Huawei has been at the forefront of mobile innovation in recent years, with several new features and industry firsts coming from the company. But the company’s current flagship phone, the Mate40, has a lot of competition this year in the form of the Samsung Galaxy S10 and iPhone XS. Can Huawei keep up? There are some definite improvements over the Mate40, so we take a look at what it does better than its competitors and how it stacks up against other top phones on the market today.
The Huawei Mate40 will have a massive 6.4-inch display but it’s still smaller than most smartphones and easier to hold. The display has a 90Hz refresh rate which makes it smooth for gaming and watching video, but regular day-to-day tasks don’t look any different on an increased refresh rate display (where you can see things move quicker). It also has an in-display fingerprint sensor that looks cool when unlocking your phone, but it’s too slow to be practical. There are a few other neat software tricks like full-view displays with rounded corners, 3D audio recording, and reverse wireless charging with compatible phones like Google’s Pixel 3 series, but they’re more of a bonus than anything groundbreaking.
The Mate40 runs Android 9 Pie, and it does a great job of showing off what’s new with Google’s latest release. The gesture navigation Google introduced in Pie works just as well on an expansive phone screen as it does on a tiny phone screen, for example. And Google Duplex makes its debut here—although you won’t be able to actually use it over a cellular connection at launch. This feature alone is worth upgrading from an older Pixel device or from an iPhone XS Max.
Display & Design
The Mate40 is one of 2019’s largest, sleekest, and most powerful phones. Its rear-facing cameras are its biggest wow factor: It features a triple-lens system that includes a standard wide lens, a zoom lens, and an ultra-wide angle lens with f/2.4 aperture that’s perfect for landscape shots. And unlike other smartphones on our list (the Galaxy S10 Plus and iPhone XS Max) you can use all three at once – no multi-camera mode here! It also has 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage space. Those specs are plenty for smooth app switching and video streaming in multiple apps at once.
Audio & Connectivity
The Mate40’s speakers may not be quite as crisp as those on Apple’s iPhone XS, but they come close and their four-speaker array makes for a roomier listening experience. The headphones that ship with it, however, don’t live up to its capabilities. When I tested them, I didn’t like how they felt in my ears or that they blocked out ambient noise when I wore them while biking in San Francisco traffic.
AI Features & Camera
The Mate40’s software suite also deserves some attention. The phone ships with Android 9 Pie and EMUI 9.1, Huawei’s custom skin. Just like Apple with iOS and Google with Android, EMUI has improved over time in ways that are subtle but noticeable: some of my favorite features include better one-handed controls for large phones, more reliable gesture typing support, a smart text selection tool and a night mode for low-light environments. Although its design won’t appeal to everyone—and I often prefer clean Android or stock-like skins—EMUI has grown on me considerably over time.
While only time will tell if Huawei’s Mate40 lives up to its early promise, we were excited with what we saw. This phone has a number of features that could make it a viable alternative for most people who don’t have an iPhone. With an amazing camera, great design and long-lasting battery life, there’s no reason why you wouldn’t want one in your pocket. Whether or not it will win over enough consumers remains to be seen but Huawei is definitely putting forth a valiant effort towards that goal with its Mate40 lineup. We can say without a doubt that these are among some of the best phones you can get right now. You owe it to yourself as well as your bank account by getting one!
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