|Type||IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen|
|Screen Resolution||1440 x 2560 pixels|
|Screen Size||5.9 inch (15 cm)|
|Resolution||20MP + 12MP Leica Dual Camera|
|Front Facing||8 megapixels|
|Video Camera||2160p@30fps, 1080p@30/60fps|
|Audio Formats||MP3, MP4, 4GP, OGG, AMR, AAC, FLAC, WAV, MIDI|
|Video Formats||3GP, MP4, WMV, ASF|
|Battery (3G Talk)||Not available|
|Battery (Standby)||Not available|
|App Store||Google Play|
|Processor Type||Hisilicon Kirin 970, Octa-core (4x2.4 GHz Cortex-A73 & 4x1.8 GHz Cortex-A53)|
|Operating System||Android 8.0 Oreo|
|Release Date||November 2017|
|Main Connectivity||4G LTE|
|Maximum Data Speed||-|
|USB||3.1, Type-C 1.0 reversible connector|
|Telstra Blue Tick||No|
|Networks||GSM / HSPA / LTE|
|Data Networks||GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900, HSDPA 800 / 850 / 900 / 1700(AWS) / 1900 / 2100, LTE band 1(2100), 2(1900), 3(1800), 4(1700/2100), 5(850), 6(900), 7(2600), 8(900), 9(1800), 12(700), 17(700), 18(800), 19(800), 20(800), 26(850), 28(700)|
|Expandable||Up to 256GB|
|Text Messages (SMS)||Yes|
|Picture Messages (MMS)||Yes|
The Mate 10 is easily the best flagship smartphone you can buy for under $1,000, and has no problem going toe-to-toe with far pricier handsets in terms of camera, performance, design, and battery life. You miss out on water-resistance and there's a couple of software quirks to get your head around, but these small issues don't compromise the excellent overall package Huawei has in the Mate 10.
The Mate 10's ocker name is a little misleading; while it might evoke a singlet, thongs, and tinnie, Huawei's latest is as refined as a smartphone gets. The Mate series has traditionally been synonymous with high-end specs and overwhelming large screens sitting around the 6-inch mark. This is still very much the case with the Mate 10, but it's a lot less imposing than its predecessors. The screen is still 5.9-inches, but the overall package is much smaller, which in turn makes it much more approachable. It's not going to start any pub brawls.
The Mate 10 was unveiled alongside the Mate 10 Pro, which is certainly the more "2017" of the two; the Pro touts an extra-tall 18:9 display, while the Mate 10 still has a more traditional 16:9 display. There's a couple of other differences - the Pro is water-resistant at the expense of a headphone jack and expandable storage, the Mate 10 isn't water-resistant and still has a headphone jack and expandable storage - but the screen is easily the most noticeable.
While the "regular" Mate 10 might seem like the more conventional device, at $899, it's won our hearts.
Key specifications for the Mate 10 include a 16:9 5.9-inch 2K screen, a Kirin 970 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of expandable storage, and a 4000mAH battery
Huawei's smartphone cameras have been getting better - especially since it struck up a partnership with Leica last year - but the Mate 10 definitively proves Huawei can go head to head with the best of them. Most cameras do great in decent lighting these days, but the Mate 10 also excels in tricky situations like dark environments. Fast movement in lowlight can still cause it to flub a shot, but otherwise, the Mate 10 touts a reliable camera that can easily take stunning photos.
While the Mate 10 has a secondary lens on the back, this is predominantly use to facilitate a DSLR-like portrait mode where it can blur the background behind a subject. While the depth effect is reasonably good when it comes to most subjects, it's top notch when it comes to portraits, and avoids smudging facial extremities for the most part.
You do get some basic "zoom lens" functionality from the secondary lens, but since it's monochrome, you're still relying on the primary camera for a lot of information. Huawei calls this effect "hybrid digital zoom", and says you can magnify by as much as two times before you're solely relying on software. While this is slightly better than typical software zoom on smartphones, hybrid digital zoom doesn't quite compare to the dedicated optical zoom lens we're seeing on other phones, especially in lowlight.
The Mate 10 is slightly more conventional than the Mate 10 Pro, in that it uses a 16:9 display rather than an extra-tall 18:9 display. While 18:9 may be in vogue, we'd say sticking with 16:9 isn't necessarily a bad thing, given that developers are still in the processor of optimising apps for the newfangled breed of taller displays. The more traditional aspect ratio doesn't detract from the Mate 10's design, and the razor-thin bezels easily match those of its Pro sibling. The Mate 10 isn't any further from the "all screen" ideal than any flagship on the market.
This also means the Mate 10 is smaller than you'd expect, especially given the massive 5.9-inch display. It is however a reasonably wide phone; you'll almost certainly need to use two hands for any sort of typing.
Huawei has however joined in on the other main 2017 flagship smartphone trend: the mass migration to glass backs. The stark black glass can get covered in fingerprints quickly, and some might find it a touch slippery, but there's a case included in the box if you need one. But all in all, the Mate 10 feels like refined package that gets a touch of extra personality from the "racing stripe" over the camera module. It's a nice little embellishment
The 5.9-inch display is however the star of the show; it not only takes up most of the phone, but looks great while doing so. Huawei's kitted out the Mate 10 with a Quad HD Display, making it the first Mate device that has run at a resolution higher than 1080p. It's sharp, colourful, and bright enough to work well in direct sunlights; no complaints here.
Depending on how hard you push it, the Mate 10 is a device where you might even be able to get a full two days of usage in between charges. Or come close at the very least. I typically found myself with somewhere between 35% and 50% at the end of a day.
The Mate 10 would still be a great phone if it costs $200 to $300 more, but it's a steal at $899.
Huawei is quite liberal when it comes to customising Android, and its take on Google's operating system - EMUI - won't be to everyone's liking. EMUI is much better than it used to be, but there's still a couple of quirks that can end up being frustrating.
This time around, the biggest issue is overly aggressive battery management. At best, this results in persistent notifications that tell you apps are running in the background. "Yes, I know my music app is using battery, I'm listening to music." At worst, it can delay notifications from apps you don't have open.
Both these issues can be addressed: you can tell the Mate 10 not to show the battery warning, and you can whitelist apps so that they can run in the background, but it means setting up and getting used to the Mate 10 isn't quite as frictionless as it could be.
To be fair, this can partially be blamed on Android Oreo; we noticed similar issues on the Pixel 2 XL, which runs a "pure" version of Android. The number of apps the Mate 10 wants to warn you amount does seem larger, though.
The Mate 10 also likes to throw regular prompts asking me if I'd like to try "one button navigation" (where you use Mate 10's home button instead of Android's three software buttons, and swipe for different actions). I don't. Ignoring these notifications brought them back at a later time. Turning "one button navigation" on and off didn't help either.
I'm being dramatic - this was a tiny inconvenience - but it's a shame when small quirks get in the way of what's otherwise a very polished product.
I'm not the biggest fan of the Huawei's default iconography in EMUI; the gradient heavy icons contrast heavily with Android's flatter aesthetic. Some of the pre-installed themes let you tone this down, and you can always replace the Huawei launcher with the Google Now launcher, the Google Pixel launcher (which you'll need to get through an APK mirror), or another third party solution. I even went as far as replacing any app with an "ugly" icon, but I'm a little bit extra.
Android purists won't enjoy EMUI, but Huawei's gotten much better at not letting software modifications get in the way of the user experience for the most part. And if you don't dig the vibe, there's work arounds.
Unlike the Mate 10 Pro, the standard Mate 10 isn't water-resistant. While water-resistance is very nice to have, it's absence is the biggest trade-off you make by not opting for the pricier "Pro" model. Instead, the Mate 10 retains a headphone jack and expandable storage, features both missing on the Pro. While it sucks to choose, I'd rather pay less and keep the headphone jack.
The Mate 10 doesn't support wireless charging, but given the hefty battery, it's hardly a notable omission.
The Mate 10 is the perfect phone for a price conscious shopper who doesn't want to make compromises; it's easily the best flagship you can buy under $1,000. It has no problem going toe-to-toe with pricier handsets in terms of camera, performance, design, and battery life.
Sure, you could spend $200 to $300 less and still get a great phone, but they won't have the Mate 10's camera. And plenty of other phones around the $900 price-point still compromise on camera quality, making the Mate 10 an even more remarkable device when it comes to value.
None of this to say is the Mate 10 is without fault - you miss out on water-resistance and will have to get your head around a few software quirks - but it's nonetheless an outstanding device, especially for the money.
If lowlight photography isn't too important to you and you want to save a bit of money, the OPPO R11 is an excellent choice. It's a polished, premium device with a camera that holds its own, but it can be inconsistent when snapping away in dark environments.
If you'd prefer a phone that runs a clean take on Android, the Pixel 2 is definitely worth considering. It's a little pricier than the Mate 10, but it helps that that the Pixel 2 camera is one of the very best around.
If you’re looking at phones under $1,000, last year's iPhone is worth considering. The iPhone 7 configurations are now below that threshold, with the 32GB model selling for $849 outright and the 128GB for $999. It might not be the latest and greatest anymore, but it's still a great choice if you're looking at high-end devices on the smaller side of a grand.
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