Huawei Mate 50 Pro review: Photography performance is still strong without Leica's blessing

In the two years that it has been sanctioned, Huawei has still updated a number of high-end and low-end products. But the Mate series, which everyone cares about most, has not been active until now. On September 6, Huawei held a new product launch conference and officially released the new Huawei Mate 50 series. After two years of silence, can the current Mate 50 series help Huawei regain its footing in the high-end market? Here are some of the feelings I got after a week of experience.

Huawei Mate 50 Pro specs and features:

  • 6.74-inch 1228×2700 pixels
  • Snapdragon 8+ processor
  • HarmonyOS 3.0 system
  • Dual 13MP front camera
  • 50MP+64MP+13MP rear camera
  • 4700mAh+66W super charging
  • IP68 waterproof rating
  • $994 – Check latest price on AliExpress

01/ Appearance Design & Display

Huawei Mate series has always insisted on symmetrical design, and Huawei Mate 50 Pro is no exception. The back of the Huawei Mate 50 Pro still continues the design of the circular rear camera module, but unlike the Huawei Mate 40 series, which hides the lens, the lens of the Mate 50 Pro protrudes directly above the camera module.

On the outside of the rear camera module, Huawei also adopts the Paris nail design, which further improves the exquisiteness of the mobile phone. As a common design element of high-end timepieces, the addition of Paris nails gives Huawei Mate 50 Pro a taste of luxury.

It is a pity that the glass back panel still cannot escape the fate of sticking fingerprints. However, the Huawei Mate 50 Pro feels very comfortable to hold. Compared with the Huawei Mate 40 Pro, the Huawei Mate 50 Pro is lighter and thinner, with a body thickness of only 8.5mm. Moreover, Huawei Mate 50 Pro no longer uses a waterfall screen, and the front and rear 3D curved glass is designed to move closer to the middle frame.

Huawei Mate 50 Pro uses a 6.74-inch OLED curved screen with a resolution of 2700*1228, supports 120Hz refresh rate and HDR Vivid display. But the screen feels a little yellowish to me at the default setting, but we can adjust the screen color temperature to a cool color, which makes it look closer to white. It is worth mentioning that it supports 1440Hz high-frequency PWM dimming, which can make the eyes more comfortable in low light environments.

Huawei Mate 50 Pro moved the fingerprint position under the screen down this time, closer to the lower frame. Thumb unlocking requires a greater angle of bending. Personally, it is not as convenient as the unlocking position of Huawei Mate 40 Pro. And Huawei Mate 50 Pro still uses the under-screen optical fingerprint unlocking. The fingers are relatively dry in the morning recently, and it often happens that the fingerprint cannot be unlocked. It is hoped that the next generation of products can be upgraded to fingerprint unlocking under the ultrasonic screen.

Huawei Mate 50 Pro does not use the common hole-digging screen design this time, but uses the Bang screen design again. The reason why the Mate 50 Pro uses the Bang screen is mainly because of the addition of a 3D ToF deep-sensing camera and the integration of the earpiece in the Bang area. The width of the Bang has been narrowed, and the advantage of 3D face recognition is that it is safe and can be unlocked in low light. If you really feel awkward, you can also hide the top Bang area.

02/ Photography

To be honest, I didn’t have much expectations for the shooting performance of the Huawei Mate 50 Pro at first. First, because the Huawei P series is the main photography, the photography of the Mate series has always been the “second position”. Second, the specifications of the sensor of the Mate 50 Pro camera were not detailed at the press conference.

When I saw the photography function part of Huawei Mate 50 Pro at the press conference, I was most interested in three points. One is the ten-stop physical variable aperture of F1.4-F4.0. The second is XMAGE, which is used to replace the status of Leica. The third is the macro performance under the super macro telephoto camera only available in the Porsche version. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the Porsche version, so I can only experience the first two functions. Among them, XMAGE has three styles: original, clear and bright. The Huawei Mate 50 series is also the first mobile phone to carry XMAGE.

Compared with Huawei Mate 40 Pro, it is found that the photography improvement of Huawei Mate 50 Pro is huge. Exceeded my expectations and brought unexpected surprises. I’m impressed by several improvements in the Huawei Mate 50 Pro’s photography performance.

1: Bright colors, accurate reproduction

Comparing the shooting samples of Huawei Mate 50 Pro and Huawei Mate 40 Pro, you can intuitively feel the improvement of mobile photography. The shooting samples of Huawei Mate 50 Pro are closer to the real situation, the color reproduction is accurate and vivid, and the contrast is higher. The color of Huawei Mate 40 Pro will appear much duller.

When the Huawei Mate 50 Pro is in clear mode, the contrast will be higher and the colors will be more intense. However, after the Huawei Mate 40 Pro turned on the Leica clear mode and soft mode, there was a relatively obvious color cast problem, and the contrast was very high.

In macro mode, the difference between the two phones is even more pronounced. Comparing the proofs, it is obvious that all the details of the Huawei Mate 50 Pro are very clear, while some details of the Mate 40 Pro basically disappear. In terms of color, the yellow of the Huawei Mate 50 Pro is closer to the real thing, and the yellow of the Mate 40 Pro is too light. In addition, the blurred part of the edge of Huawei Mate 50 Pro is more natural, and the segmentation boundary is clearer.

In terms of color, I prefer the color grading method of Huawei Mate 50 Pro’s XMAG. The primary color mode is very close to the real color, and the clear mode is to properly improve the contrast and color saturation on the basis of keeping the color as realistic as possible.

2: OIS optical image stabilization, more stable shooting at night

In terms of night scene performance, Huawei Mate 50 Pro’s brightness, color, and light and shadow processing are also better than Huawei Mate 40 Pro. However, the clarity of details needs to be improved, and the picture quality will still be a bit blurry after zooming in, which may be limited by the optical hardware of the main camera sensor.

In addition, the main camera of Huawei Mate 50 Pro has added OIS optical image stabilization. The most obvious advantage is that when shooting handheld at night, the clarity of photos with optical image stabilization will be more stable.

3: F1.4-F4.0 variable aperture

Let’s talk about the ten-stop physical variable aperture of F1.4-F4.0. In the default shooting mode, there is no way to manually adjust the aperture size. When shooting, the phone will automatically adjust the appropriate aperture value according to the shooting environment.

I also took a lot of photos during this time, and checked the aperture values of these photos separately. The proofs during the day are basically around F2, and the night scene will be shot with a large aperture of F1.4. Increase the amount of light through the large aperture, thereby reducing ISO sensitivity, reducing exposure time, and improving the stability of handheld shooting. F4 aperture basically does not appear.

So when will the F4 aperture come in handy? You may think that it will be in the strong sunlight, but it is not. Judging from the proofs I took myself, the F4 aperture is used in the food shooting mode instead.

The large aperture of F1.4 is not only used when shooting night scenes, but also provides a deeper blurring effect when taking pictures in portrait mode, bringing a similar effect to camera shooting.

If you have a good photography foundation and want to try different aperture changes, you can manually adjust the aperture value in the professional mode of mobile phone shooting. Adjustable among F1.4, F1.6, F1.8, F2, F2.2, F2.5, F2.8, F3.2, F3.5, F4.0.

As for the ultra-wide-angle and telephoto, the ultra-wide-angle of the Huawei Mate 50 Pro is wider than that of the Mate 40 Pro, with a focal length of 13mm (the ultra-wide-angle of the Huawei Mate 40 Pro is 18mm). So you will see a more curved ultra-wide-angle shooting angle. In addition to the wide shot, the visual stretch will be longer.

The telephoto pixel of Huawei Mate 50 Pro is increased to 64MP. However, the highest supported is 3.5x optical zoom, and it can support up to 100x digital zoom. The clarity of the image quality has been improved, and the color adjustment is basically consistent with the main camera.

4: HDR vivid display

It makes me think that the Huawei Mate 50 Pro’s shooting effect has improved a lot, and another reason is the vision. After all, to judge the quality of a photo, in addition to taking it well, the display is also very important. In fact, the proofs you see above are different from what I saw on my mobile phone.

For example, in the night scene photo with a fountain, what I saw on my mobile phone is that the light strip under the fountain and the spotlight on the wall will be brighter and the contrast will be higher. That is to say, viewing the photos taken in the phone gallery will automatically trigger the effect of the HDR display. This effect is especially noticeable in scenes with a larger light ratio.

The photography part of Huawei Mate 50 Pro is almost finished. To briefly summarize for you:

  1. Compared with the Huawei Mate 40 Pro, the color improvement of the Huawei Mate 50 Pro is huge. Color reproduction is accurate, and the photos taken look transparent and closer to reality. The most important thing is that although the main camera uses a RYYB sensor, the problem of color cast is solved.
  2. The three styles of “original”, “clear” and “bright” of XMAGE are maintained to restore reality and adjust the appropriate color contrast and saturation.
  3. The ten-stop adjustable aperture of F1.4-F4.0 is helpful, and the way to automatically select the aperture will change your photos unknowingly. For example, the F4 aperture in the food mode maintains the edge image quality, and the portrait F1.4 aperture deepens the blur, and the tuning is not bad.
  4. HDR Vivid may be a “self-pleasure” feature in my opinion. It will make photos taken by the Huawei Mate 50 Pro, displayed through HDR Vivid, look better on your phone, but others may not feel it. Full-link HDR isn’t just Huawei doing it, but it’s really a way to visually improve the quality of photos taken.

03/ Experience: HarmonyOS 3

Satellite Communication Technology

After talking about the appearance and photography, let’s take a look at the experience of Huawei Mate 50 Pro. The first thing to talk about is satellite communication technology. The technical principle is to use the satellite communication capability in the mobile phone to send the information to the satellite, and then the satellite forwards it to the ground base station, and finally sends it to the recipient. Thereby, the communication capability in the state of no mobile phone signal is realized.

In actual use, you only need to click Beidou Satellite Message in the App, select the contact to send the information to and the content to send, and then you can send a text message containing coordinate information to the contact for help. In the actual test process, the time from sending to receiving is basically kept within 5 minutes. However, it should be noted that this function can only send text messages at present, and it is not available indoors. Its main function is to provide emergency assistance.

In addition, as the first Huawei mobile phone with HarmonyOS 3 pre-installed, Huawei Mate 50 Pro also has many practical functions. Below I will select a few to introduce.

Super Transfer Station

In daily life, we often encounter situations where we need to edit pictures, text, files and other content across applications. In general, we can only process one by one, which is obviously not efficient enough. The super transfer station in HarmonyOS 3 supports users to drag and drop any files such as pictures, documents, and texts to the transfer station. After editing, it can be dragged out and shared in batches. Break through the barriers between third-party software and enable efficient and convenient flow of information.

Desktop Service Card

As the first scene of mobile phone interaction, an easy-to-use desktop can greatly improve the efficiency of use. HarmonyOS has also been working hard on the functionality of the desktop since its launch, and service cards are one of the representatives. On HarmonyOS 3, cards of the same size can be stacked together to provide more functionality while saving desk space. When the user opens the stack, all cards are presented in a waterfall. Users can swipe up and down to view cards, drag to adjust the order of cards, swipe left to delete cards, or drag cards to the desktop.

At the same time, cards of different sizes can also be spliced together in a folder-like manner. The card combination can also be adjusted in size, making it more convenient for users to use, and the desktop arrangement is also more organized. In addition, the system also presets a variety of combination templates to facilitate user layout design, one-click selection, and easy use.

For users who want to quickly organize their desktops, HarmonyOS 3 provides two options: sorting by color and sorting by function, which can keep the desktop organized with one click. Within a single screen, HarmonyOS 3 also provides a variety of desktop smart layout templates for users to choose from, helping users find a layout that suits them.

Security Center

As an essential tool in modern life, smartphones carry a lot of important personal information. Therefore, its security situation has also attracted the attention of users. The Security Center built into HarmonyOS 3 allows users to view the current security situation of the device at any time. Such as virus killing, harassment interception, payment protection center use, etc., actively help users identify problems, and provide corresponding device protection suggestions for various situations. Users can not only view the security status of the local device, but also other devices under the same HUAWEI ID.

And if you are worried about the user’s privacy being stolen by harmful apps, you can use the Privacy Center. It will count and record the behavior of all mobile applications accessing sensitive information in real time, present them in the form of graphs, and proactively give privacy protection suggestions for risky applications. When an unreasonable use of permissions is detected, the Privacy Center will advise users to turn off their permissions.

I believe that many of my friends have heard cases of information leakage caused by sharing pictures. To solve this problem, Huawei Mate 50 Pro provides a picture privacy protection function in the album. When sharing a picture, you can choose to erase the Exif information of the picture with one click.

04/ Charging & Battery Life

Huawei Mate 50 Pro is equipped with a combination of 4700mAh battery, 66W wired fast charge and 50W wireless fast charge. According to the actual test, starting from 1% of the battery, the phone can be charged to 49% after 15 minutes, 86% in 30 minutes, and it takes 38 minutes to fully charge.

In terms of battery life, I tested it with the 5-hour battery life model. After 5 hours, the remaining power of Huawei Mate 50 Pro is 42%, which is within the acceptable range. But if you are a heavy mobile phone user, you may still need to charge it twice a day.

Although the battery life performance can only be regarded as quite satisfactory, the Huawei Mate 50 Pro also has its own unique skills. The emergency mode it is equipped with will automatically turn on when the power is only 1% left, and utilize the residual power of the fuselage battery by using the energy accumulating pump technology. Support emergency operations such as calling for 12 minutes or scanning the code 4 times.

05/ Conclusion

The emergence of the Huawei Mate 50 series is a clear signal from Huawei to the outside world that the once high-end smartphone king is back. The still exquisite design, the photography performance of the first echelon, the black technology such as satellite communication and emergency mode, and the smart experience brought by HarmonyOS, although there are still shortcomings, it still has a good competitiveness in the high-end smartphone market. Coupled with Huawei’s brand appeal, I believe that many friends will choose to pay for it.

For Huawei, the emergence of the Mate 50 series, on the one hand, can strengthen the high-end image of the Huawei brand in the hearts of users. On the other hand, it can also ease the pressure on offline channels due to shortages. I believe that under the background of the return of the Mate series, Huawei’s mobile phone business will slowly return to the right track, and in the future, it will launch more good products with “black technology” for everyone.

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