Apple iPhone XS vs Huawei Mate 20 Pro - Pound for pound title clash

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Apple iPhone XS and Huawei Mate 20 Pro are two of the first few smartphones equipped with a next-generation 7nm processor inside.
Apple iPhone XS vs Huawei Mate 20 Pro - Pound for pound title clash
Team Apple or team Huawei?

Along with the iPhone XS Max, the iPhone XS is the current top-of-the-line iOS smartphone of the Cupertino. On the other hand, the Huawei Mate 20 Pro is arguably the best Android smartphone in the world right now.

Probably, these two are some of the most powerful phones in the market right now.

Both are amazing for me, but which is the one for you? Let's find out!

Build Quality/Design

2.5D glass back
2.5D glass back

It is clear that the Apple iPhone XS and the Mate 20 Pro are both made out of premium materials. Both arrived with sandwiched metal and glass construction with IP68 water and dust resistance.
2.5D glass back
3D glass back

The handsets also has some sort of glass protection to prevent scratches and cracks from accidental drops.
Top
Top
Bottom
Bottom
Left
Left
Right
Right

The iPhone XS with  5.8-inch display is the smaller phone and slimmer between the two. It measures at 143.6 x 70.9 x 7.7 mm. But, the Mate 20 Pro comes with the bigger 6.3-inch OLED screen and the "better to hold" 3D curved glass back.

Stunning design for both!

The Mate 20 Pro even has color options with textured glass finish at the back, the emerald green and midnight blue variant.

Both phones have protruding cameras though the camera bump on the iPhone is more noticeable.

The two high-end smartphones also arrived with a tall 19:5:9 screen aspect ratio. But, the Mate 20 Pro has slimmer bezels and a slightly smaller notch. It comes with 87.9 percent of screen-to-body ratio versus the 84.4 percent of the iPhone.

It simply means that you will get a bigger screen real estate for viewing images, reading texts, or watching movies on the Mate 20 Pro. There's an option to hide the notch on the Mate.

The iPhone doesn't have anything on top while the Mate 20 Pro has a mic and IR blaster remote control for several appliances.

The two phones also has their charging ports below. The Mate 20 uses the standard USB-C pin while the iPhone XS is still using the lighting port.

The iPhone XS has two speakers at the bottom while the Mate 20 Pro only has 1 below. It is hidden at the USB-C port. The other speaker of the Mate 20 Pro to complete the stereo audio experience is found its earpiece.

The iPhone comes with buttons at both left and right for volume, power, and mute. The single SIM tray is found at right. On the other hand, the Mate 20 Pro has nothing at left.  The power button and volume rocker at right.

The Mate also has a dual SIM slot/NM hybrid slot below. NM is the nano memory card, an even smaller version of the microSD card.

The iPhone XS and the Mate 20 Pro doesn't have the 3.5mm headphone slot anymore. You can use a USB-C headphone on the Mate 20 Pro. You need a headphone with lighting port for the the iPhone. Both comes with Bluetooth headphones support if you need to listening to music while charging your phone.

Apple's iPhone XS feels really premium. They are pretty equal in the build department for me. However, the design choice of Apple looks pretty old already for me. I like the design and the curves of the Mate 20 Pro.

The iPhone XS weighs at 177 grams while the Mate 20 Pro is at 189 grams.

The Mate 20 Pro and weighs at 189 and 201 grams, respectively.

The iPhone XS could be used for one-handed operation. The Mate 20 Pro is the bigger device so you will need two hands to operate it.

Both feels good in the hands. But, do not put them on slippery surface without a case. The Mate 20 Pro with glossy finish and iPhone XS are also prone to fingerprint smudges. You are lucky if you have the Mate 20 Pro variant with textured finish.

Display Quality

Big, crisp, and bright screens
Big, crisp, and bright screens

Apple iPhone XS has a 5.8-inch big 2.5D curved OLED screen with 2436 x 1125 resolution at 463 ppi. The Mate 20 Pro loads with an even bigger 6.39-inch 3D curved OLED screen w/ QHD+ 3140 x 1440 resolution at 541 ppi.

Mate's display is sharper 78 ppi, though the difference of the resolution in real life is hardly noticeable.
iPhone X screen
iPhone X screen

Both are OLED screens with with good color reproduction, great contrast, and deep blacks. Both screens has popping colors that most would like. By default, the color tone of the Mate 20 Pro is a bit colder while the iPhone with True Tone is warmer.

There are times where True Tone's color temperature adjustment would be too aggressive and will make the screen a bit yellowish.
Mate 20 Pro screen
Mate 20 Pro screen

Viewing angles are amazing for both panels as well. They can both go bright at 725 nits and 820 nits, respectively. 

Both also have 10 points of touch for the usual easy touch, type, and swipe.

It is a matter of personal preference in the screen as the two screens are some of the best that you will find.

Audio Quality

The two phones have two speakers each. Personally, I prefer the speaker on the iPhone XS. It is a bit louder and can provide the slightly clearer and fuller sounding tunes.
Speaker/s below
Speaker/s below

Huawei did a clever job of hiding the primary speaker at the bottom inside the USB-C port. But, it made the audio quality of the Mate 20 Pro weaker than the older P20 Pro.

Don't get me wrong, Mate 20 Pro's speaker audio quality is still considered as above-average for a flagship. But, it could have been better.

On wired headphones, both phones are amazing and can play lossless audio with ease. They just differ on the file type used. On Spotify Premium, the output on each device are amazing as well.

Both has good driver power (loudness) and doesn't distort even on max volume. I wouldn't recommend using it at max loudness as it will damage your ears. If you will ask me who is louder, my answer is the iPhone XS.

It means that the iPhone XS can power bigger headphones better than the Mate.

The Mate 20 Pro has Dolby audio software to tune the output. Apple has their own software EQ presets.

On wireless audio, both sounds the same on my Apple ACC wireless and Android's Sony LDAC compatible wireless headphones, the 1MORE Triple Driver BT.

For calls, both are identical in quality. The ear speaker of both smartphones has clear and crisp output. The mic of the Mate 20 Pro for recordings is amazing, but Apple still has the slight edge here.

Battery

Despite its tiny 2,658mAh battery, the iPhone XS can last for several hours on a single charge. Apple's power efficient chip and software optimizations made it last for around 9 hours and 30 minutes on our average daily usage with 4G LTE.

iPhone's performance is better than what we expected. Plus, there's a Low Power Mode to temporarily reduce background activity.
Mate 20 Pro's battery score
Mate 20 Pro's battery score

But, its battery score will look puny against the Mate 20 Pro with massive 4,200mAh battery. It also goes with a power efficient 7nm chip and an aggressive battery management software that kills unnecessary background tasks and apps when not in use.

In addition, the Mate 20 Pro comes with several power saving features. You can choose Perforamnce mode, Power saving mode, and Ultra power saving mode. There's an option to darken the interface of its UI and a Smart resolution feature to automatically lower the screen resolution to further save power.

In terms of charging speed, the iPhone XS needs around 3 hours and 30 minutes from 0 to 100 percent if you will use the default 5W USB charger or wireless charger. But, if you will use a proprietary fast charger, you will need around 2 hours to fully charge your iPhone.

On the other hand, the Huawei Mate 20 Pro with 40W SuperCharge solution can fully charge its bigger 4,200mAh battery in just 1 hour and 10 minutes from 0 to 100 percent. The Mate 20 Pro even has support for 15W charging which can charge the phone from 0 to 100 percent in 2 hours.
Reverse wireless charging!
Reverse wireless charging!

By the way, you can also use the Mate 20 Pro to charge the iPhone XS or other devices with Qi wireless charging tech.

Camera

Dual cam vs triple-cam
Dual cam vs triple-cam

The specs may look the same, but iPhone XS comes with an improved dual-camera system versus its predecessor, the iPhone X. The ISP (image signal processor) and the software of the XS is better than the X. It still has a 12MP f/1.8 + 12MP f/2.4 w/ 2x optical zoom, OIS, laser AF, PDAF, and quad-LED flash.

Related: Samsung Galaxy Note9 vs Apple iPhone XS vs Huawei Mate 20 Pro - Flagship Blind Camera Test

The iPhone XS has a good portrait mode with a lot of lighting effects. It also goes with a decent 2x zoom.
Clean camera interface

On the other hand, the Mate 20 Pro comes with an a Leica triple camera system. It comes with a 40MP f/1.8 RGB sensor + 20MP f/2.2 ultra wide-angle + 8MP f/2.4 OIS telephoto sensor w/ 4D predictive focus, AIS, 5x zoom, 4K video recording, 960 fps slow motion, and dual-tone LED flash.

Dual-cam or triple-cam?

Like what we stated in our review, the Mate 20 Pro still have most of the popular Huawei photography modes such as Super Night Mode, lighting painting, and pro mode. But now, it has the new ultra-wide angle mode to replace the dedicated monochrome mode.

The Leica-tuned monochrome filter is still there for those who who wants black and white shots.

The Mate 20 Pro also goes with AI for scene detection. It can recognize up to 1,500 scenarios in 25 categories. 

In our tests, both phones are excellent shooters with speedy autofocus and shooting speed. Both are noticeably good for macro and low light shots as well. Though the Mate has the advantage here as it has a 2.5 cm super macro mode using its 20MP cam. The main 40MP cam of Huawei is 1/1.73-inch big sensor for wider dynamic range and low light scenes.

But, let's see!

Rear Camera Samples

The first shot showed the great white balance produced by the iPhone XS. It is very detailed as well. The details and contrast in the clouds are nicer in the iPhone. The Mate produced the brighter image though. It has nicer dynamic range as well.
On default portrait/bokeh mode, the iPhone XS got the colors accurately again. The shot on the Mate is too warm. But, it didn't have a focus problem. The result? Mate 20 Pro's photo has sharper looking details. The bokeh are nice for both. The iPhone has the better edge detection while the Mate 20 has the deeper looking background blur.
We also tried the 10x zoom of both devices. The iPhone got the brighter image, but it is grainier. The Mate got the shot with crisp details and better colors. Huawei's zoom is simply way more usable.
Both phones failed to get the colors accurately. The iPhone XS is too dull, while the Mate 20 Pro got a saturated image. The correct colors is somewhere in between dull and saturated. The Mate 20 got the image with better exposure and crispier details though.
For indoor portraits, Apple flexed its muscles quite hard. Colors are still accurate. Unlike our first portrait shot, details are on point this time. The background blur is pleasing to the eyes as well.
The next scene showed that the two camera phones performed well in low light. iPhone's output is a bit warmer and brighter. The sharpness, contrast, and dynamic range are better on the Mate 20 Pro.
The next point and shoot low light shot showed that the iPhone XS struggled. Details are soft and grain is visible. The Mate 20 Pro got the image with sharper details, wider dynamic range, and better quality. We also noticed that the shot taken by the Mate is wider even if you don't use the ultra-wide angle mode.
Ultra wide-angle
Ultra wide-angle

The Mate 20 Pro also has a dedicated ultra wide-angle camera for stunning wide-angle shots. The ultra-wide lens also allowed us to take better macro shots than the iPhone.
Super Night Mode
Super Night Mode

By the way, I think we should also highlight the Super Night Mode feature of the Mate 20 Pro. It allowed us to take up to 6s handheld long exposure shots even without a tripod for cleaner and sharper low light shots.

So far, the iPhone is mostly better with white balance and skin tones. But most of the time, details are sharper on the Mate 20 Pro. It is the phone that can shoot images with wider dynamic range.

It is way more versatile than the iPhone XS due to its super macro, ultra wide-angle, AI assisted night mode, and plenty of other modes like the cool light painting and pro mode. You can even save .RAW image format with the Mate.
Single selfie cam each
Single selfie cam each

For selfies, the iPhone only has a 7MP f/2.2 front facing camera w/ screen flash. The Mate 20 Pro features a massive 24MP f/2.0 snapper with AI face beauty and 3D portrait lighting. It also has an AI HDR feature for against the light shots and portrait mode with bokeh and a lot of lighting effect tricks.
AR effects
AR effects

The iPhone XS has a custom AR animoji feature, dubbed as the memoji. It will allow you to make an animated character that resembles your face. Both the animoji and memoji of Apple looks better and more responsive/expressive than the 3D Qmoji of the Mate 20 Pro.

Selfie Camera Samples

The 7MP selfie camera of the iPhone XS is incredible. It has life-like colors, accurate details, and really good HDR. Mate 20 Pro's daylight selfie is better than its predecessor as it has truer colors and sharper details. But, it is clear in this comparison that Apple is ahead.

On the next shot, iPhone's color accuracy and background details are on point again. The color on the Mate 20 Pro is a bit too white. Mate's shot is wider and more Instagram ready though. Details are also sharp.
For conditions with poor lighting, the iPhone struggled with exposure. Though details are still considered as decent. This is where Huawei Mate 20 Pro with 4-in-1 light fusion technology shined. They got the image with better looking exposure and lovelier overall image quality.
The next low light selfie depends on your personal preference. The colors on the iPhone is truer, details are better on the Mate.

Overall, I personally prefer the selfies taken by the iPhone in daylight and well-lit scenes. The Mate has the nicer low light selfie for me tough.

Videos

The iPhone XS has up to 4K 60fps videos. It can also shoot 1080p at 60 or 30fps. It also has the usual time-lapse feature and 240fps slow-motion function.



The iPhone has the slight edge in video shooting if you like shooting 4K videos. The Mate 20 Pro only has up to 4K 30fps in quality. The Mate also has time-lapse.


The quality of video shooting on both devices are top notch for me. Stabilization are great on the two handsets as well.

But, the Mate 20 Pro comes with shooting features that the iPhone XS doesn't have.

First, it can shoot up to 960fps super slow motion videos. Second, it has the ultra wide-angle mode even up to 4K 30fps. Third, it have cool tricks like the AI intelligent zoom, AI colour (desaturate the background), and bokeh video.

Performance

iPhone XS benchmark scores
iPhone XS benchmark scores

The iPhone XS runs with the 7nm A12 chip while the Mate 20 Pro loads with the 7nm Kirin 980 SoCt. Both are made out of 6.9 billion transistors.
Mate 20 Pro benchmarks
Mate 20 Pro benchmarks

The A12 bionic chip loads hexa-core architecture with a custom-made Apple-designed GPU. It also has a 2nd generation 8-core Neural Engine with support for 5 trillion operations per second.

Super fast phones!

On the other hand, the Kirin 980 features an octa-core processor with Mali-G76 MP10 GPU and a Dual-Core NPU to handle AI tasks. Kirin 980 is arguably the best AI chip around.

The iPhone XS comes with 4GB RAM and 64GB to 512GB of storage. It has no microSD slot. The Mate 20 Pro has 6GB RAM and 128GB storage. The 256GB variant is not available in PH. It has a NM card slot to expand the memory.

As the first two smartphones with a next-generation 7nm chip, both the iPhone XS and Mate 20 Pro have incredible performance for the price. 

The iPhone XS has the slight advantage in benchmarks, but I can't hardly feel the difference in real life. Both are super fast flagship phones that can anything you throw at it with ease as of writing.

Both runs all known apps and games at max settings.

You won't have a problem with multitasking even if you have a lot of background apps. The memory management and AI of the phones knows how to optimize the performance of each.
PUBG high settings no problem
PUBG high settings no problem

We noticed that the two gets a bit warm while playing with 4G data. But, only warm. Not and far from hot.

The UI

iOS
iOS

To each his/her own. The iPhone XS runs iOS 12. The Mate 20 Pro is an Android Pie device with EMUI 9.0 skin. The iOS 12 skin has a full gesture based interface with no more buttons anymore.

EMUI 9.0 can let you choose a more with app drawer or no app drawer. It also has a mode where you can switch into a full gesture based interface ala iPhone XS.

iOS 12 is super smooth you won't have a problem with apps most of the time. It is the near perfect mobile OS for me. It isn't just as customizable and feature rich as Huawei's Android-based EMUI 9.0 skin.

EMUI have customizable themes, phone manager for optimization, and health app to track fitness.There's the new Digital Balance feature that records your usage on every app to track your behavior and prevent you from over using your phone.
Calorie counter
AI translation
AI translation

There's a Spotlight Reel feature which generates a 10-second highlight videos using facial recognition, HiVision feature can be used to identify objects and translate languages, and app twin multi-user feature.

It has an App lock feature where locked apps can only be accessed with a password, via face unlock, or fingerprint scanner.

Other features

In-Display fingerprint
In-Display fingerprint

The iPhone XS has the TrueDepth Camera which is responsible to make Apple's Face ID face unlock technology work. Its face unlock is faster than the iPhone X. It still works well in the dark. However like the iPhone X, it doesn't have a dedicated fingerprint scanner anymore. Sadly, Apple failed to add an In-Display fingerprint reader on a PHP 67K device.

Huawei's Mate 20 Pro doesn't have a traditional fingerprint reader anymore. Instead, it is using a new-gen In-Display fingerprint scanner.

It isn't as fast as the traditional fingerprint reader, but it is one of the fastest In-Display fingerprint scanner in town.

The Mate 20 Pro also has a 3D face unlock feature that works even in the dark.

The Mate 20 Pro is also one the few flagships with an IR Blaster mode that you can use as a remote control for your TV, Aircon, and more.

There's a PC mode if you connect your phone to a TV using a USB-C to HDMI cable.

Signal reception is great for both devices. But, the Mate 20's signal reception is noticeably stronger by a bar on areas with weak GSM or 4G signal. iPhone XS has up to 4G LTE Cat 16 while the Mate 20 Pro has the industry leading up to 4G LTE Cat 21 connectivity.

Apple iPhone XS vs Huawei Mate 20 Pro Specs

Device
Apple iPhone XS
Huawei Mate 20 Pro
Display
5.8-inch 2.5D curved OLED screen w/ 2436 x 1125 resolution at 463 ppi
6.39-inch 3D curved OLED screen w/ QHD+ 3140 x 1440 resolution at 541 ppi
CPU
2.49GHz 64-bit Apple A12 Bionic hexa-core processor
2.6GHz 64-bit Kirin 980 octa-core processor w/ Dual-NPU
GPU
Quad-core
Mali-G76 MP10 w/ GPU Turbo 2.0
RAM
4GB
6GB LPDDR4x
ROM
64GB/256GB/512GB
128GB expandable via NM card slot up to 256GB
Back Camera
12MP f/1.8 + 12MP f/2.4 w/ 2x optical zoom, OIS, laser AF, PDAF, and quad LED flash
40MP f/1.8 RGB sensor + 20MP f/2.2 ultra wide-angle + 8MP f/2.4 OIS telephoto sensor w/ 4D predictive focus, AIS, 5x zoom, 4K video recording, 960 fps slow motion, and dual-tone LED flash
Selfie Camera
7MP f/2.2 w/ screen flash
24MP f/2.0 w/ AI face beauty and 3D portrait lighting
Battery
2,658mAh w/ 30W fast charging support and 7.5W wireless charging
4,200mAh w/ 40W SuperCharge and 15W wireless charging w/ reverse wireless charging
OS
iOS 12
Android 9.0 Pie w/ EMUI 9.0
Connectivity
WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, 4G LTE, Bluetooth 5.0, GPS, A-GPS, GALILEO, QZSS
WiFi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (2.4/5GHz), 4G LTE Cat 21, Bluetooth 5 BLE, aptX HD, OTG, NFC, dual-band GPS, dual SIM (hybrid)
Sensors
Accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer
Accelerometer, light, orientation, proximity, gyroscope, sound, magnetic, pressure
Others
TrueDepth camera for Face ID 3D facial recognition, IP68 water and dust resistance, stereo speakers, Colors: black, silver, gold
In-Display fingerprint sensor, 3D face unlock, IR Blaster, IP68 water and dust resistance, 384K/32-bit HiFi DAC, USB Type-C, stereo speakers, Colors: emerald green, midnight blue, classical black, pink gold, twilight
Dimensions
143.6 x 70.9 x 7.7 mm
157.8 x 72.3 x 8.6 mm
Weight
177 g
189 g
Price
PHP 67,990 (64GB), PHP 77,490 (256GB), PHP 90,490 (512GB)
PHP 49,990

Apple iPhone XS advantages - Slightly faster chip, clearer audio, OS (debatable)
Huawei Mate 20 Pro advantages - Better design, bigger and sharper screen, more RAM, way bettery battery performance, faster charging speed, reverse wireless charging feature, more versatile cameras, In-Display fingerprint scanner, speedier connectivity options, cheaper price tag

Verdict

The new iPhone is a step-up over the iPhone XS. It comes with better speed and cameras versus its predecessor. As of writing, it is one of the fastest in the world. Apple's skin and ecosystem is top-notch.

However, it doesn't have the wow factor of the Huawei Mate 20 Pro. It is the better looking handset in terms of design with almost the same speed for much less.

The Mate 20 Pro with 128GB storage is priced at just PHP 49,990 while the iPhone XS has a starting price of 67,990 for the 64GB variant. 

In addition, Mate 20 Pro comes with a LOT of features that the Apple iPhone XS doesn't have. It have the longer battery life, faster wired/wireless charging speed, more powerful cameras, stronger connectivity, and innovations like the In-Display fingerprint scanner and the reverse wireless charging tech.

As always, both are amazing high-end smartphones with advantages and disadvantages over each other.

It is just clear in our comparison that Huawei has bested Apple in this flagship smartphone battle.

Do you agree with us? Let us know in the comments.
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