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Huawei announces Mate 50 Pro is coming to Europe

After a two-year hiatus, the Mate returns, but can the Mate 50 Pro turn Huawei’s international troubles around?

Huawei has official revealed that the Mate 50 Pro is coming to the UK. After first launching in China earlier this month, the Huawei Mate 50 Pro is back at it again, following a two-year absence – and it’s set to introduce a handful of firsts for the company.

There’s no availability at this early stage, but what we do know is that the Mate 50 Pro is Huawei’s all-singing and all-dancing flagship for the latter half of 2022. It’s not cheap, either, starting at €1,299 in mainland Europe, but from what we’ve seen so far, there’s an awful lot to get excited about here.

Huawei’s ‘Space Ring’ design returns, with its triple camera setup arranged in a circular housing on the back of the phone. The Mate 50 Pro comes in a choice of two designs: one with a matte rear glass (in either black or silver), and another coated in orange ‘vegan leather’.

New for this year is the ‘Kunlun Glass’ coating on top of the screen. This is only available on the ‘Pro’ model – currently the only version planned for the UK – and according to Huawei, this new protective coating increases drop resistance up to ten times compared to the previous Mate 40 Pro released in 2020.

Huawei says that the Kunlun Glass is constructed using “10 quadrillion-level nanocrystals”, and has received a five-star glass drop resistance certification from Switzerland’s SGS ratings company. It’ll be interesting to put these claims to the test – Huawei has previously demonstrated cracking walnuts by using the screen as a makeshift mallet, so I’m hoping to give that a go when I receive a handset for review.

The Mate 50 Pro is also IP68-rated against dust and water ingress. It can withstand a dunk in the wet stuff up to a depth of six metres for the vegan leather model and two metres for the glass variant – it’s not clear why these two versions differ so much.

The display itself is a 6.74in OLED panel with a resolution of 2,616 x 1,212 and a 120Hz refresh rate. It’s HDR certified, with support for 1.07 billion colours and a touch sampling rate of 300Hz. There’s a slim horizontal notch at the top of the screen, which incorporates the 13MP selfie camera, 100-degree ultrawide camera and new 3D TOF sensor for face-scanning biometrics.

In a first for the company, the Mate 50 Pro is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 chipset, rather than its own Kirin equivalent. Perhaps this is an indication that Huawei’s US trade ban woes might soon be over, but one thing’s for certain: performance is likely to be exceptional. 8GB of RAM comes as standard, with a choice of either 256GB or 512GB of internal storage.

Another new addition this year is the adjustable mechanical aperture on the main camera. A 50MP unit, you can manually adjust the aperture in Pro mode between f/1.4 (the lowest aperture in a Huawei phone to date) and f/4. The Auto shooting mode, meanwhile, adjusts this for you as you shoot, depending on the scene and shooting scenario.

The secondary 64MP telephoto sensor captures up to 3.5x optical zoom, with the option to increase this further up to 10x digital. Both the main and ultrawide cameras use Huawei’s ‘Ultra Spectrum’ RYYB colour filtering array, which we first saw in Huawei’s P50 Pro at the beginning of this year. You get a 13MP ultrawide camera, too, which can also be used to shoot macro images.

Like previous Huawei smartphones, the Mate 50 Pro launches with the open source version of Android, which means it won’t support Google’s first-party applications and App Store library. Instead, Huawei uses its own app store, AppGallery, and its own Android OS skin, EMUI 13.

New for EMUI 13 is a handful of new widget-friendly features and new themes to choose from. Perhaps the biggest new addition is the arrival of SuperHub, which allows you to drag and drop content from different apps and hold it in a virtual shelf. It’s essentially a clipboard, allowing you to move stuff between applications, creating a library of content as you go. It even works across Huawei’s devices, meaning you can throw stuff across from your smartphone straight to your Huawei laptop.

The Huawei Mate 50 Pro is priced at €1,299 for the black and silver glass models, with the orange vegan leather version fetching a higher price of €1,399.

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