Tuesday, 23 October 2018 00:44

Huawei's new Mate 20 Pro: arguably the best smartphone in the world late 2018, plus MUST-SEE keynote

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With incredible features to outdo Apple, Samsung, Google and other competitors, Huawei is in a fierce battle to win the hearts, minds and wallets of consumers with its best 2018 smartphones ever, with pre-ordering open for the Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro.

Over the past decade, we've seen incredible advances in smartphone and mobile hardware, apps and operating systems, with the smartphone subsuming so many technologies and previously discrete devices that it has become the ultimate digital device that can do virtually anything.

Although Nokia, Motorola and others were leaders in the pre-smartphone generation, despite Nokia's successful attempt at a "multimedia computer" with the Nokia N95, it was Apple's iPhone in 2007 that truly kicked off the smartphone revolution.

What an incredible ride it has been over the last decade! We now have Apple's iPhone Xs Max that is its best-ever device, already proving a wildly popular upgrade for Apple fans, while Samsung's best-ever stylus-equipped Note 9 with unique features of its own, and Google's own super AI smart Pixel 3 XL, all three of which are the pinnacles of those companies smartphone tech in 2018, and all three of which I am still in the throes of reviewing.

Now in comes Huawei, whose first smartphone only arrived in 2011. The company's technological evolution has culminated in the Mate 20 Pro, which, on various levels, now boasts the most powerful hardware ever seen in a smartphone to date, as well as the more affordable but still powerful Mate 20, both of which are now available for pre-order, and which are due on November 1, 2018.

The Mate 20 Pro can be pre-ordered from Optus, Vodafone, JB Hi-Fi, Harvey Norman, Mobile Citi and Kogan, which adds the bonuses of the Huawei FreeBuds as well as its new 15 watt wireless charging pad, worth A$348 together, if ordered by the 31st of October 2018.

The Mate 20 can be pre-ordered from Vodafone, JB Hi-Fi, Harvey Norman, Mobile Citi and Kogan, and has the bonus of the Huawei FreeBuds, worth A$199, again as long as you order by the 31st of October.

The Mate 20 Pro is flanked by an impressive family of products, including the aforementioned Mate 20, the Mate 20 Porsche Design RS model, a new Huawei Watch GT model with custom OS and two weeks of battery life, and even "one more bigger thing" in the keynote – a 7.2-inch Mate 20 X model that can be used with Huawei's M Pen stylus while boasting of a massive 5000mAh battery for super long battery life.

However, it is Huawei's Mate 20 Pro that is the company's true ultra-premium flagship, despite the Porsche Design RS model with even more RAM and storage that is much more expensive, as the Mate 20 Pro is priced competitively given the features and benefits it offers, and is absolutely jam-packed with the highest-end features that blow the competition away in many (but not all) ways.

Indeed, it the Mate 20 Pro is designed to sway Android fans of different brands to considering a Huawei smartphone for their next purchase, and even has the power to sway some Apple users, especially those on older iPhones not as deeply wedded into the world-beating iOS ecosystem, into switching over to the Huawei side of the force.

Now, while Huawei has released the Mate 20 alongside the Mate 20 Pro, complete with the same Kirin 980 processor, the Mate 20 is A$500 cheaper for a reason.

Its cameras are not as powerful, its screen is LCD rather than OLED, and there are other factors besides, which you can see here at Huawei Australia's Mate 20 page.

If you are looking for what is arguably the second most powerful Android smartphone out there, and A$1099 is more in line with your budget than the Mate 20 Pro's A$1599 price point, then it is certainly worth putting on your list to check out.

However, if you want the more powerful model, with what appears to be the world's best camera lenses, and a super-advanced 7nm Kirin 980 processor than only Apple is also able to boast of achieving with its A12 Bionic, along with a host of other incredible features and benefits, some of which no other smartphone out there offers, then you'll be wanting the Mate 20 Pro, with plenty more detail below.

First up is the replay of Huawei's Mate 20 Pro keynote, which has all the details on the Mate 20 Pro, Mate X, Mate 20, Porsche Design Mate 20 RS model, and the Huawei Watch GT, after which the article continues:

Ok, so this is an intial review, as I've had the chance to use the Mate 20 Pro for several days, and these are my impressions thus far, with a more in depth review to come after I've had more time to play with it (and finish my reviews of the iPhone Xs Max, Note 9 and Pixel 3 XL, too, although I've plenty to say about those models compared to the Mate 20 Pro in this article) – but you can certainly see my strong impressions below. 

I also have images to add to this aritcle, but for now, you can see plenty of examples in the video above and at Huawei's website, also linked above. 

Here are the key features Huawei lists, which I'll expand upon below:

  • New generation dual AI processor with higher levels of performance and improved power efficiency
  • Cutting edge Leica Triple Camera featuring a new Leica Ultra-Wide Angle camera for expansive wide angle shots and more creative freedom
  • Precise macro close-up shots from as little as 2.5 centimetres from the new Wide Angle lens
  • AI Cinematic video shooting functionality for greater creative freedom and cinematic effect
  • The largest capacity battery in its class (4200mAh on Huawei Mate 20 Pro), allowing users to enjoy more of what they love
  • Class-leading battery charging performance with Huawei Supercharge technology
  • Fast 15W Wireless charging for added user convenience
  • World’s first reverse wireless charging on the Huawei Mate20 Pro, providing users with the ability to charge other compatible wireless charging devices
  • Fast and accurate in-screen fingerprint sensor on the Huawei Mate 20 Pro

Design and the notch

To start with, we have a smartphone that looks like a cross between a Galaxy S9+ and an iPhone Xs Max, but not as wide as the Xs Max, with the S9's curved sides and the iPhone's notch, although the notch can be turned off by ensuring the sides or wings of the notch are set to black if desired.

With the incredible blacks that an OLED screen delivers, this can make the notch invisible, save for the fact no data or information can obviously be displayed in the notched area.

This is because notch holds a similar array of cameras and sensors an iPhone X-series phone does, including the infrared dot sensor that enables extremely fast 3D face unlocking - which, like on the iPhone X, Xs, Xs Max and XR, also works in complete darkness.

With the Mate 20 Pro not as wide as the Xs Max, it it easier to hold, but as with all phones around this size, it is much easier to use it with two handed operation than with one hand, simply because the screen is wider and taller than most thumbs can reach.

It's also useful to use a Popsockets Grip https://www.popsockets.com.au on the back of any similar sized phone, as it makes holding the phone and then actually being able it with one hand so much easier.

Three cameras

Whether it is a camera capable of 18.8:9 super widescreen photos, wider than any competing Android or iPhone, and a native movie-like video recording mode of 21:9 which is even wider still, that is yet another of the amazing features of the Mate 20 Pro.

The widescreen capabilities comes thanks to a 20 megapixel ultra wide-angle lens, but it is joined by two other cameras - a 40 megapixel camera that can take photos in very high detail, and an 8 megapixel telephone camera that can do 3x optical zoom where others can only do 2x optical zoom.

The camera software also uses artificial intelligence in the automatic modes to take better photos without you needing to do anything, with a range of manual controls in the pro mode for those who enjoy that.

iPhones and other Androids need to rely on apps to access pro features, and sure, you can use third party apps with the Mate 20 Pro too, but a pro mode is built in.

I do have to say that I found it easier to control the auto focus lock and auto exposure lock, as well as raising and lowering the brightness or contrast of an image – whichever it is that the control on an iPhone uses in video recording mode to do just that.

On an iPhone its easy to lock and adjust, but even when such things are locked into place in the pro mode on the Huawei camera app, making the kind of adjustments I can on an iPhone just don't seem to be as easy on the Mate 20 Pro, and you can rest assured that I let Huawei's camera people and their Leica counterparts know about it.

I need to play with the Huawei camera app in more detail, alongside seeing whether apps such as Filmic Pro do what I want, while also being able to access Huawei's 18.8:9 and 21:9 widescreen modes, or whether they will do so in the future.

That video ease-of-use issue aside, you can can also get astonishingly detailed macro photos or close up shots, you just need to be 2.5cm or an inch away, and while other smartphones give you blurry images, the Mate 20 Pro gives you very sharp closeups.

It also creates astonishingly bright and clear photos at night, something first seen with the P20 Pro. When night mode is selected, the camera app takes several photos, necessitating that you hold the phone steady, but the results are head and shoulders above any night shots I've ever seen, and outdoes the improved night mode of the S9 and Note 9 series, as well as outdoing any night mode on iPhones.

I am yet to test the night mode on the Pixel 3 XL, but the Mate 20 Pro's night mode quality is something I'd love to see copied across the board by competitor flagships next year - it really is that good.

Then when it comes to a Bixby or Google Lens type of feature, Huawei's camera also has a mode called HiVision that can identify almost anything you're looking at and give you information about it, a price if it's a consumer item, even the weight and calorie content of various foods.

Then there's the ability to "scan a toy with the 3D Depth Sensing Camera to create an AI live model", which you can scan in 3D, and then give it a skeleton so your inanimate toy can be made to dance, do kung-fu and more, and also be used as a augmented reality on-screen prop you can photograph yourself or your kids next to. This feature was demonstrated at the launch, and isn't live yet but is coming in an update, but it looks very cool.

So too are the 3D Live Emojis which look like a clone of Apple's Animoji's, able to mimic your facial movements right down to sticking out your tongue. 

The AI in video recording mode has special tricks, one of which is to film your subject in colour, while the rest of the image is in black and white – and it's all done live as you are recording, which is pretty impressive.

Aside from the video recording issue that sees me wanting a more iPhone-like user interface for the auto mode, which brings in a couple of pro elements but still gives you better control, Apple, Samsung and Google surely have to respond to Huawei's ultra widescreen recording modes, as well as things like the 40 megapixel sensor.

I certainly know that LG has pioneered the widescreen photographic effect, but given it is Apple and Samsung that sell the most phones, with Google's Pixel 3 sales yet to be see in comparison with those two behemoths, Huawei has laid down the photographic gauntlet for the second time in two smartphones – the P20 Pro and now the Mate 20 Pro - and it will be hard to see Apple, Samsung and Google not responding in their next flagship models.

Indeed, we did see Samsung deliver a 4 lens camera phone with its A9 smartphone, so that is a response, but we need to see these multiple camera solutions on flagships models too, and I can only imagine that in 2019, we will.

Battery, wireless charging and reverse wireless charging

The phone has a 4200 mAH battery, one of the largest out there and bigger than those found in the iPhone, Pixel or Note, and comes with a supercharger that can recharge the phone to 70% in just 30 minutes.

Where other smartphones can wirelessly charge at 7.5 watts or even 10 watts, Huawei's battery can wirelessly recharge at 15 watts, for the fastest wireless charging out there when paired with one of Huawei's 15 watt wireless chargers.

Incredibly, the back of the phone can also be set to "reverse charing mode", so you can use the Mate 20 Pro and its giant battery to recharge other people's phones or Qi enabled wireless devices, which is quite a nifty trick that we're sure to see others copy in the future, but which is available now.

3D face unlock and under screen fingerprint sensor

Not only is there a 3D face unlock that works like the one on the new iPhones, but Huawei has an optical fingerprint reader under the glass that works surprisingly well!

Yes, you need to position your thumb or finger in the right spot, but that spot is illuminated about a third of the way up the screen from the bottom of the smartphone, and when you place your thumbprint or finger correctly, it works like a charm.

Position your finger or thumb incorrectly and it won't unlock, but that was the same with physical unlock sensors.

While the 2nd-gen Face ID is very fast on the new iPhones, Huawei's 3D Face Unlock is also very speedy, and unlike the iPhone, Huawei's 3D Face Unlock works horizontally.

The 3D Face Unlock is so good that I just need to look at the phone and it is unlocked, I only need to use the thumb or fingerprint the phone is flat on the table and I want to unlock it without raising the phone first – just press in the spot on the screen that you'll quickly learn and you can unlock it.

The Mate 2 Pro also has a "raise to wake" feature that works similarly to the iPhone, and if you raise and the phone unlocks with your face, you can swipe up from anywhere to get the home screen or whatever app you were using last.

On-screen UI and gestures

When you first use the Mate 20 Pro, you'll notice that it has the back, home and multitasking buttons in virtual form, but it is easy to switch to an iPhone X style interface where you can swipe up for the home screen or to bring the deck of recently used apps.

Sadly you cannot swipe the bottom of the screen as you can with iPhone to swipe forward and back between apps, but you just swipe upwards and pause, and you can see all the apps you've recently used just appearing there.

You can also swipe from the left or right hand side of the screen to go back, something the iPhone also allows, and which I find extremely handy and always miss when using Android phones as it is an iPhone interface feature that is tremendously useful.

You can also swipe up from the left or right hand sides of the bottom of the screen to bring up the Google Assistant if you don't have it programmed to arrive by voice, while swiping down brings up the standard Android pull down menu letting you adjust features like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Plane Mode, screen brightness, notifications, and all the rest.

Dual SIM, LTE and Wi-Fi, memory expansion and dual frequency GPS

The open market model of the Mate 20 Pro — which means from stores other than telcos — has a Dual SIM capability, so you can two 4G SIM cards at the same time.

One of those SIM card slots can also take a new form of storage that Huawei has created, called NM or Nano Memory card, presumably because the card is the same size as a Nano SIM card.

Unfortunately it is not yet possible to have dual SIM cards and a NM storage card at the same time, or at least not in this model, but seeing as that is something that afflicts many (but not all smartphone brands), it's not the end of the world, and it's something you couldn't do on an iPhone even if you wanted to.

Perhaps Huawei also creating the new NM memory card standard will help it to ensure high speed and high quality memory is used in Huawei phones that support this standard, although if it takes off the memory card cloners are sure to start creating clone memory cards of varying qualities and speeds at some point, too.

Huawei also claims up to 1.7Gbps download speeds as a theoretical maximum, and up to 1733Mbps Wi-Fi 802.11 AC speeds, which when connected to fast towers and compatible routers should prove very speedy indeed.

There's also the "Dual Frequency AI Satellite-Selection GPS (L1 and L5)". We're told that the L5 band delivers 10 times greater accuracy, enabling your smartphone to pinpoint your location, wherever you may be, and Huawei demonstrated this during the keynote with a video.

A female jogger had three smartphones strapped to her side as she prepared to run a CBD city course, with city CBDs often the most difficult to properly navigate through thanks to all the large buildings that can certainly cause interference, something most readers would have likely experienced in the past.

Well, in the video, which was a video but which I'm opting to believe, saw (from memory) an iPhone Xs Max, a Samsung Note 9 and a Huawei Mate 20 Pro.

We saw the course that the jogger was meant to run, and we saw the course that was recorded by all three smartphones. Only the Mate 20 Pro had accurately recorded the course that was run, the other two smartphones gave an inaccurate approximation that didn't truly reflect the course run.

I'm yet to test this GPS mode in city traffic and elsewhere, but I do look forward to seeing how close the marketing and the claims are to reality, although I have no reason to doubt at the moment.

Kirin 980 CPU, NPU, RAM and storage

The Mate 20 Pro is the only other smartphone on the market (besides the Mate 20) with a 7 nanometre processor, the Kirin 980, with the only other this year being Apple with its A12 Bionic processor in its Xs, Xs Max and XR models.

Like Apple's A12 Bionic ,the Kirin 980 is also very powerful and power efficient, and just as with the latest iPhones, there are no slowdowns, stutters or other speed issues that I can see with the Mate 20 Pro - indeed, is is very fast and the A12 Bionic's only true competitor.

There are sure to be speed tests out there, I am yet to examine them or run my own, but with the A12 Bionic absolutely smoking Qualcomm's Snapdragon 845 models, I expect the Huawei Kirin 980 offers more robust competition than its high-end Qualcomm Snapdragon and Samsung Exynos Android-powering alternatives and will be checking it out in the very near future.

Huawei itself describes its Kirin 980 as being "arguably one of the most advanced smartphone processors currently available", with its 7nm process allowing "up to 6.9 billion transistors, to be packaged into a dice the size of a fingernail.

"Compared to Kirin 970, the latest Kirin 980 is 75% more powerful, its Graphics Processing Unit (GPU), 46% more powerful, and the dual AI Neural Processing Unit, 226% more powerful.

"The processors’ efficiency has also been improved: the CPU is 58% more efficient, GPU 178% more efficient, and the NPU 182% more efficient than its predecessor. The Kirin 980 is also the world’s first commercial SoC to use the Cortex-A76-based cores.

Huawei also boasts of its "three-tier architecture that consists of two ultra-large cores, two large cores and four small cores. This grants the CPU the flexibility to allocate the optimal amount of resources to heavy, medium and light tasks for unprecedented levels of efficiency, simultaneously improving the performance of the SoC while enhancing the battery life.

"The Kirin 980 is also the industry’s first SoC to be equipped with Dual-NPU, granting it higher On-Device AI processing capability to support any and all AI applications."

You can see Huawei's keynote video presentation for its Kirin 980 processor from IFA 2018 here

IP68 rating, no speaker holes on the bottom (or headphone jack)

Helping with its new IP68 water and dust resistant rating is the fact there are no speaker holes on the bottom, with the sound coming out of the USB-C port, and the earpiece at the top of the phone also able to be used as a speaker.

Return of the IR port

Do you miss the fact you can't use a Samsung anymore as a remote control for your TV, set top box or other device? Well, the Huawei brings the infrared IR port back, and with built-in universal remote control app (or presumably the downloadable Peel remote control app) you can use your phone to control home entertainment devices once more.

EMUI desktop mode

Like the Samsung Note 9, the Huawei Mate 20 Pro has a desktop mode, where you can see a Windows 10-like desktop on an monitor or TV, but unlike the Note 9, the Mate 20 Pro can connect to your Miracast-enabled TV wirelessly.

You can then use the Mate 20 Pro as a trackpad and bring up the keyboard as required, so you can see your apps on the big screen in resizable windows.

The Mate 20 Pro has a selection of apps from Google, itself and others, as well as a sparsely populated App Store where more apps can be downloaded and installed, and if you connect a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse (which elicits a warning that performance of the wireless connection to the TV could be affected), you can have an independent desktop experience while the phone can continue being used independently, too.

You can also connect a USB-C to HDMI adapter for a wired connection, and while I haven't tried it yet (but will), you can presumably have one of those USB-C adapters that has standard USB ports too for a wired keyboard and mouse experience.

So, does it work? Yes, it works, but the mouse cursor movement, whether done by the phone as trackpad or a wireless Bluetooth mouse, is a bit jumpy, it's not as smooth as your mouse on your traditional desktop or laptop. I'm curious to see whether a wired connection would mean a perfectly smooth mousing experience, or even a wired USB-C to USB connection using the 2.4Ghz wireless dongle, but I'm yet to test that out.

Watching YouTube videos seemed perfectly fine, with the audio coming out of the TV speakers if desired, with no jumpiness or jerkiness that I could see on the video, and if you wanted to share slides or use a browser on the big screen, especially if you don't have your computer with you, then it works.

You can also mirror the phone's screen in phone mode to your TV also, and that works as expected - essentially identically to the way you've been able to mirror your Android phone's screen to a compatible TV, or the way an iPhone can mirror a screen to a TV using an Apple TV.

I'd love to see the mouse movement be super smooth and fluid, but it does work and shows how a desktop experience can be enjoyed via a smartphone.

As the TV I was testing the EMUI desktop on didn't have built-in Miracast compatible mirroring, I purchased a wireless Microsoft HDMI adapter that was Miracast capable, it had one end that plugged into a spare HDMI port, and a second connection (with spare female to male USB extension cable in the box) to plug into any spare USB port for power.

It worked, and would be one way to convert a regular computer monitor into a wireless capable display.

OS - Android OS 9 and the EMUI OS skin

The Mate 20 Pro is also one of the first smartphones to come with Android OS 9.0 as standard, like the Pixel 3 and 3 XL models. This is unlike Samsung, which normally debuts its latest models with the previous Android OS, and then takes around 6 months before it is able to work with carriers around the world to produce an OS update.

That means the Mate 20 Pro has all the features Android 9 Pie delivers, including the "Digital Balance" feature that tracks your smartphone usage, something we also see in iOS 12 with its Screen Time feature.

You can find out about all the Android OS 9 Pie features at Google here

There's also the EMUI OS skin that sits atop of Android OS 9, which lets you have a very iOS-like experience with no app drawer and iPhone X-like gestures as described above, which can also be changed to be much more like the traditional Android experience of old.

John Gruber has called out all Huawei Mate 20 Pro reviewers to state that Huawei has copied various aspects of the iOS interface, such as the Music and Health icons, the very similar "Live Photo" icon (that spins on the Huawei when used) and more and yes, there are elements of copying, but if Gruber really wants to hold an Android maker to account, Oppo's brazen near identical OS look and feel is vastly more egregious than Huawei's.

Sure, I would happily and openly suggest to Huawei that copying any of Apple's icons just isn't necessary - it's easy enough to create your own, and this would silence the critics in that regard, but it would also seem that if complaints about Huawei copying a few icons and the notch is the best that can be mustered up, rather than any criticism of Huawei's game changing set of features that is sure to be emulated in some way across the board by various smartphone makers in 2019, then the Mate 20 Pro

Lengthy conclusion

There's plenty more but the Mate 20 Pro has set a new bar for smartphones that Apple, Google, Samsung and others can only respond to next year, as their new models are all out for 2018 and won't see new models until later in 2019, save for the Samsung Galaxy S10 that is due in the first quarter of 2019.

Samsung has already launched a quad-camera phone with its upper-mid-range A9 series, so it seems likely that Samsung will improve on this for its 2019 phones, but we'll have to wait for more definitive leaks and then the launch itself to see exactly what they will do.

Apple should seriously consider massive upgrading its cameras to enable the same kind of super wide angle photography, while upgrading its cameras to something a lot higher than the 12 megapixels they've been at for a while, albeit with ever larger individual pixels to let in more light, and while it will probably never happen, some kind of proper desktop mode for those who want to use their iPhones as portable Macs on a large screen TV or computer minor would be very cool, too.

Will iPhone users switch to the Mate 20 Pro in the face of all of these amazing features and the benefits they provide?

Well, iPhone users who are well entrenched into the Apple ecosystem are unlikely to switch, but those on older iPhones and especially older Androids looking for the very best Android smartphone that money can buy would do well to at least look at the Mate 20 Pro to see what it offers.

That said, the iOS ecosystem is very sticky because it is very good - yearly OS updates, endless high quality apps, iMessage, iCloud, the consistency of its OS, the hardware ecosystem that is AirPods, Apple Watch, Macs, iPads and more - and quality hardware (even if the Mate 20 Pro one-ups Apple in several areas, including a vastly larger battery with dramatically faster wired charging in the box, and optional 15 watt wireless charging).

I am personally an avowed iPhone user, having been so since the very first iPhone in 2007, and my ties to the iOS ecosystem are very, very strong. But I am certainly drawn to the many new features and capabilities the Mate 20 Pro brings, especially for still photos not just at night, but also with the ultra wide screen capability for photos and videos – I just wish Huawei had copied the iPhone's video recording interface exactly, which it, as yet, hasn't.

I'm not going to be giving up my iPhone as my primary smartphone, but I will certainly be using various features of the Mate 20 Pro alongside the iPhone, because those features cannot be ignored, and the two together give you the best of both iOS and Android worlds plus various features and benefits that the Mate 20 Pro brings.

As for Samsung owners with recent S or Note series models, they're more easily able to switch across because of Android, but especially Note owners who love their stylus, that is a very sticky feature all its own.

Pixel owners choose a Google Pixel because of the purity of Android, Google's AI smarts, Google's computationally enhanced camera, free photo storage and more, with the Pixel 3 XL offering advances on all those fronts, so whether existing older Pixel owners will switch is also yet to be seen.

The undeniable fact about the Mate 20 Pro is that is it a beast, every feature that can be added or dramatically improved over competitors has been improved, and so it definitely throws the cat amongst the pigeons as it were, with ever more choices and exclusive features across the brands that will make life harder for those, especially on the Android side of the fence, to decide which smartphone to go with.

Ultimately, your choice has either never been easier, or never been harder, depending on your point of view, your budget, what you want to do with a smartphone and more.

We've also seen a mix of both innovative features and incrementalism, and a trend toward people deciding to keep their existing phones for a year or two longer simply to save money, because existing smartphones are still amazingly capable, and because whatever is coming in 2019, 2020 or beyond is going to be even better still.

Good luck making your decision, whether it is to buy one of the new models on offer, one of the more affordable models with fewer features, or whether you'll keep your existing smartphone for longer.

Pre-order info and Huawei Australia's comments

Available on pre-order now until October 30, with Huawei's wireless earbuds and its wireless charging pad as a bonus for those who pre-order before then, the Mate 20 Pro goes on sale November 1 for $1599 with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage and 6.39-inch OLED screen.

A less powerful Mate 20 model, still equipped with the same 7 nanometre Kirin 980 processes, and also with three but less powerful cameras, but a slightly bigger 6.5-inch screen, is also on pre-order with free Huawei earbuds for $1099 until October 30.

We don't yet know if or when Huawei will launch its Huawei Watch GT, the 7.2-inch and stylus-compatible Huawei Mate X or its new Windows 10 Matebook computes in Australia, but presumably, they will come at some point, too.

Larking Huang, managing director of Huawei Australia's Consumer Business Group, said: "Our mantra has always been to create innovative products that enrich the lives of our users, and the new Huawei Mate20 Series is a true reflection of our commitment.

"These devices are the ‘mate’ of our consumers, accompanying and empowering them to enjoy a richer, more fulfilled experience. It also ushers in a higher level of intelligence with its unparalleled battery life and powerful camera performance.

“We’re proud to be one of the first markets to launch the Huawei Mate20 Series. We’ve been incredibly humbled by our Australian customers who continue to choose our cutting-edge smartphones and are confident they will be delighted by the benefits the Huawei Mate20 Series offer.”

The writer travelled to the Huawei Mate 20 Pro (and accompanying models) in London as a guest of Huawei Australia.

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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