Huawei Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro go big on cameras and AI

Huawei just announced the Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro smartphones this morning. That's right—like other premium phone vendors, Huawei is doing the "dual flagships" thing. Although the Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro are similar in many ways, the "Pro" model isn't strictly a clear upgrade from the standard model. Both phones have Kirin 970 SoCs, 4,000 mAh batteries, dual rear cameras, and "almost borderless" screens. The Kirin SoC inside the handsets is accompanied by a dedicated AI processor.

The four colors of the Mate 10.

The screens are different on either model, though. The regular Mate 10 has a 5.9" LCD with 2560×1440 resolution and a RGBW-LED backlight that can shine at up to 730 cd/m². That brightness level should help with daytime reading. Meanwhile, the Mate 10 Pro has a 6" 2160×1080 AMOLED with a 70,000:1 contrast ratio and that Huawei says can reproduce 112% of the NTSC color space. The company says the displays on both handsets can play back HDR10 video, too.

This is the Tech Report, so it wouldn't be right if we didn't talk up the SoC inside these phones. Huawei actually announced the Kirin 970 SoC at IFA last month. The chip packs eight CPU cores in a big.LITTLE configuration, with four Cortex-A73s doing the heavy lifting and four Cortex-A53s keeping the pace otherwise. Graphics horsepower comes by way of a 12-core ARM Mali-G72 GPU. Neither of those are the most interesting bit about the Kirin 970, though. The real juicy news is about the phone's integrated AI processor.

Huawei Mate 10 (top) and Mate 10 Pro (bottom)

The Kirin 970's dedicated AI processor is called the Neural-Network Processing Unit, apparently abbreviated "NPU." Anandtech got some details on the processor at IFA last month. The silicon is seemingly similar in design to the tensor cores in Nvidia's Volta GPUs, although it can only be used for AI inferencing (task execution, as opposed to training). Huawei says the NPU can crunch a very impressive 1.92 TFLOPs of FP16 compute.

Of course, all that power is worthless without software to make use of it. Like other AI-compute-enabled phones, the Mate 10s will primarily use their accelerators for improved photography, at least at launch. Huawei says the dual-sensor rear camera was designed in collaboration with Leica, and that it has the world's largest aperture for a smartphone camera, at f/1.6. The system combines a 20-MP monochrome sensor with a 12-MP RGB sensor, and uses optical image stabilization along with AI software that can intelligently adjust photo parameters based on the type of subject being captured.

Like the Galaxy S8 before it, the Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro can be used like a conventional PC. Unlike the S8, though, the new Huawei phones don't require a specific dock to enable "PC mode." Simply hook up a monitor with support for DisplayPort Alternate Mode to the phones' USB Type-C port, pair your Bluetooth peripherals, and away you go. You can use both displays simultaneously, and phone-specific tasks like calls and texts stay on the phone. This is the feature I find most exciting about the new device as it could really obsolete a lot of other types of portable computers.

The phone has a few other features to be excited about. The Mate 10 retains its headphone jack, although the Mate 10 Pro does away with it. The bigger handset does include a headphone adapter in the box, though. Both phones have dual-SIM support, and fully support LTE on both cards simultaneously. The phones differ in their storage and RAM allotments, too: the Mate 10 Pro comes with 128 GB of storage and 6 GB of LPDDR4 memory, while the regular Mate 10 "only" gets 64 GB of storage and 4 GB of RAM.

The four colors of the Mate 10 Pro.

There's also a Porsche Design version of the Mate 10 coming out, similar to that of the Mate 9. Dr. Jan Becker of Porsche Design said on stage this morning that the logo-bedecked version of the Mate 9 was completely sold out. The Porsche Design take on the Mate 10 will be functionally similar to the Mate 10 Pro, but will have 256 GB of storage and a customized interface.

Although recent Huawei handsets are available unlocked in the US, there's yet no word if a stateside carrier will pick up the Mate 10s, though we hope one of the big four will offer them. Huawei says that the Mate 10 will run buyers €699 (roughly $688 without VAT) when it arrives in Mocha Brown, Black, Champagne Gold, and Pink Gold later this month. Its bigger sibling the Mate 10 Pro will run €799 (about $787) in Midnight Blue, Titanium Gray, Mocha Brown, and Pink Gold. If you're after that Porsche Design version, it'll run you a bit more at €1349 (or $1328).

Comments closed
    • ronch
    • 2 years ago

    If you’re after that Porsche Design version, it’ll run you a bit more at €1349 (or 30,170,168 [b<]Dongs[/b<]). FTFY.

    • ronch
    • 2 years ago

    Everyone sure wants to sell phones for more than a grand. I wonder how much Porsche actually makes from each Porsche Design phone sold.

    • Mr Bill
    • 2 years ago

    A Momentary Lapse of Reason

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 2 years ago

    [url<]http://www.azquotes.com/picture-quotes/quote-my-cpu-is-a-neural-net-processor-a-learning-computer-arnold-schwarzenegger-88-46-63.jpg[/url<] This is all I could think of while reading this article.

    • Unknown-Error
    • 2 years ago

    Neural-Network Processing Unit = NPU? Shouldn’t it be NNPU. During my academic years we never called an “artificial neural network ” an “AN”, we called it an “ANN”. ** SHRUG **

    So I guess the days of dreadful neural network hand coding from scratch is over? I still remember the pain I had to go through to make a simple video cam detect my eye movement (was using c++). Anything to do with audio was the other headache. Dentist doing my nerve filling without anesthesia felt better than doing Image/Video, Audio related projects. Haven’t touched any AI sh!+ in almost 20 years. So I guess life must be much easier now.

      • frenchy2k1
      • 2 years ago

      It is.
      In the pat few years, nvidia has worked with neural network academics to implement acceleration of the operation on their GPUs.
      What would have taken years of training a decade ago takes seconds now.
      This has pushed the field forward tremendously, allowing fast development.
      One of the collateral has been great libraries and middle-wares.

      So, if you liked the principles, but hated the implementation, now is a great time to jump back.
      Moreover, Deep Neural Network skills are in high demands 😉

        • Unknown-Error
        • 2 years ago

        [quote<] So, if you liked the principles, but hated the implementation, now is a great time to jump back. Moreover, Deep Neural Network skills are in high demands 😉 [/quote<] To be honest even though the implementations were a b!+ch, I really loved the research work. Things like Mathlab and Mathematica made life a bit easier in some situations but only my institute had access to the software and the computing power needed. Had to study multiple areas from artificial neural networks to metaheuristics like Genetic Algorithms. This was off-course along time ago and now I am completely out of touch. I think these days the 90's hype around metaheuristics is long gone?

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 2 years ago

    I have their nexus phone. Its pretty decent even if the battery’s decline in performance pretty dramatically over their lifetime.

    • Chrispy_
    • 2 years ago

    Porsche Design in technology products is basically a “rich stupid person” trap isn’t it.

    In this case it’s an €550 for different screen print on the inside of the front and rear glass, and a UI theme applied, which you can get for free off the interwebs anyway.

      • tsk
      • 2 years ago

      Pretty much and supposedly superior QA.

      • frenchy2k1
      • 2 years ago

      It also doubles the storage to 256GB, but pretty much…

    • JosiahBradley
    • 2 years ago

    The “upgraded” pro gets you less resolution and somehow not infinite contrast on OLED? What?

      • auxy
      • 2 years ago

      Infinite contrast on OLEDs is a meme. (´・ω・`)

    • chuckula
    • 2 years ago

    I wonder how long (and if) we’ll see some protocol standardization for all these AI accelerators that are starting to creep into smartphones. If they don’t provide a relatively transparent way for regular programs to access the AI functions then the hardware is going to be more of a gimmick than a really useful addition.

      • thanatos355
      • 2 years ago

      Just as long as there isn’t a dedicated AI button.

      • tsk
      • 2 years ago

      Android already has a neural network API.

    • Usacomp2k3
    • 2 years ago

    “both handsets can play back HDR10 video”. Boo. That means it is not displaying it natively. I’m sure both cant playback 4320p video as well, by downscaling it to native res.
    If you can’t meet the spec 100%, then don’t mention it at all.

      • tipoo
      • 2 years ago

      Seems like the mobile thing to do at the moment. The iPad Pro display goes up to 600 nits, 1400:1 contrast ratio, when the spec is 1000nits for LCD (less for OLED due to the black level), and they advertise that as HDR10.

      TV makers were already flubbing it, mobile is just the next in line.

    • Chrispy_
    • 2 years ago

    As an owner of a “display to the very edge” smartphone, I lament this trend in modern phones.

    It’s infuriatingly stupid to rely on software prediction for the touchscreen when it’s practically impossible to hold the phone without contacting the edge of the screen.

    Like with all gesture prediction (notably bad laptop touchpads) it only works 80% of the time, which means 20% of the time it’s screwing up.

    I’d be unhappy if it screwed up 1% of the time, but the only way to use these phones with touchscreens that literally wrap into the edges where you hold the phone is to buy a chunky bumper case which totally defeats the purpose of minimising the bezel in the first place.

    BEZELS ARE IMPORTANT.

      • sreams
      • 2 years ago

      Maybe add your own bezels via an appropriately thick case?

        • Chrispy_
        • 2 years ago

        Done. Now I have a bulky plastic phone instead of an attractive glass phone – but without the extra battery capacity that i’d have in an [i<]actually[/i<] bulky phone.

      • Ethyriel
      • 2 years ago

      Are you talking vertical or horizontal? That bottom vertical bezel looks just about perfect for my tastes, but I agree that it needs a little more horizontal bezel. It won’t be as bad as the Samsung devices, but still pretty difficult to handle without touches registering.

      People are complaining about the horizontal bezels on the Pixel 2 XL being too big, but Google seems to get it in this case.

        • Chrispy_
        • 2 years ago

        Horizontal, since the problem is most prevalent when people hold the phone in portrait mode with one hand. I don’t know about you but I hold a phone one handed between (primarily) the tips of my middle+ring fingers and the soft flesh of the palm at the base of the thumb.

        It’s definitely possible to avoid touching ‘edgeless’ phone screens with your fingertips, but the palm muscle at the base of the thumb is all but guaranteed to make contact with the screen when you reach over the with your thumb in one-handed operation.

        Honestly, complaining about bezels is probably just people who don’t have ‘edgeless’ phone buying into the marketing BS as they look at which phone to get next. Once you’ve used one you’ll immediately stop caring about how good it looks and wish that you could have your old bezels back 😉

          • Ethyriel
          • 2 years ago

          I’m pretty vocal about large bezels since I like to use my phone one handed, but I don’t want fully bezel-less by any means. I think the G6 bottom bezel is just about perfect, and I definitely want around 1.5-2.5mm on the sides. I also don’t like this 2:1 BS, it doesn’t solve the issue I have with large bezels to begin with.

          I hold smaller phones like my old Nexus 5, Moto X 2013, and Nexus 5x pretty much like you. But larger phones make me shift the bottom corner towards the pinky side of my palm. It’s more difficult to securely shift in my hand, so I pretty much permanently hold it to maximize my reach to the top corner.

          Hopefully small bezels make their way into more smaller phones next year.

      • Voldenuit
      • 2 years ago

      I have a phone with ‘normal’ bezels, but have not had any problems with the various bezel-less phones my friends have (S8, V30).

      It might be the way I hold the phones, I tend to ‘cradle’ them instead of ‘grip’ them, so I have more thumb free-play.

        • Chrispy_
        • 2 years ago

        The S8 is supposedly better in this regard. I’ll assume it’s improved prediction over the S7 Edge, but it’s still relying on prediction (for me at least).

        Even ignoring the issue I have with accidental touch registering when I hold it, the next peeve is linked to curved display edges. Even in the product shots for the article, you can see that the curved edges pick up reflections so that, unless you are watching in a dark room, up to 10% of your image is obscured by reflection of the overhead light in landscape mode (movies and games) and these are the exact two types of full-screen content where reflections are most annoying 🙁

          • Voldenuit
          • 2 years ago

          Yeah, I liked the curved edge on the Samsung Edge because it served a specific purpose (secondary display for notifications and widgets), but don’t see the point of curved screens on modern phones because they’re just there for purely (questionably) aesthetic reasons.

      • Vigil80
      • 2 years ago

      Shh, maybe we can trick manufacturers into making phones with bezels and headphone jacks their “value” models and we can save some cash for a few years.

      • adisor19
      • 2 years ago

      That’s cause you haven’t used a thin bezel iPad yet. It’s flawless. I expect the iPhone X to be the same.

      Adi

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