Huawei Mate 10 Pro Review: Impressive Camera, Battery Life And A Funky UI

Huawei Mate 10 Pro: Riding A Dark Horse, In Style

In most major sports, there are a handful of teams that dominate the competition and garner the lion's share of attention from fans. The same is true in the smartphone market where there are relatively few established players at the top. Every so often, however, a contender comes along to potentially disrupt the hierarchy, and that is what Huawei hopes to accomplish with its newest flagship phone, the Mate 10 Pro.

Huawei Mate 10 Pro Front Hand

Who exactly is Huawei, you ask? While not as recognizable in the US market as Apple and Samsung, Huawei is no Johnny-come-lately to the land of mobile. Huawei is a major player in China and is actually the largest telecommunications hardware and services company in the world. The company's struggle to firmly establish itself in the US market to this point is directly related to persistent pressure from US intelligence agencies to avoid products from Huawei (and ZTE) over ties to the Chinese government and security concerns. We are not going to get into it too much here (there is plenty of information just a Google search away) other than to say it is the reason AT&T backed out of a deal in the 11th hour to sell the Mate 10 Pro in the US. Whether or not this is a concern for you, is up for you to decide. We will say, however, that there are many devices built in China.

Had that deal gone through, it would have been the first time that a flagship phone from Huawei was distributed in the US through a major wireless carrier. Instead, consumers who are interested in the Mate 10 Pro can find it on Amazon and other retailers for $799.99 or less, unlocked. The premium price reflects the phone's high-end genetics, and that is where a partnership with a major carrier could have helped, with standard monthly subsidy programs, etc.

Huawei Mate 10 Pro Rear Hand

So, it is unlikely the Mate 10 Pro will be Huawei's golden ticket into the US market. Nevertheless, it is an intriguing smartphone on a number of fronts. To start with, you won't find a Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset in this thing. As with Huawei's previous phones, the Mate 10 Pro is running on Kirin hardware and in this case a Kirin 970 octa-core processor with an ARM Mali-G72 GPU. There is also a neural processing unit inside for AI chores.

Looking at the spec sheet below, nobody can accuse Huawei of skimping on hardware. There is a generous amount of RAM at 6GB, along with 128GB of onboard storage. The Mate 10 Pro also wields dual rear cameras and is outfitted with a rather capacious 4,000 mAh battery. The hardware configuration compares well with other top tier smartphones on the market right now. Hit our quick video guided tour here for a closer look... 

Huawei Mate 10 Pro (BLA-A09)
Specifications & Features
Display 6.0" (2160x1080) FullView OLED w/ HDR10
Processor Huawei Kirin 970 Octa-Core + Neural Processing Unit
Dimensions 154.2 x 74.5 x 7.9 mm (6.07 x 2.94 x 0.31 inches)
SIM/Expansion Single SIM (dual-SIM model available)
Protection IP67
GPU Mali-G72 MP12
OS Android 8.0 Oreo with EMUI 8.0
Storage 128GB  (non-expandable)
Cameras Rear Dual: 20MP Monochrome (f/1.6) + 12MP RGB (f/1.6) Leica Lenses
Front Camera: 8MP (f/2.0)
Networking 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.2, Wi-Fi Direct
Sensors Fingerprint Sensor, G-Sensor, Gyroscope sensor, Compass, Ambient Light Sensor, Proximity sensor, Hall sensor, Barometer, Infrared remote control
Battery 4,000 mAh non-removable battery w/ Huawei SuperCharge
Audio USB-C (no 3.5mm audio jack)
Midnight Blue + Titanium Black
Price $799.99 - Find it on Amazon

Huawei Mate 10 Pro Colors

Before we go any further, let's take a moment to go over the different SKUs, which can be a bit confusing. Huawei offers three versions of the Mate 10 Pro with model numbers BLA-A09, BLA-L09, and BLA-L29. The A09 is the US model and the L09 is the global variant, both supporting a single SIM card. Only the L29 (international model) supports dual SIM cards in its SIM tray.

The US version works on GSM networks, including AT&T and T-Mobile, along with Cricket, H2O Wireless, Net10, Simple Mobile, and Tracfone.

Huawei Mate 10 Pro Contents

Huawei bundles some thoughtful add-ons with the Mate 10 Pro, including a pre-applied screen protector and a clear plastic case. These really should be considered mandatory accessories these days, when plunking down several hundred dollars for what's essentially a handheld PC made of glass and scratchable metal, so it's nice to see Huawei include them here.

The Mate 10 Pro also comes with a USB-C earbuds, a USB-C to 3.5mm adapter, a USB-C cable, charger, and an eject tool for the SIM card slot.

Let's take a closer look at the Mate 10 Pro's design and build quality...

Related content