I have been a big fan of Huawei since trying out the P9 over two years ago. I found the P9 to be an incredible phone with outstanding design and photography prowess. Since then, I have owned nearly 10 Huawei and Honor phones. I was very excited when the Mate 9 was released in the United States unlocked last year, but unfortunately there were some major sticking points that kept me from recommending it. This year, I was hoping for a redemption with the Mate 10 Pro. Huawei went through some big hurdles in an attempt to sell the device through US carriers, only to be shut down by the US government.
The Mate 10 Pro might be one of the best phones that you can get in the US, but it is not the best phone that Huawei is produced. And being a big Huawei fan, that’s disappointing to me. But this is an incredible phone that should be more than good enough to get Apple and Samsung owners to consider switching.
Huawei is undoubtedly one of the best phone manufacturers when it comes to design. At a time when many smartphones are starting to look the exact same, Huawei has taken an extra step to differentiate. Notably, the glass back of the phone has a second toned- band framing the cameras and the fingerprint sensor, that gives the phone a unique striped look. The band highlights the impressive symmetry that this phone has. While I liked the glass top band of the P9 and P10 design, I wasn’t as impressed with the somewhat pedestrian design of the Mate 9.
Beyond the look, the Mate 10 Pro fit in my hands better than any other modern flagship I have used. It did not have the blockiness of the Pixel 2 XL, and the razor thin edges of the Galaxy S9+. It sits comfortably in my hand, and the glass feels smooth and cool. Huawei has some of the best ergonomics among all smartphone manufacturers.
While many manufacturers (including Huawei) are working towards reducing the bezels even more, I don’t envision needing much more screen to body ratio than this phone. It has a massive screen for a somewhat easy to hold phone.
Performance and Battery Life
The Mate 10 performs as well as any other flagship this year. It has 6 GB of RAM, which is more than the Pixel 2 XL and less than the OnePlus 6, but I never have had an issue with apps closing in the background. The real amazing part is the ability of the Mate 10 Pro to last for several days without needing a recharge. This is a notable feature of Huawei phones that I do not find in many other phones. Relative to other Huawei phones I’ve used, the Mate 10 Pro seems to be a little bit better about shutting down apps in the background and preventing them from updating notifications.
While many continue to criticize Huawei for their software, I do not have any big issues with it. After switching out the launcher, there are not too many distractions that make it difficult to use. In addition, there are a few additional features on the Mate 10 that are really nice to have. One big example for me is the knock functionality. While many people do not mention it, it’s actually really to take screenshots by just drawing around the target with a knuckle.
- Huawei still has by far the best fingerprint sensors in the business. It blows the S9 Plus, the Pixel 2 XL , and the OnePlus 6 out of the water in terms of speed and reliability.
- While Huawei has face unlocking functionality, it’s a little odd interacting with lock screen notifications. If I chose to hide the notifications on the lock screen, then I wouldn’t be able to control Spotify or other music apps without letting it see my face.
- I was a little disappointed in the haptics of the Mate 10 Pro. I really expect most manufacturers to have better vibration motors, because that makes typing a lot easier for me.
Now that the Huawei P20 Pro is released, I can’t say that the Mate 10 Pro is even the best Huawei phone out there. But considering it can be found for a better price than many competing flagships, the camera and performance are great, and the design is great, I don’t think you can go wrong with the Mate 10 Pro.