Huawei Mate 50 launched — with satellite texting and an iPhone-like notch

Huawei has launched its latest flagship smartphone range — the Mate 50 series — with support for satellite texting in areas without cellular connectivity.

The feature will allow users to communicate with China’s BeiDou Navigation Satellite System for sending short messages and navigating.

Satellite calling and texting were expected to be among the standout features of last year’s iPhone 13.

While the smartphone carries the necessary hardware to support the connectivity, Apple had not finalised the necessary deals with satellite operators to start offering it.

Recent reports suggest the company will finally launch the feature alongside the unveiling of the iPhone 14 at its “Far Out” event on Wednesday.

But with the Huawei Mate 50 launching a day earlier, Apple can no longer claim to be the first company in the world to offer the feature on a typical smartphone.

In terms of design, there is not much distinguishing the upcoming Mate models from their predecessors — at least on the rear.

The smartphones feature the same widely-praised circular camera housing as the Mate 40. But once you turn the Mate 50 Pro around, there is one very noticeable change.

Curiously, Huawei has slapped a notch at the top of the display to house the selfie camera and 3D depth sensor instead of the pill-shaped cutout it had at the top left of the Mate 40 Pro’s display.

Apple’s iPhones are well-known for their notches, but most recent Android flagships boast a hole-punch or under-display selfie camera.

While the notch houses the hardware that supports Apple’s advanced Face ID biometric authentication, it has become the subject of much teasing, as it wastes valuable screen space.

Ironically, the company is expected to dump it for a pill-shaped cutout on its upcoming iPhone 14 Pro models.

Huawei Mate 50 Pro

When it comes to internal hardware, the entire Mate 50 line-up is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chip without 5G connectivity.

That is because Huawei cannot buy the latest Qualcomm chips with 5G support due to US trade restrictions, which have also cut it off from Google Mobile Services.

Huawei’s smartphones are still reputed for their impressive camera capabilities. Three of its models currently occupy spots in DXOMark’s top 10 camera smartphone rankings.

Both the Mate 50 and Mate 50 Pro feature 50MP primary cameras and 13MP ultra-wide lenses.

The Mate 50 Pro’s most significant upgrade over the standard model is a 64MP periscope camera, compared to the 12MP version on the base Mate 50.

That enables the Pro’s camera system to support optical zoom up to 3.5x and 200x digital zoom.

Availability and pricing

The Huawei Mate 50 series will initially only be available in China, where pre-orders opened on Tuesday.

Huawei has not yet shared any plans for launches in the rest of the world.

The Mate 50 starts at 4,999 Chinese yuan (R12,427) for the 128GB model, while the Mate 50 Pro 256GB will set buyers back 6,799 yuan, just under R17,000.

Huawei also unveiled a mid-range model called the Mate 50E, with a starting price tag of 3,999 yuan (R9,941).

Images and specifications for the Huawei Mate 50 and Mate 50 Pro are shown below.

Huawei Mate 50
OS Harmony OS 3.0
Display 6.7-inch 2,700 x 1,224 curved OLED with 90Hz refresh rate
CPU Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 4G
RAM 8GB
Storage 128GB / 256GB / 512GB
Rear camera 50MP + 13MP + 12MP
Front camera 13MP
Ports USB-C
Cellular 4G
Connectivity Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2
Protection rating IP68
Biometrics Under-display fingerprint reader
Battery 4,460mAh
66W wired charging
50W wireless charging
Dimensions and weight 161.5 x 76.1 x 8mm (202g)
Price Starting from 4,999 Chinese yuan (R12,427)


Huawei Mate 50 Pro

Huawei Mate 50 Pro
OS Harmony OS 3.0
Display 6.74-inch 2,616 x 1,212 curved OLED with 120Hz refresh rate
CPU Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 4G
RAM 8GB
Storage 256GB / 512GB
NanoSD up to 256GB
Rear camera 50MP + 13MP + 64MP
Front camera 13MP + 3D depth sensor
Ports USB-C
Cellular 4G
Connectivity Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2
Protection rating IP68
Biometrics Under-display fingerprint reader
Battery 4,700mAh
66W wired charging
50W wireless charging
7W reverse wireless charging
Dimensions and weight 162.1mm x 75.5mm x 8.5mm (209g)
Price Starting from 6,799 Chinese yuan (R16,924)


Now read: Sealed original iPhone sells for R600,000

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Huawei Mate 50 launched — with satellite texting and an iPhone-like notch