Huawei Mate 50 Pro Review: Picture Perfect

Huawei Mate 50 Pro Intro

It’s hard to talk about Huawei without mixing politics into the picture - the Chinese company was once the number one smartphone manufacturer (albeit for a very short time) but since the trade ban things have not been great.

Which is a shame really, because Huawei has always delivered top-notch hardware when it comes to smartphones, and especially when it comes to mobile photography, and the Huawei Mate 50 Pro is no exception.

Even though Google Services are nowhere to be found on this phone, the Mate 50 Pro more than makes up for it with its amazing camera system, great AMOLED display and fast charging magics.

What’s new about the Huawei Mate 50 Pro

  • Main camera with variable aperture

  • 3D ToF sensor for face recognition

  • EMUI13

  • Kunlun glass

Huawei Mate 50 Pro Unboxing

This may sound like the beginning of a joke but the joke nowadays is on us customers. Some companies are now shipping their smartphones absolutely barebone - no accessories whatsoever.

We’re happy to report that this isn’t the case with the Huawei Mate 50 Pro, which is to be expected. Most smartphones from the Far East come with plenty of goodies in the retail box. Here we’ve got a hefty 66W fast charging brick, one USB Type-C cable, a decent clear silicone case, and the SIM ejector tool.

That was the bare minimum a couple of years ago, and we used to complain about the lack of decent bundled headphones but it is what it is.

Huawei Mate 50 Pro Design & Colors

Those of you who have had the opportunity to hold and use a Huawei Mate device in their hand will feel absolutely at home with this model. The design has evolved with every generation but it’s still unmistakably Mate-ish.

My old Huawei Mate 20 Pro sports the same gently curved front and back, slim bezels and wide notch. The camera bump is the only thing that has been transformed over the years, and for a good reason. It’s a great metaphor for the evolution of mobile photography (also, quite literally the camera hardware has changed, duh!).

What hasn’t changed is the curved screen and back - Huawei is sticking to those, despite the industry moving back to flat screens lately. There are only two buttons on the right side of the device - the power button (with a nice red accent) and the volume rocker.

The overall design is very clean and feels premium in the hand, even though the sides are a bit thin and digging into your hand. The phone is also quite slippery without a case, which is not the case (pun intended) with the faux leather orange model.

Speaking of colors, there are only three options for the Pro, the already mentioned Orange one, plus Black and Silver variants. To wrap it all up - the design is very pleasant, the only thing that might bug some people is the camera bump with its textured metal ring and quite in-your-face cameras. But design is subjective and you can decide for yourself whether you like it or not.

Huawei Mate 50 Pro Display

The display of the Huawei Mate 50 Pro is just gorgeous but that shouldn’t come as a surprise. The company has been slapping on top-notch panels since the first Mate. This one comes with a 120Hz refresh rate (not an LTPO panel, sadly), and you can choose Dynamic, which will switch between 60, 90, and 120Hz accordingly.

Another cool thing is the 1440 Hz PWM dimming (well it’s not like true DC dimming) which is easier on eyes. PWM (pulse width modulation) is a way to control brightness by making the screen pulsate at a frequency - our eyes perceive it as dimmer. DC (direct current) dimming is the better way to do it, it controls the current to the screen effectively making the diodes emit less light.

The screen can display a 10 bit color palette (1+ billions of colors), and it also supports the P3 colorspace, and HDR10+. It’s pretty accurate too, in Normal mode the deltaE number is impressive, and the color temperature is set perfectly at 6500 Kelvins. As far as brightness goes, this panel can go up to around 900 nits which is plenty bright.

The 6.74-inch AMOLED panel sports a resolution of 2616 x 1212 Pixels, resulting in around 428PPI. You can also switch between full resolution and a battery-saving low-res mode, or let the phone automatically do it for you in Dynamic mode. Always-on, Dark Mode, Eye Comfort are also onboard, and you can also choose the color temperature. All in all - a great AMOLED panel.

Huawei Mate 50 Pro Camera

Welcome to the main act on today’s show - the camera system of the Huawei Mate 50 Pro. Sony has its variable zoom lens and now Huawei has come up with another technology breakthrough in smartphone photography - variable aperture.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves here, let’s quickly run through the specs for the number nerds out there. The Mate 50 Pro features a triple camera system on its back, consisting of a 50 MP Ultra Aperture Camera (RYYB F1.4~F4.0 aperture, OIS), 13 MP ultrawide camera (with macro mode and F2.2 aperture), and a 64 MP telephoto camera (F3.5 aperture, OIS) capable of 3.5 optical zoom, and 10x hybrid.

Now that’s out of our way, so we can focus on the samples. And they are really good! Daylight pictures display a lot of detail with great dynamic range, and the colors are pretty accurate too. There isn’t any perceivable shift in tonality between the different sensors - so going ultrawide or telephoto won’t result in yellowish or purple tint.

The telephoto periscope camera is also great and 3.5x shots are really detailed with almost no loss of clarity. This applies to 10x hybrid zoom samples as well - Huawei’s algorithms dealing with noise and detail preservation are top notch.

There are however occasions where the algorithms deliver strange results - take a look at the whole zoom range sample below - from the ultrawide camera, through the main lens, and then up to 3.5x and 10x zoom. The 10x shot is doing strange things with that guy’s head.