Why it matters to you
Huawei’s Mate 10 smartphone could be one of 2017’s best phones. Here’s everything we know about it so far.
Huawei’s Mate 9, which boasts a generous screen, a huge battery, and a high-quality camera, was one of 2016’s most impressive devices. Now, it seems a trio of sequels — tentatively dubbed the Huawei Mate 10, Mate 10 Pro, and Mate 10 Lite — are right around the corner.
But the competition is fierce. Huawei’s upcoming flagship will go toe to toe with Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8 and Galaxy S8 Plus, and potentially the Apple iPhone X, too. If rumors are to believed, though, the Mate 10’s hardware will speak for itself — just ask Richard Yu, Huawei’s chief of consumer tech.
“We will have an even more powerful product,” said Yu in an interview with Bloomberg, when asked about the upcoming iPhone. “The Mate 10, which has much longer battery life with a 6-inch full-screen display, quicker changing speed, better photographing capability, and many other features that will help us compete with Apple.”
What you need to know about the Huawei Mate 10:
- The Mate 10 might debut alongside two other smartphones: The Mate 10 Lite and the Mate 10 Pro.
- The Mate 10 might run the latest version of Android, Android 8.0 Oreo.
- The Mate 10 might have a curved, edge-to-edge Quad HD (2,560 x 1,440 pixels) screen-to-body and an overall screen-to-body ratio of 83.6 percent.
- The Mate 10 might feature Huawei’s eight-core Kirin 970 chip, a 12-core GPU, and an NPU (neural processing unit) designed to accelerate artificial intelligence processes.
- The Mate 10 might have dual rear cameras — one 16-megapixel RGB sensor a 23-megapixel monochrome sensor — and dual front cameras (a 12-megapixel and 8-megapixel camera).
Mate 10 Pro and Mate 10 Lite
Mate 10 Lite
In late September, Venturebeat’s Evan Blass leaked the Mate 10 Lite, a low-cost alternative to the Mate 10 that will reportedly launch alongside it later this year. It’s said to have an all-metal unibody enclosure, a massive 83 percent screen-to-body ratio, and a 5.9-inch FHD+ screen (2,160 x 1,080 pixels) that rivals the resolution of the standard Mate 10.
Those aren’t the only specs that set the Mate 10 Lite apart. It reportedly has four cameras, two on the front and two on the rear (16-megapixel and 13-megapixel), and a camera app with a unique two-person bokeh effect and toning flash toggle.
Under the hood, the Mate 10 Lite is said to have an octa-core Kirin 659 system-on-chip paired with 4GB of RAM, 64GB of internal storage, and a 3,340mAh battery. It will reportedly start shipping in November in three colors — blue, black, and gold — for $455.
Mate 10 Pro
The Mate 10 Lite might not be the only handset that launches with the Mate 10. Another flagship — the Mate 10 Pro — is reportedly on the way.
The Mate 10 Pro is rumored to have an IP68 water- and dust-resistant body, an LTE Cat. 16 modem, and an edge-to-edge screen with an 18:9 aspect ratio. Its dual rear camera module reportedly consists of optically stabilized 12-megapixel and 20-megapixel sensors (both with a 1.6 aperture), and its larger-than-average casing is said to house an 8-megapixel front camera and a 4,000mAh battery.
According to VentureBeat, the Mate 10 Pro will ship in December.
Huawei’s P-series phones have always been the fashionable choice, but the Mate 10 may step up its game in the looks department. Mainly because for the first time, Huawei may embrace the edge-to-edge screen style adopted by Samsung and LG.
However, a leaked image published by @evleaks on Twitter apparently shows the Mate 10 with larger than expected bezels at the top and the bottom of the screen. It’s possible Huawei will release a bezel-less Mate 10 as the Mate 10 Pro. The phone’s user interface looks very similar to EMUI 5.1 on the Mate 9, and by looking carefully it’s possible to spot a fingerprint sensor below the screen.
The phone pictured is different than previous images we’ve seen, indicating the Mate 10 Pro may have been leaked up until this point. An image posted on Chinese social network Weibo shows what’s claimed to be a Mate 10 front panel, showing minimal bezels at the top and the bottom, and almost none on either side. The panel doesn’t seem to be attached to a phone, and may be a spare part sold at an electronics market, based on the image’s background.
The social network Weibo was also the source of another Mate 10 leak. A concept-style render posted by a user shows a large phone with no bezels to the sides of the screen, and small bezels above and below it.
On the back is a dual-lens camera with Leica branding, and a fingerprint sensor, showing that Huawei is not trying to integrate one into the screen for now. A close-up look at the phone’s rear panel reveals a brushed metal effect, and a far flatter surface than we’d expect, based on previous Mate devices. The source of the images isn’t clear, so we will refer to it as a concept for now, like the image published before by MyDrivers.
Huawei has already dropped a hint we should look out for a bezel-less screen this year after it filed for a patent with the name EntireView, which it states is a display technology. It’s being linked with the rumored Huawei Mate 10, although there’s no official word the two will come together. In response to the news, a concept device was mocked up by MyDrivers to give us an idea of what the final device may look like. Remember, this is only a fan-made concept and by no means official.
An edge-to-edge screen on the Mate 10 has been rumored before, and the device may have a screen-to-body ratio of 83.6 percent (higher than the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus), according to Android Headlines. In the same report, it’s said the fingerprint sensor may be embedded in the screen, a technology several smartphone manufacturers are trying to perfect. According to a report in gadget blog iGeekPhone, the screen will be curved and have a Quad HD (2,560 x 1,440 pixels) resolution, an upgrade from the previous generation’s HD (1,920 x 1,080 pixels) display.
Huawei’s Mate series has traditionally been all about productivity, with a large screen and plenty of power. The Mate 10 will be powered by the Huawei-designed 64-bit Kirin 970 chip with eight cores, made using a 10nm process. It has a 12-core GPU, and an NPU, or neural processing unit, designed to enable cloud-based and device-based artificial intelligence processes to run alongside each other. This has the potential to make the Mate 10’s AI capabilities much faster than other devices, and for it to run new AI apps on the device itself.
Huawei teased the Mate 10’s AI features in a Facebook post.
Rounding out the Mate 10’s potential specification list are accouterments like GPS and Bluetooth 4.2 radios, a fingerprint scanner, and a whopping 4,900mAh or 4,000mAh battery with support for Huawei’s Super Charge 3.0 rapid charging tech. The handset is said to be compatible with LTE Cat.12 networks, and ship in storage configurations up to 128GB. Previously, rumors have given the Mate 10 8GB of RAM, rather than 6GB.
The Huawei Mate 10 will run Android, but whether it starts out with Android 8.0 Oreo or 7.1 Nougat is unknown, as is which version of Huawei’s EMUI user interface will be placed over the top. A new version is possible, and there’s evidence of a visual overhaul in a short video from Huawei itself, showing how the Mate 10’s lock screen will cycle through wallpapers. Below are stills from the video, which aren’t recreated at the original 2,160 x 1,080-pixel resolution of the video. This is also unlikely to be the final resolution of the Mate 10’s screen. However, this resolution does match with an 18:9 aspect ratio, which the Mate 10 is expected to feature.
In the video the text is still perfectly readable despite the intense colors of the background images, illustrating the work Huawei is doing on improving its user interface, without sacrificing character.
Release date and availability
Huawei will announce the Mate 10 at an event in Munich on October 16. It has sent out invitations to the launch, with the tagline, “meet the device worth waiting for,” attached to it. Huawei confirmed the Mate 10 would be the focus of the event at IFA 2017 during global CEO Richard Yu’s keynote presentation, where the Kirin 970 chip was also announced.
We’re expecting the Mate 10 to be available to purchase this December, ahead of a ship date during the holiday season. It will likely fall in line with the Mate series’ historical pricing — around $600 — but we’ll have to wait until later this year for confirmation.
The Mate 10’s Kirin 970 processor and the NPU are likely to supercharge the camera. Huawei described how the NPU will speed up image recognition, and be able to produce live special effects like those in the Prisma app, directly through the viewfinder in real-time. The image recognition may help the camera select modes and settings based on the subject, rather than you manually changing them at the time.
According to a report in iGeekPhone, the Mate 10 will feature dual rear cameras in the form of a 16-megapixel RGB sensor (up from the Mate 9’s 12-megapixel) and a 23-megapixel monochrome sensor (up from 20-megapixel), both with apertures of f/2.0, phase and laser autofocus. Interestingly, it’s rumored to sport a dual-sensor selfie camera with a 12-megapixel and 8-megapixel camera. It wouldn’t be the first — Oppo’s F3 has a dual-sensor selfie cam — but it would no doubt help the Mate 10 stand out in an increasingly crowded field.
Update: Added in rumors about the Mate 10 Lite, a mid-range phone reportedly launching alongside the Mate 10.