How is Huawei Mate 9? Huawei came to the market with the aim of competing with well-known brands like Samsung and Apple. Trying to regain its popularity, Huawei released Mate 8 which is considered as one of the best smartphones of 2015. Now Huawei released Mate 9 to the market and aims to continue its previous success achieved by Mate 8; however, the point is that Mate 8 had fresh design, a reasonable price and managed to fulfill all its promises.
How is Huawei Mate 9? Beautiful & Unique
Design of Mate 9 hasn’t changed a lot compared to the previous generation; the price has been increased though; so let’s see how Huawei wants to encourage users to buy this new product with new features.
In fact, design of Huawei Mate 9 hasn’t changed a lot and lost its novelty. Although this 5.9-inch smartphone with 190g weight is only 2 grams heavier than 5.5-inch iPhone 7 Plus, its large size makes it look much heavier than its Apple competitor and negatively affects the device’s ergonomics.
Fortunately, the body is 7.9mm thick which is similar to LG V20 and iPhone 7 Plus with 7.3mm. Of course, users who prefer a large display will have to accept its weight, but if you are used to light smartphones, it won’t be comfortable for you.
Huawei Mate 8 was released with a protective case which had a window for displaying time and notifications; but it wasn`t convenient at all as you had to open this protective case each time you want to use the phone. Now, Mate 9 comes with a gel case which is anti-slip, thinner and in total, is a much more suitable choice compared to the previous generation.
The front of the smartphone looks more attractive than its back because unlike Pro and Porsche Design which fingerprint scanners are located beneath the display, its fingerprint scanner is embedded on back panel of the phone.
Like all recent flagships (except of iPhone), Mate 9 is equipped to 3.5mm headphone jack; we also see USB-C at the bottom of the body which is considered an absolute standard in the market. In addition, this phone has been released in 5 different colors: white, silver, gray, gold and Mocha brown what gives a wide range of choices to the user.
Finally, it’s good to know that as we’ve mentioned before, Huawei has released a version of Mate 9 called Porsche Design which is much more beautiful than the standard model and has curved edges on both sides of the display. But for the German car brand’s name, you`ll have to pay more than $1500 which is a staggering price!
Mate 9 Pro is yet another choice; it display has curved edges, too and is as beautiful and powerful as Porsche Design model. 6GB RAM and 256GB internal memory come with this beautiful smartphone and make it more powerful than the standard model. However, it doesn’t include the brand`s name and is a little smaller, so its price is more reasonable compared to Mate 9.
New Huawei phablet is equipped to a 5.9-inch 2.5D Full HD display. Although its resolution is the same as in the previous generation, its size decreased by a tenth of an inch which resulted in pixels increase from 367ppi to 373ppi.
Display quality is appropriate too, but if you’ve experienced QHD quality of a flagship like Galaxy Note 7, you’ll realize the difference in quality.
While other competitors move toward QHD quality, Huawei is satisfied with its Full HD.
It must be said that quality of the new Huawei phablet is enough for everyday tasks like reading or watching videos, but if you want the best quality or are going to use the large display for virtual reality headsets, competitors like Google Pixel smartphone will be a more suitable choice for you.
Software & Camera
Huawei has announced that Mate 9 is equipped to machine learning algorithms which increase the speed of the user interface and help it stay fresh and powerful even after 18 months. Although this user interface has various features, it is still making useless efforts to look similar to iOS what has turned it into an operating system which is similar neither to Android nor iOS.
Fortunately, Huawei has finally paid attention to criticism it received and made many improvements including the app drawer which is present in this OS once again. Thanks to Android Nougat, some previous issues like notifications section and recent apps menu have been solved too.
Twin App is an interesting feature which lets you log into Facebook or Twitter with two different accounts at the same time. Actually, it runs two different versions of Facebook or Twitter app and that’s why you can log in with two different accounts. In general, it must be said that although the fifth version of Huawei UI which is based on Android Nougat isn`t what it must be, it’s the best user interface ever designed by Huawei.
Leica (German manufacturer of expensive cameras) continued its cooperation with Huawei and this new phablet is equipped to a dual camera developed by the German manufacturer.
Buttons for visual effects and various camera functions are there in the camera app, but the most significant point is that it lets you access manual settings by swiping up or down while taking a photo. Both cameras take picture at the same time; the main camera has a 12MP color sensor with f/2.2 lens while the other one has a 20MP sensor which is only black and white.
User experience in Mate 9 dual camera is similar to P9
That’s interesting that you can increase blur of the background even after taking a picture, although the quality is not as good as in expensive professional cameras and it’s based on software.
Mate 9 includes advanced features such as optical SteadyShot which lets taking pictures with higher resolution. Thanks to those advanced features, Huawei managed to provide Hybrid Zoom in Mate 9.
This smartphone received score 85 in benchmarks of DxOMark website which puts it after such products as LG G5, Samsung flagships, iPhone 7, Sony flagships and Google Pixel. There’re also some negative points in Mate 9 camera. For example, colors in pictures taken during the day aren’t as dynamic as in Galaxy S7, but they’re similar to the real world colors, so your taste will be determinative.
In addition to standard mode, smooth colors and vivid colors are two other modes available in user interface; the first one is to get solid colors and the second one increases image dynamics.
HDR mode is activated automatically while taking photos in low-light environment what increases the dynamic range, contrast and finally, overall image quality. You can also get help from dual-flash in low-light which is fast and accurate and powerful enough to create enough light in low-light or dark conditions.
In addition, there’s Auto Retouch feature activated by default and you can adjust it according to your needs; of course, setting it to maximum will decrease natural feel of photos.
Mate 9 records video with 4K resolution and it’s one of the first products that uses h.265 codec. The drawback of a new codec is that many apps such as Google Photos and YouTube don’t support it yet, so it’s not possible to use videos recorded by Mate 9 on them. Also if you decrease resolution to 1080p, you’ll be able to record slow motion videos with 60fps.
The device’s stabilization feature is included in software like in Google Pixel smartphone and its performance is appropriate during video recording. But still, it’s not comparable with high performance of Google’s product and is one step behind.
Sample Photos Taken by Huawei Mate 9
Like many other flagships, Mate 9 is equipped to powerful hardware which includes Kirin 960 Processor that is the newest chipset created by Huawei. Also it’s the first smartphone in the market which benefits of cores based on Cortex-A73 and has better performance as well as less consumption than A72 cores that are used in Mate 8 and P9.
Moreover, Huawei is the first well-known smartphone manufacturer that released its newest flagship with a new graphic processing unit, Mali-G71.
Graphics power of this hardware piece has increased by 180% compared to the previous generation and we expect to see it in the next year flagships like Samsung Galaxy S8. It also supports Vulkan technology which, according to Huawei report, can increase the number of frames during playing games up to two times. The new Huawei phablet is also equipped to 4GB LPDDR4 RAM that acts 40% faster than its previous generation.
Hardware power and software improvements resulted in a smooth user experience in Mate 9.
The most important point is that internal memory of Mate 9 is based on UFS 2.1 type and it’s two times faster than normal eMMC 5.1 memory types. Thanks to powerful hardware, Huawei can perfectly run heavy games and applications as well as the user interface what we’ve seen from this Chinese company before too.
The manufacturer says that there are machine learning algorithms embedded in the smartphone which can detect the apps you need according to your habits it learns over time and then automatically run them when you need them.
This feature helps the device keep its performance optimized over time, so according to Huawei promises, if you use Mate 9 for even 18 months, all apps will run as fast as on the first day. This smartphone supports dual-SIM card, but only one of them can be 4G. The slot for the second SIM card can be used for a memory card as well.
Normally, Mate series phablets are equipped to high capacity and efficient batteries and Mate 9 isn’t an exception. It has a 4000mAh battery which is very appropriate according to the large screen and high resolution of the display.
As always, battery life to a great extent depends on how you use the phone, whether you connect to 4G network, use the display and processor, but on the average it can work for about 25 hours without recharging if 7 or 8 hours of them were dedicated to the display.
It also supports fast charge technology called Super Charge; thanks to it, the giant battery of Mate 9 can be charged up to 55% in only 30 minutes. Huawei also announced that 20 minutes of charging would be enough for a full day of general use. In addition to Power Saving mode, Mate 9 benefits of an Ultra mode. When activating this mode, you’ll have to pick 6 apps of your choice while the rest of the apps will stop working to reduce battery usage.
The only speaker of Mate 9 is located on bottom of the body, but like in HTC 10 and P9 Plus, you can use the earpiece speaker embedded on top of the display for playing music too.
The sound of the main speaker is loud and clear and it’s appropriate compared to other flagships. But when the volume rises higher than average, you may hear some noise which decreases sound quality what can negatively affect the experience. One of the unique features of Mate 9 is that it records only those sounds which come in front of the lens. This feature helps reduce background sounds and results in less noise.
The smartphone also has 4 noise cancelling microphones placed in different parts of the body what significantly increases sound quality.
The fingerprint scanner has turned into a big benefit in recent Huawei products because its use is not limited to unlocking the device – some innovative capabilities have been added to it.
For example, you can move to the next or previous picture by swiping to the left or right on the fingerprint scanner as well as answer an incoming call or stop an alarm by touching it. Speed and accuracy of the fingerprint sensor has increased by about 20% compared to Mate 8 and it almost always correctly recognizes your fingerprint.
Without a doubt, Mate 9 is an eye-catching product for phablet lovers. It has good performance and is one of the most powerful smartphones in the market. In addition to its large 5.9-inch display, it benefits of an appropriate battery life too.
Camera performance is perfect, especially during the day; and its fingerprint sensor provides far more features than a simple fingerprint scanner. Design of Mate 9 is acceptable, but it’s not at the same level as Note 7 or even its Pro and Porsche Design models.
Also, some previous problems were brought to the new generation too. For example, although we see many improvements in the new Huawei UI, it still tries to copy iOS. The device is too heavy and it affects ergonomics of the slim body which results in tiresome experience of using the phone. Actually, there are no extraordinary features that can bring a positive change to the world of technology; it can only handle users` everyday tasks at the level of a good flagship.
The manufacturer has also increased the price up to $775 while thanks to the curved display and its smaller size, Mate 9 Pro is definitely a more beautiful device and according to its more powerful hardware, its price seems more reasonable. Mate 9 Pro is only available in China now and it’s not clear when the manufacturer wants to release it in other countries.
Expel of Samsung Galaxy Note 7 from the market helped Huawei to turn its new device into an attractive phablet and Huawei’s winning ticket. But the fact is that it’s users who will determine if Mate 9 is worth buying compared to competitors like iPhone 7 Plus or even LG V20.