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Huawei trades Mate 10 Pros for reviews that shouldn't exist

The phone has over 100 positive reviews on Best Buy's website -- despite it not launching in the US until Sunday.

Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei's consumer business group, touts the Mate 10 Pro Porsche Edition at CES.
Sarah Tew/CNET

Huawei's Mate 10 Pro goes on sale in the US this Sunday, and it's already getting rave reviews from customers over on Best Buy's site. Wait, what?

The company in a private Facebook group offered people the opportunity to "beta test" the premium Mate 10 Pro in exchange for five-star reviews on Best Buy, reports 9 to 5 Google.

Screenshots from Facebook, shared by the publication, show Huawei Mobile telling the page's 60,000 members to "Tell us how to why [sic] you WANT to own the Mate 10 Pro in the review section of our pre-sale Best Buy retail page" in exchange for an opportunity to get the device early. The phone currently has 108 customer reviews on Best Buy, with an average score of 4.9/5.


A "smart" review.

Screenshot by Jennifer Bisset/CNET

The reviews mostly speculated on the phone's quality, rather than confirming it, since, y'know, it's not been released in the US yet. "Can't wait to have this phone," one review read, "this is the one I've been waiting for... and my favorite feature us [sic] the new Leica co-engineered dual camera that will make all your family and friends jealous."

A followup screenshot showed nine members of the group announced as becoming official participants of the Huawei Mate 10 Pro's "user tests." 

"We believe there is confusion around a recent social media post reaching out to recruit new beta testers," a Huawei spokesperson said. "While there are reviews from beta testers with extensive knowledge of the product, they were in no way given monetary benefits for providing their honest opinions of the product. However, we are working to remove posts by beta testers where it isn't disclosed they participated in the review program."

Now playing: Watch this: The Mate 10 Pro is flashy and brings portrait selfies

"Reviews on our site are important to customers as they research and shop for tech, but the comments have to be trusted and legitimate," a Best Buy spokesperson said in a statement. "These were not, so they are in the process of being removed."

It may be a tactic borne out of desperation: This time last month, Huawei was expected to announce at CES that the Mate 10 Pro would be sold through AT&T. This would be big for Huawei -- a company that's selling well in China and Europe, but has yet to find success in the US -- as 90 percent of phone purchases in the US come through carriers. But it wasn't to be: AT&T pulled out of the deal before CES. Later in January, it was revealed that Verizon put the kibosh on a similar deal out of political pressure.

Article updated Feb. 13 at 11:05 a.m. PT: With Best Buy's comment.

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Huawei Mate 10 Pro (Titanium Gray)
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