Phone Comparisons: Samsung Galaxy Note9 vs Huawei Mate 20 Pro

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Introduction

This time around we're comparing two flagship smartphones, one from Samsung, and one from Huawei. The devices in question are the Galaxy Note9, and the Huawei Mate 20 Pro, both of which had arrived in the second half of the year. Both of these phones are supposed to represent the best that their respective companies have to offer, which is why this comparison makes a lot of sense. As it's the case with every smartphone, there are both upsides and downsides to these two smartphones, which is something we'll try to compare down below, in order to figure out which may suit you best. Just because one wins in the ends, based on the provided categories, though, doesn't mean that it's the best option for you, it all depends on what you're looking for in a device.

Specifications

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Design

The design of a phone is the first thing that you see when you lay your eyes on it, and it usually means a lot to people. That being said, both of these phones are really well-designed, and have plenty to offer in that department, but if you can't stand notches, winner for you will be the Galaxy Note9, as the Huawei Mate 20 Pro does sport a display notch, and a rather wide one at that. That being said, thanks to that notch, it sports a higher screen-to-body ratio than the Galaxy Note9 (thinner bezels), so it all depends on how irritated by the notch, are you. That's not where the story ends, though, both phones are made out of metal and glass, though the Huawei Mate 20 Pro comes with some sort of special coating on the back, which makes it less slippery than the Galaxy Note9. Also, the Huawei Mate 20 Pro offers a different display aspect ratio compared to the Galaxy Note9, which makes it narrower than the Note9, despite the fact they have an almost the same display size. The Huawei Mate 20 Pro is 72.3mm wide, while the Galaxy Note9 measures 76.4mm in width. The Galaxy Note9 is also a bit heavier at 201 grams, compared to 189 grams of the Huawei Mate 20 Pro. Both phones feature curved displays, and another thing that may affect your choice is the camera setup on the back, which will depend on your preference, but the Mate 20 Pro has a cleaner design on the back, as it does not sport a rear-facing fingerprint scanner, unlike the Galaxy Note9. Taking all this into account, our choice is the Mate 20 Pro, despite the display notch, as that is basically the only downside here, the phone is narrower, shorter, thinner, lighter, and grippier than the Galaxy Note9.

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Winner: Huawei Mate 20 Pro

Display

The Galaxy Note9 and Huawei Mate 20 Pro feature similar display sizes, the Galaxy Note9 comes with a 6.4-inch panel, while the Huawei Mate 20 Pro features a 6.39-inch display. Both of these displays come with OLED panels, though the Mate 20 Pro's comes with a higher resolution, and yet, despite that, the Galaxy Note9's seems a bit better in real life, though the difference in minuscule, both phones feature truly great, and well-balanced displays. On top of that, displays on both of these phones are curved, which is something you either love or hate, it all depends, but they do look really great in person. The Huawei Mate 20 Pro comes with a higher screen-to-body ratio compared to the Galaxy Note9, 87.9-percent compared to 83.4-percent on the Galaxy Note9. Both panels are HDR10-compliant, the Galaxy Note9's panel is protected by Corning's Gorilla Glass 5, while the version of Gorilla Glass on the Mate 20 Pro is not specified. Now, in comparison, these two panels are really, really close, both are truly great, and we were almost unable to decide between the two, but have opted to give this one to the Galaxy Note9 after all, as it seems a tad bit better-looking.

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Winner: Samsung Galaxy Note9

Performance

Both of these are flagship handsets, and both of them are really great in this category, as both offer really smooth performance, as expected. There are plenty of differences here, as these two phones offer different hardware, and completely different software. The Huawei Mate 20 Pro comes with the latest version of Android, and its EMUI 9.0 skin, while the Galaxy Note9 offers Android 8.1 Oreo and Samsung Experience UI. Both of these skins are quite heavy, but Samsung has more of its own services running in the background, though you can't really see that in day-to-day performance. Both phones are extremely smooth in a day-to-day performance, even though you may notice a tiny stutter from time to time, from both of them. Still, in our testing, the Galaxy Note9 was a bit better in that regard, and it still performs great a couple of months after its release. We've experienced some issues with the overview menu in the Huawei Mate 20 Pro, while we did not have such issues with the Galaxy Note9. Other than that, both phones are extremely solid in the performance department, but the win goes to the Galaxy Note9.

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Winner: Samsung Galaxy Note9

Battery Life

Battery life is usually an issue when it comes to smartphones, and yet, surprisingly, both of these phones handle that part really well, as both are well optimized, while both devices pack in rather large batteries on the inside. The Galaxy Note9 includes a 4,000mAh battery, while the Huawei Mate 20 Pro comes with a 4,200mAh battery. In our testing, the Huawei Mate 20 Pro lasted longer on a single charge, though, without any tweaking in terms of battery saving features, but if you dive into Mate 20 Pro's battery saving options, you will be able to get much more out of the phone. On top of that, the device offers considerably faster charging than the Galaxy Note9, while both phones have the wireless charging function. The Huawei Mate 20 Pro also offers a reverse wireless charging option, even though it's pretty slow, but it's a feature that the Galaxy Note9 lacks. All of this considered, the Huawei Mate 20 Pro is a winner of this category, and this seems to be the clearest win yet.

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Winner: Huawei Mate 20 Pro

Cameras

The Samsung Galaxy Note9 and Huawei Mate 20 Pro are amongst the best camera smartphones in the world at the moment, these two phones are definitely in the first five camera smartphones out there, if not the first three, so this category is a tough one, that's for sure. The Galaxy Note9 sports two cameras on the back, while the Mate 20 Pro comes with three rear-facing cameras. Both phones have a single camera on the front, and the details you can see in the specifications listing above. Now, these two phones take a different approach to photography, as both feature their very own image processing tech. The Galaxy Note9 offers a 2x optical zoom on one of its cameras, while the other one is capable of variable aperture. The Huawei Mate 20 Pro has a 40-megapixel main snapper, one of its sensors comes with an ultrawide lens, and the third sensor offers 5x optical zoom. Both phones are capable of providing truly great images in regular light, and the same goes for low light as well, actually. If you end up in really, really dark areas, Huawei's night moe can take multiple exposures during the shooting process, it will take a couple of seconds, but the results will be great. Both phones can provide great selfie images as well. You cannot go wrong here, both devices are extremely capable in the camera department, but due to the sheer flexibility of camera on the Mate 20 Pro, and the fact that it can provide slightly better low light shots in certain conditions, we'll go with the Mate 20 Pro on this one, even though this category is extremely close as well, and no matter which of the two devices you get, you'll end up with great camera smartphones.

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Winner: Huawei Mate 20 Pro

Conclusion

Both of these smartphones are extremely capable, and this is one of the closest comparisons we've ever done. There are some things that we did not mention in the categories above, as these two phones have so much to offer, that it's really hard to talk about everything. The Galaxy Note9 comes with the S Pen stylus, which offers a ton of extra features for those of you who need them. Essentially, if you're in the market for a business device, if you plan to sign a lot of documents, or want to have an always on-hand remote shutter for your phone, the Galaxy Note9 may be a better option. On the other hand, if you want one of the best battery life smartphones out there, which can shoot great images, well, the Mate 20 Pro may be a better option, even though the Galaxy Note9 is on the Mate 20 Pro's level as far as image quality is concerned. All in all, both of these phones are truly great, and a tie may be the best choice, but as we have to choose one of the two, and the Mate 20 Pro took home more categories, well go with the Mate 20 Pro, even though it's a really, really close call.

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Winner: Huawei Mate 20 Pro

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Assistant Editor

Kristijan has been writing for Android Headlines since 2014 and is an editor for the site. He has worked as a writer for several outlets before joining Android Headlines, and has a background in writing about Android and technology in general. He is a smartphone enthusiast that specializes in Android applications, and that platform in general. Contact him at [email protected]

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