Huawei Mate RS Porsche Design Review

Huawei Mate RS Porsche Design

Huawei Mate RS Porsche Design

Huawei

March, 2018
6.0" display, Kirin 970 chipset, Triple: 40 MP + 20 MP B/W + 8 MP primary camera, 24 MP front camera, 4000 mAh battery, 512 GB storage, 6 GB RAM.
EUR:€1,300
Rate It:User Rating: (Good)


Huawei Mate RS Porsche Design Review

Huawei Mate RS Porsche Design Review


Introduction

Huawei and Porsche Design's partnership has yielded three smartphones, with latest being their best smartphone to date, Huawei Mate RS Porsche Design. RS, which stands for Racing Sport gives away hint that this phone is going to look sporty and come with top of the line specs, and that is indeed what's happening. Huawei has positioned this phone in market as a luxury phone, targeted to niche market of users who want to have a fairly expensive device at their disposal. Phone comes with interesting design and hardware choices, with some top features, couple of them being first to be seen on a smartphone yet. With a luxurious look, Porsche Design tag and futuristic features, does this phone justifies its price tag or is it yet another smartphone only bound to be bought for its status factor? Let's find out.

Design

Having a look at Huawei Mate RS Porsche Design gives away the fact that its design is heavily inspired by Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus. Phone has a curved OLED display, which extends to rounded metal frame with machined antenna bands in identical locations and continues to curved glass back. It's got a mixed metal and glass chassis, a center-mounted rear-facing camera and an equal amount of dead space at top and bottom of 2.5D curved screen, instead of a notch.

At front there's a large curved OLED display with small bezels at top and bottom, similar to what you have on Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus. Top bezel houses sensors and front camera while bottom bezel bears Porsche Design branding, making phone look sporty and classy at the same time.

Back of device is where you'll get to see the actual Porsche Design factor. There's a triple camera setup similar to one found on Huawei P20 Pro, placed at top center of device. Top camera is placed apart from other two cameras housed in a black camera module. There's Leica branding to side of camera module, as Huawei has partnered with Leica to build their triple camera setup. Below the camera module is a flashlight with a fingerprint scanner right underneath it. There's a Porsche Design logo in middle of device and Huawei branding at bottom, with rest of back kept clean. Back is made of glass and it looks spectacular as it shines through its symmetric build. It's also a huge fingerprint magnet and Huawei has included a case inside the box in case you want to keep your phone protected.

At right side of phone, there's a power button with volume keys and left side is kept clean with just a sim card tray. Bottom of device is where you'll find a bottom firing speaker, a USB Type-C port and sadly, no 3.5 mm headphone jack. On top, there's a surprise addition of an IR blaster so lack of a headphone jack may be forgiven.

Overall, it's a beautifully made smartphone, with top build quality, spectacular looks and great feel to it. Huawei has given emphasis to symmetry of this phone, and that is why they did not go for a notched display and went for curved edges instead. Even though it looks similar to Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus, Huawei Mate RS Porsche Design looks and feel more refined and symmetric and in my opinion, this is one of the best built phones in 2018 so far.

Display

Huawei's latest Porsche Design flagship comes with the best display Huawei has ever put on any of their smartphones. Phone comes with a 6 inch WQHD+ AMOLED display with a resolution of 2880x1440p, aspect ratio of 18:9 and pixel density of 538 ppi. It's a curved display, similar to what you see on Samsung Galaxy flagships.

This display is one of the best around as it is bright and clear, with fantastic viewing angles and excellent black levels. Text comes through beautifully sharp, and watching movies and TV shows on this phone is a joy. I'd even go so far as to say that this is one of the best screens I've seen on an Android phone so far. Running some identical video next to the Samsung Galaxy S9, Huawei Mate RS Porsche Design had better contrast that kept colors and highlights punchy without sacrificing detail in darker areas of scenes.

You get options to set resolution to HD+ (1440 x 720), FHD+ (2160 x 1080) or full-fledged WQHD+ (2880 x 1440), although using Smart Resolution mode means phone will automatically lower pixel count to save battery life when extra resolution isn't necessary. This is an excellent feature, one which will definitely enhance user experience as they will get more battery life, without compromising much on viewing quality. If you're not satisfied with color balance, Huawei Mate RS Porsche Design also enables you to tweak its display endlessly. It's set to Vivid by default, which might pop a little too much, while Standard mode is a bit dull, so it's nice that you can easily get to somewhere in between. Most people will no doubt leave it in Vivid Mode and be perfectly happy. Quick Setting pulldown menu gives easy access to Eye Comfort mode, which reduces blues in display. If you have trouble getting a good night's sleep, it's worth using this mode in evenings, as I've found these blue-light filters to be very effective at allowing my brain to rest.

Display on Huawei's latest Mate series flagship is also one of the brightest I've seen so far. It gets as bright as Samsung Galaxy S9, however, while OLED panel can go rather bright, it's typically reluctant to do so. I felt that brightness could do with an extra kick for when it's really needed in bright sunny environment. Switching off Auto within settings and dragging brightness bar to maximum certainly brings results. One reason why display doesn't get too bright in sunny conditions could be that Huawei has limited it to stay fairly standard to safe battery life.

A unique feature on Huawei Mate RS Porsche design is inclusion of in-screen fingerprint scanner. Even though there's a regular fingerprint scanner at back, which is one of the fastest that I have tested, Huawei has included a futuristic fingerprint scanner inside phone's display, which works pretty well. It is, however, in its first generation and not as good as regular fingerprint scanners but it does provide that extra edge you would expect in a Porsche Design smartphone. To this date, Huawei Mate RS Porsche Design, together with Vivo X21 are the only smartphones available in market having an in-screen fingerprint, with Huawei also providing a regular fingerprint as most apps use that due to its secure nature as compared to its in-screen counterpart.

To sum it all up, display is sharp, with vivid colors and deep black. It has a fairly high resolution, looks bright and makes using this phone a satisfying experience. As a result, it's safe to call it Huawei's best display to date.

Hardware

Being a Porsche Designed smartphone, Huawei Mate RS comes powered up with top of the line hardware specs. Phone is powered by Huawei's own HiSilicon Kirin 970 processor and Mali-G72 MP12 GPU, coupled with 6 GB of RAM and either 256 or 512 GB of massive on-board storage. These are some top specs, and biggest storage option available on any smartphone yet, as you would expect a Porsche Design smartphone to have, but Huawei has gone all in with this phone.

Phone has some high-end tech, adopting cooling micro capsules, the kind you'd find in an astronaut's space suit. Porsche Design worked with Huawei to develop a state-of-the-art aerospace microcapsule cooling system, a world first for a smartphone, that stores heat generated by the internal components, releasing it periodically to maintain a consistent operating temperature, rather than dispersing of it right away. It helps to disperse heat from processor when these capsules adsorb heat their form changes to aid dispersing of heat, and to cool device much quicker than ordinary cooling.

If you're paying over a thousand dollars for a phone, you wouldn't expect anything other than slick running and that's exactly what you get with Huawei Mate RS Porsche Design. I haven't experienced any lag or stutter, with every app opening when it should and operating as it should. Multi-tab browsing wasn't a problem either and power-intensive games such as Real Racing 3 ran without any sign of CPU throttling, with phone never getting super-hot.

Running usual benchmark tests showed that it's pretty much on par with its Huawei siblings, although it's not rocking same scores as competing 2018 flagships, as it got a score of 209311 on AnTuTu as compared to Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus's 251205. This disparity hasn't shown up in real-world use, however, as you won't feel any difference with phone's performance as compared to Samsung Galaxy S9+.

While there's massive on-board storage available, there's no microSD card slot or 3.5mm headphone jack. In high-end flagship phones these features seem to be a common absence these days, so you'll need to use USB Type-C port for audio as well as charging (unless you opt for wireless charging). Although, onboard dual speaker setup and connected headphones also support Dolby Atmos for an immersive and loud audio experience that sounds great.

To sum it up, with Huawei Mate RS Porsche Design, you're getting top of the line hardware and some cool features which you can boast around as no other smartphone have them at the moment.

Battery

Huawei's latest Porsche Design flagship comes with a massive 4000 mAh battery, which enables phone to run through-out the day even while rocking that big WQHD+ display. Phone supports fast charging up to 4.5V/5A and Huawei claims you can charge your phone from 0 to 58 % in 30 minutes. Being a glass back phone, it also supports Qi wireless charging, which should come in handy when you're listening to music while charging your phone as there's no headphone jack. According to Huawei, it's 80% faster than wireless charging offered by Apple iPhone X.

During my battery drain test, phone gave me around 8-9 hours of heavy usage on a single full-charge. While it's not as great as what you get on other phones rocking a 4000 mAh battery, it certainly is good enough for a phone having a big WQHD+ display. Still, there are many software options to save battery life as you can lower down your display resolution in settings. These software tweaks plus a huge battery combines to give you a pleasant battery experience on Huawei Mate RS Porsche Design.

Camera

Huawei Mate RS Porsche Design has an identical camera setup to that found on Huawei P20 Pro and honestly, this camera setup delivers best handheld ultra-low light photos you can get from a phone. It is a triple camera setup with a combination of 40 MP main camera with OIS, 20 MP Black and White camera and 8 MP Telephoto camera with an aperture of f/1.8, f/1.6 and f/2.4 respectively. Huawei developed this special triple camera setup together with Leica Optics and this is one of the few cameras to support 3x optical zoom on a smartphone.

Beyond low light, camera is solid across the board. Despite boasting a 40MP main sensor, default shooting resolution of phone is 10MP. Using a technique call pixel-binning, camera combines pixels to make a lower resolution image that looks better. Camera also implements some heavy Artificial Intelligence to identify what you're shooting and optimize photos as it sees fit. For example, if you're shooting a blue sky, camera will bump up saturation making blue color stand out more. It can detect over 30 breeds of dog, automatically blur out background when you're taking a portrait shot and can crop in to reframe your macro photos. A lot of times, this heavy usage of AI can also get too much for users.

During my camera test, I found out that skies looked a bit too unrealistic using sky filters. During shots of grass, unfiltered photos looked more natural, while filtered ones made greens in grass look saturated, and sometimes filmy. Luckily, it can be switched off in settings, under 'Master AI' option, though if you have some patience, you might want to leave it on. Huawei has tuned this feature to get to know its user over time. Phone automatically judges user behavior using camera app activities to deliver photos to user's preference on the long run. For example, when Grass is given greenery filter, which displays in words on screen after a small delay, if you don't want to use it, then simply hitting "x" to the corner of auto-selected mode, it will be disengaged. If this happens a lot for a given mode, phone will learn that you don't appreciate that particular mode and begins to not use it in all given scenarios.

Phone's main 40MP sensor and a secondary 8MP 3x zoom module also combine to deliver best combination hybrid optical/digital zoom I've ever seen on a smartphone, even beating Samsung Galaxy S9+ in poor lighting. Low light shooting in night mode is where this camera jumps ahead of competition, with Huawei Mate RS Porsche Design able to extend shutter speed for up to four seconds, still keeping everything steady for a crisp long exposure shot. Better still is the fact that you can shoot in full manual mode across resolutions and save photos as RAW files as well. As a result, whether you're a novice or an expert, Huawei Mate RS Porsche Design can probably strike your balance.

Phone can shoot videos up to 4K at 30 fps and slow mo videos at 720p up to 960 fps. Videos from this camera setup are also exceptional, and with Full HD stabilization, even zoomed in videos look amazingly good. AIS (Artificial Intelligence Stabilization) is turned off in 4K and 1080p video at 60 fps for heat management and battery saving reasons, though. As for 960fps slow motion video, this is terrible in bad light, great in good light. That said, Huawei Mate RS Porsche Design exposes slow motion clips less than Samsung Galaxy S9+, resulting in generally darker videos.

With such a feature rich rear camera setup, one might think that Huawei might have paid less attention to front camera but that isn't the case as phone comes with a massive 24MP front camera with an f/2.0 aperture. Camera takes excellent selfies, which are well lit, and due to heavy megapixel count, there's a lot of detail captured. Videos can be shot up to 1080p which look pretty good, thanks to Leica Optic's technology.

To sum it all up, Huawei Mate RS Porsche Design's camera delivers photos in which detail is excellent, unadjusted colors are accurate, and low-light performance is very respectable. Night mode is particularly handy if you're only shooting static subjects, taking a series of exposures over a 6-second period. As compared to its competitors, Samsung Galaxy S9 and Apple iPhone X, this camera setup is arguably the better one.

Software

Huawei Mate RS Porsche Design runs Android 8.1 Oreo with Emotion UI 8.1 on top. Software experience is virtually identical to Huawei P20 Pro's and having latest version of Android onboard is a great start. This means optimal future-proofing and latest security updates.

Emotion UI, or EMUI, supplements this software experience with a host of customizations that can be found everywhere, from home screens to settings menus. Android applications tray is missing by default, but can be restored easily. Home screen grid sizes, transitions, color themes and always-on display information can also be tweaked, leaving you feeling fully in control of your phone.

My favorite software feature on Huawei Mate RS Porsche Design is 'Private Space'. Private Space supports multiple users, each with their individual, biometrically secured set of apps and files. Using a different fingerprint to log into each user profile, this is a smart way of separating work and play or sharing your phone without fear of sensitive content being stumbled upon by someone else. It even supports two versions of same app across spaces, YouTube for example, with one space logged into a UK account and the other logged into a US account. It's just like having a completely different phone for different users.

There's plenty more that this phone offers. Knuckle recognition, scheduled powering on and off, native screen recording, fingerprint scanner gestures, AirDrop style file sharing features, and this is only scratching the surface here. While older versions of EMUI crammed much of this stuff in without perfecting basics, namely stability, speed and style, EMUI 8.1 manages to improve a lot when it comes to the first two. Porsche Design theme helps soften effect of an interface which can be a little overbearing, especially for those used to stock Android. Heavy or not, if you want a great out of the box experience, Huawei Mate RS Porsche Design delivers.

You also get Face Unlock, which works snappy but isn't as secured to rear fingerprint scanner or in-screen scanner on device. With three biometric unlocking options, you get plenty to choose from, something you would expect from a Porsche Design flagship device.

Conclusion

Huawei Mate RS Porsche Design is available in market for 1600 Euros for 256 GB variant and 2000 Euros for 512 GB variant. Phone is available in black color for international market and if you're a Chinese consumer, you also get a red color. It is a luxury smartphone that doesn't just bank on its looks to stand out. Thanks to world first technology inside, its sleek design is complemented by authentic geek factor. It's also helped along by the fact that this is 2018 and idea of spending over $1000 on a phone is much less uncommon than it once was even Apple iPhone X 256GB costs $1,149. With Huawei Mate RS Porsche Design 256GB coming in at around than $300 more, it's not a total stretch to imagine this phone appealing to a wider audience than any luxury phone before it.

Despite falling short in power as compared to 2018's flagships, its sports car credentials and fact that it excels in other areas ensure this phone is still loaded with appeal. From a tech point of view, users will love the fact that Huawei Mate RS's wireless charging is 80% faster than that of Apple iPhone X. Its battery also lasts longer and its screen is bigger and sharper. Phone also packs a more flexible camera system than any competing smartphone other than Huawei P20 Pro, and world's first in-screen fingerprint scanner is just plain cool.

Question remains, is this phone for you? If you want a top phone but you have a modest income, this phone might not be for you. However, if you have a lot of money and want shiniest, geekiest smartphone that money can buy, which you can rock with your Porsche-branded watch, and maybe even the car, having cutting-edge technology in a smartphone currently available, then Huawei Mate RS Porsche Design will definitely deliver to your needs.