Huawei Mate 50 Pro review: The best smartphone you either can't buy or probably won't buy

Huawei Mate 50 Pro review: The best smartphone you either can’t buy or probably won’t buy

The Huawei Mate 50 Pro is the best smartphone you either can’t buy or probably won’t buy. That’s because it’s not available in the US, and it’s not clear when or if it ever will be. That said, if you can get your hands on one, the Mate 50 Pro is an excellent phone. It has a gorgeous design, top-of-the-line specs, and a Quad HD+ OLED display that’s among the best I’ve ever used.

Huawei Mate 50 Pro review: The best smartphone you either can't buy or probably won't buy

The best smartphone you either can’t buy or probably won’t buy

The Huawei Mate Pro is the best smartphone you either can’t buy or probably won’t buy. It’s a shame, because this phone is a true powerhouse, with a beautiful display, great camera, and top-of-the-line performance.

If you can find a Mate Pro for sale, chances are it’ll be running on Google’s Android operating system. But because of the US trade ban on Huawei, the Mate Pro doesn’t have access to Google Play Store apps or services like Gmail and YouTube. So even if you do manage to get your hands on one of these phones, you’ll be missing out on some of the best parts of the Android experience.

Still, the Mate Pro is an impressive phone, and if you can look past its lack of Google apps, it’s definitely worth considering.

The Huawei Mate 50 Pro

Huawei Mate 50 Pro review: The best smartphone you either can't buy or probably won't buy

The Huawei Mate 50 Pro is one of the best smartphones on the market, but it’s not available in the US and probably won’t be. That’s because Huawei is a Chinese company, and the US government has effectively banned it from doing business here.

That’s a shame, because the Mate 50 Pro is an excellent phone. It has a great camera, a beautiful design, and top-of-the-line specs. It’s also very affordable, especially for what you get.

If you can find a way to buy the Mate 50 Pro, it’s definitely worth considering. But keep in mind that you may not be able to use all of its features in the US, and future software updates may be delayed or nonexistent.


In terms of looks and feel, the Huawei Mate 50 Pro is every inch a great smartphone. Instead of being a metal and glass setup, the Mate 50 Pro has some distinguishing features in the form of a curved glass over its 6.74-inch display and a circular “space ring” housing for the rear cameras. There’s a narrow notch at the top of the screen to house the front-facing camera array, but it’s not overly obtrusive.

We had the silver model for review. A black version is also available in the UK and Europe, but there’s no sign of the orange variant, which uses Kunlun’s durable glass to protect the screen in addition to an impressive plant-based leather back. Huawei doesn’t reveal the type of glass used on the front and back of the silver and black models, but it’s a shame that stronger Kunlun glass isn’t used on all of these models.

The space ring is a large central raised circle that resembles the four rear cameras. In fact, there are three systems plus a laser autofocus system. The space ring protrudes a few millimeters, but its central position ensures good stability when the phone is on a flat surface. You get a clear bumper case in the box that helps grip and protects the back of the phone.

The power button and volume button are both on the right edge, leaving the left edge free. The top edge has an infrared sensor and a microphone, while the bottom edge has a SIM/Nano Memory (NM) card slot, a USB-C port, and a speaker grille. You can unlock the Mate 50 Pro using face or fingerprint recognition: the front camera array includes a 3D depth-sensing camera for facial recognition, while the fingerprint sensor is a fast and capable in-display unit.

Mate 50 Pro, like most current flagship class smartphones, has the IP68 standard for dust and water resistance. This means the phone is “dust proof” and can withstand submersion in still water up to two meters (silver and black models) or six meters (orange version) for 30 minutes.

The extra features on the Orange version – vegan leather back, 512GB of internal storage (vs 256GB), Kunlun Glass, better water resistance – account for the €200 price difference compared to the Silver and Black models. 


Outside of China, the Huawei Mate 50 Pro runs EMUI 13 based on open-source Android on Qualcomm’s current Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chipset – with support for 4G but not 5G thanks to the aforementioned US sanctions. next year will do so. It is powered by the recently announced Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. All models come with 8GB of RAM, while the silver and black versions have 256GB of storage. The internal and orange versions have 512GB of storage internal storage Storage expansion is available through Huawei’s proprietary NM cards.

Other wireless features are updated, with support for Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax), Bluetooth 5.2, NFC and infrared. Positioning technologies include dual-band GPS, AGPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, GALILEO, QZSS and NavIC. Unfortunately, the European version of the Mate 50 Pro does not have the ability to send SMS via satellite connection like the Chinese model. How much the lack of 5G bothers you depends on the coverage in your area: where I live (a rural area 40 miles north of London) currently none of the UK’s four mobile networks – O2, Vodafone – have 5G coverage. , EE and three. However, if I’m paying four figures for a phone I’m going to keep for at least a few years, I want it to be future-proof with 5G support.

The 6.74-inch screen is an OLED panel with a resolution of 2616 x 1212 (19.5:9 aspect ratio, 428ppi), 10-bit color (1.07 billion colors), HDR10+ support and an impressive aspect ratio. for 91.4 percent body. It supports a maximum refresh rate of 120 Hz for smooth scrolling and animation, a touch sampling rate of 300 Hz, and supports 1440 Hz PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) dimming, which reduces flickering when the screen brightness is low. low.

There are several display settings available, many of which allow you to trade off image quality with power consumption. You can run the display at high (2616×1212) or low (1744×808) resolution, or have it set automatically (default settings). Refresh rate is handled similarly with High (120Hz), Standard (60Hz) or Dynamic (default) settings. You can also specify whether the always-on display is enabled and how to access it (tap to show, scheduled, or all day), set brightness automatically or manually, select and schedule darkness and eye comfort modes, and choose a mode. Color (normal or vivid) and color temperature (default, warm or cool). Bottom line: This is a great screen.

There are two speakers – the earpiece in the screen notch and the second speaker on the bottom edge. Between them, these offer plenty of volume, with good treble, which is no surprise, but also good bass response, which is rarer. There is no 3.5 mm audio jack.


While its previous camera partner Leica had jumped ship to rival smartphone maker Xiaomi, Huawei launched its own imaging brand, XMAGE, in July and launched it with the Mate 50 Pro in September.

The main feature of the Mate 50 Pro’s XMAGE camera system is the 50-megapixel OIS-equipped Ultra camera, which uses an SLR-style adjustable physical aperture, with six blades switchable in 10 stops – in Pro mode – from f/1.4 (more light) provides. , shallower depth of field) to f/4.0 (less light, wider depth of field).

It comes with a 13MP f/2.2 ultra-wide camera (120° field of view) with macro capability and a 64MP f/3.5 telephoto periscope camera (3.5x optical zoom) with OIS. Also on the back is a laser autofocus unit, a multispectral sensor to help increase color accuracy, and a dual-LED flash.

Currently, Huawei’s Mate 50 Pro tops DXOMARK’s smartphone camera rankings, followed by the Google Pixel 7 Pro. Since we had the Pixel Pro 7 in our hands, we decided to do side-by-side comparisons whenever necessary.

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