Okay, here we go! We have seen some awesome phablets this year. The LG V20, iPhone 7 plus and now the Huawei mate 9! All are massive behemoth phones with dual camera systems. I've already covered the former 2 in seperate reviews. So now let's check out the premium Huawei mate 9😀.
Design: The mate 9 is a massive phone, ain't no doubt about that! But even after packing such a massive display, they've managed to keep the overall footprint right around an iPhone 7 plus and slightly taller than the V20. Huawei has done an excellent job of minimizing the bezels to pack as big of a display as possible. The entire phone is made out of solid aluminum. The power and volume buttons are on the typical right side. There's a headphone jack up top along with an IR blaster and a USB type C port on the bottom. There's a single bottom firing speaker and a microphone, with identical cutouts. The phone weighs a substantial amount in the hand and it's no surprise, given it's large form factor. It weighs 190 gms and is 7.9 mm at it's thickest point.
As I've already mentioned in my first impressions, the earpiece doubles up as a front firing stereo speaker, similar to the HTC 10 and the iPhone 7. But the bottom speaker does most of the job anyways. It's also orientation based, so sound switches from a seperated assembly in portrait, to a more classic stereo left-right experience in landscape☺✌.
Display: This phone has a massive 5.9' 1080p IPS LCD panel at 373 ppi. It's not the sharpest panel out there, but is absolutely gorgeous for most use cases.
The display produces rich colors and is plenty sharp for day to day use. even though VR experience might be a bit of a let down, it won't disappoint you anywhere else😅. The displays on all smartphones are pretty much golden these days. There really isn't much room to complain anywhere😛.
Performance: This monster is powered by Huawei's homemade HiSilicon Kirin 960 octacore CPU clocked at 2.4 GHz along with 4 GB of DDR4 RAM. It has a powerful Mali G71 MP8 octacore GPU, which is winter dessert with cherry on top, for all your gaming and graphic demands😎. It's benchmark scores are really quite impressive, putting it right up there with Qualcomm's top tier 820. You'll have a great time worth this phone, especially if you're a hardcore user😎🤓✌.
Software wise, the mate 9 runs on Android 6.0 marshmallow with Huawei's EMUI on top. The company says the phone has unique machine learning algorithms that analyse your everyday usage patterns and give better performance overtime. As of now, I don't know how well it works. I'll probably do a one year review of this awesome phone and I'll specify more about this, over there😛. The UI brings a lot of good things to the table, like split screen multiwindow and Huawei's knuckle gestures for screen capture and everything. But it has its awkwardness. Why can't we see notifications on the shade up there? All you see is a number of notifications. Not independent icons as per the notifications, like on every other Android skin😒. Not sure what that was for Huawei, but hopefully you'll fix out over a small software patch😃.
The fingerprint sensor is on the rear and we see the same awesome Huawei biometrics at play here. It's super quick to recognise and unlock the phone, what's more, it can be used as a track pad to bring down the notifications shade, like we saw on previous Huawei phones. It's quite useful on a large phone like this. Even the Pixel copied this, didn't it?😂.
Though the stereo speakers are great, the headphone output via the 3.5 mm headphone jack could've been a bit more livelier and louder. It's not a good feeling to have something left to wish for, after a premium purchase like this😐😐. Even the OnePlus 3T has a better DAC than the mate 9. C'mon Huawei, you can still do better😀👍.
Camera: The Huawei mate 9 has dual 12 mp Leica sensors with f/2.2 aperture and image stabilization. This rear camera can record 4K videos, which is a rarity on Huawei flagships. The images taken on the camera are stunning.
Every shot has near perfect dynamic range and exposure. That's expected thanks to that dedicated monochrome sensor. You can also get some crazy background blurring effects on this phone, same from the Huawei P9. The video stabilization has improved quite a bit. It's still not flawless as sundering like the Google pixel, but it's still good enough. The front camera is an 8 mp sensor that offers great quality selfies. No complaints there!
The camera software is a complete toolkit for photographers. There's point to point full on manual controls for every little thing. There's directional audio recording, there's that cool bokeh effect😍, ISO increments by every unit and a lot more. If you're someone who plays around with the camera software, you'll love the mate 9 as it'll keep you busy for quite a long time🤓! There's definitely some practise period for this camera, but some the quality of these photos is so damn good, who's gonna complain?😃
Battery: The mate 9 houses an expectably large 4000 mAh unit. The charging speeds are just crazy😥. You can top this guy off in just around 85 min! That's like a whopping 60\\% in just half an hour!! Considering the battery size, that's impressive. Well done Huawei! This one's a true challenger to the amazing OnePlus Dash charge🤓!
Price: The Huawei mate 9 comes in at $770. It's a premium price for a premium phone, but if you're a camera freak and you love huge screens, I can recommend this phone over s lot of others. Maybe even the iPhone 7 plus!?🤔🤔 That's left to personal preference in the end, but I feel it's an amazing phone to add on to your flagship considerations of 2016😎👍.