My new phone is the Huawei Mate 10 and so far it’s been a pretty good phone. My last phone was an unlocked Nexus 6P and I got that one because it was a “Google” phone so I was guaranteed to get the latest Android updates from Google and I didn’t have to wait for the carrier or the manufacturer to build an update, which can typically take months, years or never. I was really wanting to move to the next Google phone, one of the Pixels but I didn’t want to spend close to $1,000 for a new phone, especially when it was probably be out of date in a couple of years.
I liked the hardware on the Nexus 6P so I wasn’t afraid to go with another phone by Huawei. I know our government is not to enamored with Chinese companies like Huawei and ZTE right now, but in Huawei’s case I feel that the reputation that they are trying to paint all Chinese companies with is more about protectionism and ethnocentrism rather than security. Remember ALL of our phones are manufactured at some point in the process, in China and to assume that because a company is located in China versus America makes it less secure is not being honest. The problem with smartphones right now is that in order to get some good hardware there is a perception that you need to spend between $600 – $1,000 which is crazy based on how much the hardware costs. Remember that following Moore’s Law, computer hardware should be getting less expensive over time, so phones should get less expensive or at least stay around the same price, but not get more expensive. So that is why I ultimately went with the Mate 10 from Huawei.
Overall, it is a pretty great phone. I’ve looked at the latest from Samsung and other Android phones and spec-wise you probably aren’t going to do much better for the price than the Mate 10. Mostly what I’m looking for in a phone is quick updates to the software and a good camera. Having a good processor and a decent amount of storage is also important, all of which the Mate 10 delivers. What I really liked when it came was that out-of-the-box, it had a pair of headphones (yes it still has a headphone jack), a really nice clear case and a charger with a decent length charging cord. Too many times, when I get a new phone, I’m not just paying for the phone, I’m paying for all of the extras that I will need to just get started with using it. The Mate 10 reminded me of the “old days” when phone manufactures provided those little extras when you bought your phone.
The Mate 10 is also the right size (5.9) for me. I’ve seen the new Samsungs which I think of more like a “candy bar” (long and skinny) which just seems weird to me. I’ve been using larger form factor phones since my Note 3 and been happy with them, but anything bigger than 5.9 just seems too big and not easy for using with the hand. The other thing I like about the size is that the Mate 10 doesn’t have “the notch” in order to get a little more screen space. The screen does go almost side-to-side but has some thin bezels at the top and bottom which is perfectly fine. I do have trouble some times with the fat part of my hand, around the thumb, selecting thing on the lower right side of the screen that I didn’t intend, but it just means that I have to retrain myself on how I hold the phone.
I wasn’t too impressed with the stock launcher from Huawei but because I have Android it wasn’t hard to switch to Nova Launcher which gives a better “Google” experience. I wish that Google would have kept up with their Google Launcher, but that’s okay too. There are some things that don’t quite work right, like some widgets, but there are always some growing pains with a new phone and needing to learn to do things differently.
What I have really been impressed with is the battery life. The Mate 10 can go for a couple of days if I needed it to on a single charge. There are many days when I’m getting ready for bed and plug in this phone to charge and realize that after a full day of use, I still have 60% battery remaining. This has been amazing after struggling with the Nexus 6P’s really poor battery, where I had to charge it every chance I had just to get through the day. The other awesome thing is that the fast charging is FAST! When I use the charger that comes with the phone I can go from 50% to 100% in about 30-45 minutes, and when I’m using other chargers, it charges pretty fast too.
The Mate 10 is also part of Google’s genuine Android program so it get’s updates, especially security updates, as soon as they come out, which is great. The camera is also really good, made by camera maker Leica, and having the dual lens set up. The pictures look great and the camera speed it really fast. Another great surprise is how well the Bluetooth is working. The Nexus 6P must have really sucked and I just didn’t know it. The Bluetooth on the Mate 10 is great. I have been using some Losei wireless earbuds for a while now and the Mate 10 always connects to them without a problem. Also when I get in my truck, which also has Bluetooth and was really hard to stay connected to my Nexus 6P, the phone “knows” to switch from the earbud to the truck for playing my podcast/music and then switched back when I get out of the truck. Before, I would have had to turn off the earbud to get the Nexus 6P to connect to the truck (maybe) and then turn the earbud back on when I got of the truck and reconnect (maybe). I have had to restart the phone once in a while to get the Bluetooth working correctly again, but overall its been a good experience.
Finally there are some little things that make this phone a little more enjoyable than the Nexus 6P or most new phones. The first thing is having a headphone jack. While I have been using wireless earbuds recently, and that is probably the way we’re headed for the future, it has still been nice to know that I can still use some inexpensive wired earbuds if I need to. The next thing is that the Mate 10 has an SD slot for more storage. This really helps with downloading content when I’m on the go and don’t always have access to wifi. I’m still paying for data so anyway I can lessen that cost makes it better for me. The last thing is the IR blaster. I used to use this all of the time on my Note 3 and really missed it when I switched to the Nexus 6P. Being able to control my television and other devices using my phone is really convenient.
So overall I’m very satisfied with this phone and would recommend it to anyone who wants a decent phone for around $500.