Huawei Mate 9

Huawei Mate 9

New & upcoming Android phones (January 2017)

2017 is upon us and we’ve already seen the first smartphone announcements of the year in the form of the HTC U Ultra, Asus ZenFone AR, and the US release of the Huawei Mate 9. There’s also plenty of rumors swirling around LG, Samsung, and even Huawei’s next flagships.

In the first half of this post we talk about new Android phones that have either been formally announced or have been on the market for 90 days or less. In the second part we turn on our crystal balls and talk about phones that have yet to be confirmed, pointing out some of the biggest rumors we’ve been hearing so far.

So without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the most interesting upcoming and new devices heading our way in the hopefully not too distant future!

See also:

Best Android phones

3 weeks ago

New Android phones

HTC U Ultra

New & upcoming Android phones (January 2017)

Things have been rough for HTC over the last few years, despite their best attempts to change the company’s falling fortunes. Enter the HTC U Ultra. The Ultra breaks some of the company’s traditions moving away from the HTC numbered nomenclature and ditching metal in favor of a glass-clad design.

While the HTC 11 is still expected to happen later in the year, the U Ultra currently stands as the company’s flagship, with the U Play filling the mid-range niche. 

Spec wise, the HTC U Ultra offers flagship worthy specs including a Snapdragon 821 processor with 4GB RAM and a solid (on paper at least) camera package. Whether that is enough to gain HTC the much needed attention it is after? Only time well tell for sure. The HTC U Ultra has already been formally announced but won’t hit the market until March this year. However, if you are interested you can pre-order now.

Specs

  • 5.7-inch Super LCD5 display with Quad HD resolution
  • 2.15 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 64/128GB of on-board storage, microSD card expansion up to 2TB
  • 12 MP HTC Ultrapixel 2 camera, 16MP front camera
  • Non-removable 3,000 mAh battery
  • Android 7.0 Nougat with Sense
  • 162.41 x 79.79 x 3.6-7.99mm, 170g

Read more

Pre-order now

Asus Zenfone AR

New & upcoming Android phones (January 2017)

The ZenFone line started out pretty modestly back in 2015 but over the years it has evolved quite a bit and this year it is set to climb even further heights. At CES 2017 Asus formally announced the ZenFone AR, the world’s first high-end Tango-powered handset.

Powered by a Snapdragon 821 processor with a whopping 8GB of RAM, the ZenFone AR is the very definition of a powerhouse device. Other key specs include a 5.7-inch QHD Super AMOLED display, a 23MP rear cam, and all the special cameras and sensors required for Tango’s AR functions. Additionally, the AR will be completely ready for Google’s Daydream VR platform and will even offer its own VR headset that works with the standard.

As for when it is coming? That’s a less easy to answer question. Asus is no stranger to announcing phones and then waiting forever to actually launch them. For Asus’ part they currently suggest a Q2 launch, though exactly when in Q2 remains a mystery.  Nonetheless, this is certainly a phone worth looking out for.

Specs

  • 5.7-inch 1440×2560 Super AMOLED
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 821
  • 8GB of RAM
  • 32/64/128/256 GB of on-board storage, microSD card expansion up to 256GB
  • 23 MP rear camera, 8MP front camera, extra cameras and sensors included for Tango experience
  • Non-removable 3,300mAh battery
  • Android 7.0 Nougat
  • 158.7 x 77.7 x 9 mm, 170g

Read more


OnePlus 3T

New & upcoming Android phones (January 2017)

We weren’t expecting OnePlus to release another new flagship in 2016, but it happened. If you were a fan of the OnePlus 3, you’ll certainly love the OnePlus 3T. While it has been around for a little bit now, it’s still relatively new enough to make this list for now.

With its powerful Snapdragon 821 processor backed by 6GB of RAM, the 3T absolutely flies through web browsing, gaming and most other everyday tasks. It also has a bigger battery this time around (3,400mAh to be exact), which is more than enough to get you through a full day of use on a single charge. In addition, the 3T now sports 16MP rear and front-facing camera sensors, a dual-SIM card slot, plenty of on-board storage, and a fast front-facing fingerprint sensor on the front.

Basically the OnePlus 3T is a better OnePlus 3, and we’re certainly not complaining. You can buy it right from OnePlus’ website in Gunmetal and Soft Gold color options.

Specs

  • 5.5-inch Optic AMOLED display with 1920 x 1080 resolution, 401ppi
  • 2.35GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 821
  • 6GB of RAM
  • 64/128GB of on-board storage, no microSD card expansion
  • 16MP rear camera, 16MP front camera
  • Non-removable 3,400mAh battery
  • Android 7.0 Nougat
  • 152.7 x 74.7 x 7.35mm, 158g

Read more

Buy now from OnePlus

Huawei Mate 9

New & upcoming Android phones (January 2017)

Huawei has done a great job at making its way to the mainstream over the past few years – first with the Huawei P9, and now with the Mate 9. While the Mate 9 has been on the market since late 2016, in January the company finally brought its flagship over to the US, making it a very new device for the US market and marking the first time we’ve ever seen a high-end Huawei flagship in the states.

With a big 5.9-inch display, powerful Kirin 960 processor, dual-SIM capabilities, and an impressive camera setup, the Mate 9 may be one of the best big phones of the year. While its display is ‘only’ 1080p and its software is a bit odd sometimes, we still think the high price tag is worth it. If you’re after a smartphone that offers exceptional battery life and incredible performance, the standard Mate 9 delivers in spades. If money is no object and you want a smartphone that is unattainable to most customers, the Porsche Design Mate 9 might be worth your while.

Specs

  • 5.9-inch IPS LCD display with 1920 x 1080 resolution, 373ppi
  • Octa-core Hisilicon Kirin 960 processor
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 64GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 256GB
  • Dual 20 and 12MP rear cameras, 8MP front camera
  • Non-removable 4,000mAh battery
  • Android 7.0 Nougat
  • 156.9 x 78.9 x 7.9mm, 190g

Read more

Buy now from Amazon

Upcoming phones

Samsung Galaxy S8

New & upcoming Android phones (January 2017)

Unofficial render of the Galaxy S8 based on rumors

With Samsung pulling the plug on the Note 7, it’s only natural that rumors would turn to the Samsung Galaxy S8. While the handset isn’t expected until sometime in late April (based on most recent rumors), there are a number of alleged features heading to the device.

First, the Galaxy S8 will reportedly offer up two variants. Previously it was believed they would  be 5.1-inch and 5.5-inch in size. More recently, we’ve seen an image leak that lends credence to a claim that Samsung is significantly jumping up screen sizes to 5.7 and 6.2-inches. While that seems pretty massive, these larger sizes are said to be achievable in much smaller than expected packages thanks to slim bezels, curved displays, and a tall screen ratio that sees Samsung ditch its physical keys in favor of software buttons.

Other rumors claim that Samsung will introduce a dual camera setup and will offer different processor configurations depending on the market: Snapdragon 835 or Exynos 8895. None of these changes are that unexpected, given Samsung’s past behaviors in terms of using mixed processors and adapting to new technology trends. Obviously there’s a lot unknown about this device, but below you’ll find some of the rumored specs — just keep in mind this list will be updated as we hear more.

Unconfirmed specs

  • Standard model: 5.7-inch AMOLED QHD, curved
  • Phablet model: 6.2-inch AMOLED (possibly 4K), curved
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 or Exynos 8895, depending on market
  • No solid rumors on RAM, but likely in the 4 to 6GB range
  • No solid details on storage, microSD or external UFS likely
  • 16MP/8MP dual camera setup
  • Rear mounted fingerprint scanner a possibility, that or an under-the-glass front scanner
  • Non-removable battery
  • Android Nougat

Read more


LG G6

New & upcoming Android phones (January 2017)

LG G5 pictured above.

While the LG G5 attempted to really change up the way LG designed its phones, ultimately it didn’t end up faring all that well in the market. The whole modular thing didn’t catch on quite like they had hoped, and frankly so many other OEMs were doing a better job last year that LG found in hard to keep up. Will things be different with the G6? LG certainly hopes so and for what it is worth, they seem to have pretty big plans.

First, the LG G6 is expected to ditch removeable batteries and modules in favor of a glass and metal design. Second, it will be moving to a taller format (similar to the rumored Galaxy S8) with a ratio of 18:9. Google and LG are also reportedly working together to bring Google Assistant to the LG G6 and we expect at least a few other tricks up the phone’s virtual sleeves as well.

As for the rest of the specs? Obviously there are a lot of unknowns at this point, though some of the rumors suggest we are looking at a Snapdragon 835 or 821 (depending on the rumor you believe) with 6GB RAM. It really comes down to when the phone plans to launch, as the Snapdragon 830 has yet to officially ship with any handsets and is still reportedly a little ways out.

Unconfirmed specs

  • 5.7-inch QHD display with 18:9 ratio
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 or 821
  • 6GB RAM
  • 64GB likely, microSD expected
  • dual camera setup, few details currently rumored
  • Rear mounted fingerprint scanner
  • Non-removable battery
  • Android Nougat

Read more


Huawei P10

New & upcoming Android phones (January 2017)

Huawei P9 pictured above.

Frankly, we don’t know much about the Huawei P10 for sure. We don’t even know if that will end up its name or not. All we know for sure is that Huawei has indicated that at MWC 2017 it will show off its next flagship, and it seems pretty likely that it will be a successor to the Huawei P9.

Based on current rumors, the Huawei P10 is said to be a mostly metallic flagship, as per Huawei’s usual style. Under the hood we can expect a Kirin processor, very possibly the same Kirin 960 found in the current Mate 9 phablet. One area where the P10 is supposedly going to differ from the P9 is the screen size, jumping from 5.2-inches to 5.5-inches. Additionally, the display is supposedly going to be an AMOLED with a QHD resolution, a jump forward from the LCD 1080p display of its predecessor. On the camera front, we expect the Leica partnership to continue, with the phone offering a dual-camera setup, though the specfics aren’t known just yet.

Bottom-line, there are a ton of unknowns about the next flagship from Huawei, all we know is it will be formally unveiled at MWC and is expected to hit store shelves sometime in March or April.

Unconfirmed specs

  • 5.5-inch QHD AMOLED display
  • Octa-core Hisilicon Kirin 960 processor
  • 4 or 6GB of RAM likely, possibly multiple configurations here
  • 32/64/128GB likely, microSD very likely
  • Dual camera setup, possibly similar or the same as the Mate 9’s
  • Android 7.0 Nougat

Read more


What phones are you excited about?

Are there any phones we didn’t add to this post and you are looking forward to? Hit the comments and let us know! Also share your thoughts on the handsets listed above.

Porsche Design Mate 9 pre-orders finally begin for €1395

If you have been waiting patiently to order the Porsche Design Mate 9 since it was first announced in late 2016, your wait is now over. The limited edition version of the Huawei Mate 9 is now available to pre-order from the Porsche Design site, and it will set you back a whopping €1395.

See also:

Problems with the Huawei Mate 9 and how to fix them

4 weeks ago

This version of the phone has many of the same hardware specs as the Huawei Mate 9. Both have the Kirin 960 Octa-core processor, Android 7.0 Nougat with the custom EMUI 5.0 user interface, dual rear 20MP and 12MP cameras, an 8MP front-facing camera, and a 4000 mAh battery. The Porsche Design Mate 9 offers a curved 5.5-inch QHD version of the regular Mate 9’s 5.9-inch display. The Porsche Design variant also has 6GB of RAM compared to 4GB for the Mate 9, and a whopping 256GB of onboard storage versus 64GB for the standard Mate 9.

Aside from those big hardware changes, the other other minor differences in the Porsche Design Mate 9 are in its software. Its on-screen keys are replaced by “back” and “recent apps” keys on each side of the home button in the Porsche Design version. There are also some UI changes for this phone’s high-res display, a handy dark display mode and finally some Porsche Design themes for people who really want to make sure people know they have lots of money.

Shipments of the Porsche Design Mate 9 are scheduled to begin on Tuesday, Jan. 31. There’s no word on exactly how many units of this phone will be available before they are all sold out, but since this is supposed to be a limited edition variant, it’s likely to sell out very quickly, even at this high of a price point. Will you get a second mortgage on your house to get this phone? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

Get it at Porsche Design

Best dual-SIM Android phones (January 2017)

While many folks can get by with a single-SIM handset, there’s something to be said about the flexibility that is afforded to you when you have a dual-SIM device. A dual-SIM setup allows you to not only potentially have two different phone numbers but you can also have one SIM for data, another SIM for calling and text, and you can more easily travel abroad without having to remove your primary SIM card.

Typically manufacturers do not make dual-SIM versions of all their phones, instead they usually create dual-SIM models for phones that are popular in international markets. Sorted by price, on this page is where you will find our list of the best dual-SIM Android phones currently available. We will keep this list up to date as new phones are released, and as always please share your thoughts on what you think the best dual sim Android phone is.

Editor’s note – We will be updating this list as more devices hit the market.

Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge

See more Galaxy S7 photos | See more Galaxy S7 Edge photos

Samsung did a killer job with their 2015 flagship smartphones, the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge. Design-wise, many would say those two phones were close to perfect. The company forwent a plastic design and instead included glass front and back panels with an aluminum frame. They weren’t without their flaws, though. The S6 and S6 Edge didn’t offer expandable storage or removable batteries — two features Samsung has been known to include in all its smartphones for years.

Now the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge have made their way to the masses, and they fix many of the problems the S6 line introduced last year. While they don’t offer removable batteries, Samsung included expandable storage on both handsets in case the 32GB of on-board storage isn’t enough. Samsung mostly stuck to the same design this time around, though they did shrink down the camera bumps on the back and made the devices a little thicker to make room for larger batteries.

In terms of specs, these are top-of-the-line smartphones. They come with Quad HD Super AMOLED displays, Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processors, 4GB of RAM, great 12MP rear-facing cameras and run the latest version of Android. Instead of featuring the same screen sizes this time around though, Samsung kept the S7 at a smaller 5.1 inches, while the S7 Edge has been bumped up to a larger 5.5-inch panel.

Seriously, these are some incredible smartphones. They are a little pricey, but all in all, we think the high asking price is worth it.

Specs

Samsung Galaxy S7

  • 5.1-inch Super AMOLED display with 2560 x 1440 resolution, 577ppi
  • Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 32GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 200GB
  • 12MP rear camera, 5MP front camera
  • Non-removable 3000mAh battery
  • Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow
  • 142.4 x 69.6 x 7.9mm, 152g

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

  • 5.5-inch Super AMOLED display with 2560 x 1440 resolution, 534ppi
  • Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 32GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 200GB
  • 12 MP rear camera, 5MP front camera
  • Non-removable 3600mAh battery
  • Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow
  • 150.9 x 72.6 x 7.7mm, 157g

Read more

Buy the Galaxy S7 from Amazon
Buy the Galaxy S7 Edge from Amazon

OnePlus 3T

Best dual-SIM Android phones (January 2017)

See more OnePlus 3T photos

We weren’t expecting OnePlus to release another new flagship in 2016, but it happened. If you were a fan of the OnePlus 3, you’ll certainly love the OnePlus 3T.

With its powerful Snapdragon 821 processor backed by 6GB of RAM, the 3T absolutely flies through web browsing, gaming and most other everyday tasks. It also has a bigger battery this time around (3,400mAh to be exact), which is more than enough to get you through a full day of use on a single charge. In addition, the 3T now sports 16MP rear and front-facing camera sensors, a dual-SIM card slot, plenty of on-board storage, and a fast front-facing fingerprint sensor on the front.

Basically the OnePlus 3T is a better OnePlus 3, and we’re certainly not complaining. You can buy it from OnePlus’ website in Gunmetal and Soft Gold color options.

Specs

  • 5.5-inch Optic AMOLED display with 1920 x 1080 resolution, 401ppi
  • 2.35GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 821
  • 6GB of RAM
  • 64/128GB of on-board storage, no microSD card expansion
  • 16MP rear camera, 16MP front camera
  • Non-removable 3,400mAh battery
  • Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow
  • 152.7 x 74.7 x 7.35mm, 158g

Read more

Buy now from OnePlus

Huawei Mate 9

Best dual-SIM Android phones (January 2017)

See more Huawei Mate 9 photos

Huawei has done a great job at making its way to the mainstream over the past few years – first with the Huawei P9, and now with the Mate 9.

With a big 5.9-inch display, powerful Kirin 960 processor, dual-SIM capabilities, and an impressive camera setup, the Mate 9 may be one of the best big phones of the year. While its display is ‘only’ 1080p and its software is a bit odd sometimes, we still think the high price tag is worth it. If you’re after a smartphone that offers exceptional battery life and incredible performance, the standard Mate 9 delivers in spades. If money is no object and you want a smartphone that is unattainable to most customers, the Porsche Design Mate 9 might be worth your while.

Specs

  • 5.9-inch IPS LCD display with 1920 x 1080 resolution, 373ppi
  • Octa-core Hisilicon Kirin 960 processor
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 64GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 256GB
  • Dual 20 and 12MP rear cameras, 8MP front camera
  • Non-removable 4,000mAh battery
  • Android 7.0 Nougat
  • 156.9 x 78.9 x 7.9mm, 190g

Read more

Buy now from Amazon

ZTE Axon 7

Best dual-SIM Android phones (January 2017)

See more ZTE Axon 7 photos

ZTE’s Axon Pro from 2015 was a good phone, but it fell short in a few key areas. It came to market with only one storage option, no expandable memory, and the dual camera setup on the back of the device felt a bit gimmicky. Not only does the company’s latest flagship fix all of those problems, it brings much more to the table.

It has a big 5.5-inch Quad HD AMOLED display, the latest Snapdragon processor, plenty of RAM, multiple storage options, and yes, expandable memory up to 256GB. It also sports some killer front-facing speakers, all-day battery life, a great camera, and a sleek, attractive design. While certain parts of the software could use a little more polish, the ZTE Axon 7 goes toe-to-toe with the best in the Android market. It’s also inexpensive at only $400, making this an even more attractive option for folks looking to score a solid flagship device.

Specs

  • 5.5-inch AMOLED display with 2560 x 1440 resolution, 538ppi
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor
  • 4/6GB of RAM
  • 64/128GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 256GB
  • 20MP front camera, 8MP rear camera
  • Non-removable 3250mAh battery
  • Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow
  • 151.7 x 75 x 7.9mm, 175g

Read more

Buy now from Amazon

LG G5

Best dual-SIM Android phones (January 2017)

See more LG G5 photos

While the Galaxy S7 series is a minor refresh in terms of design, the LG G5 sees a massive departure from the design language used in the G series, ditching the rear volume/power setup that first debuted with the LG G2. The G5 also adopts a unibody metallic design that has a removable cap for access to the removable battery and a port for modules that allow users to expand the phone’s capabilities by adding a camera grip and other special accessories.

The distinctly different design of the LG G5 may not be for everyone, but there’s little denying that LG has went out of its way to try and innovate in a market where big changes like this aren’t all that common.

Spec wise, we’re looking at a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 with 4 GB RAM, a 5.3-inch display, and 32 GB storage with microSD for expansion. The specs here are certainly impressive all across the board. It’s also worth mentioning that LG has revamped its software, making it faster and less bloated. One controversial move with the software, however, is the removal of the app drawer in favor of what LG says is a “simplified experience.”

Specs

  • 5.3-inch IPS LCD display with 2560 x 1440 resolution, 554ppi
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 32GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 200GB
  • 16 and 8MP dual rear cameras, 8MP front camera
  • Removable 2800 mAh battery
  • Android 7.0 Nougat
  • 149.4 x 73.9 x 7.7mm, 159g

Read more

Buy now from Amazon

Motorola Moto Z Play

Best dual-SIM Android phones (January 2017)

See more Moto Z Play photos

If you’re looking for a smartphone with insane battery life, a good camera and a modular design, Lenovo’s Moto Z Play might be the phone for you.

The standout feature on this phone is its big 3,510mAh battery, which really impressed us in our full review.

One reason why the Moto Z Play has such good battery life is the sensible spec sheet – you get a 5.5-inch Full HD display and a Snapdragon 625 processor, compared to the more power intensive Quad HD/Snapdragon 820 found on the Moto Z and Z Force. You also get 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage space, which is expandable up to 256GB. It won’t yield the best performance, but that’s not really the point of this phone.

It’s not the cheapest phone out there, but it does mow down the competition in certain areas.

Specs

  • 5.5-inch Super AMOLED display with 1920 x 1080 resolution, 403ppi
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor
  • 3GB of RAM
  • 32GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 256GB
  • 16MP rear camera, 5MP front camera
  • Non-removable 3510mAh battery
  • Android 6.0 Marshmallow
  • 156.4 x 76.4 x 7mm, 164g

Read more

Buy now from Amazon

Motorola Moto G4 Plus

Best dual-SIM Android phones (January 2017)

See more Moto G4 Plus photos

Instead of announcing just one Moto G variant this year, Lenovo brought us three different devices – the Moto G4 Plus, Moto G4 and Moto G4 Play.

The highest-end of the bunch is the Moto G4 Plus, and it brings a handful of notable improvements to the Moto G range. It has a big 1080p display, capable processor, expandable storage, and even a fingerprint sensor this time around. While we had a slight problem with the volume/power buttons and the camera in low light, we can honestly say this is one of the best budget offerings in 2016.

Right now you can buy it in the U.S. for $249.99 through Amazon or Motorola.com.

Specs

  • 5.5-inch IPS LCD display with 1920 x 1080 resolution, 401ppi
  • Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 processor
  • 2/3/4GB of RAM
  • 16/32/64GB of on-board storage, microSD expansion up to 256GB
  • 16MP rear camera, 5MP front camera
  • Non-removable 3000mAh battery
  • Android 6.0 Marshmallow
  • 153 x 76.6 x 9.8mm, 155g

Read more

Buy now from Motorola

So there you have it – our picks for the best dual-SIM options Android has to offer at the moment. Did we miss anything? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.

See also:

Best Android phones

3 weeks ago

Next: Best prepaid phone plans

Huawei Mate 9 goes on sale in the UK via Three

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In case you haven’t figured it out yet, we really like the Huawei Mate 9 smartphone and have really enjoyed our time with its initial launch. Huawei’s momentum isn’t slowing down anytime soon either. The US version of the 5.9-inch phone launched last week in the US, and now UK residents can officially buy the handset, exclusively from the Three UK wireless carrier.

If you want to get this phone without a contract, Three UK will sell the unlocked Mate 9 to you for just £549.99 if you also get £10 of prepaid credit. If you prefer to pay for the phone over a period of time, the carrier has a number of options, ranging from paying £99 upfront and then £31 per month with a 1GB per month data allowance, up to £29 upfront and £56 per month if you get 30GB of data per month.  The Three UK version of the Mate 9 only comes in Space Gray; there’s no Moonlight Silver option like there is in the US.

Here’s a quick reminder of what the Huawei Mate 9 offers. The 5.9-inch 1080p display uses the Kirin 960 processor, along with 4GB of RAM, 64GB of onboard storage, dual rear cameras with 12MP and 20MP sensors, an 8MP front-facing selfie camera and a 4,000mAh battery. It has Android 7.0 Nougat installed and out of the box combined with Huawei’s own EMUI 5.0 skin. The phone will also add support for Amazon’s Alexa digital assistant later this year via a software update.

What do you think of the Mate 9? Let us know in the comments.

Get it at Three UK

Huawei’s Mate 9 phablet coming to the US on January 6 (with Alexa on board)

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Huawei officially unveiled the Mate 9 back in November. The phablet, which is already available in quite a few European and Asian countries, is now coming to the US. The Chinese manufacturer has announced that the device will go on sale in the US tomorrow, January 6.

The Mate 9 will retail for $599.99 and will be available to purchase from Amazon, Newegg, Best Buy, and B&H Photo. There are two color options to choose from. You’ll be able to get your hands on either the Space Gray or Moonlight Silver version of the device.

Huawei has also announced that it’s partnering up with Amazon. The Mate 9 will support Amazon’s cloud-based voice service Alexa, which can set an alarm, open up apps, play music you want, and do a bunch of other things if you ask her nicely. According to the company’s press release, Huawei will bring the Alexa feature to the Mate 9 in early 2017 with a software update.

See also:

Best Huawei Mate 9 cases

3 weeks ago

The Mate 9 is a high-end device that has a 5.9-inch 1080p display and is powered by the Kirin 960 chipset. It features 4 GB of RAM, a Leica-branded dual camera setup — 12 and 20 MP — and an 8 MP selfie snapper. The device also comes with a fingerprint scanner, 64 GB of storage, a metal body, a 4,000 mAh battery, and runs Android 7.0 Nougat with Huawei’s EMUI 5.0 skin on top.

If you want to know more about the device, feel free to check out our review of the Huawei Mate 9.

Huawei Mate 9 International Giveaway!

Welcome to the Sunday Giveaway, the place where we giveaway a new Android phone or tablet each and every Sunday!

Congratulations to last week’s Honor 8 giveaway winner: Eduard A. (Canada).

This week we are giving away a brand new Huawei Mate 9!

The Mate 9 is no slouch in the hardware or software department. It’s a large phone that feels surprisingly comfortable in the hand, and in contrast to similarly sized devices, the battery keeps chugging for days. Add this to the dual camera setup and feature-rich software, and you’ve got a flagship-tier handset ready to go toe to toe with the best of them.

Hungry for more Mate 9 data? Check out these “Best of” lists it wound up ranking on:

In short, the Mate 9 has it all. Style, substance, and superlative performance. Normally you’d have to fork over some hefty cash to nab one of these sleek little beasties, but one lucky entrant to this weeks giveaway will get one for the low, low price of free!

Enter Giveaway!

Huawei Mate 9 International Giveaway!

 

Winners Gallery on Google+

Terms & Conditions

  • The giveaway is an international giveaway (Except when we can not ship to your Country.)
  • If we can not ship to your country, you will be compensated with an online gift card of equal MSRP value to the prize.
  • We are not responsible for lost shipments.
  • We are not responsible if your giveaway prize malfunctions.
  • You must be age of majority in your Country of residence.
  • We are not responsible for any duties or import fees that you may incur.
  • Only 1 entry per person, do not enter multiple email addresses. We will verify all winners and if we detect multiple email addresses by the same person you will not be eligible to win.
  • We reserve all rights to make any changes to this giveaway.
  • This giveaway is operated by AndroidAuthority.
  • The prize will ship when it is available to purchase.

Good luck. everyone!

Best of Android 2016: Battery

What is Best of Android?                

In Best of Android, we take the most important smartphones of the year and compare them side-by-side and in-depth. This year, with so many good phones available, we’ve stepped things up a notch and brought the 10 biggest Android phones of the year to the competition.

Read more about Best of Android and thanks for being such a valuable part of the Android Authority family!

If you’re anything like us, you constantly get asked “what is the best phone?” and “which Android phone has the best battery life?” Rather than relying on the infamous “moderate-to-heavy usage” yardstick, we’re getting technical.

You will have undoubtedly read the battery section in each device’s full review throughout the year, but Best of Android 2016 puts them all side-by-side through a series of specially calibrated Android Authority tests using our own custom battery tests and benchmarks, so you can compare apples and apples.

See also:

Best of Android 2016: Performance

1 day ago

The tests include our custom “general” battery test, comprising a variety of different tasks aimed at replicating average daily usage. We also have dedicated battery tests for Wi-Fi browsing, gaming and video playback, along with a battery recharge test because we know just how important fast charging has become.

There’s no guesswork to interpret here, just cold, hard data to reveal the true lay of the land. Each device was ranked for each individual test with those scores averaged out at the end to declare our overall winner. But first, lets get our hands dirty in each tested category. For reference, here are the actual battery capacities of each tested device:

Huawei Mate 94,000 mAh ZTE Axon 73,250 mAh
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge3,600 mAh LG V20 3,200 mAh
Moto Z Force Droid3,500 mAh HTC 103,000 mAh
Google Pixel XL3,450 mAh Xiaomi Mi 53,000 mAh
OnePlus 3T3,400 mAh Sony Xperia XZ2,900 mAh

Charging time

When it comes to charging times there are two main things to consider: the capacity of the battery and the charging tech involved. All things being equal, a smaller battery will charge faster than a larger battery (although all batteries charge faster at the beginning and slow down as they near a full charge). But each manufacturer also has their own custom fast charging tech, some of which is better than others. So, to keep things on an even keel, we’ve ranked our devices in two different ways.

The first is obvious: which device charged fastest, regardless of how large its battery cell is. This is the “real world” test. The second takes a more apples-to-apples approach so you can tell which device’s battery charges faster pound-for-pound. Based on the time taken in the real world test, we calculated the charge rate for each device, so you can see a relative comparison per unit of battery capacity, kind of like miles per gallon for your car. All tests were conducted using the supplied charger.

In 2016, the fastest phone to charge a full battery was the OnePlus 3T with its phenomenal Dash Charge tech. The 3T’s 3,400 mAh battery took just 87 minutes to charge completely. Second place was tied at 89 minutes, with the Huawei Mate 9 and ZTE Axon 7 sharing the podium, but considering the Mate 9 has a 4,000 mAh battery compared to the Axon 7’s 3,250 mAh capacity, the Mate 9 clearly has the edge. The LG V20 took fourth place, taking 90 minutes to charge its 3,200 mAh battery.

On the slow side of things, the Sony Xperia XZ won on all counts: the smallest battery that took the longest time to charge (2,900 mAh in 143 minutes). However, this is primarily due to the XZ coming with a standard 1.5A charger in the box rather than a fast charger that supports Qualcomm Quick Charge. The Xiaomi Mi 5 wasn’t far behind though, taking 139 minutes to charge its 3,000 mAh cell and it does have a Quick Charge 3.0 charger in the box.

As promised we also calculated how many mAh each device could charge in a standard time, in this case, one minute. This lets you know which device has the most efficient battery charger. The winner? The Mate 9, which juiced up 45 mAh per minute on average (remember, batteries charge slower as they near completion). The One Plus 3T was next, with 39 mAh/minute, followed by the S7 Edge with 37.5 mAh/minute and the Axon 7 with 36.5 mAh/minute. Not surprisingly, the slowest rates were the XZ (20 mAh/minute) and Mi 5 (21.5 mAh/minute).

Use time (Wi-Fi browsing)

The first benchmark test we ran was Wi-Fi browsing. Our Wi-Fi test repeatedly loads a selection of webpages until the battery goes from 100% to zero. Device displays are set to 200 nits brightness and pages are loaded over Wi-Fi with airplane mode enabled. Auto-updates and any battery saver modes are also disabled during the test.

Wi-Fi browsing isn’t such a taxing task, so we saw some pretty epic battery durations. Best of all though was the Huawei Mate 9 and it’s massive 4,000 mAh battery (the largest on our list) which managed to keep the lights on for an impressive 14 hours and four minutes.

Best of Android 2016: Battery

In second spot was the ZTE Axon 7 (3,250 mAh) with 11 and a half hours of browsing time, followed by the Xiaomi Mi 5 (3,000 mAh) and the Google Pixel XL (3,450 mAh) at around 10 and three quarter hours.

Interestingly, the device with the second largest battery capacity on our list – the Galaxy S7 Edge with a 3,600 mAh battery – came in second last, with just 8 hours and 11 minutes of web browsing before shutting down. But the HTC 10 was the worst of all with just shy of 7 hours and a half hours of browsing time.

Use time (gaming)

The next benchmark tests battery life for gaming. Games tax battery life more than browsing due to the enhanced graphical demands. Our test runs Epic Citadel, a 3D gaming simulation on a device with a fully charged battery on 200 nits brightness until the battery is depleted. The simulations run at the maximum resolution of the device (so keep that in mind when comparing devices with Full HD resolution versus QHD).

Best of Android 2016: Battery

3D gaming is amongst the most demanding tasks you can ask of your smartphone, but some phones are better equipped to handle those demands than others. In this test, our best battery duration was the HTC 10 with 8 hours and 29 minutes. A very impressive feat, especially considering the HTC 10 came in dead last on the Wi-Fi browsing test.

Second place went to the ZTE Axon 7 with 8 hours and 15 minutes, followed by the OnePlus 3T just short of 7 hours and the Xiaomi Mi 5 with just under 6 and a half hours. The Galaxy S7 Edge had the worst gaming performance of all, with just 3 hours and 46 minutes.

Use time (video playback)

Our last dedicated battery test is for video playback, perhaps the most common way to deplete your battery by doing just one thing. As you have probably guessed, our test runs an endless loop of video to see how long each device lasts before the battery runs from full to empty. The Full HD video file at 23.9fps, was stored locally and Wi-Fi was turned off.

Best of Android 2016: Battery

This test resulted in similar, but not identical, results to the Wi-Fi browsing test. The Huawei Mate 9 took first place, with 14 hours and 12 minutes, followed by the OnePlus 3T with just under 12 hours and the Xiaomi Mi 5 with 11 hours and 51 minutes. The worst performer here was the Google Pixel XL, which barely limped past 7 hours of video playback despite having the fourth largest battery of the bunch and the newest version of Android.

General battery test

Our general battery test uses a combination of the above three dedicated tests and extrapolates run time based on “general” usage. Of course, your mileage may vary, but because the test is identical on each device, it gives a good indication of how well each phone handles a variety of tasks. As you can probably tell from the results above, different devices excel at different tasks, so this test is designed to provide an “all-rounder” rating.

Best of Android 2016: Battery

In the general usage test, the results were a lot closer. The Xiaomi Mi 5 ultimately came out on top with 7 and a quarter hours, with the Huawei Mate 9 hot on its tail with just over 7 hours. But considering the Mate 9 has a 33 percent larger battery than the Mi 5, the Mi 5’s dominance in this category is even more impressive.

Third place went to the Axon 7, followed by a cluster of devices with very similar run times: the HTC 10, OnePlus 3T and the Moto Z Force Droid. The weakest performer was the Galaxy S7 Edge with 4 and a quarter hours.

Wrap up

While it’s interesting to know how each device performs on an even playing field, the fact of the matter is that all batteries aren’t created equal. Some devices have larger batteries, some have faster charging tech and some have better software optimizations for prolonging battery life. So, given the tests we ran on each device and the combined results, which Android smartphone has the best all-round battery in 2016?

The Huawei Mate 9

The Huawei Mate 9 has the largest battery of all the tested devices, but it also has the fastest per-minute charge rate and very good all-round performance. It’s clearly your best bet if you spend a lot of time watching videos or browsing the web, but hardcore mobile gamers are probably better off looking elsewhere. Second place overall went to the excellent ZTE Axon 7 and the OnePlus 3T’s battery bump helped it score third spot.

1. Huawei Mate 98.66. HTC 104.6
2. ZTE Axon 78.07. Google Pixel XL3.8
3. OnePlus 3T7.67. LG V203.8
4. Xiaomi Mi 57.09. Sony Xperia XZ3.6
5. Lenovo Moto Z Force Droid4.810. Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge3.2

A note on results: Our overall battery scores were calculated by assigning points between 1-10 to each device in each category. The best performer scored 10 points, second place 9 points and so on, regardless of how close the margin was. Those category scores were then averaged for the final grading you see above.

Keep in mind that there are a whole bunch of factors at play when considering battery life: screen brightness, stability of your network connections, display resolution, whether GPS and location sharing are on, screen timeout settings, battery capacity, Android version, battery saving modes, background processes, syncing, auto-updates and so on. Each user will have different habits that greatly affect their battery mileage.

Of course, you may not be a gamer or perhaps you never watch videos on your phone. In these cases, our overall winner based on equally weighting each test may not be compatible with your particular needs or preferences. If so, just take a closer look at the categories that do apply to your usage habits and draw your conclusions from there.

Want the best phone for gaming? Get the ZTE Axon 7. The best phone for watching YouTube videos or browsing? Then you’ll want the Mate 9. The phone you can juice up the fastest as you rush out the door? The OnePlus 3T, and so on. Thanks for reading and be sure to check out the other categories in the Best of Android 2016 series.


Credits

Tested by: Gary Sims, Andrew Grush, Nirave Gondhia, John Velasco, Joshua Vergara, Lanh Nguyen
Series Contributors: Rob TriggsEdgar Cervantes, Kris Carlon
Series Editors: Nirave Gondhia, Bogdan Petrovan, Andrew Grush

Best of Android 2016: Performance

What is Best of Android?                

In Best of Android, we take the most important smartphones of the year and compare them side-by-side and in-depth. This year, with so many good phones available, we’ve stepped things up a notch and brought the 10 biggest Android phones of the year to the competition.

Read more about Best of Android and thanks for being such a valuable part of the Android Authority family!

We know how important performance is when it comes to a high-end Android phone. No one wants to fork out several hundred dollars for a phone and then suffer from lag. And if there’s a phone out there that costs half the price of most mainstream flagships and has better performance we know you’re going to want to know all about it.

See also:

Best of Android 2016: Display

19 hours ago

In this installment of the Best of Android 2016, we’re tackling the sticky issue of Android performance. Do the best specs on paper always result in the best stats under pressure? Or is software more important? What about RAM? Is more always better or can optimization be the key to heavy workload dominance?

We’ve run 10 of the biggest Android phones of 2016 through a series of popular benchmark tests, all available in Google Play so you can install them too and see how your phone stacks up against the best of the best in 2016. Results in each individual benchmark are ranked and at the end those results are averaged out to declare an overall winner.

DeviceCPUGPU RAM (GB)Display
resolution
Xiaomi Mi 5Snapdragon 820Adreno 5304FHD
OnePlus 3TSnapdragon 821Adreno 5306FHD
Huawei Mate 9Kirin 960Mali G71 MP84FHD
ZTE Axon 7Snapdragon 820Adreno 5304FHD
Moto Z Force DroidSnapdragon 820Adreno 5304QHD
Sony Xperia XZSnapdragon 820Adreno 5303FHD
HTC 10Snapdragon 820Adreno 5304QHD
LG V20Snapdragon 820Adreno 5304QHD
Samsung Galaxy S7 EdgeExynos 8890Mali-T880 MP124QHD
Google Pixel XLSnapdragon 821Adreno 5304QHD

At the heart of every smartphone is a System-on-a-Chip (SoC) that contains the CPU, the GPU and a whole bunch of other stuff like a DSP, ISP and the cellular modems. Obviously the choice of SoC will have a significant impact on the overall device performance, however it isn’t the only factor. The speed of the internal flash storage is certainly a factor, especially when it comes to app loading times. Secondly, the screen resolution will also influence performance as the CPU and GPU will need to work harder to maintain smooth animations.

Looking at the table above you can see that the Snapdragon 820/821 is the dominant SoC. The 821 is a slightly tweaked version of the 820 with improved performance and power efficiency. The only device not using a Qualcomm SoC is the Huawei Mate 9 which uses Huawei’s own Kirin 960. There are two versions of the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, one with a Snapdragon 820 (which we used for the results in this test) and another that uses Samsung’s own Exynos 8890 SoC (which scored slightly lower on most benchmarks, hence using the 820 results here) .

AnTuTu

AnTuTu is one of the “standard” benchmarks for Android, it measures both CPU and GPU usage as well as a few other things like RAM bandwidth and I/O throughput. Although all of its workloads are completely artificial, meaning they don’t reflect real world usage, the benchmark is still useful for establishing a baseline about the general performance of a device.

Best of Android 2016: Performance

As you can see the OnePlus 3T gets the highest score from AnTuTu followed by the Moto Z Force Droid and the LG V20. Having said that, all the devices performed amazingly for AnTuTu. Last year’s winner was the Galaxy Note 5 with its Exynos 7420 SoC, however it scored less than 70,000. Now all the devices in our test score over 120,000! The Xiaomi Mi 5 was the weakest performer in AnTuTu.

GeekBench 4

GeekBench is another popular Android benchmarking tool, however this app only tests the CPU performance. The test is split into two parts, the single-core tests, which measures the speed of an individual core, regardless of how many cores there are on the SoC; and the multi-core tests, which exercises all the cores on the SoC simultaneously.

Best of Android 2016: Performance

The Geekbench king is the Huawei Mate 9 with its Kirin 960 SoC. The Kirin 960 uses four ARM Cortex-A73 cores and four ARM Cortex-A53 cores plus the Mali G71 MP8 GPU. The Mate 9 gets the top score for both the single-core tests and the multi-core tests.

Next up is the OnePlus 3T and the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge. The former does better on the single-core tests but comes third in the multi-core tests. Conversely, the Samsung comes third overall for the single-core tests but second for the multi-core tests. The weakest single-core performance was shown by the Mi 5, with the HTC 10 producing the poorest multi-core results.

Basemark OS II

Basemark OS II is an “All-In-One” benchmark that tests the overall performance of a device including system, memory, graphics, and web browsing. As well as these individual scores there is a overall rating calculated (graph below includes Vellamo scores).
Best of Android 2016: Performance

The OnePlus 3T comes out on top of the Basemark OS II tests with a score of 2,719. Next comes the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge with 2,659 and the Huawei Mate 9 with 2,588. Interestingly there is only a 5% difference in score among the top three devices.

At the other end of the scale, the Xiaomi Mi 5 was weakest (2.091), followed by the LG V20 (2,188) and HTC 10 (2,197) in second and third last places, respectively.

Vellamo

Vellamo is Qualcomm’s own benchmarking utility, which breaks tests down into three main “chapters”: Browser, Multicore and Metal. We ran the Browser test on the default internet app on each device to see how well they handle web content and then ran Metal to evaluate single-core performance of the mobile processor.

For the Metal test of Vellamo the top scoring device is once again the OnePlus 3T with 4,238, the only device break the 4K barrier. Next comes the ZTE Axon 7, the first time the ZTE has appeared on the podium! In third place is the LG V20. The poorest result in Metal was the Xiaomi Mi 5 which was the only device to not make 3K (interestingly, the Pixel XL only just scraped by with 3,040).

Turning to the Vellamo web browsing tests the top place goes to the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge with 7,778. In second place comes the Huawei Mate 9 and after that the OnePlus 3T. The weakest Vellamo browsing result was from the ZTE Axon 7 (3,756).

Jet Stream

JetStream is a JavaScript benchmark tool that focuses on advanced web applications, performing tests for latency and throughout (sustained peak performance). Jet Stream covers a variety of advanced workloads and programming techniques to avoid the possibility of software tweaks to “game” individual benchmarks and runs 39 different tests to produce a single overall score.

Best of Android 2016: Performance

Like the Vellamo web browsing test, the top three phones are the S7 Edge, the Mate 9 and the OnePlus 3T, but this time the ordering is different. First came the Huawei Mate 9, then the OnePlus 3T and in third place the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge. The HTC 10 was the worst and the Xiaomi Mi 5 just a little better.

3DMark

3DMark is probably the world’s leading benchmark tool because of its cross-platform nature and because of its emphasis on 3D graphics. The Slingshot Extreme test is designed specifically for the OpenGL ES 3.1 standard. 3DMark not only has rules for manufacturers to avoid OEMs modifying the way the system runs when tests are being performed, but you can compare 3DMark results with over 3,000 Android devices as well as the latest iPhones and iPads.

It is worth re-emphasizing at this point that devices with lower screen resolutions rank better as the GPU has less work to do. In fact QHD displays have 77 percent more pixels than Full HD displays!

Best of Android 2016: Performance

As we can see the top three results all go to devices with Full HD displays: the OnePlus 3T, the ZTE Axon 7 and the Huawei Mate 9. However, what is even more impressive is that the score for the Google Pixel XL is only 17 percent less than the Huawei Mate 9 but yet the Pixel XL is pushing around 77 percent more pixels! The worst 3DMark performance came from the HTC 10 by a wide margin.

GFXBench

Like 3DMark, GFXBench is primarily concerned with GPU performance. It includes a new 1440p Manhattan 3.1.1 for OpenGL ES 3.1 test and other assorted benchmarks that test Android Extension Pack features like hardware tessellation on game-like content. We ran the demanding T-Rex and Manhattan 3.1 benchmarks for our tests. Again, be mindful of display resolution differences.

Best of Android 2016: Performance

The winner for the T-Rex test is the ZTE Axon 7, in second is the Xiaomi Mi 5 and in third is the Sony Xperia XZ. Not too surprisingly, all three of them have a Full HD display. The leading device with a QHD display is the Moto Z Force Droid, which is just 2fps slower than the Sony Xperia XZ and only 1fps slower than the OnePlus 3T.

As for the Manhattan test, the top performers are the Sony Xperia XZ and the OnePlus 3T which both scored 32fps. Again, both devices have a Full HD display. Next comes the Pixel XL (30fps with a QHD screen) and in third is the Huawei Mate 9 (28fps and Full HD again).

Wrap up

Overall, the best performer came first by quite a wide margin. It came first in AnTuTu, Basemark OS II, 3DMark and GFXBench Manhattan (tied with the Sony). It also managed a top three result for all the other tests with the exception of the GFXBench T-Rex test, where it came fourth. So which Android phone has the best performance in 2016?

The OnePlus 3T

The OnePlus 3T sports the brand-new Snapdragon 821 SoC, combined with 6 GB of RAM and a Full HD display, a killer combination that made it unbeatable where these tests were concerned.

In second place is the Huawei Mate 9. It has the highest Geekbench score plus it came in first in the JetStream JavaScript benchmark suite. It also finished in the top three repeatedly across other tests, helped in part by its Full HD display (a feature our top three all share).

In third overall place is the Sony Xperia XZ. While it didn’t win any of the tests outright, it did come in joint first for the GFXBench Manhattan test and scored well for the GFX T-Rex test.

It is also worth mentioning the ZTE Axon 7, which took fourth place overall and was the highest performing device with a QHD display. The Moto Z Force Droid was next, followed by the Pixel XL, both of which also feature QHD displays.

1. OnePlus 3T9.076. Google Pixel XL5.29
2. Huawei Mate 97.797. Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge5.00
3. Sony Xperia XZ6.798. LG V204.57
4. ZTE Axon 75.869. Xiaomi Mi 53.14
5. Lenovo Moto Z Force Droid5.6410. HTC 102.14

A note on results: Our overall performance scores were calculated by assigning points between 1-10 to each device for each tested benchmark. The best performer scored 10 points, second place 9 points and so on, regardless of how close the margin was. Those category scores were then averaged for the final grading you see above.

There are obviously a few things that can affect how well any given device performs in benchmarks. Screen resolution, CPU, GPU, RAM, firmware, software optimizations and so on can all affect the results.

As you can see above, devices with Full HD displays did better overall due to having fewer pixels to push around but we also had some standout results from QHD devices. If you don’t think 2K is worth the drain on performance and battery life, then the OnePlus 3T is the obvious choice. But if you’re looking for a QHD smartphone with top notch performance, you can’t go past the Axon 7. Interestingly, these are two of the most affordable devices on our list.

Thanks for reading and be sure to check out the other categories in the Best of Android 2016 series.


Credits

Tested by: Gary Sims, Andrew Grush, Nirave Gondhia, John Velasco, Joshua Vergara, Lanh Nguyen
Series Contributors: Rob TriggsEdgar Cervantes, Kris Carlon
Series Editors: Nirave Gondhia, Bogdan Petrovan, Andrew Grush

Best of Android 2016: Display

What is Best of Android?                

In Best of Android, we aim to answer the single most important question that we get asked every day: what’s the best Android phone you can buy right now?

Looking at 2016, here are the 10 phones we feel make up the best currently available on the market from each of these manufacturers

Check out the rest of this year’s edition and find out more here; Best of Android. Thanks for being a part of Android Authority!

To kick off our Best of Android 2016 series we are going to delve right on into every smartphone’s big upfront piece of tech – its display.

This year’s phones are a mixture of LCD and AMOLED and are either Full HD or QHD. Interestingly they are all over 5.0 inches with the smallest entrant being the Xiaomi Mi 5 with its 5.15 inch display. The largest is the 5.9 inch Huawei Mate 9.

 SizeTypeResolutionPixel density
Galaxy S7 Edge5.5-inchesAMOLED2560 x 1440534 ppi
HTC 105.2-inchesSuper LCD52560 x 1440565 ppi
Sony Xperia XZ5.2-inchesIPS LCD1920 x 1080424 ppi
Pixel XL5.5-inchesAMOLED2560 x 1440534 ppi
Xiaomi Mi 55.15-inchesIPS LCD1920 x 1080428 ppi
Moto Z Force Droid5.5-inchesAMOLED2560 x 1440534 ppi
OnePlus 3T5.5-inchesAMOLED1920 x 1080401 ppi
LG V205.7-inchesIPS LCD2560 x 1440513 ppi
Huawei Mate 95.9-inchesIPS LCD1920 x 1080373 ppi
ZTE Axon 75.5-inchesAMOLED2560 x 1440534 ppi

Before we dive into all of the results, a quick word about our test. We paired up an X-rite’s i1 Display Pro spectrophotometer with CalMAN’s ColorChecker software and its MobileForge companion app, which is used to wirelessly sync up the test images between the phone and our PC software. We set the phone to our desired brightness for each test, attached the i1 Display Pro to the middle of the display, made sure that it was flush to the screen, and then ran the software. Some phones have the option to adjust the screen colors and temperature but each phone was set to its default out-of-the-box state.

How do they compare? Let’s find out.

Display Luminance

To start with, we ramped up each phone to full brightness and measured a white light output with the i1 Display Pro. Since some devices don’t actually use the absolute maximum brightness when set manually to 100%, we also set the displays to “auto brightness” and shone a torch into the light sensor. On some phones that makes the display go even brighter. For example, the LG V20 has a brightness of 526 nits on 100% manual, which is a good result. However on “auto” the same display can be pushed to 708 nits!

The LG V20 is by far the brightest display with a massive 708 nits, followed by Xiaomi Mi 5 and the Sony Xperia XZ with 650 and 613 nits respectively. The Huawei Mate 9 also manages more than 600 nits. At the other end of the scale we have the ZTE Axon 7 which can only manage 339 nits. The rest of the devices manage at least 400 nits. It is also worth noting that like the LG V20, the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge and the Moto Z Force Droid also have significantly different brightness levels on manual and auto.

Color temperature

Color reproduction and the science of color can be quite complex, but it is worth noting a few things that will help you understand the display on your smartphone. Incidentally it might also help you improve the photos you take and how to buy light bulbs! Color is a characteristic of light, and it depends on the frequency of the light you are seeing. The lower frequency colors are red and orange while the high frequency colors are blue and purple. In between are all the colors of the rainbow.

When you see something as red it is because that object is reflecting the red light waves better than the other colors. In fact some of the other light waves are being absorbed and turned into heat. When an object reflects all of the colors equally we see it as white. Now since color is an attribute of light you will have noticed that objects take on a different hue when seen under different light. The sun at dusk shows things differently to the sun at noon. The light from a football stadium portrays things differently to candle light, and so on.

To help define the composition of light we use the Kelvin scale. Candles and sunsets give off light that is closer to red (which we call ‘warm’) but the light from the sun when we have “clear blue skies” is… yes, bluer… or “cooler.” Cool colors like blue generally have color temperatures over 7000K, while warmer colors like red and orange lie around the 2000K mark. For a variety of reasons, that we won’t get into now, the sweet spot for white light is 6500K. Color temperatures lower than that will be “warm” and above it will be “cool.”

So, what does this all have to do with displays? Basically, the display on a smartphone is a light source, similar to a TV or the monitor on a PC. The light it generates has a temperature. The closer that temperature is to 6500K then the closer it is to that sweet spot for white.

We tested all the devices to get a color temperature reading and here are the results:

Best of Android 2016: Display

The first thing to note is that none of the displays on test are actually configured to 6500K by default. But we can see that the Samsung  Galaxy S7 has the closest color temperature to 6500K, followed by the Moto Z Force Droid and the ZTE Axon 7. At the other end of the scale are the LG V20 and the Huawei Mate 9, both of which have color temperatures in excess of 8700K, giving the whites a clear blue tint:

Best of Android 2016: Display

The reason that 6500K is important is because most media is calibrated to 6500K which means that the further a display is away from that sweet spot then the further away the reproduced colors will be from the intended colors.

Color range

Since displays produce the whole gamut of colors it is important to know how faithfully those colors are reproduced. You might think that red is red and green is green, but as always it is a bit more complicated than that! Starting from the white 6500K sweet spot, a display needs to generate colors by increasing the amount of one (or more) colors while decreasing others, this mixture of red, green and blue yields the desired color. But how well a display can do that will determine its color accuracy.

Here is a set of color space diagrams generated for each display. The closer the different plot circles are to the target squares then the better the accuracy.

As you can see the best display is the one found on the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge. The white dot in the middle is almost on target and the different branches shoot off in the right directions. The display is particularly good in the blues (including cyan and magenta). However by contrast the color accuracy on the LG V20, the Huawei Mate 9 and the HTC 10 is disappointing. Starting with the LG V20 and the HTC 10 you can see that the cyan and magenta targets are way off and none of the colors (except blue) are on the right line. The graph for the Huawei Mate 9 tells a similar story to that of the other two, but with an additional twist, here the cyan and magenta lines actually curve!

One thing to note is that all three devices have LCD displays and not AMOLED displays. The other two LCD panels in our test are the Xiaomi Mi 5 and the Sony Xperia XZ. These both exhibit the same tendencies as the other LCD devices however to a less extent. However it is worth pointing out that the magenta line on the Xperia XZ starts to the left of the target (more blue) and crosses over the line to yield redder colors. On top of that the greens are certainly more blueish-green that normal green!

That doesn’t mean that all the AMOLED panels are automatically “better.” Take a look at the ZTE Axon 7, it shares many of the faults seen on the LCD panels, however at least its cyan and magenta reproduction actually hits the target in some cases! The closest device to the S7 Edge is the Moto Z Force Droid, which does well in the cyan, blue, magenta and reds, however it does wander a bit for the greens and yellows. Third place goes to the Google Pixel XL which is almost as good as the Moto Z Force Droid, but not quite.

Conclusion

In terms of color temperature and color accuracy the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge is the clear winner. And while it has a display brightness of over 400 nits there are AMOLED displays that are brighter, most notably the Moto Z Force Droid. As for the LCD displays in our test, these tend to be brighter, however their color accuracy and color temperature are not as good.

If you want the brightest LCD panel with the best color temperature and highest color accuracy (among the LCD panels) then the Xiaomi Mi 5 is the winner, however it only offers Full HD rather than the QHD of the S7 Edge and the Z Force Droid.


Credits

Tested by: Gary Sims, Andrew Grush, Nirave Gondhia, John Velasco, Joshua Vergara, Lanh Nguyen
Series Contributors: Rob TriggsEdgar Cervantes, Kris Carlon
Series Editors: Nirave Gondhia, Bogdan Petrovan, Andrew Grush

Problems with the Huawei Mate 9 and how to fix them

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Huawei’s Mate series is known for its beautiful designs and construction, fantastic displays, and large batteries, all of which makes for a popular range of smartphones. The latest addition to the series, the Huawei Mate 9, continues to bring all of these signature elements to the table, and more, including an upgraded version of the LEICA dual-camera setup from the P9, and a major overhaul of the software experience. If you are in the market for a large display smartphone, the Huawei Mate 9 is definitely one to consider.

However, as is the case with any current generation smartphone or tablet, the latest high-end offering from Huawei is not without its issues. Which is why, we’ve rounded up some of the common problems that Huawei Mate 9 owners have faced, and offer potential solutions on how to fix them!

Disclaimer: Not every Huawei Mate 9 will face these issues, and in fact, it is more than likely that you won’t come across of these problems at all.


Problem #1 – Issues with using Nova and other third-party launchers

Problems with the Huawei Mate 9 and how to fix them

Quite a few users who use third party launchers, and particularly Nova, have found that the device automatically, often after closing an app, reverts to the default stock launcher of EMUI. Users then have to go into the settings and once again set the third party launcher as the default one.

Potential solutions:

  • This seems to have to do with the aggressive RAM management and default battery saving features the tends to kill any apps that are running in the background, including the third party launcher. This is what also causes the notification bug (see below). Until a permanent fix is made available via a software update, there are a few workarounds that can be tried.
  • You can try locking it into the Recent Apps list. Some third party launchers, like Nova, won’t show the launcher settings if you are currently using it, so first, set the default launcher to the stock Huawei one. Then open Nova launcher and go to the launcher settings. Press the Recent Apps key and you should see the settings page. Press the small lock icon and lock it in place.
  • Nova launcher also has a setting called “Aggressive Desktop.” Enabling this seems to have fixed the issue for some users.

Problem #2 – Performance issues

Problems with the Huawei Mate 9 and how to fix them

Some users have reported that the device tends to randomly freeze, and there are quite a few instances of stutter and lag as well.

Potential solutions:

  • Download the Greenify app from the Google Play Store. Here, you can see a list of applications that are active on waking the phone, and you can then change the settings for these apps, which should help with reduce any slowdowns.
  • A rogue app could be the cause for any stutter or lag. Boot the device into Safe Mode (you can find the instructions on how to do so below) and see if the problem persists. If not, an application is the issue. You can then either delete the last few apps you have may have installed before the problem started, or perform a factory reset and start over, even though that is recommended only as a worst-case scenario, since you will lose all your data.

Problem #3 – Battery drain issues

Problems with the Huawei Mate 9 and how to fix them

Some users have reported coming across serious battery drain issues, with the device, in some cases, running out of battery in just 6-8 hours, with relatively light usage.

Potential solutions:

  • Keep a track of the battery stats to see if an app is causing the surprising battery drain, and more often than not, that is going to be the case. Then, the only option is uninstall the app or to wait for an update. A good alternative will also likely be available on the Google Play Store which you can use instead. In the case of the Huawei Mate 9, users have found that the battery drain seems to be caused by the Exchange email app, and in some cases, by Google Calendar sync issues.

Problem #4 – Connectivity issues

Problems with the Huawei Mate 9 and how to fix them

As is the case with any new device, you may find yourself facing some connectivity issues with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Apart from that, users have also come across problems with connecting to Protected Wi-Fi.

Potential solutions:

Cannot connect to Protected Wi-Fi

  • While the Mate 9 can connect to regular Wi-Fi routers, it seems to have difficulty connecting to those with 802.11 EAP enabled routers. The “Connect” or “Save” button remains greyed out depsite adding the correct user name and passord. The fix for this problem is very simple. All you have to do is change the CA Certificate setting from “Unspecified” to “Do not validate.”

General Wi-Fi issues

  • Turn the device and the router off for at least ten seconds, then turn them back and retry the connection.
  • Go to Settings – Power saving and ensure that this option is turned off.
  • Use the Wi-Fi Analyzer to check how crowded your channel is, and switch to a better option.
  • Forget the Wi-Fi connection by going to Settings – Wi-Fi and long tapping the connection you want, then selecting “Forget”. Re-enter the details and try again.
  • Make sure the router firmware is up to date.
  • Make sure the applications and software on the device are up to date.
  • Go into Wi-Fi – Settings – Advanced and make a note of your device MAC address, then make sure that it is allowed access in the router’s MAC filter.

General Bluetooth issues

  • With issues when connecting to the car, check the manufacturer’s manual for the device and the car and reset your connections.
  • Ensure that you are not missing a vital part of the connection process.
  • Go to Settings – Bluetooth and ensure nothing needs changing
  • Go into Settings – Bluetooth delete all prior pairings and try setting them up again from scratch.
  • When it comes to issues with multiple device connection, only a future update will be able to address this problem.

Problem #5 – Issues where the only option is to wait for a software update

Problems with the Huawei Mate 9 and how to fix them

There are some issues that users have come across that unfortunately don’t have any easy fixes or workarounds. In these cases, the only option is to wait for an official software update. Some of these issues are listed below.

  • No audio controls on lockscreen: Some users have found that there are no audio controls on the lockscreen when listening to music, which means that the phone has to be unlocked each time. This seems particularly prevalent with the Spotify app, but some users have faced this issue with other music players and streamers as well.
  • Touch sensitivity: Some users have found that the touch sensitivity isn’t as good as expected, particularly along the left and right sides of the display. An update to fix this problem is rolling out now, and you should receive it shortly.
  • Notification bug: The aggressive RAM management and battery optimizations that cause the issue with third party launchers (mentioned above) also results in notifications not coming through. An update to fix this problem is rolling out now, and you should receive it shortly.

Guides: Hard reset, Safe Mode, wipe cache partition

Problems with the Huawei Mate 9 and how to fix them

Hard Reset

  • Method #1 – Turn off the device. Then, press and hold the power button and volume down key simultaneously. Release the buttons as soon as the Huawei logo appears. Use the volume buttons to navigate the menu, go to “wipe data/factory reset” and confirm with the power key.
  • Method #2 – When the device is on, go to the Settings menu. Scroll down to Advanced Settings, then select Backup & Reset. Tap of Factory Data Reset and accept it.
  • Method #3 – When the phone is on, open the phone dialer. Dial *#*#2846579#*#* and from the menu, select “Reset Factory.”

Boot into Safe Mode

  • Turn off the device, and then press and hold the power button to restart it.
  • As soon as the Huawei logo appears, release the power button and immediately press and hold the volume down key.
  • Keep holding the volume down button until the device finishes rebooting, and release it when you see “Safe Mode” in the lower left corner of the screen.
  • Restart the device to exit Safe Mode.

Wipe cache partition

  • Turn off the device. Then, press and hold the power button and volume down key simultaneously. Release the buttons as soon as the Huawei logo appears. Use the volume buttons to navigate the menu, go to “wipe cache partition” and confirm with the power key.

So, there you have it for this roundup of some common problems faced by Huawei Mate 9 owners, and offer potential solutions on how to fix them! However, don’t let these small list of issues deter you from picking up what is otherwise still a fantastic flagship, with a great camera, gorgeous display, great battery life, and more.