Huawei Mate 9 review
Co-engineered with Leica
Our Huawei Mate 9 review finds a super-sized smartphone with extreme performance. Already released in a few select EU countries and heading to the UK soon, this could be the phablet-sized device to fill the whole in the market, caused by the Samsung Galaxy Note 7.
Looking for a dual curved edge display? Read the Huawei Mate 9 Pro review
Display - Super-sized
The Huawei Mate 9 has a huge 5.9” display, which is just an inch short of what you might find on a typical tablet. A premium feel is created by the use of 2.5D glass, which curves over to meet the edges of the phone and is kind to the finger when swiping inwards or outwards.
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Full HD resolution (1920 x 1080 pixels) is presented to the user and this works out at 373 pixels per inch. It is believed that this level of pixel density is higher than what the eye can distinguish, meaning that you shouldn’t find a sharper viewing experience elsewhere.
Design - Premium look
The Huawei Mate 9 has a metal unibody that has 30% thinner bezels, compared to the Huawei Mate 8. The polished sides have a central stripe that has a contrasting brushed finish and the corners and rear cover are curved.
The Mate 9 has been created in five colour options that includes Space Grey, Moonlight Silver, Mocha Brown, Champagne Gold and Ceramic White. At 7.9mm thick, the phone is pretty slim but it tips the scales at the heavier end of smartphones at 190g.
Phone Set Up
Getting started - Importing data
The Mate 9 has ample internal storage, at 64GB, but a microSD card slot is provided nevertheless and can accommodate cards with a value of up to 256GB.
Security - 3D fingerprint
Four-level 3D Fingerprint recognition can be used to protect the phone and the fingerprint sensor is conveniently located on the back. Performance has been improved and the sensor is now 20% faster than that seen on the Mate 8.
More than just locking the phone, fingerprint security can be used encrypt files, with them securely stored in the Safe. It is also possible to set up an App Lock for restricting the access of other users.
|Optical fingerprint sensor announced|
The Huawei Mate 9 will allow you to set up for two fingerprints, so that another user can have their own separate privacy space. User permissions can be granted at different levels and these includes owner, sub-user and guest.
The fingerprint scanner can be used to make other features quick to deal with. It can be used to take a photo, answer a call, stop an alarm, access notifications or to browse through the photo gallery.
The user interface on the Huawei Mate 9 is pretty flexible and it is rather handy, on a device of this size, to have a One-hand UI on offer. When the One-hand UI is activated the content on the screen shrinks in size and moves to the bottom left or bottom right side of the screen.
Your set up will undoubtedly include moving apps onto the home screen and empty icon spaces can be removed, with icons being aligned at the shaking of the wrist. Further UI options includes Gloves Mode, Simple Home Screen Mode and Floating Dock Mode, which gives one touch access to commonly used options and features.
Processor - Kirin 960
The Huawei Mate 9 is powered by Huawei’s Kirin 960 2.4GHz octa-core processor, which has 4GB of RAM. This processor is 18% faster than the Kirin 950 and graphics performance is up by a staggering 180%.
The processor is paired up with an intelligent machine learning algorithm. This learns the user’s habits in order to build app priority. Anticipating the user’s next move, the software preps the needed resources in advance, for a lightening fast experience.
User interface - EMUI 5.0 meets Android Nougat
The brand new EMUI 5.0 brings new animations, transitions and sound effects, along with a series of Huawei apps and features. The Health app and Weather widget with weather sounds are pre-loaded.
The Huawei Phone Manager includes virus scanning software and a malware removal tool. Knuckle Gestures can also be used to quickly perform tasks, such as capturing scrolling screenshots.
For night owls, there is a special Eye Comfort Mode that reduces the amount of blue light emitted, to help reduce eye strain.
The operating system is Google’s Android 7.0 Nougat and this introduces new features such as Split Screen Mode with re-sizable windows and Quick Reply, where message responses can be typed from within the notification box.
Camera & Video
Photography - Second generation Leica dual camera
The Leica dual camera is superb and this time around Huawei has positioned one above the other, as opposed to side-by-side. The 20MP Monochrome lens captures the finer details, while the 12MP RGB lens picks out the colours.
The inclusion of a dual camera system makes it possible to capture bokeh photos where the background is blurred, making your subject stand out. You can also refocus photos after they have been taken and use the 2x optical hybrid zoom.
The camera on the Huawei Mate 9 also has the ability to capture a Leica effect, which gives high colour saturation and better vibrancy. We have included a series of examples in the photo gallery.
Further features includes PDAF and Laser Depth auto focus, Wide Aperture Mode for photographing close up objects or people, Light Paining Mode, Super Night Mode, Document Correction, Self Timer, Spirit Level, RAW photo format and Ultra Snapshot, which lets you take a photo when the screen is off.
4K video is also possible and with H.265 video compression, videos take up 50% less memory. Four microphones and employed for directional audio capture with less noise and these are employed for making clear voice calls as well.
The 8MP portrait camera has a Perfect Selfie Mode, where a facial enhancement algorithm detects your face and applies pre-chosen beauty enhancements. The camera is pretty natural to use and you can activate the shutter by tapping the fingerprint sensor or simply by making a smile.
Power - SuperCharge
If you have been searching for a phone with the ultimate battery, then look no further than the Huawei Mate 9. The 4,000mAh high-capacity battery uses smart power saving technology, to give up to two days usage. Huawei’s SuperCharge tech charges the phone at an unbelievable speed, with one days usage gained in only 20 minutes of charge.
This charging speed is 50% faster than that seen on the Huawei Mate 8 and it does this at cooler and safer temperatures. Connecting the charging cable has also been simplified with the symmetrically shaped USB Type-C connector.
When fully charged, the battery can offer up to 20 hours of video playback, 20 hours of 4G internet browsing, 30 hours of voice calls or up to 105 hours of music playback. The battery and USB Type-C cable can also be used for Reverse Charging your other devices.
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Written by: Michael Brown