The benchmarks aren’t in yet, but my early prediction is that the Mate 10 will topple at least the current Android flagships in raw power. I’m even predicting a triumph for the Kirin 970 over Apple’s A11 Bionic processor. But as you know, synthetic benchmarks don’t tell the full story. Distinguishing features do. Mate 10 has a long list of those.
1 Artificial Intelligence
From power management to automatic scene recognition on the camera, the Kirin 970 processor’s buit-in neural network processing (NPU) powers are the big call-out in this release. When the chipset was announced at IFA it was considered to be a solution without a problem. The problem, it seems, is that the world wasn’t aware of the problems that needed this tool. Case in point: the Mate 10 will learn your voice and then intelligently enhance the volume level when you’re talking on the phone so you can speak normally in all environments.
2 Making the best camera better
I’m an unabashed fan of the P10 Plus and Mate 9 cameras and Huawei have further improved the optics with a wider f/1.6 aperture. Then the company fed the Mate 10 over 100 million images to learn from which the algorithm then categorised that data into 12 scenes. While I’m not entirely comfortable with the phone automating the picture making process (yes, when you shoot with that Leica system you MAKE pictures), but it has its advantages when shooting from the hip. There’s still that expansive manual mode, so I’m happy. Also the thought of a Huawei-developed image signal processor with help from Leica sitting under that sharp Summilux-H glass excites me.
3 Better battery life
Mate 9 was a battery champ, which is easy to do when you’re packing 4 000 mAh of charge. Mate 10 promises 30 per cent improvement in battery life with the same size cell. Most of this is down to the added efficiencies of the 10 nanometre process, but some of it can be attributed to the AI power management. The Supercharger makes a return as well, with 30 minutes plugged in netts you 58 per cent charge, and it’s now TUV Rheinland-approved.
4 Current Android
Launching on Android 8.0 Oreo, the Mate 10 Pro will be one of the most up-to-date handsets in South Africa in November. Sitting alongside the Sony Xperia XZ1 range in that regard. You won’t notice it, though because the EMUI 8 skin is still an unknown quantity.
5 Yet to be discovered enhancements
My favourite thing about the Mate 9/P10 is that it can take pictures while I use the voice recorder. Not many people know about that feature. Then there’s the email app that can be set to only fetch over WiFi. There’s the QR code reader built into the universal search and the list goes on. Huawei have built a solid reputation on added enhancements to Android that surprise and delight users upon discovery. I can fault them for delivering a glass-backed device without wireless charging but that will detract from all the great engineering that went into this device. A full review will come sooner than you think and I can’t wait.