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HUAWEI Mate 50 Pro Unboxing, First Impressions, Variable Camera Samples

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After being absent for nearly 2 years, HUAWEI's high-end Mate Series has officially returned with the Mate 50.
This is the Mate 50 Pro

If you are familiar with the Mate series, they are usually the highest-end phones of the Chinese tech giant every year. But due to several reasons like the pandemic, chip shortage, and their woes with the US government, the company wasn't able to release one last year (2021). Before this, its last Mate is the Mate 40 Pro of 2020.

HUAWEI officials told team GIZGUIDE that they used the time off to carefully craft and really make the Mate this year special.

Today, we have its flagship variant, the HUAWEI Mate 50 Pro.

Despite not having Google Mobile Services (GMS) and 5G connectivity out of the box, this device features a beast of hardware from its "extra-durable" build, super-fast performance, and intuitive and secured operating system, to its "game-changing" camera setup.

The good news for HUAWEI and high-end camera phone fans in the Philippines? It will be available in the country soon.

So, is the Mate back with a vengeance? Let's have a look.

Unboxing/Accessories

Unboxed!
Unboxed!

The unboxing experience is very similar to other high-end Mate phones in the past. The device comes with a FREE TPU clear case, SIM ejector tool, the handset is self, 66W SuperCharge power brick, and the USB-A to USB-C data/charging cable.

The only difference is there are no USB-C earphones with a mic freebie this time. But at least, the charger is still there.

Build Quality/Design

The unit we got is the glass back variant in Black

The signature HUAWEI Mate look that started with the Mate 30 is still present with the Mate 50. Basically, you get a 3D curved back design and a 3D display sandwiching its glossy curved frame.

Similar curves and the notch are still there...

Unlike most modern smartphones, the Mate 50 Pro still retained its large notch housing the wide selfie camera and a lot of sensors.

The company just changed the design of its circular camera island to fit all its new camera sensors and make it look more symmetrical.

The device is available in three (3) different colors, Black, Silver, and Orange. The Black and Silver variants are glossier and glassier while the Orange variant uses a "Vegan Leather" back cover with an arguably better and grippier texture.

What made the device special is its build quality. As expected, the handset is made with all premium materials. It is mostly metal and glass. HUAWEI even added an IP68 rating for water and dust resistance.
The side look
The side look

AND, if you will be getting the Vegan Leather version, you will be getting the Kunlun Glass to protect its display. This has been tested by SGS of Switzerland and it is the first to get a five-star rating. According to the China-based global tech giant, this glass has 10 times better drop resistance versus the regular glass of the Black and Silver versions.
Full view of the display

HUAWEI explained that it is a special type of glass that is formed after 24 hours of high-temperature nanocrystal growth, 108 microcrystalline raw materials deployment, and panel processing.

It is more drop-resistant than expected!

I personally saw HUAWEI officials drop-testing the front panel of this handset in person a LOT of times and I am impressed.


My comment is this tech is only found on the Vegan Leather versions?
Top

Anyway, on top of the device, you will see an IR Blaster and a microphone hole. Above the notch is the earpiece that also acts as the secondary front-facing speaker to complete its stereo setup.
Bottom
Bottom

Below is the hole to access the SIM card tray (with NM card slot), another mic, USB-C, and the primary speaker.
Right
Right

On the right, you will find the power key with an embossed red marking in the middle as an identifier and the volume rocker (volume up and down keys).

It measures 162.1 x 75.5 x 8.5 mm and weighs 205 grams for the Vegan Leather and 209 grams for the Glass variants.

Overall, the back of the handset is beautiful-looking to me. But, its overall look is not for everyone. Either you love it or hate it. Hope that the company will drop the notch next time.
Circular camera hump
Circular camera hump

In case you missed it, HUAWEI is not using Leica-tuned cameras anymore. Instead, they developed a new imaging solution to improve its camera game further—XMAGE. This is HUAWEI's new way to improve its image processing and overall camera hardware.

Anyway, this is using a 50MP RYYB Ultra Aperture Camera with f/1.4 to f/4.0 aperture, phase focus + contrast focus, and OIS. The company claimed that it has 6 aperture blades with apertures (10-scale adjustable physical aperture) that adjust automatically to the scenario.

It is paired with a 13MP f/2.2 Ultra-Wide Angle Camera with AF and a 64MP f/3.5 Telephoto camera that allows the phone to enjoy a maximum zoom range of up to 200x coming from the ultra-wide camera.

We tried it and here are the first shots we took.

First Camera Samples

Daylight
Daylight
Well-lit
Well-lit
f/4.0 vs f/1.4 1x zoom
f/4.0 vs f/1.4 1x zoom
f/4.0 vs f/1.4
f/4.0 vs f/1.4
Starburst effect
Starburst effect
Dim lighting 1
Dim lighting 1
Dim lighting 2
Dim lighting 2
Low light 1
Low light 1
Low light 2
Low light 2
Selfie 1
Selfie 1
Selfie 2
Selfie 2

The back cameras of this device recently topped DxOMark's camera ranking and we can see why. The Mate 50 Pro takes some of the most refined-looking images on a phone and it has several tricks that make the experience even better.

It isn't using the biggest and most advanced camera sensor. There are claims that it is just a Sony IMX766 main sensor, the same sensor found in most modern mid-range phones. But, HUAWEI increased its max aperture size to an extra fast and wide f/1.4. It even has a variable aperture mode that adjusts automatically or manually via Portrait mode or Pro mode.

In our experience, this takes LEGIT natural-looking background blurs if you use the Portrait mode at 2x to 3x zoom. The blur won't be that noticeable even at f/1.4 if you will use the default 1x mode. Of course, it still has the software blur effect, but I'd rather use the natural one.

Using the manual mode, you can even get a shot with legit starburst effects that you will only see on big cameras before. This is thanks to its 6 aperture blades.

Even in dimmer lighting conditions, the shots from the Mate 50 Pro can shine. We also like the color science of HUAWEI so far. It seems like Leica never left and they are even doing better now.

I have yet to fully explore the rest of its camera tricks and features in different lighting conditions, but this is arguably the best back camera phone experience I've seen on a smartphone.

Even for selfies, the quality is respectable as the details are crisp and the colors are not muted. It can even go quite wide for groufies.

I'm also excited to see what it can do for videos and overall content creation.

HUAWEI Mate 50 Pro Specs

Display: 6.74-inch Kunlun Glass protected (3D curved OLED screen w/ up to 120Hz refresh rate, 300Hz touch sampling rate, 1440Hz high-frequency PWM dimming, 2616 x 1212 resolution at 428 ppi
CPU: 3.19GHz 4nm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 octa-core processor
GPU: Adreno (new-gen)
RAM: 8GB RAM
ROM: 256GB/512GB expandable via NM card slot up to 256GB
Back Camera: 50MP f/1.4 to f/4.0 Ultra Aperture Camera w/ phase focus + contrast focus, OIS, AIS + 13MP f/2.2 Ultra-Wide Angle w/ AF + 64MP f/3.5 Telephoto w/ OIS + LED flash
Selfie Camera: 13MP f/2.4 Ultra-Wide-Angle + 3D Depth Sensing Camera
Battery: 4,700mAh w/ 66W SuperCharge + 50W Wireless SuperCharge + Reverse Wireless Charging
OS: EMUI 13
Connectivity: WiFi 6, 4G LTE, Bluetooth 5.2 BLE (SBC, AAC, LDAC), NFC, GPS (L1 + L5), A-GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou (B1I + B1C + B2a), Galileo (E1 + E5a), QZSS (L1 + L5), NavIC, dual SIM
Sensors: Accelerometer, light, orientation, proximity, gyroscope, sound, magnetic, pressure
Others: In-Display fingerprint sensor, IR Blaster, IP68 water and dust resistance, stereo speakers, USB-C, Colors: Black, Silver, Orange
Dimensions: 162.1 x 75.5 x 8.5 mm
Weight: 205 g (Vegan Leather) 209 g (Glass)
Price: TBC

As of the moment

GBox, the newest way to use Google apps on devices with no GMS like HUAWEI phones

Intriguing. The HUAWEI Mate 50 Pro is probably the most polarizing high-end device that we tried recently.

It is likely the most durable premium smartphone with the most powerful cameras in the market so far. The overall hardware of the device is also impressive from the large 6.74-inch OLED screen with curved edges, 120Hz refresh rate, and crisp 2616 x 1212 resolution, Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 4G Mobile Platform, and large 4,700mAh battery with USB-C 66W SuperCharge + 50W Wireless SuperCharge + Reverse Wireless Charging, among others.

The software is also very smooth and feature-rich. We enjoyed its low-battery Emergency Mode that gives users about 3 hours of standby time when the phone falls to 1 percent, the tricks of EMUI 13 that makes that make the overall user experience intuitive, and the SuperStorage solution that stacks duplicate files and compresses lesser-used apps that can clear your storage.


HUAWEI users may have almost solved the Google issue with the help of GBox.

The only thing that may prevent me from buying this is its lack of 5G. But if HUAWEI will make the 5G case for the Mate 50 Pro available in the Philippines, then it might not be an issue anymore.

We do not know the price yet. I will be testing the rest of its features in the coming days and get back to you guys with our full review.

Stay tuned!
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