Android Authority named the Huawei Mate 10 Pro its best smartphone of 2017, and for good reason. It is a very powerful handset, with lots of high-end features in both its hardware and software. Right now you can get it for about $650 unlocked, well below its normal $800 price tag.
The recently launched Samsung Galaxy S9 also has top-of-the-line features, including the fastest processor you can buy, among others, but its starting price is a bit more, around $720 unlocked.
Let’s look at both phones and see which one really gives more for the money.
The Huawei Mate 10 Pro has few bezels around its front 6-inch display, with only thin ones at its top and bottom, and a curved display to makes holding this big phone easier. The rear is made of glass, and the phone’s fingerprint sensor can be found below the Mate 10 Pro’s dual-camera setup.
The Samsung Galaxy S9 has a somewhat smaller 5.8-inch display, with only small bezels on the top and bottom. It includes the company’s now standard curved glass panels on the front and back, with an aluminum frame in between. The rear camera sensor and fingerprint sensor beneath it are on the back — a welcome switch from the older Galaxy S8. Both phones also have headphone jacks, which seem to be falling out of favor among other flagship phones.
As we mentioned earlier, the Huawei Mate 10 Pro has a large 6-inch OLED display, with a 2,160 x 1,080 resolution and an 18:9 aspect ratio. It’s one of the biggest and best smartphone displays on the market.
The Galaxy S9 has a smaller display, at 5.8 inches, but it uses the newer Super AMOLED technology for its panel. That means you can expect a much better experience, with deeper blacks and more vibrant colors. Indeed, the display on the S9 can go up to 15 percent brighter than the year old Galaxy S8. The S9 also has a larger resolution of 2,960 x 1,440 compared to the Mate 10 Pro and an 18.5:9 aspect ratio.
The Mate 10 Pro uses Huawei’s latest and most powerful in-house processor, the Kirin 970, which is also found on the newer Honor View10 phone. This chipset also has Huawei’s Neural Processing Unit (NPU), which will offer interesting AI-based features like better memory management for apps and improvements for images taken with the phone’s dual camera, among other things. The Mate 10 Pro comes with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of onboard storage.
The Samsung Galaxy S9 uses the newest and fastest processor from Qualcomm (in the U.S.), the Snapdragon 845. In our own tests, we found the chip runs much faster than the Huawei Mate 10. However, the Galaxy S9 only has 4GB of RAM and 64GB of onboard storage, well below the specs of the Mate 10 Pro. The Snapdragon 845 also lacks an equivalent to the Kirin 970’s NPU.
While the Galaxy S9’s main chip may beat the one on the Mate 10 Pro in pure speed, having less memory and storage hurts the S9. If you want more RAM and onboard storage, and can deal with a somewhat slower performance, the Mate 10 Pro might be worth looking into.
The Galaxy S9 has some nice improvements in its hardware features compared to older Galaxy S8 like dual speakers, a first for a Samsung’s flagship, and Dolby Atmos support. The Galaxy S9 also supports wireless charging via Qi-based pads, unlike the Mate 10 Pro.
The Mate 10 Pro also lacks the 3.5 mm headphone jack and microSD card slot for adding additional storage available in the Galaxy S9. However, the Mate 10 Pro supports dual-SIM slots, which is helpful for people who travel a lot, or do business and personal work on the same phone
The Galaxy S9 sports a 3,000mAh battery, but the Mate 10 Pro comes with a much larger 4,000mAh battery. That feature, combined with Huawei’s SuperCharge technology, allows it to go up from zero to 50 percent of its capacity with just 30 minutes, and up to 90 percent in about an hour. Both the Galaxy S9 and Mate 10 Pro are IP67 rated for water and dust resistance.
The Samsung Galaxy S9 has gone all out for its camera hardware and software, making a number of improvements over the Galaxy S8. Its single 12MP camera in the back has a mechanical iris which can switch between two apertures. This dual aperture feature lets it switch between a closed setting of f/2.4 and an open setting of f/1.5, allowing for better low light photography.
Fans of slow-motion videos can use the S9’s rear camera to capture clips at 960fps at 720p, or at 240fps at 1080p. It also supports Multi-Frame Processing, which allows the camera to take 12 frames, all of which can be rendered and used to create the best possible final photo. The Galaxy S9 also has an 8MP front-facing sensor.
The Huawei Mate 10 Pro has a dual camera setup in the back, with a 12MP RGB main sensor and a 20MP monochrome secondary sensor, both of which were made in partnership with Leica. This combo allows owners of the Mate 10 Pro to take very sharp images with the dual cameras. The 12MP sensor also supports OIS. The cameras can use the phone’s NPU chip to automatically select the best camera setting from 13 different scenes and its AI Motion Detection features helps take sharp images of subjects in motion. It also has a 8MP front-facing camera.
The Huawei Mate 10 Pro comes with Android 8.0 Oreo out of the box, along with the company’s latest EMUI 8.0 skin. The NPU on board helps with some of the phone’s features, like its AI-powered translation for photos, which can handle text in 50 different languages. It also has a Projection Mode, which lets you connect the phone to any monitor for use as a PC, using a USB Type-C-to-HDMI cable, with support for Display Port 1.2, to the Mate 10 Pro. It’s compatible with Bluetooth keyboards and mice.
Of course, the software isn’t for everyone. It feels a lot like iOS and is about as far from stock Android as you can get.
The Samsung Galaxy S9 also uses Android 8.0 Oreo out of the box, along with the Samsung Experience launcher released on last year’s Galaxy S8. It comes loaded with a number of Samsung’s in-house apps, which sometimes compete with Google’s own apps. The Galaxy S9 also comes with Samsung’s own virtual assistant, Bixby, but it’s still not as good as Google Assistant. This time it offers a few interesting features, like the ability to translate text from images via Bixby Vision.
The biggest software addition for the S9 is AR Emoji, which lets users create their own animated avatars via the phone’s facial recognition technology. It’s not perfect, but it’s fun to create a cartoon version of yourself (or something completely different) and have this avatar speak for you. You can take pictures with your AR Emoji or even record video of the avatar’s face moving along with your own.
The Huawei Mate 10 Pro packs in a ton of high-end hardware and software features. It has a lot more RAM and storage than the Samsung Galaxy S9, along with a larger screen and battery, and it includes some nice features, some of which get a boost from its NPU. However, the Galaxy S9 has a number of features not available on the Huawei Mate 10 Pro, including a headphone jack, a microSD card slot, wireless charging a faster processor, and yes, AR Emoji.
At the moment, it looks like the Mate 10 Pro and the Galaxy S9, while not exactly equal, each have their share of advantages and disadvantages. It’s really up to the buyer to figure out which features are important to them. If you want more memory, storage, display and battery life, the Mate 10 Pro is for you. If you want to add more storage, have a faster overall performance, or just want to use animated emoji, the Galaxy S9 might be for you.