When it comes to top-end phablets, you know that there’s only two names in town that matter right now. The Galaxy Note 10 Plus is currently the best smartphone that Korean giant Samsung has on the market, while the Mate 30 Pro is the best phone in Chinese manufacturer Huawei’s arsenal.
But which of these two epic handsets comes out on top in a direct comparison? There are various differences between these two handsets – many of them will come down to personal taste, while others are genuinely objective differences.
For starters, both devices will cost you more than US$1,000 – although one of them isn’t available in the US, so this might limit your choice down to one already, depending on where you live.
In this post, we’ll take a look at both the Huawei Mate 30 Pro and the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus to see which one is more worth dropping that big ol’ wod of cash on.
Galaxy Note 10 Plus vs Mate 30 Pro
For starters, both phones are pretty big. The Galaxy Note 10 Plus is a whopping 6.8-inches of screen, which will actually turn some users with smaller hands off. There’s a reason that it’s called a phablet (phone/tablet). The Mate 30 Pro comes in at a similarly large 6.53-inches. This is also a massive phone, although it is a bit more navigable than the Note 10 Plus. If you’re looking for the biggest screen possible, then the Note 10 Plus wins this round.
Notch or no notch?
The Huawei Mate 30 Pro has a pretty large notch at the top of the display, which actually doesn’t look unattractive. If anything, it sort of makes it look like an iPhone design. The Note 10 Plus, on the other hand, has a small punch-hole front-facing camera and the rest of the front of the phone is completely taken up by the display.
What’s on the display?
In terms of display, both phones look stunning. The Note 10 Plus has an AMOLED screen with support for HDR10+, while the Mate 30 Pro has an OLED display with support for HDR. Both displays look sharp, but if you put it down to specs, then the Note 10 Plus does have a better resolution.
Both phones have a curved display that falls over the edges of the screen in a waterfall fashion. This makes both of them look very premium, although the Mate 30 Pro has a steeper curve and does look more top-notch (in our opinion).
Both phones have a solid camera setup, but there is a clear winner here on paper. The Mate 30 Pro has a quad-lens rear camera setup arranged in a circle on the top center of the device. It’s an uncommon style of camera setup and it looks really good. The Galaxy Note 10 Plus also has four cameras, arranged in an oblong on the top left of the device.
Huawei has been smashing it with their cameras in recent years, with the P30 Pro being considered by some to be the best camera smartphone so far this year – even above the Google Pixel 3. The Mate 30 Pro looks to take this even further by housing a 40MP main lens supported by a 40MP ultra-wide angle lens, an 8MP telephoto lens, and a 3D depth sensor. All this is backed up by smart software to ensure that you’re getting the best quality snaps with the Mate 30 Pro.
The Note 10 Plus camera array includes a 12MP variable aperture main lens, as well as a 12MP telephoto lens, a 16MP ultra-wide lens, and a 3D depth sensor.
In all, both smartphones are more than capable of taking a decent photo, but it seems that the Huawei Mate 30 Pro is in the lead.
Real beauty lies on the inside
It’s what’s on the inside that really matters, no? Well, the Galaxy Note 10 Plus really shines here. It’s powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 chipset (for US buyers) or the Exynos 9825 from Samsung in the rest of the world.
The Mate 30 Pro, on the other hand, has Huawei’s own Kirin 990 chipset. Both chipsets are extremely powerful and at the top-end of the market. Neither one can overpower Apple’s new A13 Bionic, however.
The Galaxy Note 10 Plus has a whopping 12GB of RAM and comes with either 256GB or 512GB of internal storage. That’s more than enough to store all your photos, videos, music, and more. Huawei’s Mate 30 Pro comes with 8GB of RAM and 256GB storage – still a formidable amount, but a little behind Samsung.
Both devices are running on the latest version of Android 10 – although, this is where the problems start for the Mate 30 Pro…
Unique features… or lack of them
The Galaxy Note 10 Plus comes with the signature S-Pen that accompanies all phones in the Note range. The latest version of the S-Pen is incredibly comfortable to use and very responsive. It’s probably the best smart pen on the market right now, in direct competition with Apple’s $200 Apple Pen. The Mate 30 Pro doesn’t have an equivalent to the S-Pen, although you can use a pen with it.
The real issue with the Mate 30 Pro is that Huawei has had their license removed from the Play Store and essential Google services. This is due to the US ban on Huawei products and the restrictions of US companies in doing business with the Chinese company. This has resulted in new Huawei products being blocked from future Android updates and not being able to download anything from the Play Store.
This is a major drawback of the Mate 30 Pro, which is otherwise an exceptional smartphone. It’s likely that the US ban on Huawei products won’t last forever and thus users of the device will be able to access the Play Store and other Google apps in the future. For now, though, the device is at a major disadvantage because of this restriction.
The verdict: Note 10 Plus wins the day
While the Mate 30 Pro is arguably a more attractive design with a stunning camera setup and heavy-hitting internal specs, the simple point here is that without Google services and Android updates, the Mate 30 Pro isn’t an attractive phone to western customers right now – or anyone else outside of China.
If Huawei gets access to Google services and Android updates again, then we’d likely change our mind with this outcome, but for now, the Galaxy Note 10 Plus wins the day.