Huawei Mate 10 Pro: Case round-up

In for review for The Phones Show, I couldn't resist reviewing the various case options for the Huawei Mate 10 Pro, a cutting edge 2018 smartphone that's picking up plaudits across the board.

The cases were supplied by Mobile Fun, see here for their full Mate 10 Pro case line-up.

I should also note that the Mate 10 Pro comes with a simple clear TPU case in the box, so the after-market solutions here are trying to 'best' this free case.

In no particular order:

Huawei Smart View Flip Case, £25

The most expensive option here, this is also the most premium in terms of using the Mate 10 Pro around the office. Adding only a couple of mm to the thickness, this uses 'synthetic leather' and plastic to excellent effect, foregoing the usual flip case 'card slots' in favour of keeping the affair super-slim.


In addition, the back shell portion is thin enough not to impede fingerprint sensor access (a problem below for another case). Really a terrific option if you need protection and style.



The unique selling point here is the semi-translucent, smoked panel on the right edge of the flip. A sensor or magnet somewhere in the body of the case tells the phone that the official accessory is in place and then the proximity sensor on the Mate 10 Pro's front activates a special 'glance' mode on the right side of the screen. The idea is that you can press the power button or tap the fingerprint sensor in order to light up time, date, weather and other notification icons.

No, the time display isn't out of focus - that's the 'smoked' effect!

It works pretty well, though the panel is smoked rather too much and all you can really see clearly is the time - anything else requires close enough study that you might as well open up the case anyway. Still, it's a useful guide to how much is waiting for you, in terms of 'Whoa, such a lot of notifications, I need to deal with these!'



On the pricey side, but a natural fit for the phone, Huawei has done a great job with design and materials.

9/10

Olixar Leather-style Wallet Stand case, £13

Right, take everything nice I said about the official Huawei flip case and reverse it. The Olixar design is cheap, uninspired and almost non-functional. Typical faux leather on cardboard and plastic substrate is par for the course, though not actually the problem here.



The idea of a 'stand' case, with separate phone shell and folding back leather, is OK, the idea being that it'll be great for watching media while you (e.g.) have your lunch. And this works as advertised (though not shown here), but there's a huge problem in the attendant thickness increase - the fingerprint sensor is now so far recessed and the holes for its access not big enough, that it's almost impossible to unlock the Mate 10 Pro while it's cased. By this means, anyway.



This case could have worked if only more care and attention had been given to the cutouts - I suspect that a design for another phone was simply adapted without any real world testing. An extra few mm of radius on the hole over the fingerprint sensor and the case would be useable, at least.




Too thick, too dumb.

3/10

Spigen Rugged Armor, £20

I have to admit that I'm a Spigen fan and it's because of cases like this. The materials (super tough, super grippy), the design (lines, panels), the fit (it's easy to get on and off, yet crazily secure when in place).


With a title like Rugged Armor, the primary requirement here is for protection, with the sides wrapping around securely, to protect the Mate 10 Pro even if the phone is dropped face down. Really well done, too, without making the phone look monstrous.



I've had my main smartphone (Axon 7) in a Spigen Rugged Armor case for the last 18 months and I wouldn't consider another option. This Mate 10 Pro version is just as good.



After using the Olixar case above, I can report that Spigen have put in some serious effort into the finer design details - the fingerprint access hole is nicely sculpted, guiding your finger to the sensor quickly and without compromise.



My 'goto' case design for most phones and it works brilliantly here too.

10/10

Olixar Ultra-Thin, 100% Clear, £6

The cheapest case here, and with good reason, this is flimsy and thin and far inferior to the free case that comes in the Mate 10 Pro box.



The TPU is insubstantial, there's no added protection in terms of thickness variation, the review sample had some blemishes in its finish and I can't really recommend this case unless you've lost the Huawei original and need a replacement in a hurry.



Sorry, Olixar, it must seem like I'm often beating you up on this blog, but there's just no.... quality to your accessories. In my opinion.

4/10

More case reviews for more phones coming up soon. And if you're wondering what happens to all the cases after review, I give them away each week on the Phones Show Chat podcast.

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