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Huawei Mate 10 Pro vs Samsung Galaxy Note 8: Phablet face-off

The mighty Mate 10 Pro has just been launched by Huawei, offering a gorgeous HDR-ready screen, beefy performance, long battery life and a smart dual lens Leica camera. But is the Pro strong enough to take on Samsung’s powerful Galaxy Note 8 smartphone, packing the brilliant S Pen stylus?

If you’re feeling a bit minted and have a hankering for a massive mobile, you’re pretty much spoilt for choice these days.

Two of the best mega-sized premium smartphones right now are the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 and the freshly-launched Huawei Note 10 Pro, both of which pack plenty of top-end features, dual lens camera tech and enough grunt to handle anything you throw at them.

So whether you’re a media lover after a portable entertainment machine or a hard-working professional in need of a device to stay productive, which of these handsets is best for you? Here’s our in-depth Note 8 vs Mate 10 Pro comparison to help you decide.

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What are the best Huawei phones right now?

Huawei Mate 10 Pro vs Mate 10, what’s different in the Pro model?

Huawei Mate 10 Pro vs Mate 9, should I upgrade?

Huawei Mate 10 Pro vs Note 8, is Samsung’s phone better?

Huawei Mate 10 Pro vs Note 8: Specs

Phone Note8 Mate 10 Pro
Screen size 6.3-inches 6-inches
Screen type Super AMOLED OLED
Screen resolution 2880×1440 2160×1080
Fingerprint sensor? Yes (rear) Yes (rear)
Water resistant? Yes Yes
OS Android 8.0 + TouchWiz Android 8.0 + EMUI 8
Processor Snapdragon 835/Exynos 8995 Kirin 970
Memory 6GB 6GB
Storage 64GB 128GB
microSD Yes No
Battery 3300mAh 4000mAh
Rear camera 12MP+12MP 20MP+12MP
Front camera 8MP 8MP

Huawei Mate 10 Pro vs Note 8: What’s the difference?

So what is the difference between the Mate 10 Pro and the Note 8? Here’s our video comparison and read on for our full feature.

Huawei Mate 10 Pro vs Note 8: Design

Although the Note 8 is one hefty mother (coming close to 200g in weight), that 6.3-inch display wraps neatly around the edges of the handset and stretches near top-to-bottom too. The result is a smartphone that’s surprisingly comfortable to grip, although one-handed use is still quite tricky.

The Mate 10 Pro offers a slightly smaller 6-inch screen, yet the panel doesn’t curve around the sides so you’re left with a similar size of chassis. Once again one-handed operation isn’t easy, although both of these phones offer some software measures to get around that.

In both cases you get a glass rear, which neatly covers the aluminium frame. We’ve found that these phones are a magnet for greasy prints, which kind of ruins the otherwise great aesthetics. Still, the Mate 10 Pro and Note 8 are both quite hardy and fully water resistant with an IP67 certification, which is always reassuring.

Both blowers also serve up a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor, although this is much easier to find with your finger on the Mate 10 Pro. Samsung has shoved its own scanner in an awkward off-centre position, which means you’ll occasionally have to fumble to find it. At least, until muscle memory guides you there almost every time.

Still, at least the Note 8 also boasts iris scanning as an alternative, which is impressively effective even in the dark thanks to the infra-red front-facing sensor.

Huawei Mate 10 Pro vs Note 8: Screen and media

The Note 8 may sport a slightly larger panel than Huawei’s handset, although that’s not the only difference.

The Mate 10 Pro delivers a great-looking 6-inch OLED display, complete with 2160×1080 resolution and an 18:9 aspect ratio that’s well suited to movie playback. You get solid contrast, some seriously deep blacks and colours that really pop. HDR video streaming is also fully supported, from the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.

Samsung’s Note 8 also sports an OLED screen, in this case Super AMOLED. Contrast is just as strong and images really stand out with their vibrant hues, plus the resolution has been boosted right up to 2880×1440. That means you’ll get sharper detailing on Samsung’s device.

The Galaxy Note 8 also packs a 3.5mm jack into the edge, to plug in your favourite old pair of wired headphones. That’s a port you won’t find on the Mate 10 Pro. Instead you’ll need to use a USB adapter or switch to a set of Bluetooth ‘phones.

Samsung also serves up plenty of space for your media, with 64GB of internal storage that can be expanded via microSD. On the Mate 10 Pro you get an even more generous 128GB of space, although this time around there’s no microSD memory card support.

Huawei Mate 10 Pro vs Note 8: Features and OS

Although both of these mighty mobiles run Android Oreo, you’ll struggle to tell – as both Samsung and Huawei have tweaked and dressed up Google’s OS with their own overlays.

Samsung’s colourful overhaul offers a massive selection of new features. As well as some added gesture control, you get dedicated health tracking complete with a rear-mounted heart rate sensor. Gamers can stream their sessions online and block notifications, while you can even turn the Note 8 into a portable computer with the dock accessory.

Samsung has also packed in its own virtual assistant in the form of Bixby, which replaces the Google Assistant. However, we personally prefer Google’s AI for now, as Bixby is still quite young and occasionally screwy.

However, the biggest feature is that S Pen Stylus, which is backed by a useful set of apps. You have arty apps to get creative and stitch together shareable GIFs, plus plenty of ways of staying productive on the move. Plus the stylus even works when the Note 8’s screen is wet.

Check out our Galaxy Note 8 tips and tricks guide for all you need to know.

While the Mate 10 Pro lacks that dedicated stylus support, you’ll still find plenty to love in Huawei’s Emotion UI 8 interface. You once again get full gesture support, in-depth customisation and some smart resource management, plus the ability to convert into a desktop computer with a handy cable.

Huawei Mate 10 Pro vs Note 8: Performance and battery

If you want a mobile that’s powerful enough to cope with any kind of task and the latest games, you’re in good hands here.

Huawei’s own Kirin 970 platform has been stuffed inside of the Mate 10 Pro, boasting impressive performance with AI-driven smarts, while also proving quite energy efficient. You get a generous 6GB of memory packed in too, so you shouldn’t see any slowdown in the foreseeable future.

The Note 8 is a solid rival, with its Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chipset. You once again get a whopping 6GB of RAM, so apps load instantly and you’ll enjoy blistering speeds at all times. Games look great and play with a perfect frame rate.

However, while the Mate 10 Pro delivers Cat 18 connectivity, for impressive download speeds of up to 1.2Gbps. the Note 8 tops out at Cat 16. That’s not quite as future-proof, although you can still happily stream high-def movies and the rest.

As for longevity, you get a massive 4000mAh cell packed into the Mate 10 Pro, which beats the Note’s 3300mAh battery. You’ll get around a day and a half of use out of Samsung’s blower before a charge is needed. We’re hoping for roughly two days of play with Huawei’s handset, so check back soon for our full review.

Both phones also support a form of fast charging, although only the Note 8 offers wireless charging too.

Huawei Mate 10 Pro vs Note 8: Cameras

Huawei has stuck with its usual dual lens Leica setup for the Mate 10 Pro, this time around with upgraded camera hardware for better low light capture. That 12-megapixel RGB lens and 20-megapixel monochrome lens now sport a wide f/1.6 aperture, which should help to produce brighter, less grainy photos in the evenings. You get a 4-in-1 hybrid focus, motion detection and OIS on the main lens to keep your subject nice and sharp.

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.

Unlike Huawei, Samsung has never released a phone with a double-lens camera – until now. The Galaxy Note 8 was the Korean giant’s first foray into dual lens snappers, and a successful one at that.

The Note sports a different setup to the Mate however, rocking wide-angle and telephoto 12-megapixel lenses that sit side by side. These are switched between to offer the best possible view of your subject, and impressively both lenses come packing independent optical image stabilisation. The main wide-angle snapper offers an f/1.7 aperture, delivering strong low light performance that seems to rival the Mate 10 Pro so far – although we’ll be testing the two together, to see which is truly better.

Once again you have the ability to shoot up to 4K resolution video, plus some funky bonus features. If you want to see what you’d look like as a demented clown or a creepy bear thing, look no further.

Check out our full Galaxy Note 8 camera review for samples and our in-depth thoughts, plus our Note 8 camera tips and tricks guide for more on those special features and modes.

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