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Huawei Mate 10 Pro vs Mate 9: Worth an upgrade?

Huawei’s new Mate 10 Pro is coming to the UK before the end of 2017, offering a serious specs upgrade compared with last year’s Mate 9 handset. So should existing Mate owners splash the cash for this new model, or stick with the older smartphone? Here’s our in-depth comparison of these two mighty mobiles.

Big smartphones are now basically the norm, meaning Huawei’s massive Mate mobiles now seem like quite a conventional size, rather than gigantic slabs of clever tech. All the same, we still love them. After all, last year’s Mate 9 was one of the best blowers of the year, thanks to its incredible battery life, premium performance and smart software.

As you’d expect, Huawei has updated the Mate 9 for 2017, in the form of two new models: the Mate 10 and the Mate 10 Pro. However, only the Pro version is coming to the UK, and that’s fine by us; after all, you get an impressive OLED display as well as better specs compared with the standard model.

We’ve already compared the standard Mate 10 with the Pro model, so now we’re examining how the Mate 10 Pro stacks up against the older Mate 9. If you’re considering one or the other, or already own the Mate 9 and are pondering an upgrade, here’s all you need to know.

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Huawei Mate 10 Pro vs Mate 9: Specs

Phone Mate 9 Mate 10 Pro
Screen size 5.9-inches 6-inches
Screen type LCD OLED
Screen resolution 1920×1080 2160×1080
Fingerprint sensor? Yes (rear) Yes (rear)
Water resistant? No Yes
OS Android 7.1 + EMUI 5.1 Android 8.0 + EMUI 8
Processor Kirin 960 Kirin 970
Memory 4GB 6GB
Storage 64GB 128GB
microSD Yes No
Battery 4000mAh 4000mAh
Rear camera 20MP+12MP 20MP+12MP
Front camera 8MP 8MP

Huawei Mate 10 Pro vs Mate 9, what’s changed?

HUawei has made a lot of improvements and updates to last year’s Mate 9 handset for the fresh new Mate 10 Pro, which is set to hit the UK. Here’s all of the differences you can expect.

Huawei Mate 10 Pro vs Mate 9: Design

The Mate 9 and Mate 10 Pro both feature a massive frame, which of course means that one-handed use can be quite tricky. However, the Mate 10 Pro is actually no bigger than the Mate 9, despite boosting the screen size from 5.9 to 6-inches, as the screen bezels have slimmed down somewhat.

While last year’s model rocked a full metal jacket, the Mate 10 Pro’s aluminium frame has been coated with glass for a glossy finish. This is more prone to fingerprints and scuffs although so far seems pretty tough as well, and we like the updated design. Just be sure to keep a cleaning cloth handy. The fingerprint sensor is once again mounted on the rear plate, offering a quick and convenient way to unlock the handset.

However, one big change is the culling of the 3.5mm jack. If you want to listen to tunes on the Mate 10 Pro, you’ll need to use a USB adapter or upgrade to a wireless Bluetooth set of ‘phones.

One of the reasons Huawei ditched that port was to help make the Mate 10 Pro water resistant. This 2017 model is IP67 certified, so can survive a dunking in liquid – unlike last year’s Mate handset.

Huawei Mate 10 Pro vs Mate 9: Screen and media

Another area where the Mate series has been pumped right up is the display tech. Last year’s Mate 9 offered a solid 5.9-inch IPS screen for enjoying your media on the move, although the Full HD resolution wasn’t as sharp as many rivals and visuals weren’t particularly punchy.

Some of these issues have certainly been fixed with the Mate 10 Pro’s gorgeous 6-inch OLED display. The 2160×1080 resolution and 18:9 aspect ratio delivers roughly the same number of pixels per inch as the Mate 9, which places the Pro behind rivals such as the Galaxy S8 – although we were still impressed with our hands-on session. You can expect more impressive contrast levels, some seriously deep blacks and pleasingly vibrant colour reproduction when compared with last year’s Mate, while the new model also supports HDR video for true future-proofing.

If you’d rather download than stream your movies and tunes, the Mate 9’s 64GB of storage offers plenty of space for your files. On the Mate 10 Pro you get 128GB as standard, although this time around there’s no microSD memory card expansion – so you’re stuck with what you’ve got.

Huawei Mate 10 Pro vs Mate 9: Features and OS

In both cases, Google’s Android OS has been covered with Huawei’s own Emotion UI overlay, to provide a significantly different user experience. However, while the Mate 9 still sports EMUI 5, the new Mate 10 Pro rocks EMUI 8, which is confusingly the direct successor – there was never a sixth or seventh version of Huawei’s software.

EMUI 8 offers a number of upgrades, including some AI smarts to keep everything running as smoothly as possible. Check out our full EMUI 8 feature for all you need to know.

While the old Mate 9 doesn’t have this version of the software just yet, an update should be coming very soon to bring it bang up to date.

Huawei Mate 10 Pro vs Mate 9: Performance and battery

Last year’s Mate 9 still offers solid everyday performance thanks to its dependable Kirin 960 chipset, although this has now been succeeded by the fresh Kirin 970 platform, also of Huawei’s own design.

The 970 will first be found in the new Mate 10 models and offers a performance boost and a 20 percent increase in efficiency compared with last year’s Kirin 960 chipset. Likewise, the GPU is now 20 percent more powerful and 50 percent more efficient compared with the 960. Memory has also been boosted to 6GB from the 4GB found on the Mate 9, so you can expect an overall improvement and more future-proofing from this year’s handset.

Connectivity is also improved on the Pro, which offers Cat 18 connectivity – that gives a peak of 1.2 Gbps download speeds, thanks to the capable quad-antenna setup.

As for battery life, you once again have a massive 4000mAh cell packed into the Mate 10 Pro, just like last year’s model. We’re therefore hoping for the same two days of battery life per charge – stay tuned for our full review. The Mate 10 Pro also supports Huawei’s SuperCharge tech, which means you can get a day’s use from just 30 mins or so at the plug.

Huawei Mate 10 Pro vs Mate 9: Cameras

It’s not exactly a massive shock that the Mate 10 Pro once again serves up a dual lens Leica camera, although the hardware has been tweaked for this year’s handset.

The 12-megapixel RGB lens and 20-megapixel monochrome lens this time boast a wide f/1.6 aperture, so they can suck in plenty of light for those night time shots. OIS is once again in place on the RGB lens to keep your shots clear, while a new 4-in-1 hybrid focus combines laser, depth, contrast and phase detection focus to suit any conditions and deliver fast, sharp results no matter what.

As before you can shoot up to 4K resolution video and there’s a wealth of bonus modes, from Light Painting to the slow-motion and timelapse video features.

Stay tuned for our in-depth Mate 10 Pro camera review and you can head over to our full Mate 9 camera review to see samples and more.