The Mate 10 Pro was announced in October 2017 and went on sale in November, so it’s only a seven months old. But technology marches on and Huawei has launched more flagships in the meantime, including the superb P20 and P20 Pro.
Those who prefer an even larger screen will have to wait until much later in the year for the next in the Mate series, though. Rumour has it that Huawei has placed orders for 6.9in AMOLED displays from Samsung.
It wouldn’t be the first time we’ve seen a huge phablet from Huawei, as it released the 6.8in P8 Max back in 2015.
Previously we’d thought the next Mate phone would be called the Mate 11, but since Huawei decided to go with P20 rather than P11, it makes sense that it will also use this naming convention for the Mate 10’s successor too.
When is the Mate 20 release date?
Huawei has been developing the Mate range for a number of years now, so there’s no reason to suspect it won’t continue its annual release schedule in 2018.
The Mate 8, 9 and 10 have all launched during November in successive years, so expect the company to announce the Mate 20 range sometime in October, with an on-sale date in November.
Rewind a few years and Huawei had a bad track record of announcing products which didn’t go on sale for months afterwards. In the case of the Mate 8, it was almost impossible to buy in the UK.
Recently Huawei has partnered up with UK operators which has also meant phones have been available as promised. Expect this to continue with the Mate 20.
If you’re in the US, then so far you’ve been out of luck as Huawei hasn’t really pushed its phones there. The Mate 10 Pro was supposed to be available via AT&T, but that didn’t work out. What you can buy is the Matebook X Pro, which oddly isn’t yet on sale in the UK yet.
How much will the Mate 20 cost?
Huawei managed to keep the Mate 10 Pro’s price under £700, despite rumours that it would be £800 or even £900. In the US, pre-orders start at $799, with the Porsche Design model costing $1255, although big discounts are already being offered.
It’s impossible to say how much the Mate 20 will cost as we simply don’t yet know exactly which upgrades it will have.
Assuming there’s nothing radical, such as a 4K screen, it may well be a similar price to the Mate 10.
Don’t forget that there are likely to be several models in the range, with the Mate 20 itself being the cheaper version and the Mate 20 Pro being the true flagship.
What are the Mate 20 rumoured features?
In terms of the screen and overall design, we weren’t expecting a whole lot to change. But if the rumours of a 6.9in screen are true, the handset will be a fair chunk larger – the Mate 10 Pro already has very slim bezels.
The ’10 was the first model to break from the traditional Mate design, complete with a glass back, IP68 water resistance and even slimmer bezels.
The bezels may have to shrink even more for the Mate 20, and if Huawei sticks with the glass back, it’s possible it will add wireless charging. Don’t hold your breath though, as the firm defended its decision to omit the feature from the Mate 10 because “wireless charging is too slow”.
The big news is that the Mate 20 will supposedly have a massive 6.9in screen. That’s almost an inch larger than the Mate 10 Pro’s screen, but it’s rumoured to be because the Chinese prefer a larger screen due to the amount of space the native keyboard occupies.
With orders rumoured to have been placed already with Samsung, it should be a flat, AMOLED screen and given the bump in size there’s a chance resolution will climb a little higher from 2160×1080, which the Mate 10 Pro got.
This is the same chip rumoured (via GizmoChina) to be in the upcoming Huawei P20 phone, though, so it’s possible there will be an even more powerful processor ready by the time the Mate 11 launches.
The 980 is reportedly manufactured using a 7nm process, which is highly advanced. It’s unconfirmed but thought that it will retain the AI features (the Neural Processing Unit) of the 970, which is used in the Mate 10. A Chinese forum post also told readers to expect surprises in the “graphical part”.
Huawei’s sub-brand Honor has been churning out a lot of new phones recently, but one trend which could carry over to Huawei’s phones is quad cameras. Essentially, that means adding a second front-facing camera as the Mate 10 already has a dual-camera setup at the rear.
Having a second camera at the front will allow the Mate 20 to take selfies with a believable depth effect, but other rumours suggest it could also be used for a face-unlock feature.
The rear cameras could also get a big upgrade, perhaps even the same triple setup of the P20 Pro. What we’d really like to see is the trifecta of telephoto, standard and wide-angle rather than the third camera having a monochrome sensor.
Assuming the main processor has similar AI features, the Mate 20 should have similar – or better – scene recognition than the P20 Pro, automatically selecting the best settings according to the scene detected.
Ultimately, though, we’d simply like to see stabilisation for video at all resolutions including 4K. The Mate 10 Pro takes great photos, but its video at anything other that 1080p30 isn’t a patch on what the latest iPhones offer.
We might see some minor hardware updates, such as the latest version of Bluetooth and an even faster LTE modem. In other respects, things could well stay the same: 6GB of RAM, 128GB of storage and microSD expansion. Don’t expect the return of a 3.5mm headphone jack either.
Huawei made sure the Mate 10 shipped with the latest version of Android, so expect the Mate 20 to come with Android 9.0 and the company’s own EMUI 9 software.
EMUI tends to polarise opinions, but even if you’re not the biggest fan of the iOS-style interface and the floating dock button, Huawei adds a selection of useful features.
Some of these you won’t see as they’re hidden away behind the scenes. They also work in conjunction with the hardware, so the NPU is used for such things as increasing battery life and making apps load faster by monitoring which apps you tend to use at specific times of day.
We also expect Huawei to develop its desktop interface for EMUI 9. With the Mate 10 Pro and EMUI 8, you can use a USB-C to HDMI cable and turn the phone into a mini PC by using a standard monitor as the screen and the phone’s display as a controller both for the mouse and keyboard.
It’s impressive, but it would certainly benefit from some refining. It could be a compelling feature for those who want their phone to double up as a PC or a presentation device.
When other Mate 20 rumours surface, we’ll be sure to add them to this article.
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