Huawei expanded its presence (and flagship line-up) in South Africa today with the official launch of the Huawei Mate 50 Pro (and the Huawei FreeBuds 5i and MatePad SE 10.4in). The Chinese conglomerate has had nearly two years since the Mate 40 Pro turned up to think up as many new buzzwords as it possibly could for the launch of its successor, the Mate 50 Pro. Dazzle us, Huawei.
The Mate 50 Pro isn’t some secret that the world only discovered this evening. In fact, the Mate 50 Pro has been on the market in China since September 2022. There isn’t anything new here that we weren’t expecting to be. Still, the launch of a flagship from any company is always exciting. It’s just slightly marred by the lack of anything Google.
It’s got a massive… camera (again)
As with any Huawei smartphone these days, the camera is the device’s biggest selling point. Biggest in both the literal and figurative sense. It’s massive. That’s because it’s housing a triple camera array – consisting of a 50MP main sensor, a 13MP ultra-wide and a 64MP 3.5x telephoto sensor to round it all off. Why? Who knows. Maybe it’s overcompensating for the Google-shaped hole in its centre.
Huawei has included a gazillion (ok, a million) different shooting modes. There’s the standard Night mode, Macro, Super Macro, and just about every other mode you might ever need. We needn’t list them all here – we’d run out of time to get this article out before the week ended.
On the front, you’re greeted with a wide notch taking up the top centre of your screen. That’s okay because there’s a 13MP selfie camera hidden under the black bar and a 3D depth sensor to go along with it. And again, with every combination of camera feature you can think of, there’s probably a shooting mode to go along with it.
The good stuff
That selfie camera is surrounded by a 6.7in OLED display that uses a high-res 1212p panel capable of showing 1B(illion) colours. Of course, it supports HDR10+ too, with the added bonus of a 120Hz refresh rate — though you won’t really notice the extra frames unless you’re planning on some serious gaming. We don’t even manage 120Hz on most PlayStation 5 games (looking at you, Gotham Knights), let alone whichever phone we’re using.
All that comes from the phone’s internals, where it’s sporting an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, one of the fastest processors to come out last year. There’s just one teeny, little problem. It’s the 4G chipset, not the 5G that you (and everyone else) have come to expect as the bare minimum. Huawei’s still having a little trouble on that front. Still, if you can get past that, there’s 8GB of RAM and 256GB/512GB of storage to get it going.
Finally, we get to the battery. We’d be lying if we said we weren’t a little disappointed with the Mate 50 Pro’s battery. Shoved inside is a 4,700mAh battery that felt like more of an afterthought than an actual feature of the device. Compared to the last iteration of the Mate line-up, which had a 4,500mAh stuck in it, we were expecting at least a 5000mAh to go with the upgrade. Charging hasn’t seen a major improvement either, with Huawei opting to keep the same 66W charging that we, again, saw on the last flagship model.
Pre-orders for the Huawei Mate50 Pro went live today, 26 January, with the units shipping to early buyers as soon as 1 February. If you’re looking for a model with 256GB of storage, you’ll have to pay R25,000 for one of two colours – silver or black. If you absolutely need 512GB of storage, you’re stuck with a rather garish orange option (that’s also vegan leather). The extra storage will cost you an extra R2,000 for a total of R27,000. Is it worth it?
Buyers that reserve their model before launch will need to pay a deposit of R1,000, and in return will receive a R2,500 discount on either the orange or silver/black variants. Each pre-order also has a special bonus gift of a Huawei Watch GT Runner smartwatch. Why? Those sales numbers won’t bump themselves up.