Now you won't slow down, thanks to the new Kirin 960 processor and intelligent Machine Learning algorithm. This ground-breaking interplay between hardware and software means your Huawei Mate 9 is born fast and stays fast.
• Kirin 960
• Machine Learning
The Huawei Mate 9 offers a truly revolutionary battery life. With its large 4000mAh battery and smart power-saving technology, you can enjoy two days' usage*. State-of-the-art HUAWEI SuperCharge technology safely charges the device for a full day's power* in 20 minutes**.
Ultra Long-Lasting Battery
The Huawei Mate 9 offers exceptional sharpness. Its second-generation Leica Dual Camera renders images in unprecedented detail for images that take you from mere photography to artistry.
• Leica Dual Camera
• Low Light
• 4K Video
• Front Camera
Ground-breaking user experience
We're proud of the EMUI 5.0 and its beautiful and smart user interface. Uncompromising design from a team of dedicated experts helps make the Huawei Mate 9 a stunning experience.
With incredible network support and integrated dual SIM support, the Huawei Mate 9 offers outstanding performance worldwide. Experience consistent call quality and a stable Internet connection with reduced power consumption and data usage around the globe.
• Extensive Network Support
• Dual-Sim Supported
Security solutions you can rely on
The Huawei Mate 9 comes with 4 Level Fingerprint security, including 3D fingerprint recognition and an encrypted file safe that you can access with the fingerprint sensor. It's also fast, 20% faster when compared with the Huawei Mate 8.
One touch instant entry to privacy space
Protect your private contacts, photos and apps in this privacy space that can be instantly accessed with one touch. You can even setup the Huawei Mate 9 for two fingerprints, to enter into two separate privacy spaces.
Bold, meticulous and refined
The Huawei Mate 9 has inherited the Mate Series' design DNA, with a visual and sensual feel that's uniquely glamourous.
• 5.9" Fhd Display
• 2.5D Glass
• Compact Design
• Available In A Range Of Colours
The Huawei Mate 9 comes with a wide range of exciting new features that are satisfyingly intuitive to use.
• Huawei Share
• Directional Audio Capture
• 4 Microphones For Clear Conversation
After a prolonged encounter with the Huawei P9 last year, the chance to get my hands on the Mate 9 was too much to resist, especially as I missed my shot at the Mate 8 due to a lazy courier. The specs are, on the face of things, quite droolworthy, but as has been shown in the past, the phone is not simply the sum of its specs... bad usability can destroy a stunning hardware platform, while a good user experience can make an average phone more appealing than a flagship one sometimes. This was indeed a review I was keen to dive into.
Looks-wise this phone has the smooth, rounded profile that we have all come to expect in high-end phones these days. Enough roundness to be comfortable, but just enough robust geometry to squeeze those extra few cubic micrometers inside for that one more feature. Showing off an edge-shaving almost-6-inch screen, there's plenty of screen real estate for all your image and icon needs... albeit at "only" HD1080 resolution on an LED screen. With 4k/AMOLED starting to make headway in the premium phone market, anything in the HD range is now starting to look a little underwhelming, but I have to say that for me, this phone was sharp and pretty when it came to showing images and movies... and I'm not one for the snobbery of "more than I need, just because it can." LED still works for me, though it did get a wee bit grainy in high-detail, high-contrast images.
Supporting dual-SIM slots - the second being dual-format SIM OR microSDXC - unless you buy through a carrier who deactivates the secondary SIM functionality (so you don't go double-dipping with services from their competition), this phone gives you quite a solid tool to support an unhealthy work:life balance. I know that sounds bad, but actually it's not the phone that will cause that. I found it handy to be able to take personal calls or work calls without having to carry two handsets around for a while, though I had to choose which one was going to handle the outbound calls, since the call system will only send outbound calls through the primary SIM port. (Naturally, the "work" SIM went in there - lots of rollover minutes saved on the personal plan THAT month!)
In terms of "engine rating" it sports a very grunty Kirin 960 CPU that runs 8 cores, half of them at 2.4GHz and the other half at 1.8GHz - To be blunt, I am at a loss as to why such a beast even exists... I would like the rationality of all 8 cores running at the same rate, but that's just me. There's more than enough digital-torque here to run anything you would throw at it in "work" mode, and pretty much everything barring the high-end VR apps in "play" hours. I did find that if I started to really push it, the phone heated up a fair bit, becoming very uncomfortable if I spent too long really hammering the camera with all the bells and whistles turned on. (The Aperture Mode features are simply spectacular, when they work as expected!) During a couple of very photo-heavy test sessions, I had to put the phone down on cool grass just to bleed off the heat quickly before it either had a melt-down, forced shut-down or did a Samsung Grenade on me.
User eXperience (UX) is a solid, if somewhat qualitative, benchmark in the smartphone market - a phone that is easy and intuitive to use will hold greater appeal than the turbo-prop, high-octane hardware with a rubbish UI (User Interface) slapped over it. To that end, the bog-standard Google Android 7 has been wrapped in Huawei's own EMUI 5 interface. It enhances certain key aspects, adds a few extra features and suppresses some of the raw functionality of the OS, giving you a very clean, easily-managed system that not only looks good, but handles smoothly. There's the usual suspects when it come to unlocking the phone - pattern, pin and password, plus bluetooth-device smart-unlock - but none of the biometrics - facial recognition, fingerprint, retinal scan, etc. This is a mixed blessing really, as Governmental agencies are increasingly capturing and storing biometrics, meaning "security" and "privacy" are increasingly irrelevant terms in today's society. Personally, I prefer "pattern" over pin or password, as it's harder to "smudge hack".
With an impressive 4,000mAh battery under the hood, I was curious to see how long I could get between charges under various usage situations. Looking at it from 'casual user', 'moderate user' and 'power user' perspectives I found that the battery performed admirably. When really thrashing it, I got a full day from a full charge, with enough spare that I didn't get any low-battery warnings in the evening, and under moderate usage - with a few calls, up to 100 photos, a but of browsing and gaming here and there - I saw the battery bottom out at 48% remaining by day's end. Under 'low user' I saw the battery hit a low-point of 61% remaining, but that's pretty unrealistic since no-one who would buy a phone this fancy is going to leave it lying around doing little to no work at all, so I estimate between 36-50 hours per charge is a fair assessment. While this indicates some power-use inefficiencies in the system, the sheer volume of power it can hold means you have nothing to worry about as long as you can get it rejuiced at least once a day. For the power users, explore the various battery-saving modes for increased longevity - though I didn't delve into those really, as most people never go near them anyway. One thing to note though - the new "Machine Learning" technology built in means that as the phone learns your usage patterns, it can selectively optimise certain aspects to give you better performance where and when you need it... I couldn't really test that, as it's something that happens 'under the hood' and it's tough to benchmark something so subjective, but I did feel that the phone didn't get 'bogged down' over time the way some older phones I have used did. I should also add that the phone is fitted with the new USB Type-3 plug - so no more flipping over the USB cable trying to find the right way up - and includes a dinky adaptor in the box so you can still use your existing microUSB cables. GREAT piece of user-satisfaction there, Huawei!
For the snap-happy amongst us, this phone comes with the twin-camera features of the P9, but another generation up the chain, with a 20mp greyscale camera and a 16mp colour sensor working in harmony to give you a richer range of colours, crisper edges and some nice pseudo-optical zoom features that look pretty neat under the right circumstances... and it's those "circumstances" that prove to be the slightly-sour cherry on top. Under low-light conditions, the results prove to be quite grainy as the camera ramps up exposure and edge-sharpening to bring out every little blemish possible. Sometimes image enhancements don't actually enhance the image from a human perspective. Having two cameras also allows the phone to do some magic with focal depth, capturing a deeper light-field and allowing you to "refocus" and image after it's taken. Warning though, this feature uses a lot of processing power and if over-used will cause the phone to heat up drastically, and reduce battery life considerably. When doing 'power user' testing, I took about 400 photos over the span of 5 hours and this left the battery quite drained - I estimate it sucked around 40% of the battery alone - and left the phone quite unpleasantly hot to hold. Clipping the hard half-shell onto the back of the phone made for a more comfortable hold, but would undoubtedly have slowed the rate of heat-loss so... I wouldn't advise it myself.
Capturing video is not a high priority for me, but to do justice to the review I gave it a bit of a play, and found that it did fairly well for a smartphone. at Full HD, it did a sterling job outdoors in good light, but indoors it struggled to give something free of grain. In fact, it outright failed to give grain-free video in the 4k capture settings and the results of that were decidedly unimpressive. Looking at "video" overall, this isn't the 'droid you're looking for. It's not bad, but I know there are better units out there from other brands. On the plus side, with 4 microphones and some very clever directional-capture tech, it will grab sounds very efficiently and over a good range of frequencies - your home videos may not look cinema quality, but they'll sound it.
On a more cosmetic note, I was pleased to see that it came with a hardshell, half-cover that clipped over the back when I wanted to use the phone (offering scratch protection should I drop it) but was also shaped to effectively swap to cover the front when I wanted to offer the screen some protection out and about and using a hands-free kit to 'drive' calls. However I was disappointed to see that in a cost-saving measure totally in contrast to the level of prestige of this hardware, the screen was only Corning's Gorilla Glass 3... so far off the leading edge of the wave that it should have water wings. Functional, but decidedly underwhelming from a technical and 'street cred' point of view. I also personally loath the fingerprint scanner placement as I inevitably ended up dragging my finger across the cameras... BOTH of them, since they are vertically aligned directly above the sensor. First task, deactivate the fingerprint sensor in settings. Seriously, it's just not worth the constant lens-cleaning or blurry photos.
Overall, a phone I would be very proud to be seen using, and while it is inevitable that better units - from Huawei and peers - will come out in the near future, this unit will certainly hold itself high for another year or three until the rest of the tech moves past this level and onto the next crazy realm of wow. The price-point is high, as is befitting a phone of this calibre, but give it a couple of months and the discount deals will start showing up. Mobile technology is rapidly evolving to the point where our phones will become the "one thing to replace them all" - phone, camera, video camera, gaming device, messenger, walkie-talkie, personal safety alarm, etc. - but it's not quite there yet. That said, the Mate 9 is pretty darned close.
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