Before Samsung debuts the Galaxy S9, Huawei is set to bring its Mate 10 Pro Stateside. The device is a $799 flagship with an impressive design, expansive screen, and exciting dual-camera setup with Leica branding. In lieu of a review, we thought we’d focus on whether the camera can compete with devices like the Pixel 2 and iPhone X.
A key aspect of the Mate 10 Pro’s camera is its emphasis on artificial intelligence. Huawei says it worked with Leica to co-engineer an all-new dual-camera setup, which the company suggests can compete with the best out there. What users get are features like an AI-powered bokeh effect and digital zoom, and real-time scene and object recognition features that work fantastically well.
The dual-camera features a set of Summilux-H lenses with a 12-megapixel RGB sensor and 20-megapixel monochrome sensor, optical image stabilization, and an aperture of f/1.6 for both lenses. The f/1.6 aperture is a first in a dual-camera system, designed to offer great depth of field and clarity in low light situations.
Huawei says its autofocus system features four different technologies, including laser, phase detection, depth, and contrast focusing. The company’s AI comes into play with motion detection, choosing the fastest focusing method depending on the situation.
The device’s smarts also apply to real-time scene and object recognition. According to Huawei, the Mate 10 Pro uses intelligent algorithms that will automatically adjust settings such as color, contrast, brightness, and more. In my time using it, the feature adjusts without missing a beat. It’s been quite impressive..
For example, when shooting pictures of my dog, the camera knew I was taking picture of a dog; same goes for my cat. And when snapping shots of a flower, it knew exactly what I was pointing the camera at. This kind of seamless intelligence is great because it makes snapping photos incredibly easy for the average user.
There are more professional settings if that’s your thing. Like many other Android flagships, the Mate 10 Pro allows users to control ISO, white balance, shutter speed, and more. Additionally, there are about a dozen different shooting modes, such as time-lapse, monochrome, and slow-mo. The amount of features is almost overwhelming.
The most high-profile camera feature is probably its portrait features, which attempts to mimic bokeh seen from cameras with larger sensors. You can see some of the results below. No flagship camera has completely nailed the depth of field effect created by dedicated cameras, and the Mate 10 Pro is no different.
The Mate 10 Pro actually features two ways to achieve shallow depth of field. You can use wide aperture, which simulates bokeh by allowing users to adjust the aperture value (between f/0.95 and f/16), and portrait mode, which is similar to wide aperture, just with a beautification feature.
Against flagships from Samsung, Google, and Apple, the Mate 10 Pro can’t quite hang with the competition, though it does return some solid results. In bright daylight, the Mate 10 Pro produces excellent images that are evenly exposed and feature true-to-life colors. In low light, plenty of detail is retained thanks to excellent noise reduction.
The camera is also quick to operate, which is always appreciated. Snap a picture and the entire process is nearly instantaneous, which is great when you need to take multiple shots in quick succession. Autofocus is also fast and reliable thanks to the camera’s 4-in-1 focusing system.
For a more in-depth look at the images produced by the Mate 10 Pro, check out the gallery above.