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HUAWEI Mate 20 Pro vs Mate 10 Pro: Either way, the US is afraid of both of them

How much of an upgrade is the HUAWEI Mate 20 Pro over the Mate 10 Pro? Let's find out!

Published onOctober 17, 2018

After months of leaks, a sketchy subway ride, and an early unboxing, Huawei finally announced the Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro. The two phones are the latest entries in the company’s flagship Mate series, with both of them pushing the photography envelope with three rear cameras.

This is not the first time we have seen three cameras on a HUAWEI smartphone — hello, P20 Pro — but this is good news for those that want to flex their smartphone photography skills a bit. Thanks to the telephoto, standard, and wide-angle lens, the Mate 20 Pro offers plenty of leeway for those with an eye for varied shots.

Thankfully, the rest of the package is up to snuff and can compete with the best Android smartphones that 2018 can offer. That being said, how well does the Mate 20 Pro stack up against the Mate 10 Pro? Are there enough upgrades to justify a potential purchase of the newer phone?

Don’t miss: HUAWEI Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro hands-on

Before we touch on the display, it is time to pour one out for the no-notch life. Whereas the Mate 10 Pro simply featured a tall 18:9 display with slim side bezels, the Mate 20 Pro features a very wide display cutout. It allows the Mate 20 Pro to feature an even larger and taller 6.39-inch 19.5:9 display, which packs a higher 3,120 x 1,440 resolution than the Mate 10 Pro’s 6-inch display with 2,160 x 1,080 resolution.

The notch also makes room for HUAWEI’s 3D depth-sensing camera array that features a dot projector, 24MP RGB sensor, TOF proximity sensor, flood illuminator, and IR camera. All of this is to say that the Mate 20 Pro’s facial recognition feature should work as well as it does on the iPhone XS and XS Max while being just as secure, but we will find out for sure in the full review.

HUAWEI Mate 20 ProHUAWEI Mate 10 Pro
HUAWEI Mate 20 Pro
6.39-inch OLED
3,120 x 1,440 resolution
545 ppi
19.5:9 aspect ratio
HUAWEI Mate 10 Pro
6.0-inch HUAWEI FullView OLED
2,160 x 1,080 resolution
402 ppi
18:9 aspect ratio
HUAWEI Mate 20 Pro
HUAWEI Kirin 980
Octa-core CPU (2x Cortex A76 @ 2.6GHz, 2x Cortex A76 @ 1.92GHz, 2x Cortex A55 @ 1.8GHz)
Dual NPU
HUAWEI Mate 10 Pro
HUAWEI Kirin 970
Octa-core CPU (4 Cortex A73 @ 2.36GHz + 4 Cortex A53 @ 1.8GHz)
i7 co-processor
HUAWEI Mate 20 Pro
HUAWEI Mate 10 Pro
Mali-G72 MP12
HUAWEI Mate 20 Pro
HUAWEI Mate 10 Pro
HUAWEI Mate 20 Pro
Up to 256GB extra through nanoSD card slot
HUAWEI Mate 10 Pro
No microSD card slot

The more significant changes are with the Mate 20’s processing package. Whereas the Mate 10 Pro features the Kirin 970, the Mate 20 Pro includes the Kirin 980. HUAWEI states that the Kirin 980 is the first mobile AI 7nm chipset and that it is 75 percent faster and 58 percent more power-efficient than the Kirin 970.

The Mate 20 Pro also features two neural processing units (NPU) versus the one NPU that the Mate 10 Pro has. It might not seem like much, but the extra NPU allows the Mate 20 Pro to split up logical and complex elements.

Even the GPU gets appreciable gains, with the Mate 20 Pro’s Mali-G76 GPU being 45 percent faster and 105 percent more power-efficient than the Mate 10 Pro’s Mali-G72 GPU.

Memory and storage options also differ between the two phones. Whereas you can get the Mate 10 Pro with either 4GB or 6GB of RAM, you can get the Mate 20 Pro with 6GB of RAM. In terms of storage, the Mate 10 Pro is available with either 64GB or 128GB. The Mate 20 Pro, meanwhile, features 128GB of storage. Neither phone sports microSD card slots, though the Mate 20 Pro features a Nano SD card slot for up to 256GB of additional storage.

The differences get starker when you turn to the rear cameras. The Mate 20 Pro is the first Mate smartphone to feature three cameras: a 40MP regular sensor, 8MP telephoto lens, and a 20MP wide-angle camera. The Mate 10 Pro gets by with two cameras, one being a 20MP monochrome sensor and the other a 12MP color sensor.

Notice how the Mate 20 Pro does not feature a monochrome sensor. HUAWEI told us that the Mate 10 Pro used its monochrome sensor to improve the RGB image. Thanks to improvements in sensor technology, that was no longer necessary with the Mate 20 Pro’s 40MP sensor. The Mate 20 Pro still features a black and white filter in the camera settings, though it will not be the same as having a dedicated monochrome sensor.

The Mate 20 Pro also makes more use of AI with Master AI 2.0, which now detects over 1,500 scenes due to the two NPUs. AI 4D predictive focus, meanwhile, uses object recognition and real-time motion detection to track a subject and keep it in focus. AI Cinema Mode features real-time video filters that can keep a person’s color with a grayscale background. Spotlight Reel picks a face in a video and creates a ten-second montage with only that person’s face.

HUAWEI Mate 20 ProHUAWEI Mate 10 Pro
HUAWEI Mate 20 Pro
Main: 40MP, f/1.8 aperture
Telephoto: 8MP, f/2.4 aperture, 3x optical zoom, OIS
Wide-angle: 20MP, f/2.2 aperture, 2.5cm focal length

24MP sensor, f/2.0 aperture, fixed focus
HUAWEI Mate 10 Pro
20MP monochrome + 12MP RGB sensors
f/1.6 in both sensors, OIS (RGB sensor only), BSI CMOS, dual-LED flash, PDAF + CAF + Laser + Depth auto-focus, 2x hybrid zoom, 4K video recording

8MP sensor, f/2.0 aperture, fixed focus
HUAWEI Mate 20 Pro
Audio over USB Type-C
Included headphone adapter
HUAWEI Mate 10 Pro
Audio over USB Type-C
Included headphone adapter
HUAWEI Mate 20 Pro
40W HUAWEI SuperCharge
15W wireless charging
Can be used as a wireless charger
HUAWEI Mate 10 Pro
HUAWEI SuperCharge
IP rating
HUAWEI Mate 20 Pro
HUAWEI Mate 10 Pro
HUAWEI Mate 20 Pro
Android 9 Pie
EMUI 9.0
HUAWEI Mate 10 Pro
Android 8.0 Oreo
EMUI 8.0
HUAWEI Mate 20 Pro
Midnight Blue, Pink Gold, Emerald Green, Twilight, Black
HUAWEI Mate 10 Pro
Midnight Blue, Titanium Gray, Mocha Brown, Pink Gold

The idea is that the Mate 20 Pro’s Kirin 980, combined with the two NPUs, enables more AI features than the Mate 10 Pro’s Kirin 970 and single NPU. The real question is whether people will go out of their way to use the new features.

Elsewhere, the Mate 10 Pro and Mate 20 Pro lack headphone jacks. Both phones feature stereo speakers and can also push out audio through the USB Type-C port, though the Mate 20 Pro replaces the Mate 10 Pro’s Bluetooth 4.2 protocol with the newer Bluetooth 5.0.

Even though the Mate 20 Pro’s 4,200mAh battery is slightly larger than the Mate 10 Pro’s 4,000mAh power pack, both phones should deliver great battery life. Both batteries also support HUAWEI’s SuperCharge charging standard, though the Mate 20 Pro’s SuperCharge is now 40W. HUAWEI claims the newer phone should go from zero to 70 percent in 30 minutes.

HUAWEI Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro
Huawei's Mate 20 series swaps out microSD in favor of new Nano Memory

The Mate 20 Pro also features 15W wireless charging, the first time any device features such fast wireless charging. HUAWEI claims the Mate 20 Pro’s wireless charging is 200 percent faster than the iPhone X’s and 100 percent faster than the iPhone X’s wired charging.

As a bonus, the Mate 20 Pro doubles as a wireless charger for other Qi-enabled devices. That means we live in a world where you can charge your Galaxy Note 9 or Pixel 3 with the Mate 20 Pro. Very weird, but the feature should come in handy if you want to charge smaller devices.

The Mate 20 Pro’s IP68 rating is a slight improvement over the Mate 10 Pro’s IP67 rating, but it only means the former can survive in half a meter of water deeper than the latter for up to 30 minutes. Finally, the Mate 20 Pro runs Android 9 Pie underneath EMUI 9.0 out of the box. The Mate 10 Pro still runs Android 8.0 Oreo underneath EMUI 8.0, though it is in line to receive the Pie update sometime soon.

So there you have it! The Mate 10 Pro still holds its own, even when compared to the new hotness that is the Mate 20 Pro. That being said, do you have a Mate 10 Pro and plan to upgrade to the Mate 20 Pro? Let us know in the comments and do not forget to check out our coverage on the Mate 20 Pro at the links below.

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