Huawei Mate 50 Pro Review: Variable Aperture Really Works

This doesn’t get talked about sufficient within the tech media scene, however a lot of the main digital camera options that Apple, Google, and Samsung have adopted within the final three years had been first seen in a Huawei smartphone. This consists of utilizing a bigger picture sensor for higher mild consumption; a extra pixel-dense digital camera for the aim of pixel-binning; picture stacking to recreate the consequences of a protracted publicity shot; and an L-shaped digital camera that sits sideways contained in the cellphone to permit stronger picture magnification (zoom).

Lengthy story quick, earlier than sanctions derailed the expansion of Huawei’s cellphone enterprise, the Chinese language tech large’s telephones had been main the pack in cell digital camera breakthroughs. Huawei is making an attempt to recreate the magic with its newest Mate 50 Professional, which comes two years after the final Mate cellphone, and brings a brand new digital camera system headlined by a primary digital camera with 10 stops of variable aperture.

That is no software program trickery. As a substitute, there’s a bodily mechanical shutter that opens wider or closes smaller (to manage mild consumption and depth-of-field) across the 50-megapixel primary digital camera. Within the collage under, discover the digital camera shutter adjustments in dimension relying on the aperture.

As a result of a smartphone digital camera lens remains to be comparatively tiny in comparison with an actual digital camera, don’t anticipate the aperture change to result in drastic variations in lighting, however you’ll be able to clearly see a shallower depth-of-field at a sooner cease (f/1.4) in comparison with a slower f/4.

A sooner aperture additionally has a sooner shutter velocity, which is extra supreme for capturing fast-moving topics. As a result of that is an precise bodily shutter that strikes, the distinction in lighting, depth-of-field, and shutter velocity are all relevant to movies too.

Nevertheless, is that this actually wanted? We’re at a time when computational pictures is the buzzword du jour in smartphone pictures, with telephones just like the Google Pixel having lengthy prioritized software program picture processing over chasing digital camera {hardware} developments.

I’ve snapped dozens of images with the Huawei Mate 50 Professional side-by-side towards telephones just like the iPhone 14 Professional, Google Pixel 7 Professional, and Xiaomi 12S Extremely, which all have a hard and fast aperture, and infrequently did Huawei’s variable aperture made an enormous distinction. I can see area of interest use circumstances the place with the ability to manually stopping down would assist a shot get extra of a body in focus, however Google, Apple and Xiaomi’s software program smarts are sturdy sufficient to normally offset that.

However fortunately, Huawei’s computational pictures is not any slouch both. With the Mate 50 Professional Huawei is introducing a brand new picture processing engined named “XMAGE” and it’s stated to be dealing with picture processing earlier within the picture pipeline course of so the ultimate shot retains extra of the unique uncooked information’s integrity.

I can’t vouch for whether or not XMAGE has made any elementary distinction to how a smartphone deal with picture processing, however my eyes inform me the Mate 50 Professional can seize beautiful, gorgeous photos that usually beat the newest iPhone or Google in dynamic vary. Within the under picture, shot towards backlight with the indoor setting coated in shadows, discover Huawei’s picture reveals extra vibrant colours with a bigger vary of dynamic vary.

Usually, the Mate 50 Professional can shoot towards actually harsh backlight and nonetheless correctly expose photos.

There was a stretch just a few years in the past when Huawei telephones had been heads and shoulders above everybody else by way of snapping low mild images. This was as a consequence of Huawei’s utilization of a bigger picture sensor, RYYB filtering array, and night time mode expertise. Within the years since, different cellphone manufacturers have closed the hole, however the Mate 50 Professional remains to be arguably one of the best low mild digital camera round as a result of it doesn’t really want mild mode.

The under pictures had been snapped at 1am within the suburbs. The basketball hoop was utterly darkish to my eyes. I took the pictures with the Mate 50 Professional and Google’s Pixel 7 Professional. The previous snapped the shot instantly, whereas the latter used a 3 second night time mode. Regardless of this, the outcomes nonetheless tip in favor of Huawei’s pictures, with extra pure colours. I stress once more — the true life scene was practically pitch black on the time.

There’s not sufficient house on this article to completely go over all of the digital camera options supplied by the Mate 50 Professional, so for these all for studying extra about the whole system, my video under exhibits in-depth testing, in addition to photograph samples towards different high telephones. However the lengthy story quick model is the Huawei Mate 50 Professional’s digital camera programs are glorious, however the variable aperture {hardware} is a little bit of a distinct segment function for now.

The remainder of the {hardware} ranges from good to nice, with one notable exception. The Mate 50 Professional is a typical trendy slab flagship cellphone, with a 6.7-inch curved OLED display with refresh price as much as 120Hz. The entrance glass is strengthened by this expertise Huawei has dubbed “Kunlun glass.” Huawei claims it’s 10x extra shatter resistance than “typical smartphone screens.” That is one function I’ve not examined, as I’ve not dropped the cellphone and don’t plan to take action.

The screens seems to be practically flawless and will get vibrant sufficient for out of doors use. Nevertheless, there’s a sizable notch that eats into the display, and it’s a watch sore for my part. Certain, Huawei makes use of the cutout, housing an ultra-wide selfie digital camera together with a 3D facial scanning digital camera. However the Huawei Mate 40 Professional that got here out in 2020 additionally supplied a 3D face scanning system in a smaller pill-shaped cutout. After all, the iPhone famously did the identical this yr. I’ve by no means been a fan of the notch, and seeing it in late 2022 is jarring when nearly all different telephones have solved the issue.

However if you happen to’re questioning, the Mate 50 Professional’s facial scanning system works nicely, and in the dead of night.

The bottom of the cellphone is roofed by this textured vegan leather-based end (there are different variations utilizing conventional glass backs), and the eye grabbing gold coloured digital camera module is crafted out of pure steel for a premium and durable really feel.

The cellphone feels comfy to carry within the hand, not too thick or heavy at 8.5mm and 209g. It’s acquired IP68 water- and dust-resistance, in addition to stereo audio system and wi-fi charging for that 4,700 mAh battery that may final all day.

Powering the cellphone is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1, which is the most recent chip from Qualcomm, however sadly it’s the 4G model of the chip, as a result of U.S. sanctions stop Huawei from sourcing 5G chips from Qualcomm.

Sure, those self same sanctions stop the cellphone from utilizing Google apps too, however that is outdated information. You possibly can nonetheless entry many Google companies reminiscent of YouTube by way of the net browser, or Gmail by way of Microsoft Outlook, so the shortage of Google apps isn’t as crippling as some might imagine. In any other case, the software program expertise could be very harking back to Android, though I discover Huawei’s app icon aesthetics to be a bit lengthy within the tooth now.

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The cellphone performs very properly with Huawei’s ecosystem. So if you happen to personal a Huawei PC or pill, you’ll be able to sync the Mate 50 Professional to it with a faucet and management your cellphone on the bigger computing system and transfer recordsdata round by way of drag-and-drop.

The Huawei Mate 50 Professional launched in China a pair months in the past the place it bought very nicely, however in Europe, it’s priced at €1,300, which could be very excessive for a cellphone with some notable software program and connectivity ommissions. Granted, these compromises are exterior Huawei shopper group’s management, which makes the matter extra irritating. I want this cellphone may very well be allowed to go at full energy the place it could actually compete at a degree enjoying area. In different areas of Asia reminiscent of Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong, the Mate 50 Professional is priced a bit decrease, however nonetheless larger than what Xiaomi or Google is asking for his or her flagships.

Finally, the Mate 50 Professional will nonetheless attraction to fanatics or followers of the model, however for the common shopper, it’s a troublesome promote. The excellent news? They do exist. I’ve been requested by a number of readers and YouTube viewers learn how to buy a Mate 50 Professional in current weeks.

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Jean Nicholas

Jean is a Tech enthusiast, He loves to explore the web world most of the time. Jean is one of the important hand behind the success of