Porsche Design Huawei Mate 10 hands-on review

Don’t even think about buying the $1,600 Porsche Design Huawei Mate 10

The disappointing Porsche Design Huawei Mate 10 is more money for very little extra.
The disappointing Porsche Design Huawei Mate 10 is more money for very little extra.
The disappointing Porsche Design Huawei Mate 10 is more money for very little extra.

Highs

  • Based on Huawei Mate 10 Pro
  • Black color looks sleek
  • Plenty of internal storage

Lows

  • No strong reason to buy it
  • Very expensive
  • Limited release

There is an art to making a special edition smartphone, and not every manufacturer can pull it off. In Porsche Design, Huawei has found a solid partner, which has resulted in two existing collaborations — the Huawei Mate 9 Porsche Design, and the Huawei Watch 2 Porsche Design — and now a third, based on the brand new Huawei Mate 10 Pro.

The Porsche Design Huawei Mate 10 is technically almost identical to the regular Mate 10 Pro, but it costs 1,400 euros, or about $1,630 (it’s not available in the U.S.). That’s more than twice what a Mate 10 Pro will cost without the Porsche Design name attached. Is it worth it? We had the chance to take a closer look for our Porsche Huawei Design Mate 10 hands-on review.

Not all that different

Before we answer that question, let’s talk about the differences between a Mate 10 Pro and the Porsche Design Mate 10. The most noticeable is the color. The Porsche Design Mate 10 comes in diamond black; an exclusive glossy, highly reflective finish unavailable on the standard version. It’s undeniably attractive, and heavily influenced by Porsche Design’s other products; but the body is still glass and not some special, more expensive material. The reflective stripe is vertical, rather than horizontal like on the regular Mate 10, mimicking a racing stripe.

There is more internal memory in the Porsche Design model. It has 256GB over the 128GB inside the Mate 10 Pro. It also comes in a flashier box with a selection of custom Porsche Design accessories, including a good looking folio case. Switch on the phone and Porsche Design’s custom theme greets you, with different icons and a cool wallpaper. It’s pretty and comfortable to hold, because it’s the same as the Mate 10 Pro.

Save some cash and buy the Mate 10 Pro.

Expecting more? Don’t, because that’s it. The Porsche Design version of the Mate 9 was a special edition phone done right, because it didn’t look the same as the regular model. There was some benefit (outside of the brand name) to paying more. This time the phone looks the same, has the same Kirin 970 processor, 6GB of RAM, dual-lens Leica camera, 6-inch 2,160 x 1,080 pixel screen, 4,000mAh battery, Android 8.0 software, and everything else. You pay more for the color, a little more memory, special wallpaper, and a folio case.

We like Porsche Design, and we like the Mate 9 Porsche Design. Sadly, because the Porsche Design Huawei Mate 10 offers so little extra over the regular version, it embodies everything we don’t like about special edition smartphones, and is a real disappointment. The Mate 10 itself is shaping up to be one of our favorite smartphones, but even with our Porsche Design obsession, we cannot find anything about the special version to get excited about. Slapping on a logo and installing a new theme, then changing the orientation of the stripe on the device’s rear panel — the only visual alteration — to make it “special” is lazy and dull.

Porsche Design Huawei Mate 10 review
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

If you want to know about the Mate 10 Pro, our comprehensive review is coming soon, but in the meantime we have an in-depth hands-on review. You can also check out our guide detailing the differences between the Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro. There are no operational differences between the Mate 10 Pro and the Porsche Design version at all.

Do better

Huawei and Porsche Design can do better, having proved it with the Mate 9 Porsche Design. Porsche Design makes expensive products, and the Mate 10 is no different. People who regularly buy Porsche Design clothing or accessories will want it, and likely have no problem paying the inflated price to own it.

Everyone else should save some cash and buy the Mate 10 Pro. It looks the same, feels the same, and performs the same as the Porsche Design model. The Porsche Design version will leave you feeling underwhelmed and disappointed.

The phone is going to be sold through select Porsche Design dealers, including its own online store, and likely only in Europe. It’s available to pre-order now, with deliveries expected to start in December.

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