firing speaker works even with the phone in portrait orientation. For headphones and earphones, Histen is present for some pretty advanced audio configuration with various presets and a wide equalizer.

Verdict

Offered at P32,990, the Huawei Mate 10 is actually well-balanced that comes with a slew of features that were surprisingly good to use. If you’re in the market for having a smartphone with one of the best natural dynamic ranges and spectacular overall performance, you wouldn’t go wrong with the Huawei Mate 10.