Huawei Mate 50 Pro review: Good hardware is not everything
The past few years have not been easy for Huawei. Nevertheless, they did not give up and each generation brought new innovations to the market. With the Huawei Mate 50 Pro the manufacturer presented the first smartphone with a variable aperture.
In the following lines you will learn how the Huawei Mate 50 Pro beat review.
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Huawei smartphones have long stood for a beautiful and high-quality design, and the same applies to the Mate 50 Pro this is the case again. The smartphone is slightly smaller than, for example, a Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra or Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max. In combination with the slightly rounded front and back, it ensures that the Mate 50 Pro very soft and comfortable to hold. However, the keys are placed a bit too high for my taste.
The Huawei Mate 50 Pro is available in black and silver, although I would recommend the silver model to anyone who is interested. In my opinion, this not only looks nicer, it is also matte and therefore less susceptible to fingerprints than the black model.
Many should also have noticed the relatively large notch. When the first leaks appeared, I was initially surprised, because a notch of this size is actually no longer up to date. It is incomprehensible to me why this step was taken, because both the Mate 30 Pro, as well as that Mate 40 Pro have smaller gaps.
But the big notch also has a benefit. Because Huawei uses 3D facial recognition here, similar to Face ID on the iPhone. Unlike Apple, you don't have to swipe up again after unlocking, but go straight to the start screen after recognizing your face. In general, Huawei face recognition is fast, safe and reliable. I would like to see the same from other manufacturers in the future.
Of course, Huawei also installs an in-display fingerprint sensor. This works quickly and reliably, but is placed a bit too far down for my taste.
Is that Mate 50? Pro then once unlocked, the 6,74-inch OLED display comes to light. This has a resolution of 2.616 x 1.212 pixels – exactly between 1.080p and 1.440p – resulting in a PPI of 428.
In everyday life, the sharpness was actually always sufficient and I could never see individual pixels during use. One could argue that others in the price range already offer displays with over 500 PPI and in principle I agree. Sure, now some say that you only see the difference in a direct comparison, but that's not the point. It's about what I can expect at such a high price point and personally I expect 1.440p. Furthermore, the viewing angle stability in the area of the edges can be improved.
Other than that, it's a really good display. It supports a refresh rate of 120 Hertz, which makes the operation smoother and more pleasant. Unfortunately, this is not an LTPO display, so the refresh rate cannot adjust itself adaptively. In addition, the Huawei Mate 50 Pro a really usable display brightness. This is not at the level of a iPhone 14 Pro, but I never did Proproblems in use.
Despite the current ProHuawei has succeeded in making one of the best with the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 4G Processors on the market. In combination with the 8 GB of RAM and the 256 GB of internal storage, the SoC gives the Mate 50 Pro an excellent performance. Apps open and close extremely quickly and the overall operating speed is at a very high level.
Unfortunately, Huawei is not allowed to use 5G technology, which is why this is a 4G-only smartphone. I have two views in this regard: on the one hand, 4G is fast enough and the expansion of 5G in Germany has not yet arrived at a point where there is really any added value. On the other hand, the customer should be able to expect the best possible technology with a four-digit RRP. 5G is the future and no one knows how quickly the expansion will progress.
The biggest Proproblem of the Huawei Mate 50 Pro is and remains the software. Unlike in the Chinese market, the manufacturer does not rely on HarmonyOS, but remains true to version 13 of EMUI.
The software on a smartphone is generally always a very subjective topic. One likes it, the other doesn't. For example, my colleague Fabian likes to use EMUI. For him it is one of the best user interfaces. I personally didn't like her that much though. Yes, looks are known to be a matter of taste, but for me personally the EMUI is simply too colourful, too confusing and overloaded. In addition, Huawei pre-installs a massive amount of bloatware. With smartphones in the lower price segment, I can still understand that, because manufacturers can also push the price down. But not on a smartphone at this price. I don't want the GMX app, nor any weird games, and certainly not Tinder on my smartphone.
By now everyone should be aware that Huawei is not allowed to use Google services on their smartphones. Of course, that puts many people off at first and I was also skeptical at first as to whether I would get along without Google services, but what can I say, I was actually pleasantly surprised. Apps are not obtained from the Google Play Store, but from the in-house AppGallery or my personal recommendation: Petal Search. This app selects your favorite apps from various sources and installs them for you. However, it should be noted here that Petal Search does not provide automatic updates for the apps.
You can actually use some of Google's own apps via GSpace. These include, for example, YouTube, Gmail, Maps or Google search. Huawei Pay is also an alternative for Google Pay. What actually doesn't work is Android Auto on the one hand and Google Cast on the other. I personally really missed the latter.
In conclusion, I can only say the following about the whole Google topic: In my opinion, Huawei does not lack the app selection. Many apps work and there are alternatives for many more. It lacks the simplicity that the Google Play Store offers. One source and all apps are updated automatically. That doesn't exist here and I doubt that the average consumer would use this commprowant to miss.
The Mate 50 Pro is the first Huawei flagship in a long time that was created without cooperation with Leica. Since the Huawei P9, the Chinese and German companies have worked together and revolutionized the camera market. Be it a night mode, pixel binning, periscope technology or the RYYB sensor. Huawei drove innovation and I'm glad the Mate 50 Pro is no different.
On the hardware side, the manufacturer relies on a triple camera system consisting of a 50 megapixel wide-angle camera, a 13 megapixel ultra wide-angle camera and a 64 megapixel telephoto camera, which enables a 3,5x optical zoom. The impressive thing here is the 50 megapixel wide-angle camera, because Huawei is the first manufacturer to install a 10-step variable aperture from f/1.4 to f/4.0.
The actual image quality is - as we know it from Huawei - at a very high level. The 50 megapixel wide-angle camera offers the best image quality of the trio. Beautiful sharpness, color reproduction and dynamic characterize the images.
The images are convincing even in poor light conditions. I would actually recommend not switching to night mode, because the color display is much more appealing and realistic in automatic mode.
I also expected a little more from the zoom. Especially when you consider how good the zoom of the Huawei P50 Pro was. Although the same hardware is used here, the P50 still does Pro the better pictures. In my opinion, there is a lack of sharpness, especially in the areas above 3,5x. The color reproduction between wide-angle camera and telephoto camera can also be improved. While the ultra wide-angle and wide-angle are quite close together and the images are kept a little warmer, the telephoto images are rather pale and lifeless. A Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, Google Pixel 7 Pro or Xiaomi 12s Ultra definitely have better zoom.
With 4.700 mAh, the battery of the Huawei Mate 50 Pro slightly smaller than the comparable competition. Nevertheless, the battery life is absolutely solid and was easily enough for me for a day. The efficient SoC and the lack of Google services interact here.
If the battery is then empty, it can be recharged quite quickly thanks to the included 66 watt power supply unit. Wireless charging with 50 watts and reverse wireless charging are also supported.
All in all, battery performance worthy of a flagship.
Under the point "Miscellaneous", I would like to go into small things that the package, which the Mate 50 Pro offers, round off. Huawei's flagship is of course again IP68 certified, i.e. against the ingress of water and dust.
In addition, there is a really good X-axis vibration motor and the voice quality when making calls is absolutely solid.
The whole thing is rounded off by stereo speakers. These are located on the underside and in the earpiece and actually sound quite acceptable. In my opinion, however, they could be a bit more voluminous. A iPhone 14 Pro for example, here is audibly better.
The verdict on the Huawei Mate 50 Pro It's difficult for me, because the hardware that Huawei offers is absolutely powerful and is definitely one of the best in 2022. But even the best hardware is useless if the software isn't right. While I think there are some people who won't notice the lack of Google Play Services, those people shouldn't spend $1.199 on a smartphone. While it used to be the case that, especially in the area of the camera, the lead over the competition was big enough that you could accept the missing Google services for the best possible image quality, this is no longer the case. The competition has caught up and it doesn't matter if it's the Vivo X80 Pro, Google Pixel 7 Pro or Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra and more. They all offer more than potent cameras.
Nevertheless, Huawei calls for an RRP of 1.199 euros. Had the Mate 50 Pro the Google services, this would definitely be fair, but it just doesn't have it. And as you can probably imagine, I can use the Huawei Mate 50 Pro unfortunately not recommend at this price. Huawei should have priced to compensate for the limitations, but they don't, and if I'm a limited manufacturer, I can't see the same prices as non-limited manufacturers.
Huawei Mate 50 Pro buy
We would like to thank Huawei AT for providing the test device!