With Huawei announcing the Mate 9, the manufacturer has been following the well-established game plan of releasing a ‘mainstream’ pocketable flagship in the spring, only to slap us with the phablet come fall time, thus staying relevant throughout the year. In this case, the Huawei Mate 9 we now have in our hands, comes 7 months after the P9.
And quite a blow it is indeed. For one, Huawei came up with not one Mate 9, but two of those. The super-exclusive Mate 9 Porsche Design will remain a rarity outside of posh company stores due to its prohibitive price – twice that of the Mate 9 proper, so we’ll leave that dual-curved marketing stunt of a smartphone out of it. Though we might revisit, now that the more reasonably priced Mate 9 Pro was finally announced in China sans the Porsche branding.
We’ll stick to the vanilla Mate 9 for now, and there’s plenty to like about it already even without all the bells and whistles of the special edition. True to Mate traditions, it all starts with a large display – 5.9 inches in this iteration, backed up by an ample 4,000mAh battery, all of this goodness fitted in a premium-built aluminum body.
If the interesting stuff ended there, though, it would be just another phablet, no? Well, it doesn’t and it isn’t. Huawei’s brand new in-house Kirin 960 chipset is the vehicle for the debut of ARM’s latest Cortex-A73 cores promising a 30% performance boost over the A72s. And speaking of debuts, the Mali-G71 GPU is first seen here, with support for Vulkan and a focus on VR.
And of course, the camera. The Huawei/Leica collaboration that started on the P9 has matured into a 20MP/12MP dual-camera setup, monochrome and color respectively, now with the added bonus of optical stabilization and 4-in-1 autofocus. Oh, and the Mate 9 can record 4K video – a first for the Huawei Mate lineup.
Huawei Mate 9 key features:
*Premium aluminum unibody
*5.9″ IPS LCD screen of FullHD resolution, 373ppi, 96% NTSC; 2.5D glass
*Kirin 960 chipset: Octa-core CPU (4xCortex-A73@2.4GHz + 4xCortex-A53@1.8GHz), i6 co-processor,
octa-core Mali-G71 GPU, 4GB of RAM
*Android 7.0 Nougat; Huawei EMUI 5.0 overlay
*Leica co-engineered dual camera: 20MP monochrome/12MP color sensors, f2.2, 27mm equiv. focal length,
4-in-1 hybrid autofocus (phase/laser/contrast/depth sensing); dual-LED, dual-tone flash; 2160p and
1080p @ 30/60fps video capture
*8MP autofocus selfie camera, f/1.9, 26mm lens; 1080p video capture
*64GB of built-in storage, expansion via microSD up to 256GB (hybrid slot on the dual-SIM version)
*LTE Cat 12 (600Mbps downlink, 150Mbps uplink); Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.2 (A2DP, LE), GPS/GLONASS
/Beidou/Galileo, NFC, IR blaster
*4,000mAh battery; fast charging with proprietary 22.5W charger.
*FullHD display resolution is not flagship-grade, especially on a display this large, and certainly
not for VR use
*No dust or water resistance
*No documented display glass protection (just like on the P9)
*Hybrid DualSIM/microSD card slot limits options
*No FM radio