Tuesday saw the local launch of the Huawei Mate 20 series, the Chinese answer to Korea and Silicon Valley's perpetuating tech one up mentality.
“The Huawei Mate 20 series offers consumers a compelling combination of powerful artificial intelligence (AI), flagship performance, longer battery life, advanced security, a greater videography and photography experience, and more — all wrapped in a sophisticated design. It is the ultimate device made for those who will not settle for anything less than perfection,” notes Akhram Mohamed, Chief Technology Officer at Huawei Consumer Business Group South Africa.
In the last two years the Chinese brand has cemented itself as real contender not only on a global scale but on a local one, with their phones resonating with buyers due to their superior performance, multitudes of Leica cameras and competitive price points. And for now, on paper, it seems like the new Mate range will continue this trend.
Here’s everything you need to know:
The phone that comes with 128Gb memory as a standard is still sporting its innovative Kirin AI chip, now the 980. The chip offers fast smooth performance that becomes intuitive to your user experience. In an obvious dig at Apple and their penchant for slowing down phones, Huawei state that “lifetime performance is a key focus for Huawei, so the speed of their devices remains as fast as the day you buy them.”
As with most phones today, the biggest focus is on the camera, with the Pro phone sporting a Leica 20MP ultra wide-angle camera, and an 8MP telephoto camera and an Ultra Wide Angle Lens that allows for “a sense of spaciousness and adds a three-dimensional effect to your images.” On a whole the series of phones also now supports macro, allowing you to take super close up photos and still getting crisp shots with objects from 2.5cm away still remaining in focus.
Video wise there are now some new fancy grades and presets available, like the AI Portrait colour mode, which is basically the ultra cheesy “pick a spot colour and desaturate the rest” mode, as well as Vintage, Fresh, Suspense and Background Blur.
Looks wise the phone is rounded, slick and beautiful and the gradient blue purple option hasn’t gotten old yet but for the big wigs to call it “meticulously engineered to achieve a very low drag coefficient” and an “attempted to capture the grace of several free-flowing elements of nature” is probably a step too far. Even if the camera groping on the back is a nice design idea let’s not say it “echoes the theme of harmony and balance throughout the design” – their “world-first, flowing design.’”
Security wise it also now has it’s own facial recognition scanning software and on-glass fingerprint scanning, a feature that still eludes the iPhone Xs Max.
The longer battery life is always a welcome feature as is being able to charge your phone to 70% in 30 minutes. Now, your phone can wirelessly charge other objects and other phones – that’ll be helpful for your iPhone carrying friends.
Other new features – which are more weird and creepy than necessary – include the AI’s ability to scour your gallery, messages or the sites you visit to 'guide' your online purchases. Also, your camera and AI made even better friends so when you want to take travel photos of historical landmarks to make your followers jealous, historical info will pop up on your screen, And if that wasn’t enough, now all your foodstagrams will have a calorie count. Geez.
You can now also 3D scan toys and bring them to life. Because aren't those the dreams that the Chucky film franchise were built on?
“Smartphones are an important entrance to the digital world. The HUAWEI Mate 20 Series is designed to be the best ‘mate’ of its users, accompanying and empowering them to enjoy a richer, more fulfilled life with their higher intelligence, unparalleled battery life and powerful camera performance,” concludes Mohamed.
All this on the Pro will fetch you back R18,999m preorders are open now and the first 500 to order will get a Huawei GT classic watch valued at R5,499