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The Battle for the Best Flagship of 2018: Samsung Galaxy Note 9 vs Huawei Mate 20 Pro

With the year nearly coming to a close and most of the big names having released their top guns for 2018, it’s time to put some of the best flagship phones against each other to see how they stack up against each other. For this comparison, we’re going to take a look at the Huawei Mate 20 Pro and the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 side-by-side to help those of you who haven’t made a choice on which of these two great flagship device to get.

Let’s get started with something that most of you are pretty keen on seeing — the cameras.

Three are Better than Two?

If you’re keeping track, Huawei still sits atop the DxOMark leaderboards with their P20 Pro with 6 point lead over the best Samsung has to offer us this year. While the score for the Mate 20 or Mate 20 Pro hasn’t been released yet, we’re fairly certain that they will take the top spot with their triple camera setup that’s now backed by their much smarter chipset in the Kirin 980.

That’s all well and good but you’re here to see how the photos look. We’ve tried our best to get the very same angle in each of these photos and all of the shots were taken seconds apart. Have a look at the camera samples from both of these flagship devices.

We were a little surprised with the output when we compared the photos. Samsung has always been known to have their color accuracy on point but most of the photos that came out of the Note 9 cameras had a bit warmer with the Mate 20 Pro getting the white balance down pat. They’re both plenty sharp but the Mate 20 Pro exhibits more dynamic range but an be a little aggresive with the AI at times.

First Shots: Huawei Mate 20 Pro in London

The Mate 20 Pro certainly wins out in terms of shooting modes with a wider array of features at its disposal with its ultra-wide shooter, the ability to get up close and personal with your subjects with its Super Macro mode, and the handheld Night Mode that really sets the two phones apart.

In terms of selfies, we’ll have to give it up to the Samsung Galaxy Note 9. Huawei has done a lot to improve the picture quality coming out of their front cameras but they still have some catching up to do in this department. It’s a big leap from the selfies taken with the Mate 10 with the Mate 20 getting more dynamic range than before and, more importantly, no more blown out highlights.

First Shots: Samsung Galaxy Note 9

The Note 9 definitely puts up a decent fight against but, in the end, the Huawei Mate 20 Pro’s versatility wins out in this part of the comparison. What do you guys think though? Let us know in the comment section down below.

AI in Video

If you like taking snippets of your day on your device or pretty much treat your smartphone like a vlogging camera, there’s no doubt that both these flagships bring the goods when it comes to video. Both can shoot up to 4K and have decent stabilization so you don’t give people on your social media feeds motion sickness because of camera shake.

We do have to give the Mate 20 Pro props for including a few AI features to make the videos you shoot a little more creative. There’s AI color mode that can isolate your subject and make the background black and white or, get this, background blur to give you that software-assisted bokeh in its videos. Granted these features could use a little work when there are multiple subjects on screen but we’re guessing a few software updates here and there should make it solid.

Huawei Mate 20 Pro Battery Benchmark

The Mate 20 Pro Last Longer and Charges Faster

Samsung touted the bigger battery capacity on the Galaxy Note 9 and it was a win for the Korean brand. It is the Note series device with the most lasting power with its 4000mAh battery. Huawei gets the leg up in terms of battery capacity at 4200mAh and it can certainly go on for much longer than its rival as well.

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 Battery Benchmark

The Mate 20 Pro clocks in nearly 12 hours using PC Mark’s Battery Benchmark with the Note 9 trailing at 10 hours and 6 minutes. We were also able to get about a day and a half worths of juice with Huawei’s offering with how we typically handle our devices with the Note 9 just having enough power to get you through the day.

When it comes to topping up the Mate series wins out yet again with the new 40W SuperCharge feature getting us to 70 percent in just 30 minutes with the Note 9 giving us about 30 percent in the same amount of time.

Giving Away the Juice

Huawei was initially resistant to adding on the ability to charge their devices wirelessly and that’s something that was added on in this iteration of the Mate series. While we honestly still prefer to charge our device by hugging a wall, especially now that it’s so much faster this time around, we like the fact that you have the option to just place the Mate 20 Pro on top of your wireless charger on your nightstand.

We also enjoy the fact that you can extend a helping hand to your friends who might be running low on battery whose phones also support wireless charging. All you have to do is turn on Reverse Wireless Charging in the battery settings and — PRESTO — you can pretty much treat your Mate 20 Pro like a charger itself. We’re pretty sure you have a friend who’s always in search of a power bank or a place to plug in.

The Mate 20 Pro is Handier Flagship

One of the things I really liked about this year’s Mate 20 Pro was its form factor because it’s really come along way from its past iteration. It’s great to look at, no matter what color variant you go for, and feels really great in the hand thanks to its curved display; a design aesthetic that it borrowed from its competition.

Now, don’t get us wrong, there’s nothing wrong with how the Note 9 looks but it has pretty much remained unchanged over the previous generation but we’re thankful that they corrected one of its major flaws — the fingerprint scanner placement. The Note 9 can also feel quite big in the hand because of its more rectangular silhouette, which is something to consider if you don’t have our mitt size.

New vs Tradition Biometrics

While we’re talking about the fingerprint scanner on the Note 9, we might as well mention one of the new features to make it on to the Mate 20 Pro — the In-Display Fingerprint Scanner. It’s something that more and more manufacturers are getting into and it keeps on getting better as time goes on. The one on the Huawei Mate 20 Pro

Notch or No Notch?

Since we touched on the displays on these devices, this part of the battle between the Huawei Mate 20 Pro and the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 can be a bit of a toss-up. They have pretty much the same size but the Mate 20 Pro has a slightly wider aspect ratio at 19.5:9 compared to the Note 9’s 18.5:9. This gives Huawei a little lead in pixel density as well because of its resolution. Picture quality is pretty much the same between the two phones with the Mate 20 Pro looking a tad bit more saturated but the Note 9 seems to have the brighter display overall.

The real choice here boils down to having a notch, which you can easily hide in the settings, or if you’d like to be without one with the Samsung Galaxy Note 9. We’ve spent our fair share of time with phones that have the rather polarizing aesthetic so we really don’t mind but we know that some of you have an aversion to it. We’ll call this one a draw and leave the decision up to you guys.

5G Ready!

We’ve been hearing a lot of talk about 5G recently and, while they say the rollout for this network feature won’t be until 2020, handset manufacturers are already starting to prep their devices for its inevitability. As you may know, Huawei works both sides of the fence on this matter so it’s only natural that one of their phones would be one of the first in the market to support 5G in the Huawei Mate 20 series.

A plus is that we’ve always found that Huawei devices seem to have better overall connectivity since a huge part of their overall business is network solutions and some cell sites in the country come from them as well.

Clear Winner in the Price Wars

When comes down to how much it’ll cost to get either of the two the devices, Huawei gets an edge with the sticker price for the Huawei Mate 20 Pro at Php 49,990 compared to the Samsung Galaxy Note 9’s Php 55,995. That’s a pretty significant difference between the two phones but, then again, it all boils down to user preference and the feature set on both devices.

We’ve already seen some of your choose the Note 9 because of the S-Pen and the fact that it still has a dedicated 3.5mm jack but there’s more than enough reason to pick up the Huawei Mate 20 Pro too.

Who Wins the Battle?

While both phones have an awesome feature set and either is a good choice if you’re looking to pick up a flagship at this point of the year, the team unanimously voted for the Huawei Mate 20 Pro.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is an awesome device that’s worthy of being in talks for being the flagship of the year. It’s got a great processing package that can hang with the big boys, great cameras for taking photos and video, and let’s not forget all functionalities the S-Pen brings. However, it felt like an incremental upgrade to their S series device that was launched earlier in the year rather than a big upgrade. It also didn’t last quite as long as the Mate 20 Pro, which is a big let down since the company was touting that this was the Note series device that had the biggest battery yet.

Huawei, on the other hand, really surprised us with a ton of new tricks up the Mate 20 Pro’s sleeve and felt like a huge jump from the Huawei P20 Pro and an even bigger leap from its predecessor. It’s new flagship SoC is definitely at the heart of all the innovations they were able to bring to this new device and its improved triple camera setup really opened up new possibilities for mobile photography plus the fact that it can significantly outlast the Note 9 is icing on the cake.

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 Review: A Few Refinements Go A Long Way

Huawei Mate 20 Pro Review: Defying Expectations Yet Again

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