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

Article Index

Huawei Mate 10 Pro Battery Life And The Final Assessment

To determine how the Mate 10 Pro handles with respect to battery life, we've commissioned two very different test utilities. AnTuTu's Battery test is a worst case, high workload benchmark utility that stresses the CPU, GPU, system memory and even maximizes display brightness in order to push phones to their always-on limits. Generally speaking, in real world scenarios the average mainstream user would not likely utilize use a phone this way, certainly not all day long until its battery gave up the ghost. However, it's a relative gauge for comparable high load performance.

Huawei Mate 10 Pro Back

Then we have PCMark for Android's Work 2.0 battery test, which demands both a lighter duty work load, and is setup to run on calibrated, moderately lit display brightness settings. The playing field is more level in the PCMark test since variation is display brightness is minimized with pre-test calibration. 

Battery Life
How Long Did Samsung's New Galaxies Last?

The AnTuTu battery test sets the display brightness to maximum and cranks up workloads continuously. It then runs through a number of real-world scripted workloads, including web browsing, gaming, and video playback, in an effort to drain the battery of a device as quickly as possible. The results are measured in a point score and ranked system.

Huawei Mate 10 Pro Battery

Along with camera performance, this is the other area where the Mate 10 Pro excels. It has a capacious 4,000 mAh battery (non-removable) inside, and in our testing it only trailed the Moto Z2 Play in AnTuTu's battery benchmark. For the most part, what the Kirin 970 sacrifices in performance compared to the Snapdragon 845, it gains in battery life. Of course, this is dependent on how you use the phone—higher level workloads, such as gaming, will drain the battery much faster than watching videos and bouncing around the web.

Futuremark's PCMark for Android Work 2.0 Battery test takes workloads from the benchmark itself (image and video editing, email and web browsing) and scripts them in a loop that runs until battery levels drop below 20 percent. This test is much more real-world in terms of its setup, because we calibrate display brightness on all devices to 200 Lux and the test then locks that display brightness in for the duration. As a result, with only WiFi and cell radios on (Bluetooth and NFC were off, with DND mode turned on), we're able to see how long a device will last, timed to the minute as it runs down from 100 percent to 20 percent remaining battery life. 

Huawei Mate 10 Pro Battery

In this battery test, Mate 10 Pro last over 9.5 hours with a continuous mixed workload. That was enough to take a third-place finish behind the Galaxy S8+ and Galaxy Note, while lasting a little bit longer than the Galaxy S9+. In short, the Mate 10 Pro is a phone you can use all day and still have some juice left over, provided you're not hammering it with games or other heavy workloads.

concludeThe Mate 10 Pro is a bit of a dark horse in the smartphone sector, and is one of the better phones that most people won't have easy access to. We say that because Huawei faces an uphill battle in the US market. As we've mentioned, US intelligence agencies have pressured major wireless carriers not to carry Huawei's handsets, and though AT&T came close to offering the Mate 10 Pro in the US, it ultimately decided not to. It doesn't matter if the security concerns are real or grossly overblown (or even nonexistent)—until Huawei can partner with a major wireless carrier stateside, phones like the Mate 10 Pro will continue to fly under the radar.

Beyond the politics of it all, the Mate 10 Pro is an interesting and capable smartphone. It's also a bit of an enigma. From a design standpoint, the craftsmanship is right up there with other Android flagships. The Mate 10 Pro is a sleek (and slippery) phone with an attractive glossy finish, when not covered in fingerprints. At the same time, we can't help but feel that Huawei's EMUI skin is holding it back a bit. Not everyone will feel that way, especially those coming from an iPhone. And admittedly EMUI offers some nifty features if you take the time to learn its nuances. But in trying to attract an Android audience at large, something closer to a stock Android experience would probably be preferred by most.

Where the Mate 10 Pro really shines is in two areas—camera performance and battery life. Depending on who you ask, these might be the two most important areas when shopping for a smartphone, so kudos to Huawei in that regard. As it pertains to photography, whether you're a skilled picture taker or have never heard of the rule of thirds, the Mate 10 Pro will deliver excellent looking photos.

For everything else, the Kirin 970 SoC paired with 6GB of RAM gives the Mate 10 Pro sufficient power for a flagship, just not class leading. So why do we consider this phone an enigma? The EMUI software is one reason, but that's not the phone's only quirk. There's also no microSD card slot on the Mate 10 Pro, and while the 128GB of baked in storage will be enough for many users, power users who take a lot of 4K video and/or install a bunch of games and apps may find that a deal killer. Same goes the lack of a 3.5mm audio jack—giving this up may be a sign of the times, but we don't have to be happy about it. We're also not sure what to make of the neural processing unit that Huawei is so big on.

Quirks aside, overall the Mate 10 Pro is very good all-around Android phone, and an excellent one for photography. It's also a tough sell at $799.99 without a major wireless carrier to break up the cost into a monthly payment plan. Regardless of everything else, that will probably be the deciding factor for most people.

hothardware recommended

  • Premium design is as good as any other Android flagship
  • Lots of RAM (6GB) and onboard storage (128GB)
  • Brg and bright display
  • Stellar camera performance
  • Long battery life
  • No expandable storage
  • EMUI skin won't appeal to users looking for a purer Android experience
  • Auto camera controls could be simplified
  • Not offered by any major wireless carriers in the US

Related content