For the longest time, Samsung has been the undisputed player in the Android market. Their Galaxy series was the top choice for Android users and those looking for an alternative to the walled-garden that is iOS.
In recent years though, many other smartphone vendors have challenged Samsung and among them, one that has made some significant progress is Huawei.
The new flagship line-up that’s been recently launched is the Mate 20 series and the hero product is the Huawei Mate 20 Pro.
In this article, we’re going to do a close-up comparison between Samsung’s best and Huawei’s newest – the Mate20 Pro vs. the Galaxy Note9.
Like in our previous comparisons, we break them down into several categories for this round-up:
1) Design and Build
8) Battery Life
1) Design and Build
Since the Galaxy S6, Samsung has done really well in the design department. Their transition to the all-metal chassis with glass-on-glass paneling went as far back as four generations ago and has continued the until today with the same design DNA.
Samsung also popularized the curved edge design with the Galaxy Note9 inheriting the same look. Many others took inspiration from the Galaxy S and Note series. Even Huawei’s Mate 20 Pro has a lot of fine touches that reminded us of the S9 and Note9.
Huawei has made a dramatic improvement on the design and build of the Mate 20 Pro compared to previous generations. It’s got a full-metal chassis with a glass-on-glass outer shell, a curved glass front-panel and a lot of attention to detail.
Between the Note9 and the Mate20 Pro, it’s hard to distinguish a clear winner so we’re calling it a tie in the design department. Both have a beautiful design, impeccable build quality and refinements. While the Mate20 Pro has drastically improved its build and design, the Note9 has been steadily on the same design path for several generations. Huawei gets brownie points for most improved in this category.
The Mate20 Pro comes with a large 6.39″ 19.5:9 OLED with 2K+ resolution (1440 x 3120 pixels), a 538ppi pixel density, 87.6% screen-to-body ratio and HDR10 support.
The Galaxy Note9 has almost the same screen with 6.4″ Super AMOLED display at 2, 960 x 1, 440 pixels, a 516ppi pixel density, 83.4% screen-to-body ratio, and HDR 10 compliant.
Both use Corning’s Gorilla Glass with the Note9 using the 5th generation while the Mate20 Pro did not indicate which generation of Gorilla Glass it uses.
Both OLED displays look equally gorgeous, bright and crisp. The Mate20 Pro has a slightly higher pixel density and screen-to-body ratio but the notch somewhat ruins the experience.
The Mate20 Pro has in-display fingerprint sensor which is fancy but the Galaxy Note9 comes with an S-Pen that adds a lot of functionality to the screen, like making drawings, note-taking or sketching.
We’re calling this category a close tie between the Galaxy Note9 and the Mate20 Pro.
Huawei has made some very interesting setup when it comes to their Leica triple-camera system.
The Mate20 Pro is composed of 3 fully-functioning cameras – a 40-megapixel sensor with wide-angle lens and an f/1.8 aperture, a secondary 20-megapixel sensor with ultra-wide angle lens with f/2.2 aperture, and a 3rd 8MP sensor with telephoto lens and f/2.4 aperture.
The main camera has optical image stabilization while the two other have AI Stabilization for better accuracy and fast-focusing shots.
The Galaxy Note9 has a pretty interesting dual-camera setup with the primary 12MP sensor having dual-aperture function (f/1.5 and f/2.4). This allows it to take really good low-light shots because of the very wide opening at f/1.5. The secondary 12MP camera has a telephoto lens with f/2.4 aperture.
The Note9 also has optical image stabilization and 2x zoom. The Mate20 Pro easily beats the Note9 with its impressive 10x zoom capability, a feat that’s hard to match.
Both phones are capable of recording 4K though the Mate20 Pro can only do it at 30fps while the Note9 can do it at 60fps. The Note9 can also shoot full HD at 240fps so you get a nice slow-mo footage.
In terms of quality, both phones produce really great photos and videos. The Mate20 Pro edges out the Note9 in photos but the latter makes up for it in videos. The Note9 wins in the video recording but the Mate20 Pro wins in the photo department.