China’s Huawei, which is engaged in a fierce battle for smartphone supremacy with Korea’s Samsung Electronics and US-headquartered Apple, has launched its new high-end smartphone, the Mate 20 Pro, in South Africa, just a week after it was unveiled in London.
The new phone will cost R18 999 in South Africa, Huawei said, though those that pre-order will get the new Huawei smartwatch, the Watch GT, included in the deal (value: R5 499).
The R18 999 price tag places the Mate 20 Pro in the same ballpark as Samsung’s latest flagship device, the Galaxy Note9, but still significantly below the Apple iPhone Xs Max — the two devices it will compete with directly.
Huawei has confirmed that it won’t sell the lower-priced Mate 20 in South Africa, choosing instead to only make the more powerful Pro model available.
The company unveiled the new models last Tuesday in London, showing off their artificial intelligence features and high-end cameras that Huawei says beat rivals hands down.
Research firm International Data Corp said in August that Huawei had pulled ahead of Apple to claim the number-two position in global smartphone shipments in the second quarter just behind Samsung Electronics, Bloomberg reported. Huawei shipped 54.2 million phones in the quarter, 41% more than a year earlier, to jump ahead of the iPhone maker for the first time. The telecommunications giant accounted for 16% of the market, compared to 21% for Samsung and 12% for Apple.
Packing the company’s own Kirin 980 silicon chip, the new Huawei phones have the latest available technology designed to challenge Samsung and Apple head-on.
Key features of the new phones include a 7-nanometre system on a chip (promising major performance improvements and significantly improved battery life), large batteries (4 000mAh on the Mate 20 and 4 200mAh on the Pro model) and dual neural processing chips for AI (important for advanced camera techniques and other applications).
Huawei has also become the first major smartphone manufacturer to introduce an in-screen fingerprint reader, beating Samsung and Apple to debut the technology in a mainstream smartphone.
Other significant features include support for Huawei’s new NM card format, which replaces the SD cards that have been prevalent for the past 15 years. NM cards are 45% smaller than SD cards. The new phones are water resistant, and can be fully submerged up to half an hour at a depth of 2m.
The new models support fast-charging with 40W chargers, which Huawei said can charge the battery from flat to 70% in just 30 minutes. Wireless charging is supported, too, at 15W. Significantly, the Pro can be used to charge accessories and even other phones wirelessly.
There’s a triple-camera system on both the Mate 20 and Pro models. The Pro has a 40-megapixel wide-angle lens (27mm; f/1.8), a 20MP ultrawide-angle lens (16mm, f/2.2) and an 8MP 3x telephoto lens (80mm; f/2.4). Using a larger sensor, Huawei said the Pro model can take images at an ISO of up to 102400, which should prove exceptional for low-light photography. It also claims it can take macro (close-up images) that knock the socks off rival devices.
Huawei said the Mate 20 Pro will also be available from all four major mobile operators on contract, with Telkom offering the device at R699/month over 24 months and rivals Vodacom and MTN making it available at R799/month over the same period. — © 2018 NewsCentral Media