I’m going to be honest with you from the outset here. Even as recently as last year, I wouldn’t have been comfortable having Huawei as my daily runner smartphone. They’ve been making great phones for years, arguably back as far as the P8, but they just weren’t as good as the heavy hitting flagships. I’ll admit, I didn’t pay the Mate 10 much attention and as a result, my socks were properly blown off by the P20 Pro earlier this year. Now, with the exception of the past few days as I’ve been testing out the Pixel 3 XL, the P20 Pro became my go to phone. It replaced the Note 8, a phone I really loved.
The P20 Pro is really an incredible phone but the Chinese manufacturer wants to go one step further before closing out the year. Huawei has just launched the Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro. I was lucky enough to be brought over to London last week by Huawei to get an exclusive sneak peek at the Mate 20 series and I’ve got to admit – 2018 is the year of the Huawei.
Key Features of the Huawei Mate 20 Pro
- In-screen fingerprint scanner
- Seriously fast charging
- Wireless charging
- The world’s smartest camera
- Next normal security
- Bonus: New Huawei Watch
- First Impressions of the Mate 20 Pro
- Where to buy the Mate 20 Pro
Huawei Taking Over Ireland in 2018
Huawei has had one hell of a 2018 already. Earlier this year, they launched the P20 Pro, a smartphone which I personally think made smartphones cool again. The triple camera setup is incredible which led to it being granted the top spot on the DxOMark scale, leaving every other smartphone, including iPhone, in their wake. They even stole second place as the biggest smartphone distributor from Apple too. You think they’d be happy enough with that right?
Unfortunately for Samsung and Apple, that’s not the case. With the P20 and P20 Pro really shaking up the regular consumer market in Ireland, Huawei is now taking aim at young entrepreneurs and business people with the Mate 20 series.
Meet the Mate 20 Series
Huawei is launching two new flagships to join the P20 and P20 Pro. The bigger brothers to this phones will be the Mate 20 and the Mate 20 Pro. The Mate 20 Pro will deliver some of the most incredible specs and tech I’ve ever seen in a smartphone, while the Mate 20 will deliver similar but slightly watered down specs.
Most impressive is the Mate 20 Pro and this is what I spent most of my time in London playing with. While you can expect to see a much more in-depth review from me in the coming weeks, here are some first impressions I got during the sneak peek session.
What Makes the Mate 20 Pro Different?
In-screen Fingerprint Scanner
One of the very first bits of tech to stand out on the Mate 20 Pro is the in-screen fingerprint scanner. After setting it up, I couldn’t help but proclaim loudly – “we’re living in the future”.
We’re living in the future
When Apple killed the headphone jack, there was a logical alternative available in wireless audio technology. When they killed the fingerprint sensor, there was nowhere else to go. Sure, they have facial recognition and so too will the Mate 20 Pro, but the new Huawei flagship has truly gone above and beyond what I thought I’d see in a smartphone for another few years. A sensor beneath the screen means you can not enrol your fingerprint to your smartphone and then unlock it by pressing a specific spot on the screen.
My mind was blown, seeing a fingerprint scanner below a fully functional smartphone screen. I won’t pretend to understand how it works, but it’s bloody impressive.
Fast Charge – No, Seriously Fast Charge
They say a watched pot never boils. Maybe Huawei should enter the pots and pans industry. I’ve never seen phone charging quite like the Huawei Mate 20 Pro. With a 4200 mAh battery and the smaller Mate 20 having a 4000 mAh battery, the Mate 20 Pro can achieve a 70% charge in just thirty minutes. That’s a day and a half of battery life, in just thirty minutes. It’s ludicrous. It charges so fast, you can actually see the charging progress, pardon the pun, bolting along.
This is all possible because of Huawei’s 40-watt supercharger, but don’t worry. As scary as that sounds, you won’t have a Samsung Note 7 style incident happening with your Mate 20 or Mate 20 Pro. Huawei rather cleverly enlisted the help of TÜV Rheinland who specialises in mapping the safety of manufacturing processes. Basically, they make sure Huawei’s batteries don’t go boom.
Apple supports fast charge but then has the audacity to not include this as standard out of the box. Huawei, Google and Samsung, to name but a few, include fast charging as standard. Consider that a very reserved rant ended.
All Power to Huawei
The charging innovations don’t end there for the Chinese manufacturer. For the first time, Huawei will introduce wireless charging into their range. While wireless charging is cool, it’s often quite slow, especially when you consider how fast wired charging has become. Again, thanks to Huawei’s upping of the power a bit, the Mate 20 Pro, powered by a14-watt wireless charger can charge 160% faster than the iPhone X.
While that’s pretty neat, Huawei had another charging trick up their sleeve. It the ultimate display of power over other smartphones, the Mate 20 Pro will feature Wireless Reverse Charging. The battery is so impressive on this uber-flagship that Huawei know you’ll be the one with extra juice to share. So, if you’re out and about and your mate’s phone is running out of juice, you can place your phones together and give them some power. The only obvious caveat here is that your friend needs to be using a phone which supports wireless charging. It’s worth pointing out, however, it doesn’t need to be a Huawei smartphone.
The Mate 20 Pro Camera
It’ll have to overtake the P20 Pro, right?
Huawei continues to team up with Leica lenses to deliver a best in class experience with the Mate 20 Pro. With a centre-mounted, triple lens array the Mate 20 Pro can shoot wide-angle, telephoto and ultra-wide shots with ease.
Combined with the mighty Kirin 980 chip announced at IFA 2018 in Berlin, the Mate 20 Pro can offer 134% more artificial intelligence power than the chip which powers earlier Huawei smartphones. This means the phone itself can spot what you’re trying to capture and actually adjust settings accordingly. The P20 Pro is capable of identifying 10 to 15 shooting scenarios, but with the additional power of the Kirin 980 chip, the Mate 20 Pro can identify and adjust shoot settings for up to 1500 scenarios. For me, this is the true birth of smart phones. Think about it: what’s actually so smart about smartphones? We tell them to do everything, but now the Mate 20 Pro will actually do a lot of the heavy lifting for you and ensure you’re taking a great shot.
For me, this is the true birth of smart phones
I only had a very brief chance to test out the camera on he Mate 20 Pro, but from what I saw I was fairly impressed. One of the most incredible shooting modes uses the wide-angle lens, allowing you to capture epic, dramatic shots, shots I’ve never seen a smartphone capture before.
Considering I’m now also testing out the Google Pixel 3 XL, I’ll be able to really put the Huawei 2018 flagships through their photo shooting paces; watch this space.
The Mate 20 will depend on a read fingerprint scanner to unlock the phone. For the Mate 20 Pro, I’ve already touched upon the in-screen fingerprint – pun wholeheartedly intended, but there’s also some serious facial recognition. Now, Huawei isn’t breaking ground here to be fair with the technology behind their facial recognition resembling that of the iPhone X, iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max. You’ll hear words like dot projector, infrared camera and flood illuminator used to describe the technology in both.
At the end of the day, you and I both know we’ll all be using the in-screen fingerprint right? Still, I’ll give this a more thorough test in the coming weeks.
Another security feature is one I’m a massive believer in; the Password Vault. With more and more data breaches taking place these days, you should be using different passwords for every website you sign up to. I’ve been using LastPass, a password manager, myself for the past year or so and would you believe I don’t know passwords for most sites I use. Instead, I just know a passphrase which locks LastPass which in turn provides me with access to whatever sites I’ve set up. If one site gets hacked, I just need to change the password on the affected website and not every other site I’ve ever used.
Long story short, the Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro will include a password manager. Sorry, that was a really long story that could have just been short, but you should really start thinking about password managers. This kind of carry on is going to become the new normal in personal online security.
I’m not a Huawei fanboy, but I have become a massive Huawei advocate. For smartphones, that’s a very recent thing, but for wearables, it’s been a few years. I bought the first Huawei Watch and absolutely loved it. I recently parted ways with it and bought the Huawei Watch 2, mainly because I want to use Google Pay – a feature I’ve been promised is coming soon. Huawei’s wearables have been quietly making quite a dent into the wearable market, growing 147% market share in the past twelve months – making them the fourth-biggest wearable manufacturer in the world.
Wear OS Out – Lite OS In
Until now, that growth has come from Huawei’s focused on their Wear OS range, but now they’re changing things up a bit. Just like Samsung runs their wearables on a homemade OS called Tizen, Huawei is now launching a new wearable which runs their own Lite OS.
I will admit, after seeing Samsung’s Tizen I have some major reservations about Huawei’s move into a Lite OS-powered wearable. Will they quickly roll out support for popular apps like Google Maps and Spotify? That aside, the new Huawei Watch does have some mightily impressive stats.
For Fitness Fans
Huawei is focusing on the fitness wearable market. You know, people who enjoy the swim-tracking power of Garmin or the constant tracking power of a Nokia Steel HR. If you want your new Huawei Watch to track your sleep patterns and give you notifications, you’ll only need to charge it every 30-days. Think about it; a wearable that you only charge twelve times a year.
Now you can crank up the level of information your watch gives you and depending on how far you want to crank it, you’ll get between 22 hours and two weeks of battery life.
When it comes to looks, the new Huawei Watch continues Huawei’s style of actually looking like a watch. One strap has a lovely leather outer but rubber inner, meaning it’s the perfect dress or gym wearable.
But I digress…
Huawei Mate 20 Pro: First Impressions
The Huawei Mate 20 Pro might do the impossible; top the P20 Pro. Now, with that said I need to make an important point. They are not directly competing. Huawei is going for a dual flagship because different people want different phones. The P20 Pro will suit some, the Mate 20 Pro others. I’m going to take some time to decide which person I am and come back to you soon with a much more in-depth review and then, hopefully, I’ll be able to point you towards which phone you’ll prefer.
Where to Buy the Huawei Mate 20 Pro in Ireland
Huawei smartphones can sometimes be hard to come by, however, the Mate 20 Pro will be available from Irish networks. Better still, if you order early you can get yourself a Huawei Watch and a wireless charger for free. Not too shabby eh?
Register your interest in the Mate 20 Pro with Three Ireland.