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The Huawei Mate 10 Pro.
Photo taken with the Huawei Mate 10 Pro.
Photo taken with the Huawei Mate 10 Pro.

The new Huawei Mate 10 Pro is a photographer’s phone, writes Izwan Ismail

SMARTPHONES are synonymous with cameras today as more and more people are using them for taking photos than with cameras.

However, photographers used to taking photos with good cameras and lenses still find most smartphones are behind in producing photos of the same standard as cameras such as dSLRs and mirrorless ones.

This may be true of many smartphones, but a few do have the capability to produce pictures similar to the quality of the full-fledged cameras.

One of the capable few is the Mate 10 Pro from Huawei, a mobile phone maker that has been trying very hard to distinguish itself from others in the fierce and competitive smartphone market. When all smartphones, from the most affordable to the premiums, offer about the same features, the only major difference is in the quality of photos one can produce.

So banking on this and the popularity of phone photograhy, Huawei is clever to partner with world-renowned camera and lens maker Leica. And since the P9 model, Huawei has been known for its niche camera capabilities up to the current Mate 10 Pro.

Huawei has made a number of improvements in the Mate 10 Pro compared to previous models like the Mate 10.

Despite having a sightly bigger screen, the Mate 10 pro is slimmer by 0.3mm at 7.9mm compared to the Mate 10 and a bit longer too, and lighter by 8 grammes at 178g versus Mate 10’s 186g.

The slimmer design plus a bigger 6-inch OLED screen with 18:9 screen ratio make this phone a joy for watching high-definition content like Full HD movies, high-resolution photos as well as surfing the Internet.

The OLED screen produces clean, bright and crisp images and videos, making the phone an enjoyable multimedia device.

Although the Mate 10 Pro comes with a big 6-inch screen, it has a narrow body at just 74.5mm, making it possible to be controlled with just one hand.

The curved sides and rounded corners make this phone a joy to hold but the shiny, reflective back can sometimes be slippery. It’s advisable for users to put on a casing just to protect it from slipping from the hand.

Due to the thinner size of the phone, normal slots like the headphone jack and microSD card slot have been ditched.

However, the phone comes with a built in 128GB internal storage, which I feel should be higher like 256GB at least.

It is also packed with sensors, including fingerprint, gyroscope, compass, ambient light, proximity, hall, barometer, infrared remote control, up to accelerometer.

The phone is powered by Kirin 970 and is equipped with an AI-enhanced computing architecture with a dedicated neural network processing unit (NPU), giving it a smooth overall experience. It comes with the all-new Android 8.0.

Since collaborating with Leica for its optics, Huawei has always been great with its cameras.

And like the Mate 10, the Pro edition carries the same camera capabilities, sporting Leica dual camera with SUMMILUX-H lenses, with both featuring an aperture of f/1.6 and intelligent photography, including AI-powered real-time scene and object recognition, and AI-powered bokeh effect.

On the front is an 8MP camera for selfie purposes.

The f/1.6 aperture should give a nice bokeh for photos like portrait or any single subject shot. Huawei’s move to embrace AI in its camera operations makes photography easier. Its photography engine comes with AI-powered real time scene and object recognition. The AI-powered bokeh effect can recognise the scene the subject is in and will use the correct mode. For example, if I point the phone camera at a flower at a close range, the AI will choose the macro mode.

The phone has two sensors — 20MP monochrome and 12MP RGB. It takes two pictures simultaneously and combines that result in high detail and rich in colour photos.

I’ve used the Mate 10 Pro to take all sorts of photos and even took it to Turkey during my recent holiday. The phone and its camera functions flawlessly and produces images as good as the ones taken with a dSLR and mirrorless cameras.

In fact, sometimes I find it easier to shoot with the phone as it’s small and not obtrusive, especially when I want to shoot subjects like people and on human interest.

The camera functions also perform really well under low-light situations, where the combination of large aperture lens and optical stabilisation make it possible to take some hand-held.

If you love taking black and white photos than this is the smartphone for you too. Leica is known for producing fantastic black and white photo and this has been passed down to the Mate series phones. The smartphone camera is able to retain the tones in black and white, which are usually produced by high-end cameras.

Besides that, for a camera with a six-inch screen, its battery life is impressive. The 4000 mAh battery with AI-powered battery management under its hood is more than enough to power you through music and video playback, browsing and taking pictures all day long.

Its stand-by mode is more than what you expect. I let it on standby for more than a week and the battery remains more than half.

If you’re looking for a phone that has a good camera capability that makes you feel okay leaving your camera at home, this is the one you should look at and give a try.

With its big screen and slim body, the Huawei Mate 10 Pro is a worthy device to consider. It also has an IP67 rating which means it is resistant to water splashes and dust.

The phone is priced at RM3,099.

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