Huawei is promising big things for its next big phone. Here's what we know so far about the Huawei Mate 10.
When does the Huawei Mate 10 come out? Launch on 16 October with availability to follow.
What’s new about the Huawei Mate 10?Bezel free 18:9 display, Kirin 970 CPU, dual lens Leica camera, enhanced Emotion UI.
How much will the Huawei Mate 10 cost? Expected to be premium priced around $1,000.
What is the Huawei Mate 10?
While Huawei produces a significant quantity of budget and mid-range phones, it has two primary "premium" phone lines in the form of the fashion-led P series, typically announced at or around Mobile World Congress, and the more phablet-formed Mate series, usually announced in the October/November timeframe.
Huawei has all but confirmed that its next released phone will actually be called the Mate 10, expected to be announced on October 16 2017.
Huawei's Mate devices are typically large-screened affairs, but this year rumours point to the inclusion of a near-bezel-free device, which means it will join company such as the Samsung Galaxy Note 8. It's expected that Huawei will produce both a Huawei Mate 10 and Huawei Mate 10 Pro, with differences in both screen size and resolution. Specifically, the Mate 10 Pro is rumoured to feature a 5.99 inch 2880×1440 pixel display in 18:9 ratio, while the regular Mate 10 device is expected to sport a 16:9 ratio 2560x1440 display.
The persistent rumour around the Mate 10 has been that Huawei will incorporate the fingerprint sensor into the front glass of the phone itself, rather than having a distinct button or rear-mounted sensor. Late leaks of the likely form factor do point to a phone with minimal or no bezels, but it's not clear how the Mate 10 will handle its authentication button issues.
Last year Huawei also produced a Porsche Design version of the Mate 9, so that's also feasible this year, given the company's increased focus on appealing designs.
Will the Huawei Mate 10 be powerful?
The one confirmed specification we have for the Mate 10 is that it will run on the newest generation of Huawei's in-house silicon in the form of the Huawei Kirin 970 chipset.
Where most other vendors opt for a processor solution from providers such as Qualcomm or MediaTek, Huawei produces its own premium silicon for its own phones, and the Kirin 970 sounds particularly tantalising.
At the IFA conference in Berlin, Huawei CEO Richard Yu unveiled the Kirin 970 with a particular focus on artificial intelligence. Kirin 970 packs in an 8-core CPU alongside a 12-core CPU using a 10nm process, with what Huawei refers to as a Neural Processing Unit (NPU) to handle AI tasks.
Huawei wants to pitch the Kirin 970 as an "open" AI platform leveraging the power of the chipset itself as well as cloud-based AI to more efficiently operate, and the overall claim, according to Huawei, is that it will outclass every other phone on the market. Huawei's Richard Yu stated to Bloomberg that the Kirin 970 would be even more powerful than the next iPhone, although how well that claim stacks up remains to be seen.
The short version, however, is that Huawei's Mate phones have always delivered plenty of power for performance users, and we'd expect that the Mate 10 will continue this trend. In 2017, however, with plenty of high-performance premium handsets on the market, it will truly have its work cut out for it simply to stand out.
On the software side, it's expected that the Mate 10 will run on Android 8.0 ("Oreo") with an updated version of Huawei's "Emotion UI" launcher on top. Rumours suggest that this will include features such as dynamically adjusted text tones for notifications on the lock screen of the Mate 10.
Will the Huawei Mate 10 have a good camera?
Huawei has made considerable progress in the camera space thanks to its tie-up with Leica for the Huawei P9, Mate 9, P10 and P10 Plus, and there are no signs that this will slow down for the Huawei Mate 10.
At the very least we'd expect to see dual cameras of a quality matching the Huawei P10 Plus, which sports 20MP monochrome/12MP Dual f/1.8 lenses at the rear. There's not a lot of information swirling around in terms of camera rumours for the Huawei Mate 10, but it should feature at least a good, if not outright great, camera.
The one thing we do know is that it will be a dual lens camera, thanks to Huawei's taunting of Samsung around the Note 8 launch:
— HuaweiMobileAu (@HuaweiMobileAU) 24 August 2017
How will I charge the Huawei Mate 10?
Like the P10 and P10 Plus, we'd expect to see USB C charging as standard on the Huawei Mate 10, which is likely to sport a large battery. By way of comparison, the Mate 9 featured a 4,000mAh battery, so that's a likely figure to strike for with the Huawei Mate 10.
Huawei has its own standard for fast charging, dubbed "SuperCharge". Huawei recently announced a partnership with TÜV Rheinland for safety checking of its SuperCharge technology, including safety, low temperature and thermal shock tests.
Charging and battery safety has been something of a sore point for larger phones in the light of the Samsung Note 7 fiasco, and while that wasn't a phone of Huawei's making, it's clearly taking phone charging seriously. We'd expect the announcement of the Huawei Mate 10 to reference this testing in some way, if you're concerned about buying a phone with a larger battery.
Will the Huawei Mate 10 be water resistant?
The one feature that Huawei has never particularly pushed with its premium handsets has been the question of outright water resistance.
However, it's become more and more of a feature of premium phones, and we did note on a recent tour of Huawei's device testing labs that it does conduct water resistance testing on devices, so it's feasible that the Mate 10 might include some level of specified water resistance.
When will the Huawei Mate 10 be available in Australia?
While the Mate series phones have typically been announced in the latter part of a given year, they haven't always come out in Australia straight away, so discerning when we might see the Mate 10 has to rely on a little informed guesswork.
The Mate 10 will launch in Berlin on 16 October, but there's no sign of whether that signals a European launch, a US launch or just a global announcement around availability. Equally, without a specific launch time, it could be a launch that occurs in the evening of the 16th, Australian time, or one that happens in the early hours of the morning on 17 October 2017, relatively speaking.
What that means in terms of overall availability is a rather open question. For what it's worth the Huawei P10 and Huawei P10 Plus were announced at Mobile World Congress 2017 in late February with retail availability in Australia on 25 May 2017.
The Huawei Mate 9 was announced in November 2016 but didn't see our shores until 7 February 2017. Based on that kind of timeframe, we might be waiting until late December to see the Mate 10 here.
The flip side of that kind of thinking is that Huawei has been enjoying increased sales of handsets in Australia of late, so it may make the Mate 10 available here a little earlier to maximise that momentum.
How much will the Huawei Mate 10 cost?
There's little announced or even rumoured details around pricing, but again we can use Huawei's existing models as something of a benchmark. There's no doubting that the Huawei Mate 10 will attract a premium price point, but Huawei has typically delivered its premium devices towards the low end of the pricing spectrum, making them very good value.
Huawei isn't alone in this space, however, with other brands also starting to steer their premium phones towards the sub-$1,000 space, but we don't expect the larger Mate 10 to quite steer that low. In the rough $1,000-$1,200 price space seems likely.
Huawei Mate 10 Specifications
- Product Name
- Huawei Mate 10
- Display Size
- Expected 6.0 inches
- Expected 2560x1440
- Kirin 970
- Expected 6GB
- Expected 64 or 128GB
- Operating System
- Android 8.0
- Front camera
- At least 8MP expected
- Rear camera
- Dual lens expected, at least 12/20MP
- 4000mAh expected
- Expected around $1,000-$1,200 or on contract
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