Just a week ago, we wrote about the fact that the iPhone 14 may be the first smartphone offering satellite communication, but as it turns out, not – because Huawei got the first of the Huawei Mate 50 and Mate 50 Pro there.
These two newly announced smartphones allow text messaging via China’s global satellite network BeiDou. It’s a feature made with emergencies in mind, so you can reach emergency services or loved ones when cellular networks are down, as they may be at times when they’re needed most – such as in war zones or natural disasters.
So it’s a niche feature – and hopefully you’ll never need it – but it could also save your life. Huawei’s implementation seems very limited, with mere text messages backed up by the sounds of things – so you can’t make calls, and seemingly you can only text and not receive them using this system. But still, he is the first to offer it, and that matters.
Serious competition is likely to emerge soon as the iPhone 14 line is due to land today (Sept.7) and will reportedly offer a similar system. In fact, Apple’s approach may also allow you to talk, so it may attract Huawei right away. Not to mention the fact that the iPhone 14 and its siblings will actually be available in the US while the Huawei Mate 50 line won’t.
But with T-Mobile’s partnership with Starlink on a similar service in the near future, and other companies are likely considering satellite connectivity services as well, we may not be far from making it a major feature, available on a wide range of smartphones, and that it can only be good thing.
Analysis: what else the Huawei Mate 50 offers
While its satellite communication feature is arguably the most eye-catching spec of the Huawei Mate 50, there is no shortage of technology in this phone – much less the Huawei Mate 50 Pro.
The Mate 50 Pro has a 6.74-inch OLED 1212 x 2616 screen with a refresh rate of 120 Hz, a Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 chipset, 8 GB of RAM, up to 256 GB of memory, water resistance and a 4700 mAh battery with 66 W charging.
It also has a triple-lens camera with a 50MP main sensor, a 13MP ultra wide angle and a 64MP telephoto lens offering up to 200x digital zoom. Interestingly, the main lens also has an adjustable aperture, which can range from f / 1.4 to f / 4.0. Adjustable apertures are a very rare sight on phones and never this changeable.
The standard Huawei Mate 50 is in some respects a step down. It has the same chipset, amount of RAM, and the main and ultra-wide camera, but the telephoto lens is 12MP and the phone has a 6.7-inch 1224 x 2700 90Hz display and a smaller 4460mAh battery with 66W charging.
As mentioned above, these phones will not make their way to the US, but may be sold in the UK and Australia. Keep in mind, however, that neither model offers 5G, so they likely won’t make them on our list of top phones.