- March 24, 2023
Powerful specs, handsome design, and stellar camera performance—it seems Huawei’s Mate 50 Pro ticks all the boxes when it comes to what you expect from a flagship device, even with Leica no longer in the picture.
But does the Mate 50 Pro outshine all other flagship phones this year?
Design and build
The Mate 50 Pro comes in two variants: one comes with a glass back (black and silver colorways) and another one with a vegan leather back, which comes in an eye-catching orange color.
Whichever variant you get, the Huawei Mate 50 Pro is every inch the ultra-premium smartphone. The curved sides of the phone make it easier to hold despite its sizable 6.74-inch screen. The ‘Space Ring’ module for the rear cameras protrudes by a couple of millimeters and it houses three cameras and a laser autofocus system. You get a clear bumper case in the box, which helps with grip and protects the rear of the handset from nicks, scratches, and unsightly fingerprints.
We had the black model for review, which uses an unspecified type of glass on the front and back. The vegan leather version, on the other hand, uses durable Kunlun Glass to protect the screen. It’s a shame that Huawei did not use this throughout the range.
The power button and volume rocker are both on the right edge, while the top houses an infrared sensor and a microphone.
The bottom edge, on the other hand, houses a SIM/nano memory card slot, a USB-C port, and a speaker grille.
There are two ways to unlock the phone: via the in-display fingerprint sensor or face recognition using the front camera housed in the slim notch at the top of the display. Both work well and fast.
The Mate 50 Pro is dust-tight and can handle immersion in static water at up to two meters (silver and black models) or six meters (orange variant) for 30 minutes.
Display and sound
The Mate 50 Pro’s 6.74-inch OLED display has a 2616 × 1212 pixel resolution with a 19.5:9 aspect ratio, adaptive 120Hz refresh rate, and HDR10+ playback.
Because it’s an OLED, it’s no surprise that the display is bright and has deep blacks, punchy colors, and good contrast. Viewing angles are also great.
The Mate 50 Pro uses dual loudspeakers. It can get pretty loud without distortion and it has crisp trebles. Like many smartphones, the bass is weak, but still good enough for casual mobile viewing.
Shortly after Huawei parted ways with Leica, the brand launched its own imaging tech called XMAGE—and it looks like Huawei has done a great job on its own.
The key feature of the Mate 50 Pro’s XMAGE camera system is the OIS-equipped 50MP Ultra Aperture camera. This shooter uses variable aperture, with six blades offering 10 selectable steps from f/1.4 to f/4.0. Now you can have non-software bokeh in your photos.
The main camera is accompanied by a 13MP f/2.2 ultrawide angle shooter and a 64MP f/3.5 periscope telephoto (3.5x optical zoom) with OIS. The fourth circle on the camera bump is a laser autofocus unit that helps enhance color accuracy.
Whether you like to mess around with Pro mode or would rather set everything to automatic, you’ll still get awesome quality photos with the Mate 50 Pro’s cameras.
Performance and battery
The Mate 50 Pro is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 processor and is paired with 8GB of RAM and either 256GB (black and silver variants) or 512GB (orange) of storage.
As expected, Qualcomm’s processor makes the phone feel fast and fluid. However, take note that this one is locked to 4G only, so if 5G is a huge consideration for you, better look elsewhere (or maybe even consider the Mate 40 Pro, which launched with a 5G chip).
The Mate 50 Pro runs EMUI 13 based on Android 12. Again, there’s no GMS, but we’ve pretty much gotten used to it after a few years. Plus, aside from AppGallery and Petal Search, there’s now a new workaround that lets you reliably log into apps that require a Google account: GBox. It’s easy to use and works great, and while it’s not the perfect solution to the GMS problem, it’s the best solution we’ve seen yet.
The Mate 50 Pro comes with a 4700mAh battery that can last you from breakfast to bedtime before needing to be charged. It supports Huawei’s SuperCharge tech, with the phone able to charge up to 66W via the bundled charger. We got about 70% charge for a half-hour top-up. The phone can also charge up to 50W via wireless charging.
If camera performance is one of your main considerations when buying a phone, then you can’t go wrong with the Huawei Mate 50 Pro. It’s no wonder why it sits atop the smartphone camera rankings at DXOMARK.
Plus, it’s an impressive and handsome piece of hardware with a long list of premium features.
Shame about the lack of Google Mobile Services and 5G, but if you’re good with the offered workaround (GBox) and 4G speeds, are a die-hard fan of Huawei’s Mate series, and you can afford the P58,899 (black/silver) or P68,899 (orange) price tag, then by all means go for it.