At a special event in Munich, Germany, Huawei has just taken the wraps off its new flagship smartphones, the Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro. Following on from last year's Mate 9, the new model comes in two different flavors: A vanilla Mate 9 with a 5.9-inch 16:9 screen, and a 6-inch Mate 10 Pro with a taller 18:9 panel. Most readers can safely disregard the regular Mate 10, though, as only the higher-end Mate 10 Pro will be sold in the U.S. and UK later this year.
The Mate 10 line sees Huawei overhauling the design language of the Mate series, and dropping the chunky metal unibody that had barely changed since 2014's Mate 7. The new glass sandwich design is more in keeping with modern flagships like the Galaxy S8 and LG V30, representing a clean break from the look and feel of previous Huawei handsets.
On the inside, both phones run Huawei's own Kirin 970 CPU, an octa-core 10nm chip featuring ARM's latest Mali-G72 GPU, and a new neural processing unit, or "NPU," for AI-based functionality.
AI forms a big part of Huawei's marketing shtick for the Mate 10, and the company demonstrated how this new NPU could assist with scene identification in the camera app, object recognition in images in the gallery app, and natural language processing in the Microsoft Translation app. In addition, AI should also help to accelerate the machine learning-based performance tuning already seen in older Huawei phones like the Mate 9 and P10.
Other key specs include 4GB of RAM and 64GB storage for the Mate 10, and 6GB plus 128GB storage for the Pro. The displays for these two phones differ in more than just their size and aspect ratio. The regular Mate 10 uses a Quad HD LCD panel, while the Pro steps up to AMOLED, but at a lower "Full HD+" resolution (1080x2160). There's also the same generous 4,000mAh battery capacity we've come to expect from the Mate series, supported by Huawei's Super Charge technology, which now carries a TUV certification for safety — but no wireless charging.
There's are a couple of other notable difference between the standard Mate 10 and the Pro: Only the latter is water resistant, rated IP67. And only the former has a 3.5mm headphone jack. Mate 10 owners get their fingerprint sensor on the bottom bezel below the display, like the P10, whereas the Mate 10 Pro relocates this to the rear of the device.
Also around the back, Huawei's steady improvement in digital imaging continues, with dual 12+20MP sensors behind f/1.6 lenses, both with OIS (optical image stabilization), with laser autofocus and dual-tone flash.
Huawei's also showcasing a new version of its EMUI interface on the Mate 10, based on the just-released Android 8.0 Oreo. Although not much has changed visually in EMUI 8, the new version does boast improved performance, in part thanks to enhanced machine learning algorithms, which gradually learn how you use your phone, pre-loading and optimizing apps accordingly.
Both Mate 10 variants will be available later this year, and there'll also be a pricey Porsche Design version, based on the Mate 10 Pro, with a murdered-out design, ample branding, and upgraded internals.
Hit up our Mate 10 preview for more on the new phone, and let us know if you're tempted to pick one up over on the Mate 10 forums.
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