Huawei earlier this year signalled their intention to focus more on the higher end of the market, in particular the Mate line. The Mate line for Huawei has always been the first phones that receive the high end specs and the new software. It is not designed nor intended to be their most stylish phone but a phone that got the job done and a more corporate styled phone.
This year the Mate 10 looks to be arriving with all new innovative software, a new chipset and the highest end specs of any Huawei phone to date. The difference this year, if rumours are to be believed Huawei are going all in on the Mate 10, releasing multiple variants of a really good looking, stylish phone.
How many Mate 10 variants will we see?
If you are new to Ausdroid you will have missed the, well, numerous is understating the number of articles we (mostly me) have written on the Mate 10 rumours and leaks. It has been done to death and in the end we think we know everything but there is still some confusion. We think we are possibly going to see four Mate 10 variants which makes sense.
Huawei are going after brand recognition, not just for the Huawei brand name but the Mate line. Samsung have done it with their Galaxy series — it sells phones, people think they are all the same. Huawei want that brand recognition.
For this reason they are looking at covering a lot of the mid to high end range of the market with Mate devices. We think we are getting a Mate 10 Lite, a Mate 10 Plus, a Mate 10 and a Mate 10 Pro. Let’s discuss each in isolation.
Mate 10 Lite
The Mate 10 Lite was originally leaked by Evan Blass. The Lite was codenamed the G10 or Rhone, and now has been released in China as the Maimang 6 and in Malaysia as the Nova 2i. Confusing but for the rest of the world it is apparently going to be the Huawei Mate 10 Lite.
The Mate 10 Lite does not share much in common with the other Mate 10 variants and as the name suggests is the lower end of the four. It DOES have a 5.9 inch, 18:9 aspect ratio display with a 1080P resolution. It is only powered by the Kirin 659 chipset unlike the other Mate variants which will come with the new Kirin 970 with AI on the chipset. There is 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage.
Unfortunately it is only running Android 7.0 and EMUI 5.1 and is priced at the equivalent of $450AU in China. The software is a bit disappointing with the other Mate 10 variants expected to launch with Oreo and EMUI 6.0, or at least be updated to it soon after. Huawei have a habit of releasing their lower end phones with older software but in saying that EMUI 5.1 is streets ahead of its incarnation of 4.X and below. You would hope this sees updates in the future but at this stage there is no guarantee. It will be interesting to see if Huawei mention updates etc for this device in the announcement (assuming we do see this variant).
My confidence on us seeing this device on October 16 is around 7 out of 10 chance. They may mention it but don’t expect them to spend much time on it, if at all. Do I think they will release it whether mentioned or not? Yes. It makes sense brand-wise and economically.
The Mate 10, codenamed Marcel, is the stock standard Mate 10. Although it is the standard Mate 10 we have seen little of it lately. Although not mentioned we have seen and heard enough to be sure of a few things. We have seen renders and display leaks suggesting a 16:9 aspect ratio display with a QHD+ resolution. The fingerprint sensor will be located on the bottom front bezel. Even with this location Huawei seem to have done a great job at minimising the bezel size.
The battery and camera are meant to be the same as the Pro and the Plus with the battery clocking in at 4000mAh and a dual-camera setup on the rear with 12MP and 20MP sensors included with OIS and an f/1.6 aperture. Previously Huawei has gone for a colour and monochrome sensor for their dual-camera setups, but whether they will opt for telephoto or wide-angle remains to be seen.
The front-facing camera will be 8MP. It will house the Kirin 970 chipset and have all the same features as the Mate 10 Pro, running EMUI 6.0 on top of Android 8.0.
My confidence on this device is 10 out of 10 on this launching but on the specs I’d have to say around 8 out of 10. The issue is that we have seen different display leaks showing different ratios but considering there is meant to be four variants there may be some confusion as to which display we were looking at in the leaks. Huawei’s advertising materials still apparently showing the 16:9 display so I’m going with that.
The Mate 10 will come in 4GB/64GB, 6GB/128GB and 6GB/256GB variants and will apparently cost around ¥4,299 ($814AU), ¥4,899 ($928AU) and ¥5,599 ($1060AU) respectively.
Mate 10 Pro
Make no mistake about it, this phone, codenamed Blanc, will be the headline act come October 16. We have seen so many leaks surrounding it it makes sense that Huawei are leaking this one to create hype. The reason it has created so much hype is that this is apparently an amazing device. Huawei themselves are very excited about this device. They believe it will be the device that brings them into everyone’s mindset when thinking about high end devices and it will be priced as such. I expect it to be priced higher than the Mate 10 obviously but less than the Pixel XL 2 and Galaxy Note 8. It would be a mistake to price it any higher — not that it isn’t as good but because of the brand recognition. Joe Blogs, when they hear the name Huawei, have no idea what you are talking about.
Huawei aren’t the only ones to be excited about this device as you can probably tell by the flowery tones I am using to describe it. The phone will have a slightly curved (2.5D) 5.99 inch, 18:9 aspect ratio display with a 2880 x 1440 pixel resolution. Is your mouth watering yet? It will house the Kirin 970 chipset and run EMUI 6.0 on top of Android 8.0.
The Pro will have some of the smallest bezels we have seen, when bezels are still present that is with the fingerprint sensor located on the rear of the device. Unfortunately my theory of the fingerprint sensor under the display looks like being more fantasy than reality, maybe next year someone will get it right. The rear camera will be the same as the Mate 10 mentioned above. It will come in 6GB/64GB, 6GB/128GB, 6GB/256GB and 8GB/256GB variants.
My confidence in this device is 10 out of 10 and the specs rumoured 10 out of 10. This is the flagship, the big bet by Huawei and will definitely make it to our shores. In previous years the Pro didn’t make it here but this year Huawei are covering all bases. I expect this phone to be priced around $1300 which fits with rumours with it’s pricing being €930 at some retailers in Europe. Leaked Chinese pricing have the prices around that mark too with it costing ¥5,499 ($1042AU), ¥6,199 ($1174AU), ¥6,899 ($1307AU) and ¥7,499 ($1420AU) respectively for each variant.
This is looking like what could be the device of the year and as such deserves another picture:
Mate 10 Plus
I have put this SKU last as it is one we know very little about. This variant has the codename Alps and although we have seen its display show up online we have not seen much else. The display looks to be a 5.88 inch 16:9 aspect ratio display and according to Evan Blass will have a 2560 x 1440 pixel resolution.
The Plus is expected to arrive with the Kirin 970 chipset and the same battery and camera as the two main variants. The battery is apparently 4000mAh and the camera Leica dual camera system. There is only a 4GB RAM/64GB version and is slightly thicker that the other variants. The Plus has minimal bezels and will house the fingerprint sensor on the back. It is basically a Mate 10 with smaller bezels, slightly smaller display and the fingerprint sensor on the back.
There is one version of the Mate 10 that we saw in the Mate 9 that we have forgotten up until now, the Porsche Design edition. It did not make it to our shores last year except for a small promotion Huawei ran and I doubt we will see it here again. Evan Blass says it exists and based on his track record I’m going to say it exists. This is the Porsche Design Huawei Mate 10. It will have the high end specs of the Mate 10 Pro and will most likely cost a pretty penny as it will have the Porsche Design name on it.
Huawei are betting big on AI (1, 2, 3) and as such have created the first chipset with neural networks built into the hardware. We expect them to implement this in various ways, most notably in the camera where it is expected to predict what your scenery is and the lighting is and adjust the settings of the camera to create ideal photos each and every time, no matter the scenario.
Expect Huawei to use the AI in much more than this situation. We expect them to use it to be able to predict where you want to navigate next in your phone and get that ready. Hopefully this will result in a super fast fluid experience.
The three main Mate 10 variants will arrive with EMUI 6.0 on top of Android 8.0 and as with recent versions of EMUI we expect it to improve even more. It may not look like stock Android but it will be lighter and less intrusive than the previous version as it has for the last couple of years. For those who want to make it look like stock Android, Huawei do allow you to apply themes and there will most likely be Stock Android and Pixel-flavoured themes around.
We hope that Huawei embrace Google’s Project Treble to allow for easy updating in the future but we are not holding our breath on that one. Huawei don’t have a great history with updating their phones in Australia but hopefully this new tack with the Mate 10 variants will also signal a change in their software updates. It seems that it has with their official policy now stating:
Huawei is fully committed to provide regular software upgrades to always deliver the best and safest user experience to its customers. The phones will get at least one major upgrade including a new Android version during their lifecycle. In addition to this major upgrade, regular updates, on a quarterly basis, will be made available to users so that they can enjoy the latest features and experience improvements.
With the announcement only a week away it won’t be long until all is revealed. The announcement is in Munich on October 16 at 10pm ACST (according to the Huawei website, when adding it to my calendar automatically from the website it lists it as 11pm AEDT — we will confirm that time with Huawei prior to next Monday).
After the shock of the Google Pixel 2 pricing are you looking for something different? Could a Huawei Mate 10 be in your future?