Test Driving a Different Kind of Porsche

Porsche Design Huawei Mate 10 is a sharp-shooting smartphone with more than just good looks.

Porsche Design HUAWEI Mate 10 Photo: courtesy of Porsche Design

Branded with the discreet Porsche Design logo on front and a Huawei logo on back, the most advanced smartphone from Chinese telecom-giant Huawei features an exemplary design aesthetic for which the famous German firm Porsche Design is known.

Porsche Design was founded in 1972 by Ferdinand Alexander “Butzi” Porsche, designer of the Porsche 904 and evergreen 911, and grandson of Porsche brand patriarch Ferdinand Porsche. The studio’s first project was a chronograph designed in collaboration with watchmaker Orfina, and since that time has been responsible for thousands of design projects in every conceivable industrial design segment.

The most ubiquitous consumer product in our modern world has got to be the smartphone, so it makes sense that design-conscious customers would be attracted to a device that offers not just cutting-edge technology, but the outstanding look and feel of a Porsche Design product.

The Porsche Design Huawei Mate 10 is a high-performance luxury smartphone with sleek, glass unibody construction. Actually, it’s a combination of high-strength glass and metal, with the exterior fused in such a way that there are no seams or tactile variations in surface to distract from the user’s aesthetic or haptic experience. The form factor is about as large as can be comfortably held without feeling over-sized; approximately 3 x 6 inches and less than a third-of-an-inch thick, it weighs 6 ounces, about the same as an iPhone X. The diamond black finish is a smooth, luxurious surface that could be an otherworldly 119th element. It’s hard to really know what it is.

Porsche Design Huawei Mate 10

Under the hood, the smartphone is based on the Android 8.0 operation system, with 6 GB RAM. It offers all the bells and whistles of competitor brands, and one is treated to more sensors than a contraption in Mr. Wizard’s lab: fingerprint, G-sensor, gyroscope, compass, ambient light, barometer, infrared remote control, etc. Important for headphone listeners who want a one-size-fits-all device that makes a phone call as well as plays quality music files, the Porsche Design Huawei Mate 10 has plenty of flash memory—256 GB—for FLAC or WAV formats.

It’s the Leica camera that makes this a particularly stand-out smartphone, challenging the dedicated point-and-shoot camera segment with really high-quality resolution and features. It absolutely blew away my iPhone 8 in image brilliance, clarity and resolution. One could argue that short of serious cameras, anything in between is made redundant by the Porsche Design Huawei Mate 10. Its integrated Leica Dual camera delivers 20 megapixel monochrome/12 megapixel RGB resolution and features what Leica calls Hybrid Zoom, bringing far-away details into focus, all displayed on the brilliant 6-inch hi-res screen. Spies and birdwatchers, take note.

The manufacturer says it’s splash, water and dust resistant, which means you can leave it in the rain for a second, but not go diving. An attractive leather case opens like a receipt portfolio in an upscale retail store, which is apposite, given the MSRP price of the device: $1,255.

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