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Home / Features / Samsung Galaxy S10+ vs Huawei Mate 20 Pro: Which is best?

Samsung Galaxy S10+ vs Huawei Mate 20 Pro: Which is best?

Can Samsung dethrone the current smartphone champ?

Samsung is gunning for the smartphone throne again with its Galaxy S10 line, and sitting atop the pile right now is Huawei’s Mate 20 Pro.

The triple-camera wonder builds upon the great Huawei P20 Pro by packing in more premium perks, like a Quad HD OLED screen, in-display fingerprint sensor, and reverse wireless charging for topping up other devices, and the end result is today’s best flagship phone.

The Galaxy S10+ is the closest match for the Mate 20 Pro, seemingly matching it on all major features on paper – from three back cameras to a beautiful display and plenty more. Can Samsung’s latest dethrone the current greatest? Here’s what we think, now that we’ve reviewed the Galaxy S10+.

Design: Couple of beauties

The Mate 20 Pro is definitely one of 2018’s best-looking phones, with a big and bright screen on the front, minimal bezel, and a few different beautiful backing options – including a brilliant Twilight gradient colour, plus a textured glass version. That said, the notch on the front is pretty large, much like that of the current iPhones.

The Galaxy S10+ is more or less an even match. Instead of a notch, it has a pinhole cutout for the camera, leaving little bezel on the top and bottom. Granted, with two front cameras, that punch-hole is a bit larger here than on the smaller S10 models – and it can be a little distracting for movies, much like a large notch is. Elsewhere, it looks a fair bit like the Galaxy S9+: curvy and full of glass and aluminium.

Verdict: Draw

Screen: Two of a kind

In terms of displays, these phones seem awfully close on paper. The Mate 20 Pro has a curved 6.39in Quad HD AMOLED panel, while the Galaxy S10+ has a… curved 6.4in Quad HD AMOLED panel. Yeah, like we said: pretty close.

Both are pretty stunning. Is there really a sizable diference in overall quality? Nope, not at all. But the Galaxy S10+ does get brighter – in fact, brighter than any other phone out there. So it has a slight advantage when it comes to direct sunlight viewing.

Both phones hide their fingerprint sensors beneath the screen, with the Mate 20 Pro using an optical scanner and the Galaxy S10+ opting for an ultrasonic version. Both work well enough, although it might take you a few days to sort exactly where your finger is supposed to go on the S10+’s ultrasonic sensor, since it doesn’t light up when you touch the screen.

Verdict: Samsung Galaxy S10+

Camera: Shootout!

Count ’em: one, two, three cameras on the back of both phones. With the Mate 20 Pro, it’s been the camera king since it dethroned Huawei’s own P20 Pro. It has a 40-megapixel (f/1.8) main wide lens, a 20MP (f/2.2) ultrawide lens, and an 8MP (f/2.4) telephoto lens, and the results are routinely very detailed and colourful. It also has great 3x optical zoom and 5x hybrid zoom, giving you a glimpse at far-off sights without sacrificing clarity.

The Galaxy S10+ also has three back cameras now: a 12MP wide-angle lens that can automatically swap between f/1.5 and f/2.4 aperture, a 16MP ultra-wide lens (f/2.2), and 12MP telephoto (f/2.4) lens. Again, these phones are close on paper.

Both can deliver incredible results, but we have to give the edge to the Mate 20 Pro here. Why? The Mate 20 Pro’s 3x optical zoom is a unique treat, plus the Galaxy S10+’s wide-angle camera lacks autofocus. And lastly, the Galaxy S10+ just can’t handle nighttime scenes as well as the Mate 20 Pro.

In everyday shooting, they’re not far off. But the Mate 20 Pro does have some significant advantages in the mix.

On the front, the Galaxy S10+ doubles up with multiple front-facing cameras, while the Mate 20 Pro has iPhone X-like sensors for improved facial security.

Verdict: Huawei Mate 20 Pro

Performance: Power-packed

Both phones pack a real punch when it comes to processing power. The Mate 20 Pro wields Huawei’s Kirin 980 chip, while the Galaxy S10+ has Samsung’s Exynos 9280 chip in Europe. Both are super swift and not far off in terms of benchmark scores.

The Mate 20 Pro comes in 6GB and 8GB RAM configurations, while the Galaxy S10+ starts at 8GB and also offers a 12GB edition. More RAM can mean smoother multitasking and fewer hitches along the way, although 12GB seems thoroughly excessive for what you’ll actually use a smartphone for. We don’t think there’s any significant difference between them.

Verdict: Draw

Battery and perks: Slight differences

It seems close again on battery life: the Mate 20 Pro has a 4,200mAh cell, while the Galaxy S10+ is just a notch lower at 4,100mAh. Huawei’s phone can get you into a second day with moderate usage, or at least ensure that your heavy day of usage doesn’t require a top-up.

The Galaxy S10+ should be close, but in everyday usage, we didn’t see the kind of stamina we’d hoped for. It still feels like a very strong single-day phone, rather than something that can honestly last well into a second ay.

Both phones offer wireless charging capabilities, and both also can charge other wirelessly-chargeable phones on the back, along with compatible earbuds and such.

When it comes to storage, you can definitely get a lot more with the Galaxy S10+. Samsung’s phone comes in 128GB, 512GB, and 1TB versions, while the Mate 20 Pro sticks with 128GB and 256GB editions. Both let you use expandable memory, with the Galaxy S10+ using microSD cards and Huawei opting for its proprietary Nano Memory format.

Samsung’s Gear VR is a unique perk that the Mate 20 Pro can’t match, plus the Galaxy S10+ has a headphone jack. The Mate 20 Pro does not.

Verdict: Draw

Verdict: Still our best Mate

Huawei Mate 20 Pro verdict

At the end of the day, these phones really are very, very close. They’re essentially even when it comes to design quality and power. Samsung has a slight edge on display and packs in some bonus perks, while the Mate 20 Pro wins out on camera prowess and battery life. You really can’t go wrong with either of them

But we’d pick the Huawei Mate 20 Pro, and as our reviews show, the Galaxy S10+ only managed a four-star rating while Huawei’s handset earned the full five.

Why? Well, it’s partially because the Galaxy S10+ feels like a retread of what made the Mate 20 Pro so great, but also because you can find the Mate 20 Pro for about £749 or less these days – and that’s a deal that you shouldn’t pass up. It’s still our favourite phone in the world.

Winner: Huawei Mate 20 Pro

Profile image of Andrew Hayward Andrew Hayward Freelance Writer


Andrew writes features, news stories, reviews, and other pieces, often when the UK home team is off-duty or asleep. I'm based in Chicago with my lovely wife, amazing son, and silly cats, and my writing about games, gadgets, esports, apps, and plenty more has appeared in more than 75 publications since 2006.

Areas of expertise

Video games, gadgets, apps, smart home

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