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Huawei launches the Mate 10 and 10 Pro, phones that get smarter with time

Today, Huawei held an event in Munich where the company announced its newest flagship handsets, the Mate 10 and the Mate 10 Pro, along with a Porsche Design flavor of the Pro. They're the first phones to use the firm's in-house Kirin 970 chipset, which includes a Neural Processing Unit (NPU); Huawei says that this is no longer a smartphone, as this is an intelligent machine.

"As we enter the age of intelligence, AI is no longer a virtual concept but something that intertwines with our daily life. AI can enhance user experience, provide valuable services and improve product performance," said Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei Consumer Business Group. "The Huawei Mate 10 Series introduces the first mobile AI-specific Neural Network Processing Unit, launching a new era of intelligent smartphones."

They're also the first phones to include the Mali-G72 MP12 GPU, and the 10nm CPU includes four 2.36GHz ARM Cortex-A73 cores and four 1.8GHz ARM Cortex-A53 cores. Huawei says that it's a 20% increase in performance from the Kirin 960.

The big focus with the handsets is artificial intelligence, and Huawei says that they will get smarter with time. As usual, the company talked about the camera - surely one of the more important parts of most users' smartphone experiences - and the idea is that the phones can actually see what it's taking a picture of, and know what it is.

Huawei Mate 10 Pro

The Mate 10 camera can identify different scenes and be able to tell what settings it should use. Here's a list of scenes that it can identify, and Huawei says that this should expand with time:

  • Text

  • Food

  • Stage (if you’re watching a show)

  • Outdoor landscape

  • Snow

  • Water

  • Cat

  • Low-light

  • Sunset

  • Plant

  • Portrait

  • Flower

  • Dog

One thing that I asked about is if this feature can be turned off, or if you could change the scene, like if you were taking a picture of your dog and the phone thought it was a cat. The answer was a hard no on both counts. I was shown some samples that were taken during the representatives' trip to New York, and the photos were quite remarkable given the tricky lighting situations that they were taken in. The best example is probably Times Square at night, where the image showed what was on the lit up screens but still showed the detail in darker areas.

Microsoft has also built a custom version of its Translator app that will be pre-loaded onto the device. It's meant to make use of the NPU.

And of course, EMUI 8 (yes, they skipped EMUI 6 and 7) is focused around all of the AI features, and this should even help third-party apps. Of course, older devices that get upgraded to EMUI 8 will only receive a subset of features.

Huawei Mate 10

There's also a new feature that allows you to use the phones like you would a desktop PC, similar to Samsung's DeX and Microsoft's Continuum. It's actually very similar to DeX, in that you can use pretty much any USB Type-C dock or adapter to set it up, and most Android apps already work.

The specs are similar to what leaked a week ago, although they're not exactly the same. Both models have a 4,000mAh battery, but the Mate 10 has a 5.9-inch 1440p 16:9 LCD, while the Pro has a 6-inch 1080p 18:9 OLED display. As you can see from the images above, the Pro's fingerprint reader is on the back, but on the standard model, you'll find it on the front.

They all contain the same dual-lens camera. The 12MP RGB sensor has an f/1.6 aperture, optical image stabilization, and 4-in-1 hybrid focus, and there's a 20MP monochrome sensor. The front camera is 8MP, with an f/2 aperture.

The Mate 10 comes in a configuration with 4GB RAM and 64GB of storage, which can be expanded by up to 256GB. There's no expandable storage on the Mate 10 Pro, which includes either 4GB RAM and 64GB of storage, or 6GB RAM and 128GB storage. And then there's the Porsche Design Mate 10 Pro, which includes 6GB RAM and 256GB storage.

Finally, the Mate 10 has a 3.5mm headphone jack, although the Mate 10 Pro does not. It does, however, come with USB Type-C headphones, and a 3.5mm adapter.

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