Now that the madness of the launch event is over and all the tech world has crawled back into their respective offices, it is time to get down to the business of seeing what is beyond the shiny Huawei exterior.
Before I get into the unboxing of the phone, I have to make an announcement, and it’s good news for the readers and the future of Huawei themselves. If you’ve owned a Huawei device then you may have experienced the mixed history of getting updates. However, this may no longer be an issue.
The review units given out at the press event are running pre-release software. Sometimes these devices have a few teething issues which are to be expected. Personally I would say that the software is 99% finished, and it turns out that the missing 1% was found very quickly by the media world. Essentially there was an issue with Google Play services remaining live and causing excessive battery drain. The phones were given out on Monday and by that evening reports were coming in about flat batteries. Luckily the boffins at both Google and Huawei put their heads together and resolved, tested and pushed out the update within 48 hours! This is great to see and gives me hope that updates will be a lot speedier in the future. I guess time will be the deciding factor on this one.
So, without further ado, let’s have look at the device.
The phone feels great in the hand and, after using it for a few days, I actually preferred holding this over my daily driver, the Galaxy S8+. Yes, that is a bit of a statement, especially as I’m a vocal supporter of big phones. That is not to say that the Mate 10 Pro is not a large phone but it is just very well sculpted too fit into your hand. Everything just feels like it falls to where my fingers would naturally be. I don’t feel that I have to shuffle my hands to use the fingerprint reader on the back either. It just sits below where my index finger rests.
I really like that the power key is textured. It’s something that I first encountered on my OnePlus X a few years ago. Having that slight roughness makes it easy to find in my pocket and also to distinguish it from the volume keys.
One thing that I will say is that it is a good thing that Huawei provides a silicone case in the box as this thing is an absolute fingerprint magnet. However, I cannot be too harsh on them for this as it is nigh on impossible to find a fingerprint-friendly flagship these days. With the push for “all glass” and aluminium bodies, this is just something that we as smartphone owners have to accept.
At least the fingerprint reader is distinctive and distinguishable from the cameras. The signature strip also makes it easier to see at a glance where things are, although it would have been nice if it had been a little textured to make it stand out more.
Moving away from the design to the actual UI and it is very early days with me using it. What I will say is that first impressions are very good. It’s both fluid and fast. Huawei have been adamant about the role that AI is going to play in the user experience and I’ve definitely seen some of it in the Camera UI. Another thing that Huawei have pushed is that “Born Fast, Stay Fast” slogan. Now, on the mate 10 Pro I can’t really comment yet – it’s early doors. I can talk about how I got on with my Mate 9 though, and on that phone, as it aged, I felt like it really did make a difference. Even after nearly five months of using it, there was no appreciable difference in speed compared to day one. This gives me high hopes for the new phone as the machine learning was helping and it’s all backed up now by the Neural processor to make things even more intelligent.
Huawei have also added a few nice software touches into the UI which I like. The option, as an example, to have either an all icon based home screen (iPhone style) or the more traditional Android UI, is down to you as the end user. It is just a few short steps to change it from the settings menu. This will bring back the app drawer which is vertically arranged. The whole UI can also be used in a dark mode to preserve battery life as the screen is now OLED.
On that note, the screen is lush. I would say that it is definitely up there with the Samsung S8 and Note 8 family. It has a really rich colour gamut and does not shift when viewing from the sides. The deepness of the colours are beautiful and watching media is a real pleasure.
This is amplified by the fact that they have managed to get both speakers working for media. This is done in the same way as on the iPhone 7. The top earpiece speaker is essentially your tweeter and the main speaker takes care of the bass and lower tones. It is not true stereo but it is a lot better than just using the one speaker. I will need to add a equaliser to lessen some of the tinniness that I have found when watching YouTube playback in particular.
That is it for now. I am going to spend a lot of time testing this one out as think we have a real champion on our hands. I’m going to spend a bit more time getting into the camera on my trip back to Scotland. Here are some close up shots that I took today to whet your appetite…
If you have anything specific you want me too look at in the review then feel free to comment below and i will try my best to include it.