Analysis of the Huawei Mate 50 Pro, the assault on the throne of the TOP range

Huawei wants to put one of its phones back in the highest range on the market to fight not only in photography, but also in power. For that they have finally adopted the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 and I will tell you about my experience with the Huawei Mate 50 Pro in this analysis.

Huawei’s track record since the US veto has been bumpy. They started strong, with the intention of not noticing the blow, but little by little we began to see the consequences of the ‘ban’.

It was not only software and the impossibility of using GMS, but also an impediment to mount a 5G modem on their most powerful mobiles. We have seen this in terminals such as the P50 Pro or the Mate XS 2, which still had the Snapdragon 888 and, furthermore, without 5G.

The play is repeated in this Huawei Mate 50 Pro, which arrives without 5G, but is finally updated to a next-generation processor. 

After a week using it as my main mobile, I’ll tell you how it went in this Huawei Mate 50 Pro test .

Data sheet of the Huawei Mate 50 Pro

It stands out, of course, the Snapdragon processor and the camera section , two of the things that we are going to test below.

The feeling of having a premium mobile is total

The Mate 50 Pro is a mobile that attracts attention as soon as you take it out of the box . The color that I got is not the most appropriate to avoid fingerprints on the back, but the truth is that it is most attractive.

That silver color seems beautiful to me and it looks great with the camera module, making it much more integrated into the body than what happens in other colors as in previous generations.

In the Mate 40 Pro we had a black camera module that went less unnoticed and here we go to an individual design for each of the cameras. 

I like it better, to be honest, but aside from all that, I’m glad Huawei continues with this design line because it is distinctive (although Honor has shot it a bit).

What I don’t like so much is that the volume and lock buttons are located very high on the right side . It is a 162 mm high mobile, so sometimes it is difficult to reach the buttons without making an “effort” with your hand.

But hey, the finishes are TOP, aluminum and glass “melt” in a very pleasant way for the touch and it is a terminal with IP68 protection and, in addition, a screen with Huawei Kunlun Glass protection .

This is a new protection for the screens that Huawei is promoting as a competitor to Gorilla Glass and that, well, it gives us a little more security because it seems that the Chinese company could not opt ​​for that protection on its terminals either.

The notch reappears on a very good screen to consume content

And if it attracts attention from behind, it is clear that, in front, too. And it is that, you only have to see the photographs that accompany this analysis: the notch has returned to Huawei’s most premium range.

Let’s see, to be fair, it’s not like the Mates had a tiny notch. In fact, they had this eyebrow until the Mate 30 Pro and, although it disappeared with the 40 Pro, we had the double hole on one of the sides.

I am not going to criticize the notch or the double holes because we have them in some mobiles (being the iPhone 14 and the iPhone 14 Pro, with its dynamic island, two examples) and because the recognition hardware has to be inserted somewhere .

And it is that, yes, the Mate 50 Pro has a biometric facial recognition system , nothing from the 2D photo to unlock with the face. This allows for a higher level of security both for unlocking the device and for purchases.

Now, it is not the only system, since we also have the unlocking by fingerprint on the screen . It is an optical sensor that is very close to the lower frame, something that is not comfortable for me because you have to make a strange movement with your hand. 

And, to tell you the truth, the speed is… fair. Neither excellent nor very bad, but it is not as fast as we would expect in this range.

For the rest, it seems to me a very good screen to consume content . It is curved, so we have the sides with a certain shadow in content with a blank screen, but even if I prefer flat panels, I know that there are lovers of curvature and, in addition, aesthetically it also gives it a point.

We have an OLED panel that allows us to configure the colors both in standard mode -as it comes by default and as I have left it- and in live mode. I prefer the first one because the bright one is too saturated for my taste, but this is up to each one to decide.

The resolution is 2,616 x 1,212 pixels and Huawei continues to bet on two modes. We can select the highest, which offers a very good pixel density, try a lower HD + or configure an automatic mode that automatically puts that lower resolution when we are on a low battery.

And the refreshment goes from the 90 Hz of the previous generation to a more than welcome 120 Hz . The fluidity of the mobile is total thanks to its raw power and, also, how smooth the animations are at those 120 Hz.

It seems to me a very good screen both for playing games and for watching videos and the sound contributes to that good multimedia experience. It is a sound that may lack a bit of bass for my taste, but that definitely meets to consume videos.

What I don’t like is that, since we don’t have a YouTube app, we have to watch the videos through the website and we can’t stretch the screen to fill it completely, having black bars on both sides.

The games, obviously, go to full screen and I have to tell you that you forget about the notch and, in addition, they move with maximum fluidity.

Huawei is now in the TOP mobile league… in hardware

Something I missed on both the Mate XS 2 and the P50 Pro was a state-of-the-art processor. Yes, they both had the Snapdragon 888 and yes, it is an excellent SoC in the middle of 2022, but being quite expensive mobiles, they should have brought the latest.

Now, after skipping the warm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 (which, seen from the point of autonomy, was even good news), Huawei mounts the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 manufactured by TSMC. It is a 4-nanometer SoC that has the same cores, frequencies, and GPU as the SD8+G1 that we see in other mobiles, such as the Motorola Edge 30 Ultra, but with an important deficiency.

And it is that, again, we do not have a 5G connection . When I saw the features I thought “I’m going to check it within the mobile itself” and, indeed, the system tells you that it is a 4G version.

For the rest, we have spectacular raw power, so you’ll be able to play all the games you want with the highest visual quality and fluidity, but if I like something more than that, it’s temperature management.

In long sessions with both Diablo Immortal and Asphalt 9, the mobile has picked up some temperature, yes, but it did not burn or reduce performance as a result of thermal throttling.

With the application that we usually run to see if there is thermal throttling, we have also achieved a very good result in not falling below 90% in the 15 minutes that the test lasts.

The speed of the system is great and, in general, the installation times (something you’re going to notice a lot because you’ll have to download almost everything via APK) and the day-to-day experience is great.

The internal memory is UFS 3.1 and you will be able to expand the storage, but only with Huawei NM cards.

At the hardware level, the Mate 50 Pro is up to date and can fight face to face with the Android mobile that comes before it. In software… things change. In the West we still don’t have Harmony and the feeling is what I described to you a few weeks ago when I reviewed the Mate XS 2.

The App Gallery continues to fill up with applications , but the ones that really matter arrive in drops and you’re going to have to download apps from APK aggregators, with what this entails in terms of security.

There are apps like Notion, for example, that allow you to log in with your Google account, but not on a Huawei mobile. The solution, which is a patch, is to place shortcuts to those apps (Notion or YouTube, for example) to have your account in the browser and not lose data.

I haven’t had any serious bugs, but I did have one that prevented me from deleting individual photos from the gallery. If I hit delete, it would go into a constant loop, but it is solved by going to the photos panel, selecting the ones you want to delete and doing it from there. It’s not a big problem, but they have to fix it.

Regarding autonomy, the 4,700 mAh have behaved quite well , allowing an average of six hours of screen time with my use, which is quite demanding. 

You will be able to charge it in less than 45 minutes with the 66W charger that comes in the box and, in addition, you have both 50W wireless charging and 5W reverse charging.

Three cameras for beastly versatility

If Huawei is strong in something, it is in the photographic section. Over the generations they have brought numerous innovations and advances to the sector and now they are not at their best (in fact, Leica is no longer there), but they are still one of the strengths when it comes to photography.

The Mate 50 Pro has three cameras . The main one is a 50-megapixel angle that has optical stabilization and laser focus. It has a focal length equivalent to a 24mm lens and the results it achieves both indoors and outdoors are very, very good.

There’s good natural background blur without resorting to portrait mode, I like the white balance and the detail is just right. There is something curious and it is the opening.

And it is that, as Samsung did a few years ago, we have a variable aperture between f / 1.4 and f / 4.0 . This allows, at f/1.4, more light to enter the sensor, so we can take photos “freezing” the moment in not very good light. 

However, the lower the value, the shallower the depth of field, and if we photograph something in the foreground, the background is more blurred.

This aperture is something that the camera handles automatically in automatic mode (which allows you to take pictures at 12.5 Mpx thanks to pixel binning), but it is something that you can control in manual mode, changing the aperture to your liking.

At night, the Mate 50 Pro behaves very well, but I recommend shooting in automatic mode , since in night mode it is one of those that turns night into day, creating artificial detail and textures with an accentuated watercolor effect. I already said, I have been using the automatic mode at night and the result seems very good.

 I think the main camera is excellent with a good sensor, good processing and brutal detail with a good white balance. 

In fact, I think it’s one of the best cameras of the year , honestly, but the portrait seems to me to be a bit behind due to a rather exaggerated effect and, sometimes, with a somewhat different skin treatment than the main camera.

The wide angle has 13 megapixels and it is a camera that, in good light conditions, remains great compared to the main angle. 

The photographs have detail, if we position the mobile well it does not excessively deform the lines and it is a camera that, in addition to architecture, will allow you to become artistic. The processing is very similar to what we find in the main camera, something that manufacturers are refining more and more.

At night is when it suffers due to aggressive processing that tries to remove noise, ruining the textures. But hey, except for exceptions like the Oppo Find X5 Pro, the wide angle of mobile phones in night photography is far from the main angle.

 Moving to telephoto, we have a solid 64-megapixel sensor required for digital zoom. It has stabilization in the lenses and is a 3.5x optical equivalent to a 90mm. 

It is not very bright, being f/3.5, so at night or indoors the result is mediocre, but with good light conditions we have results that I found to be very, very good.

We are going to be able to go, thanks to the megapixels, up to a digital 10x that, yes, has some artifacts in the image and some textures that are somewhat washed out, but that maintains the level very well. In fact, if you zoom in on the photo, it is when you realize the “failures”, but if not, from the mobile screen and uploaded to social networks, it can perfectly go through an optical zoom.

When I saw the selfies on the mobile screen, I had the feeling that the photos were blurry, but seen on the PC screen, the truth is that the sensations have changed. It seems to me a very good selfie with detail and good white balance . It has good texture on the skin, there is no artificial sharpness and it is up there with the others.

However, I say that it is wasted because, although we can activate the portrait mode, it does not cause any effect on the photo and, having a 3D TOF, it could have been used beyond facial recognition.

What I don’t like so much is the video , since here the opposite happens to the photos: on the mobile screen they look great, but on the PC… not so much.

I like the colors, yes, and the range of focal lengths we have, as well as being able to go from wide angle to 10x without a problem and almost without cuts, but although the quality is good for static shots, if you need stabilization things change.

There are artifacts in some objects and that strange “hum” that occurs in some digital stabilizations, something that should not occur when we shoot with optical stabilization like here on two of your three cameras.

What I do like is that you will be able to record at 4K60 with all four cameras . And yes, I think that the video has made a leap in quality, but it happens to me as with the Pixel 7 Pro: we see a jump because we came from something quite regular, but they are still not on par with other rivals.

Price of the Huawei Mate 50 Pro in its different versions

Before closing the review of the Mate 50 Pro, let’s go to the issue of price because, obviously, it is something that always conditions the purchase of a device.

The Huawei Mate 50 Pro goes on sale for 1,199 euros in Spain. Although it does not have MSG, it still has a TOP range price, something Huawei has accustomed us to with its latest launches in this segment.

As for the colors, it arrives in our country in black and silver . Orange (which has a pretty cool contrast with the camera module) and purple seem to be left out of the selection for our country.

Huawei Mate 50 Pro, Computerhoy’s opinion: is it worth it?

And, in the end, we have a mobile that manages to stand out in almost all sections. The design is subjective, but the truth is that I love it, since it seems to me an extremely elegant mobile and very pleasant in the hand.

The rounded lines are comfortable and the touch of the back is spectacular . The notch doesn’t bother me and it adds an interesting 3D facial unlocking system, I love the screen and sound to play games and consume content and you won’t have to worry about power.

I really like the cameras, especially the native focal lengths (wide angle, angle and 3.5x), and I consider that they give versatility and offer a consistent result and one of the best you will find this year. The video recording complies and here it is not at the level of Samsung or Apple, for example, but it complies, and the battery also seemed correct to me.

The problem is that it is a very high-end mobile, but we are back to business as usual, the absence of some applications that use GMS (both to work in some cases and to enter our usual account in others) that makes it difficult to recommendation.

If the latter is not a problem for you, it is clear that the Mate 50 Pro has ballots to slip into your pocket.

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