Huawei Mate 10 Pro vs. LG V30: Can Huawei’s A.I. beat LG’s edge-to-edge screen?

mate 10 pro
Julian Chokkattu

The Mate 10 Pro, Huawei’s follow-up to last year’s Mate 9, is a high-end handset by any measure. Its custom-designed Kirin 970 processor has a chip designed for artificial intelligence, and its dual cameras capture impressive photos.

But LG’s V30, one of the Mate 10 Pro’s prime competitors, is no slouch. It’s thin, tall 18:9 aspect ratio offers a cinematic viewing experience; its durability sets a high bar; and its processor — Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 — the same that powers the Galaxy S8 and HTC U11 — crushes everyday tasks with ease. So which flagship smartphone reigns supreme in the end? We compared to the two to find out.

Specs

LG V30

LG V30

Huawei Mate 10 Pro

Huawei Mate 10 Pro

Size 151.7 x 75.4 x 7.4 mm (5.97 x 2.97 x 0.29 inches) 154.2 x 74.5 x 7.9 mm (6.07 x 2.93 x 0.31 inches)
Weight 158 grams (5.57 ounces) 178 grams (6.28 ounces)
Screen 6-inch P-OLED display 6-inch OLED
Resolution 2,880 x 1,440 pixels (537 pixels per inch) 2,160 x 1,080 (402 ppi)
OS Android 7.1.2 Android 8.0 Oreo
Storage 64GB, 128GB (on the V30 Plus) 64GB, 128GB
MicroSD card slot Yes, up to 256 GB No
NFC support Yes Yes
Processor Snapdragon 835 Huawei Kirin 970
RAM 4GB 4GB/6GB
Connectivity GSM, CDMA, HSPA, EVDO, LTE, 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi LTE (Cat 18), GSM, CDMA, HSPA, EVDO, 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi
Camera Dual 16MP and 13MP wide angle rear, 5MP wide angle front Dual 20-megapixel monochrome and 12-megapixel RGB rear, 8-megapixel front
Video Up to 4K at 30fps, 1080p at 30fps, 720p at 120fps Up to 4K at 30fps
Bluetooth Yes, version 5.0 Yes, version 4.2
Fingerprint sensor Yes Yes
Other sensors Accelerometer, compass, gyroscope, proximity Accelerometer, barometer, gyroscope, proximity
Water resistant Yes, IP68 rated Yes, IP67 rated
Battery 3,300mAh

Fast charging, wireless charging (Qi standard)

4,000mAh

Fast charging

Charging port USB-C USB-C
Marketplace Google Play Store Google Play Store
Colors Cloud Silver, Moroccan Blue Midnight Blue, Titanium Gray, Mocha Brown, Pink Gold
Availability Sprint, Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile Mid-November
Price $800 800 euros (around $945)
DT review 4 out of 5 stars Hands-on

Many Android flagship phones share the same processor, but Huawei phones opt for the company’s own Kirin chipset. The new Kirin 970 doesn’t disappoint: It’s an octa-core processor that’s 50 percent more energy-efficient than last year’s Kirin 960 and up to 25 percent faster.

The V30’s system-on-a-chip is no less impressive. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 is up to 30 percent faster than its predecessor, the Snapdragon 821, in benchmark tests.

So how do the two chips compare side-by-side? Early tests show the Mate 10 Pro’s Kirin 970 on an even keel with the V30’s Snapdragon 835. The Mate 10 Pro scored a 173,757 in Antutu, compared to the LG V30’s score of 173,042. Benchmarks only tell half the story, though, and the Kirin 970 has something special up its sleeve: A neural processing unit (NPU) chip that speeds up artificial intelligence (A.I.) apps. It’s more than two times faster than Huawei’s last-gen NPU and works around the clock to optimize the phone’s battery life and performance.

The Snapdragon 835 has no such chip. The V30 ships with 4GB RAM compared to the Mate 10 Pro’s 6GB (in the 128GB model). The jury’s out on how much of a difference that makes day to day, to at the very least, we expect the Mate 10 Pro to juggle more apps and background tasks at once.

The V30 has a 3.5mm headphone jack, which the Mate 10 Pro doesn’t — it ships with a USB-C-to-3.5mm adapter instead. The V30 has the newest generation of Bluetooth (version 5.0), which the Mate 10 Pro can’t match — it packs the slower, shorter-range Bluetooth 4.2. And the V30 has an ace in the hole: A hi-fi Quad DAC (digital-to-audio converter) that delivers 32-bit playback on headphones and through the phone’s loudspeakers.

The V30 and Mate 10 Pro both come in 64GB and 128GB configurations, albeit not on every carrier. The V30 does have an edge here with the MicroSD card slot if you want more space.

We’re giving the V30 the win here. Performance seems to be on relatively equal footing, and we’ll have to see how much the NPU changes AI actions on the Mate 10. But the V30 has a headphone jack, a Quad DAC, Bluetooth 5.0, a MicroSD card slot — all of which certainly affect day-to-day functions in a positive way.

Winner: LG V30

Design and display

mate 10 pro
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

The Mate 10 Pro and V30 both feature the trendy “bezel-less” all-glass design, though the rear design is quite different. The Mate 10 Pro’s edge-to-edge front panel houses the phone’s Full HD+ OLED (2,160 x 1,080 pixels) FullView screen. It’s 6 inches in length with narrow top, bottom, and side bezels, and has a high dynamic range (HDR) profile that’s bright, colorful, and truer-to-life than some of the competition.

The V30’s screen is 6 inches as well, but curved on all four corners. It’s Quad HD+ in resolution (2,880 x 1,440 pixels) with an OLED panel, and every bit as bright and colorful as the Mate Pro 10’s screen. It’s also noticeably sharper: The Mate 10 Pro has a pixel density 402 pixels-per-inch (PPI) compared to the V30’s 537 PPI.

The V30 and Mate 10 Pro are relatively bare on front, and both have a USB Type-C connector for charging and a rocker to adjust the volume. Things diverge when you flip them around. The Mate 10 Pro has a two-color finish with a reflective band that highlights the camera. The V30’s back is a little less conspicuous, with a monochrome backdrop against a camera and a fingerprint sensor that doubles as a power button. So which phone has the better design? It’s a matter of personal preference. We like the Mate 10 Pro’s design and it’s a little flashier, but some folks might enjoy the V30’s minimalism.

There’s a definite winner when it comes to durability, though, and it’s the LG V30. On top of its MIL-STD-810G certification for 14 different impact, moisture, and exposure tests, it’s IP68 rated to survive 5 feet of water for 30 minutes. That’s compared to the Mate 10 Pro, which IP67 rated for up to 3 and a half feet.

Given how subjective aesthetics tend to be, it’s tough to crown a winner in the design category. But the V30 has the bit more going for it than the Mate 10 Pro with its denser, higher-resolution screen and a design that’s more likely to stand up to abuse.

Winner: LG V30

Camera

mate 10 pro vs iphone x back

The Mate 10 Pro and LG V30 have dual cameras, but they work in fundamentally different ways.

For the Mate 10 Pro, Huawei teamed up with Leica to co-design a camera with two image signal processors (ISPs), a laser autofocus module, and two sensors: A 12-megapixel RGB sensor and a 20-megapixel monochrome sensor. Both have SUMMILUX-H lenses and a f/1.6 aperture and take full advantage of the Mate 10 Pro’s software. An iPhone 7 Plus-like Portrait Mode generates bokeh by combining the two sensors’ data in one, and a monochrome mode snaps black-and-white pics using the Mate 10 Pro’s 20-megapixel sensor.

The V30’s dual camera setup similarly consists of two sensors: A 16-megapixel primary sensor (f/1.6 aperture) and a 13-megapixel sensor with a wider lens (f/1.9 aperture). The wide-angle lens is great for landscape and crowd shots, and it powers a Point and Zoom feature that smoothly zoom into subjects in video mode.

But the V30 can’t match the Mate 10 Pro’s A.I.-powered software. The Kirin 970 chip imbues Huawei’s flagship with A.I. smarts. Real-Time Scene and Object Recognition help it understand what’s in front of it and adjust the settings accordingly, and A.I. Motion Detection enhances the sharpness of images. Third-party photo-taking apps that tap into the NPU benefit from accelerated image processing too. (Huawei says the Kirin 970 can process 2,000 images per second.)

The Mate 10 Pro and V30 are evenly matched on the selfie and video side of the equation. The former can shoot in 4K at 30 frames per second, as can the V30. The V30’s 5-megapixel front sensor is only a smidge smaller than the Mate 10 Pro’s 8-megapixel camera.

It’s a close race, but the Mate 10 Pro’s A.I. smarts are enough to win it the round. The V30’s dual sensor is without a doubt impressive, but the Mate 10 Pro has it beat with regard to real-time and post-processing.

Winner: Mate 10 Pro

Battery life and charging

mate 10 pro
Julian Chokkattu
Julian Chokkattu

The V30 might have the advantage when it comes to design, but the Mate 10 Pro wins out on the battery side of things.

The Mate 10 Pro has a 4,000mAh battery as opposed to the V30’s 3,300. That might not sound like much of a difference, but the V30’s higher-resolution screen draws more power than the Mate 10 Pro’s. Huawei says the Mate 10 Pro lasts a full two days on a charge, which compares pretty favorably to the V30’s one-day battery life.

The Mate 10 Pro features Huawei’s proprietary SuperCharge technology, and the LG V30 utilizes Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0 fast charging tech.

The V30 has something the Mate 10 Pro doesn’t: Wireless charging. LG’s flagship is compatible with any Qi-certified charging pads on the market, which is exploding in popularity thanks to Apple adopting the same Qi standard with the latest iPhones.

Support for wireless charging isn’t enough to excuse away the V30’s smaller battery, though. The Mate 10 Pro comes out on top with a longer-lasting battery, though we’ll have to do more testing to see if it really can last for two days.

Winner: Mate 10 Pro

Software

lg v30
Julian Chokkattu

The Mate 10 Pro and V30 both run Android, Google’s mobile operating system, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at them. That’s because each phone runs a custom version, each with their own apps and features.

The Mate 10 Pro ships with version 8.0 of Huawei’s Emotion UI (EMUI), based on Android 8.0 Oreo. One of its nifty features is machine learning suggestions, which tap the Kirin 970’s NPU to highlight contextually relevant settings. At night, for example, it might recommend you enable the Mate 10 Pro’s low-light mode.

Also in tow with EMUI 8.0 is a floating menu on the home screen with one-tap access to the home screen and recent apps, and a landscape mode that that divides the compatible apps into columns so you can see more at a glance. Folks with a spare monitor, meanwhile, can take advantage the Mate 10 Pro’s “desktop-like” interface, which is optimized for larger screens.

The V30’s take on Android is close to stock, but not without enhancements. A floating, expandable arrow icon sits anywhere on the home screen and provides one-tap access to contacts, apps, and other items. Smart Settings, a carryover from the LG G6, can automatically silence notifications based on your location.

At the end of the day, the Mate 10 Pro and V30’s software approach the same idea — simplifying your smartphone experience — differently. The Mate 10 Pro’s is a bit more intrusive, but that might appeal to some people, just like the V30’s hands-off approach will appeal to others. We are giving the Mate 10 Pro the win, however, because it’s running the latest version of Android. The LG V30 is still on Android 7.1.1, despite launching after Oreo was released.

Winner: Mate 10 Pro

Price and availability

The Mate 10 Pro isn’t cheap, but neither is the V30. Both phones start well above $700.

The 64GB variant of the LG V30, which is available now, ranges from $800 on T-Mobile to $840 on Verizon. Sprint carries the LG V30 Plus, and an upgraded version of the V30 with 128GB and bundled LG QuadPlay earbuds, exclusively for $648 on Sprint Flex, an 18-month leasing program.

The Mate 10 Pro, on the other hand, will cost 800 euros (about $945) when it goes on sale in November. But that’s in Europe – Huawei has yet to announce U.S. pricing and availability. If it follows the Mate 9’s path, we expect it to hit Amazon and Best Buy soon.

Tentatively, the LG V30 wins as we’re expecting the Mate 10 Pro to cost more based on its Europe price.

Winner: LG V30

Overall winner: Mate 10 Pro

There’s no doubt about it: The V30 has a sharp screen, a speedy processor, and a great pair of cameras. But the Mate 10 Pro edges out.

The Mate 10 Pro’s speedy Kirin 970 and NPU have paradigm-shifting potential. They enhance your photos, suggest contextually useful settings, and even optimize your battery life. Sure, those smarts come at the expense of a high-end audio experience, durable body, and high-resolution screen. But the Mate 10 Pro’s overall package make the sacrifices worth it.