Huawei Mate 9

Huawei Mate 9

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.

Huawei Mate 9 review

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Editor’s note: Full review video to follow soon. In the meantime, our initial hands on video can be found above. 

The spectacular failure of the Galaxy Note 7 earlier this year has presented an opportunity for companies to create the best big-screen Android alternative and Samsung’s misfortune could play right into the hands of Chinese OEM Huawei.16

Huawei’s Mate range dates back nearly as long as Samsung’s Note series and by offering metal unibody designs, large displays and fantastic battery life, the range has grown in popularity. The Mate 9 continues this trend with better internals, a large display and an upgraded version of the P9’s LEICA dual camera setup but, crucially, it also brings a major revamp to Huawei’s EMUI interface in the form of EMUI 5.

Buy now on Amazon

Alongside the regular Mate 9, Huawei also announced the first device in its partnership with Porsche Design – aptly named the Porsche Design Mate 9 – which brings the same internals coupled with a curved QHD display, 6GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. The Porsche Design Mate 9 is limited edition and with a price tag of €1399, it’s definitely not for everyone.

Is the Mate 9, in either form, the perfect smartphone for those wanting a big-screen Android experience? Let’s find out in this, our Huawei Mate 9 review.

About this review: We’ve been using the Huawei Mate 9 and Porsche Design Mate 9 for around five weeks now as our main phone. Until early December, both handsets were running pre-release firmware and while some of our impressions were based on the non-final software, we’ve retested both phones on their latest software for this review.

All reviews published prior to November 30th 2016 were based on the non-final software and we’ve noticed several ‘issues’ in this build have been fixed in the latest software. Throughout this review, we’ll be referencing these improvements and tweaks as a reference point against issues raised in other reviews.

Huawei Mate 9: Design

Huawei Mate 9 review

The design of the Mate 9 isn’t really surprising as it’s largely unchanged from last year, although Huawei has made it a little more compact and ergonomically friendly. Alongside this, Huawei has also added a curved unibody finished with soft-feeling aluminium and the result is a smartphone that doesn’t feel as large as you’d expect.

Considering there’s a 5.9-inch display, you could be forgiven for thinking the Mate 9 is a big phone and while the display is certainly large, narrow vertical bezels and a slim profile mean it handles a lot better than other large devices. Compared to the Google Nexus 6P or the iPhone 7 Plus, the Mate 9 is infinitely easier to handle and use, despite the larger display.

To the right of the Mate 9 you’ve got the power and volume keys while on the left is the dual-SIM tray. On the bottom is a USB-C port and one of the dual speakers, while the headphone jack and infrared port can be found up top. Huawei has also added brushed patterns and a slight chamfer to the edges which adds grip, improves the handling and makes the Mate 9 more ergonomically friendly.

Huawei Mate 9 review

On the back, you’ve got a dual-camera arrangement in a vertical layout, rather than the horizontal layout found in the Huawei P9. Beneath this is Huawei’s typical fingerprint sensor which, in typical fashion, remains one of the fastest on the market. Rather interestingly – considering Huawei’s habit of mentioning the iPhone camera bump during its press conferences – the camera is on a slightly raised hump, although this does sit flush when you use the case supplied in the box.

Huawei Mate 9 review

Although the Mate 9 is a good looking smartphone, the Porsche Design Mate 9 is Huawei’s real design champion and whether it’s a sign of things to come – or a game of imitation – it’s definitely a looker. Almost all the design elements have been changed; rather than a regular display, you’ve got a dual-curved screen like the one found on the Galaxy S7 Edge.

The design changes don’t just stop there; the screen is smaller than the Mate 9 (more on that later), the fingerprint sensor is moved to the front beneath the display and flanked by back and recent keys and the back is covered in a pitch-black anodized metal that looks striking and shimmers in the light.

Huawei Mate 9 review

The curved display itself is surprising as it’s incredibly subtle and more an element of design rather than a feature in itself. The different finish on the rear also means the Porsche Design Mate 9 attracts more fingerprints but is easier to hold and provides a hard edge to grab a hold of, and more grip than the regular Mate 9.

Rather than a revolutionary design, the Mate 9 is another step in the evolution of Huawei’s design strategy. Huawei is demonstrating that big doesn’t always have to feel big, and that they can pull off a large display that’s still friendly to your hand. Personally, while the Porsche Design Mate 9 is definitely a looker, I prefer the feel of the regular Mate 9 in the hand.

Huawei is demonstrating that big doesn't always have to feel big, and that they can pull off a large display that's still friendly to your hand.

Huawei Mate 9: Display

Huawei Mate 9 review

The Huawei Mate 9 sports a 5.9-inch 2.5D Full HD IPS display with a density of ~373ppi, while the Porsche Design brings Quad HD resolution in a smaller 5.5-inch AMOLED display with ~534ppi density.

You could be forgiven for judging the regular Mate 9 purely on the Full HD resolution but to do so would take away from the fact the display is fantastic. Like previous Huawei devices, there’s a super high contrast ratio (1600:1+) which offers an immersive experience and helps to shield the fact it’s not an AMOLED display.

Huawei Mate 9 review

Running both devices through our testing reveals both have a cool display out of the box – with the Porsche Design more accurate than the regular Mate 9 – although this can be easily changed in the settings menu. Like most flagships, both devices also come with a blue-light filter, which is branded as “Eye Comfort” mode and works just as you’d expect by changing the display tone to a much warmer color. Digging further and the Porsche Design Mate 9 has a max brightness of 383 nits, while the Mate 9 tops out at over 600 nits.

The Porsche Design Mate 9 aside, Huawei has always stuck to its guns when it came to adopting higher resolutions and the Mate 9 screen goes to show that you don’t always need more than Full HD. Yes, it would have been nice to have better than Full HD resolution on the regular Mate 9 but this display is fantastic regardless.

Huawei Mate 9: Performance

Huawei Mate 9 review

As you might expect, the Mate 9 is packed with the latest internals from Huawei in the form of the Kirin 960 chipset, which is made up of ARM’s latest Cortex-A73 chipset (versus the A72 used in the Mate 8 and Huawei P9). The Kirin 960 comes equipped with four Cortex-A73 ‘performance’ cores clocked at 2.4GHz, paired with four Cortex-A53 lower power cores clocked at 1.8GHz. The Mate 9 is also the first handset to run the new 8-core Mali-G71 MP8 GPU, which is expected to power the Galaxy S8 and other flagship devices next year.

The regular Mate 9 comes equipped with 4GB of RAM and either 64GB of storage, while Porsche Design Mate 9 owners will get 6GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. If you do opt for the regular Mate 9, you do get expandable storage, while the Porsche Design Mate 9 is limited to 256GB of storage.

Huawei Mate 9 review

The combination of the latest processing package, ample amounts of RAM and lightning fast UFS 2.1 storage means both versions of the Mate 9 fly through everything you throw at it. On the regular Mate 9, there’s between 2.4GB and 2.6GB of RAM free with no apps running and even with 20 apps running (including a couple of games), we’re yet to hit below 1.5GB of RAM free. Based on the RAM utilization, the Mate 9 is the closest we’ve seen a smartphone come to PC-levels of optimization and resource usage.

The Mate 9 is the closest we’ve seen a smartphone come to PC-levels of optimization and resource usage.

A large part of this is down to Huawei’s new machine learning algorithm, which learns your habits and prioritises your favourite apps to ensures there’s always the right resources available when you need them. Huawei goes a step further to say that their machine learning algorithm means your phone is fast out of the box and remains fast, even after months of usage. Of course, we can’t confirm this but so far, the results are certainly promising.

Huawei Mate 9 review

How do both versions of the Mate 9 stack up to the competition and how much better is the Kirin 960 than the Kirin 950? In AnTuTu, the regular Mate 9 scores 127507 while the Porsche Design Mate 9 scores 111354. In comparison, last year’s Mate 8 scores 51432, the Exynos-8890 powered Galaxy S7 Edge scores 127507 and the Snapdragon 821-powered Pixel XL scores 136883.

Huawei Mate 9 review

Moving on to GeekBench 4 and the results are quite similar; the regular Mate 9 scores 1910 in the single-core test and 5311 in the multi-core test while the Porsche Design Mate 9 scores 1936 and 5921 respectively. By way of comparison, the Mate 8 scores 1070 and 1787, the Galaxy S7 Edge scores 1578 and 3858, and the Pixel XL scores 1575 and 4090. Interestingly in the multi-core test, the regular Mate 9 is the first Android smartphone we’ve tested that’s on par with the iPhone 7 Plus (5395) while the Porsche Design Mate 9 leads the field comfortably.

Huawei Mate 9 review

The last of our regular benchmark tests is 3DMark, where we put the new GPU to the test and the regular Mate 9 scored 2203 on the Slingshot test, while the Porsche Design Mate 9 scores 1600. By way of comparison, the Mate 8 scores just 351, the Galaxy S7 Edge scores 2178 and the Pixel XL scores 2476.

Huawei Mate 9 review

To test the GPU further, we also ran another graphics-based benchmark (which we’ll be doing more of in 2017) in the form of GFX Bench. In the T-Rex HD on-screen test, the regular Mate 9 achieved 58 frames per second (fps), while in the Manhattan on-screen test, it scored 28fps. Meanwhile, in the same tests, there was quite a drop in the Porsche Design Mate 9 results at 41fps and 20fps, which is not overly surprising given the higher resolution and extra pixels the GPU has to power. By way of comparison, the Mate 8 scores just 39fps and 17fps, the Galaxy S7 Edge scores 50fps and 14fps and the Pixel XL scores 55fps and 30fps.

Overall, the benchmark results show how much the Kirin 960 has improved over previous versions, especially in the graphics department, where the Mali GPU has almost completely closed the gap to the Adreno GPU used in Snapdragon chipsets. On paper, the Kirin 960 may not be perceived as one of the best chipsets, but the experience on the Mate 9 is almost as smooth as the Pixel XL.

Huawei Mate 9: Hardware

Huawei Mate 9 review

Like most flagship handsets, the Mate 9 comes equipped with the latest internals, including an array of sensor, a fingerprint sensor, and connectivity options. Huawei also demonstrates its network infrastructure prowess through the addition of smart WiFi features, excellent antennae and full control over dual SIM functionality.

Beneath the camera on the rear, the regular Mate 9 has a lightning fast fingerprint sensor, in the same vein of those we’ve come to expect from Huawei. It takes around half a dozen taps to register your fingerprint and once enrolled, you can wake and unlock your phone in under a second. The fingerprint sensor also comes with gesture support, allowing you to tap once to go back a step, press and hold to return to the home screen and swipe down to access your notifications and shortcuts.

Huawei Mate 9 review

On the Porsche Design Mate 9, the fingerprint sensor is moved to the front of the device with the rear sensor replaced by a Porsche Design logo. The fingerprint sensor works almost as well as on the regular Mate 9, although there does seem to be a slightly longer delay in reading your fingerprint when the display is turned off. This sensor also supports gestures, albeit they are different to the regular Mate 9 and if you opt to switch off the capacitive navigation keys, you’ll use swipe-based gestures on the sensor to navigate between screens.

The Mate 9 comes with a dual stereo speaker setup with a single speaker found on the bottom and a secondary speaker built into the earpiece above the display. The speakers are fantastic and louder than you’ll ever need them to be, but when set to above 60%, there is a noticeable tininess to the audio. However, you probably won’t need to set it to higher than this as it’s plenty loud without distortion for general usage.

Huawei Mate 9 review

Unlike many smartphones, the Mate 9 keeps the regular 3.5mm headphone jack, which can be found up top. The design might be questionable – I personally prefer a bottom mounted headphone jack – but the wired audio output isn’t, with the Mate 9 able to drive ample amounts of power to a variety of headphones. It’s not quite on par with audio-centric smartphones such as the LG V20 and ZTE Axon 7 but it comes very close and offers one of the best audio experiences on a flagship smartphone.

Like most flagships, the Mate 9 offers a plethora of connectivity options that include NFC, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and an infrared port. It’s especially great to see that Huawei kept the infrared port, which can be used to control your home appliances and entertainment. The dual SIM card slot allows you to use either two SIMs or a SIM card and microSD card (on the regular Mate 9 that is) and call quality is fantastic, especially as when you put the phone to your ear during a call, the Mate 9 eliminates ambient noise. This, coupled with the speaker in the earpiece, results in excellent call quality.

Huawei Mate 9: Battery Life

Huawei Mate 9 review

One of the principle cornerstones of Huawei’s smartphone philosophy is battery life and in particular, a desire to prioritize battery life over features (such as higher resolution displays).

The Mate 9 is no different and its 4,000mAh battery is one of the largest found on an Android flagship smartphone. Coupled with a Full HD display, you get excellent battery life as you might expect from such a large battery. By way of comparison however, the Porsche Design Mate 9 has a higher resolution (yet smaller) display and the same 4,000mAh battery capacity and there is a noticeable drop in battery life.

How does the battery stack up to the competition? Using our custom battery tester app, we’re able to say that the battery life on both devices is firmly up there with the best smartphones on the market.

Huawei Mate 9 review

The first of our tests focuses on gaming and each smartphone is charged to 100 percent, the display brightness is set to 200 nits and all sync is turned off (with Wi-Fi remaining on). During this test, the Mate 9 lasted 5 hours and 12 minutes, while Porsche Design lasted 4 hours and 34 minutes. By way of comparison, the Mate 8 lasts 4 hours and 48 minutes and the Pixel XL lasts 4 hours and 43 minutes. Our testing has revealed that no Android smartphone comes close to the iPhone 7 Plus, which lasts for 12 hours and 37 minutes when gaming.

Huawei Mate 9 review

Moving onto the next criteria and we use the same 1080p HD video file, charge phones to full and loop the video until the battery drains completely. In this test, the Mate 9 lasts for 14 hours and 12 minutes, while the Porsche Design lasts for 10 hours and 36 minutes. By way of comparison, the Mate 8 lasts for 10 hours and 34 minutes and the Pixel XL lasts for just over 7 hours.

Huawei Mate 9 review

Our last battery test focuses on wifi browsing and our apps loads the same six webpages in a continuous loop until the battery drains completely. In this test, the Huawei Mate 9 lasts for 14 hours and 4 minutes, while the Porsche Design lasts for 11 hours and 28 minutes. By way of comparison, the Mate 8 lasts for 11 hours and 57 minutes and the Pixel XL for 10 hours and 38 minutes.

Huawei has often claimed that it resisted the market transition to Quad HD displays because of the effect on battery life and as our testing has revealed, the QHD display on the Porsche Design Mate 9 has an impact on the battery life, when compared to the FHD display on the regular Mate 9. With that being said however, both smartphones offer exceptional battery life and even with heavy usage, neither device fails to last for more than a day. On several occasions, the 4000mAh unit has been enough to see us through the entirety of the second day, and sometimes, even half of the third.

With the Mate 9 Huawei proves that flagships can have lasting battery lives.

Throughout six weeks of testing, we’ve experienced screen on time ranging from 5 to 8 hours, whereas the Porsche Design Mate 9 achieves between 4 and 7 hours. For the most part, six hours of screen on time is regularly achievable for heavy users. Whether you’re a heavy, medium or light user, the Mate 9 will power you for days on end. Battery life is a problem that plagues all smartphone users and both variants of the Huawei Mate 9 are excellent solutions to this long-running concern with modern technology. Battery technology hasn’t progressed as fast as other areas of smartphone tech, but with the Mate 9 Huawei proves that flagships can have lasting battery lives.

For the times when the battery is running low, the Mate 9 and Porsche Design Mate 9 are the first handsets to come equipped with Huawei SuperCharge, a proprietary fast charging solution that’s designed to rival Qualcomm’s QuickCharge and other OEM solutions. Charging the 4,000 mAh battery inside the Mate 9 is incredibly fast using the bundled SuperCharge charger (either the wall or the car charger), with the battery taking around 90 minutes to charge from full. How does this compare to the competition though?

Huawei Mate 9 review

Huawei claims its new 4.5V/5A charging technology is also designed to be cooler than rival fast charging solutions, and in a direct dig at Samsung, says a processor inside the charger communicates with your phone, continuously monitors the temperature of your Mate 9 and will slow charging down if it notices the handset is overheating. Below 50 percent, it charges rapidly and once it gets to 75%, the charging process slows a little. On the lock screen, the Mate 9 shows whether you’re charging at standard, “fast” or “super” speeds and while it’s not slated to work with rival fast charging solutions, the Mate 9 does charge quicker than normal when plugged into a QuickCharge 3.0 charger.

Huawei Mate 9: Camera

Huawei Mate 9 review

Huawei’s partnership with Leica continues with the Mate 9 sporting a new and improved second generation dual camera setup. Much like the one in the Huawei P9, the camera is centred around a Leica-branded dual camera, with a 12MP RGB sensor supplemented by a 20MP monochrome sensor. Both sensors are behind lenses with f/2.2 aperture and the RGB sensor also sports Optical Image Stabilisation for additional stability in photos and videos.

Like the P9, the RGB sensor captures the colors in a scene while the monochrome sensor enhances the detail and this means the Mate 9 is capable of capturing images with a very impressive bokeh effect. In the right conditions, you’re able to take images that top the same effect found in the iPhone 7 Plus and the photo sphere feature found on the Pixel XL.

Huawei Mate 9 review

Overall, image quality from the Mate 9’s dual camera array has been impressive. In daylight, you get images that are crisp, full of detail with colors that are more realistic (and less saturated) than those captured by the Galaxy S7 Edge or Pixel XL.

Huawei’s camera app means Pro mode is just a tap away and offers settings to adjust the exposure, ISO and focal point to take stunning photos. In the default mode, the Mate 9 seems to struggle with picking the right focal point (images are often under or over exposed) but manually selecting the right focal point or tweaking the scene in Pro mode allows you to take fantastic photos.

One of the biggest improvements in the final software build is the low light performance of the camera, with the Mate 9 now capable of taking low light pictures that are on par with the Galaxy S7 Edge. However, while low light shots are vastly improved, the Mate 9 does struggle with slight movement in low-light, with OIS proving less effective than in other flagship devices.

The Huawei camera app is rather straight forward to use, with options for flash, wide aperture and filters found in the viewfinder. A swipe to the right brings up the settings menu, while camera modes such as monochrome (black and white), Beauty, slow-mo, panorama, light painting and HDR can be found by swiping to the right.

HDR mode in particular is interesting as there’s no way to enable it by default or have it automatically turn on so you’ll need to remember to activate it by swiping left. The Mate 9 does activate HDR automatically in certain conditions, but hiding it in the modes menu means it’s less user-friendly than on other smartphones. HDR does a decent job of boosting colors, reducing blowouts and brightening shadows, but the effect is less pronounced than on other smartphones and the difference is minimal enough that you won’t activate HDR as much as you might with another Android device.

Moving to video and the Mate 9 is capable of shooting 4k video at 30 frames per second and like in photos, video quality is decent in daylight, but becomes a little grainy in low light. The Mate 9 is one of the first phones to shoot 4k using the new h.265 codec, but given it’s so new, very few apps (including YouTube) know what to do with it. Although there’s ample storage on the Mate 9, Huawei’s compression algorithm means 4k video file sizes are up to 50% lower than on other devices. The Mate 9 also supports shooting in 1080p at 60 frames per second (where you get software-based stabilisation) and 720p video at 120 frames per second for slow-motion footage.

The front camera on the Mate 9 is an 8MP sensor with f/1.9 aperture lens, capable of shooting Full HD video at 30 frames per second. For the most part, selfies come out rich and full of colors in good lighting and in low light, the camera does a good job at boosting the ISO and letting more light into the camera.

Huawei Mate 9 & Porsche Design Mate 9 camera samples

However, a very irritating part of taking low light selfies is the amount of time it takes the camera to actually take a photo. When the flash is set to auto (there’s no way to keep it on by default) and there’s not enough light, the screen lights up for two to three seconds before the camera fires. Unfortunately, most selfie takers won’t hold a pose for that long (especially as the screen can be quite blinding at full brightness), and especially not when taking a group selfie, resulting in selfies that have motion blur. This does seem to be a software-based issue so hopefully this will be resolved in the next update.

The Mate 9 takes gorgeous photos that you’ll be proud to share

Overall, the camera on the Mate 9 certainly doesn’t disappoint and it seems to be on par with other Android flagships. In particular, the improvement in the camera performance from pre-release to final software was drastic enough for us to change our thoughts on the camera; initially, there were several issues, especially in low light, but these are no longer a concern with the final update. It’s not perfect – no phone is after all – but the Mate 9 takes gorgeous photos that you’ll be proud to share.

Huawei Mate 9: Software

Huawei Mate 9 review

Look at past Huawei phones and there’s a single trend that has defined the company’s smartphone efforts to now: hardware is always great but poor software. Like most Chinese OEMs, Huawei used to develop its global software in China, without taking into consideration how different the Chinese market is from, well, everywhere else.

Earlier this year, we heard that Huawei was working on a revamped version of its EMUI interface, that would look to address a lot of the issues raised in previous reviews. In the Mate 9 we have just that, with EMUI 5 bringing the latest Android 7.0 Nougat OS as well as several fixes to issues that have plagued Huawei smartphones for generations.

With that out of the way, what’s new with EMUI 5? There’s a lot of changes, starting with the new Azure color scheme that’s present throughout the UI. It brings with it a complete visual overhaul, with the odd color scheme of old replaced by white backgrounds, faint grey accents and blue highlights and tones. The changes don’t end there as Huawei’s own stock apps adopt more of Google’s Material Design guidelines and the icons no longer look like out-of-place and inspired by iOS.

The biggest new feature of all? An app drawer. It sounds so simple, but finally EMUI brings the option for an app drawer in the settings. It’s not enabled by default – and when it is activated, there seems to be a one second lag before the home screen shows when you return from an app – but the app drawer brings the familiar Android interface, and vastly improves the overall user experience.

The result is a familiar software experience chiseled and refined into something closer to the bone of Android.

Android 7.0 Nougat also brings some improvements and tweaks that lend to the overall experience and it’s refreshing to see that Huawei has resisted previous habits of overhauling everything. Instead, EMUI 5 brings tweaks to the stock Android experience with Huawei showing flair and tweaks in selected locations rather than throughout the OS. The result is a familiar software experience chiseled and refined into something closer to the bone of Android.

Swiping down from the top brings a new, darker notification shade that displays more icons than before and can be heavily customised. In the settings menu, there’s an option to toggle between individual notification icons in the top bar or the total number of unread notifications. For the data-driven type of user, there’s also the option to display the current network speed – surprisingly useful at diagnosing when you have connectivity issues – as well as the carrier name, which is useful to distinguish between carriers when you’re using two SIM cards.

Moving further around EMUI 5 and one thing is clear; this is a rapid interface, with bloatware – on the global version at least – kept to a minimum. The few preloaded apps can generally be uninstalled, save for a few that Huawei uses to provide core EMUI f5 features. The launcher is fast, full of features and heavily customisable and aside from the aforementioned slight stutter when you have the app drawer enabled, there is no noticeable lag. Although the launcher’s color scheme is pleasant and usable, if it’s not for you, there are plenty of themes available in Huawei’s theme store, although these won’t change the look and feel of Huawei’s own default apps.

During a briefing on EMUI 5 in China, Huawei revealed that EMUI 5 had been redesigned to ensure most tasks were only a couple of taps away. The exact figures they quote are being able to reach 50% of features within two taps and over 92% within three taps and nowhere is this more noticeable than in the settings menu. In previous generations, you’d find options nested inside options inside further options and so on, but with EMUI 5, the Settings menu is more user friendly and easier to navigate.

Take the battery menu for example; in EMUI 4.1, the battery menu could be found nested three levels deep but in EMUI 5, it’s a top-level menu. Dig into this menu and you’ll find the usual plethora of options including an ultra-power saving mode (which reduces your usage to a couple of apps only), regular power saving and the ability to reduce the screen resolution to eek out the last hours of your battery.

Battery management has also been revamped in EMUI 5, with a large improvement in the way the interface handles power-intensive apps. Previously, Huawei phones would prompt you with constant notifications about resource-heavy apps, and these are a lot less persistent in EMUI 5. Huawei’s new machine learning algorithm can be seen at work here as apps that you use frequently – in my case, this include Slack and FIFA Mobile – will appear in these prompts but won’t be killed off by default. EMUI now also gives you the option to blacklist rogue apps that might be the cause of battery drain and have them automatically killed when you turn off your display.

EMUI 5 also adds the ability to use multiple accounts with single-account applications like WhatsApp and Facebook, using the Twin App feature. How does EMUI does this? Essentially, the Mate 9 runs two instances of the app at the same time. If you have two SIM cards and have been frustrated as you couldn’t run Whatsapp with both numbers on the same phone, then the Twin App feature is the perfect solution.

What about the Porsche Design Mate 9? Does the curved display have any software benefits? In a word: no. The software experience is almost identical, save for some ugly Porsche Design themes, tweaks to UI tuning to take advantage of the high res display and a dark mode to save on battery life. The biggest difference is in day-to-day usage, where the on-screen keys from the regular Mate 9 are replaced by back and recent apps keys flanking the home button; these keys aren’t labelled so you can swap them around and work just like you’d expect. Although it is possible to disable the keys and navigate by swiping the home key, it doesn’t really work as well as you’d hope, and we wish using on-screen keys like the regular Mate 9 was an option.

EMUI 5 is smooth, feature-rich and easily Huawei's best software to-date

Overall, EMUI 5 feels more polished than previous generations and with a lot of features built-in like Samsung’s TouchWiz, it may yet serve as the next best alternative to the Galaxy Note 7. From EMUI 4 to EMUI 5, Huawei shows just how much can be achieved by listening to customer feedback. The result are clear to see: EMUI 5 is smooth, feature-rich and easily Huawei’s best software to-date.

Huawei Mate 9: Gallery

Huawei Mate 9: Specifications

SizeHeight: 156.9mm; Width: 78.9mm; Depth: 7.9mm
WeightAbout 190g
ColorsSpace Gray, Moonlight Silver, Champagne Gold, Mocha Brown, Ceramic White
Display5.9” FHD display
2.5D glass
1080p (1920 x 1080), 373ppi
16.7M colors, Color saturation (NTSC) 96%
High contrast 1500:1 (Typical)
CPUHUAWEI Kirin 960; Octa-core (4 x 2.4 GHz A73 + 4 x 1.8 GHz A53) + i6 co-processor
GPUMali-G71 MP8
Operating SystemAndroid™ 7.0 (Nougat)
Emotion UIEMUI 5.0
Memory64GB ROM
4GB RAM
microSD card slot, support up to 256GB (uses SIM 2 slot)
Dual SIMDual SIM
NFCNFC-supported
ConnectivityWi-Fi 2.4G/5G, 802.11a/b/g/n/ac with Wi-Fi Direct support
BT4.2, support BLE
USB Type C (High Speed USB)
CameraFront: 8MP AF, F1.9
Main: Dual, 20MP Monochrome + 12MP RGB, F2.2
OIS (Optical Image Stabilization)
4K video
Battery4000 mAh (Typical Value)

Huawei Mate 9: Price & Final Thoughts

Huawei Mate 9 review

The Mate 9 isn’t a revolutionary upgrade over its predecessor, nor is it going to be for everyone, but it does excel in the key areas that Huawei intended it to: battery, performance and camera. 2016 is arguably the year where Huawei broke through, first with the P9 and now with the Mate 9. With all things considered, the Mate 9 is probably the best big-screen Android smartphone you can buy right now.

The very-public demise of the Galaxy Note 7, coupled with the current trend for smartphone displays to measure 5.5-inches or less, means the Mate 9 is one of just a handful of big Android devices currently available. The LG V20 is another of these but there doesn’t seem to be an LG V20 launch planned for Europe, meaning the Mate 9 is the only big-screen flagship currently available for this market.

What will the Mate 9 cost? At the launch in Munich, Huawei confirmed the Mate 9 would cost €699 when it launches in Europe this month. Pricing for the US is yet to be confirmed but given the EU pricing, it’s likely to cost around $700 when it launches at CES in January. For those in the US that really want it right now though, you can find it online for around $750. This pricing puts the Mate 9 firmly in the flagship Android smartphone category, and while it’s not perfect, it can definitely hold its own against other devices.

Huawei Mate 9 review

What about the Porsche Design Mate 9? Well, if the glorious QHD display, subtle curves and stylish design have piqued your interest, it will set you back €1,395. Yep, the Porsche Design Mate 9 costs over a thousand Euros, which makes it a luxury smartphone, that isn’t designed for the mass market.

If you’re after a smartphone that offers exceptional battery life, an intriguing dual camera and incredible performance, the Mate 9 delivers in spades

Should you buy either of them? If you’re after a smartphone that offers exceptional battery life, an intriguing dual camera and incredible performance, the 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 is certainly worth considering.

Buy now on Amazon

Best Huawei Mate 9 cases

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With the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 out of the picture, a few great alternatives have popped up since then, and one of the best options available if you are looking for a large display smartphone is the Huawei Mate 9. Huawei’s latest flagship features the same solid all metal construction that we’ve come to expect from the series, features a Leica-powered dual-camera setup that impresses, and comes with a battery that is made to last. If a large screen smartphone is what you are after, the Huawei Mate 9 is the one to consider.

An extra layer of protection to keep your new smartphone safe from accidental bumps and drops is never a bad idea. Which is why, we’ve rounded up some of the best protective cases and covers that are currently available for the Huawei Mate 9!


Ringke Fusion

Best Huawei Mate 9 cases

The Ringke Fusion is a clear case that features and polycarbonate body and a TPU bumper that allows you to show of the look and design of the phone. The slim and light case barely adds any bulk to the phone, but manages to offer a lot of safety from bumps and drops, with the case coming with a MIL-STD 810G-516.6 certification for shock protection.

There are precise cutouts for the charging port, speakers, camera, and fingerprint scanner, and the buttons are covered. The polycarbonate section of the case is clear, but you can choose the color of the bumper, with choices including clear, rose gold crystal, ink black, and smoke black. The Ringke Fusion case is priced starting at just $11.99.

Buy now from Amazon

Nilkin Frosted Shield

Best Huawei Mate 9 cases

The Nilkin Frosted Shield is a polycarbonate case that comes with a soft touch matte finish. This allows for a lot of grip, and will be useful for those who find the metal unibody of the Mate 9 to be too slippery. The case doesn’t offer as much protection as some of the others on this list, with the top and bottom sections being open up front, while the buttons are also uncovered. A slight raised lip will keep the display safe when the phone is placed face down however.

There are precise cutouts for the fingerprint scanner, camera, and the buttons. The available color options include black, gold, and red, and also included in the package is a super clear screen protector. The Nilkin Frosted Shield is priced starting $9.49.

Buy now from Amazon

Tudia TAMM

Best Huawei Mate 9 cases

The TUDIA TAMM case is another ultra slim TPU case that features a durable and flexible shell. The case comes with a soft touch feel and patterned sides that provide a lot of grip, and carbon fiber elements on the back give it a stylish look as well. Precise cutouts allow for easy access to the charging port, fingerprint scanner, speaker, headphone jack, and camera, while the buttons are covered. A raised lip keeps the display safe when the device is placed face down.

Available color options include black, gray, and navy blue. Something to keep in mind is that the TUDIA TAMM case will be available only from January 10, but is currently up for pre-order, and is priced at just $9.90.

Buy now from Amazon

Spigen Rugged Armor

Best Huawei Mate 9 cases

The Spigen Rugged Armor case, as its name suggests, offers a lot of protection, but surprisingly, without adding a whole lot of bulk or thickness to the device. The corners feature Air Cushion technology that provides military grade protection against impacts. There are precise cutouts for speakers, charging port, headphone jack, camera, and fingerprint sensor, while the buttons are covered.

The covered power button also comes with a ridged texture to make it easy to differentiate from the volume rocker. The case features glossy accents and carbon fiber textures that makes it look great. The Spigen Rugged Armor case is priced at $12.99.

Buy now from Amazon

TopAce Flip cover

Best Huawei Mate 9 cases

The TopAce Flip cover is made with a premium faux leather material, and there is a polycorbonate casing that holds the phone firmly in place. The flip cover comes with a window that lets you see basic information like the time and if you have any notifications, and the inside of the cover comes with a microfiber lining, to keep the display scratch free.

Precise cutouts for easy access to all ports and buttons are also available. The TopAce Flip cover comes in black, brown, red, and white color options, and is priced at $14.98. The case will be available from December 21.

Buy now from Amazon

PDAir wallet case

Best Huawei Mate 9 cases

The PDAir wallet case is made with a high quality genuine leather, and the case is light weight, but durable. The phone actually slots into a pocket that comes with a soft microfiber interior that keeps the device and screen scratch free. Also available with the case are four card slots for your credit cards and ID, as well as a large pocket to keep some cash. This PDAir case features a slightly steep price point of $49.99, but is a great option if you are looking for a professional looking wallet case.

Buy now from Amazon

Suensan rugged case

Best Huawei Mate 9 cases

The Suensan case comes with a ruggedized dual layer design that includes a TPU inner layer and a hard polycarbonate shell that combine to provide military grade protection. Patterned sides offer a lot of grip, and precise cutouts allow for easy access to the charging port, fingerprint sensor, camera, headphone jack, while the buttons are covered. The case also comes with a kickstand to let you watch videos in the landscape orientation.

The exterior shell is black, but the TPU case is available in different colors, including green, red, purple, white, and black. The Seunsen rugged case is priced at just $9.98.

Buy now from Amazon

MicroPioneer Armor case

Best Huawei Mate 9 cases

This armor case is another ruggedized dual layer case that comes with a hard polycarbonate outer layer and a snug, form-fitting TPU inner layer. The case comes with a sturdy kickstand that lets you enjoy videos hands free in the landscape orientation. Precise cutouts provide easy access for all ports, fingerprint scanner, camera, and headphone jack, while the buttons are covered. The MicroPioneer case is priced at just $7.90.

Buy now from Amazon

So, there you have it for this roundup of some of the best cases that are currently available for the Huawei Mate 9!

Huawei Mate 9 US launch slated for January 6 according to Evan Blass

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The Huawei Mate 9 is one helluva phone. It’s huge, it’s beastly and it’s apparently going on sale in the U.S. on January 6, according to Evan Blass. Of course, you can already order the phone on Amazon for $799, but an official U.S. release might finally mean carrier subsidies and monthly installment contract options. Maybe.

See also:

Porsche Design Huawei Mate 9 hands on: the dream machine

November 4, 2016

Blass tweeted a render of the Mate 9 which employs the familiar Android tactic of using the on-screen time and date to indicate its launch date. That time and date is 9 AM on January 6 in Las Vegas. This likely means we’ll see a CES announcement, but for a phone that has already been launched internationally, we’re hoping this might mean some carrier news is on the way.

There’s also every possibility that a U.S. release will follow the same pattern as previous Huawei device releases: unlocked availability online, now via Huawei’s U.S. online store. But despite Huawei’s proclamations about carrier contracts being outdated, we already know there has been carrier interest in the Mate 9 and that Huawei has been pushing hard to position the Mate 9 as a Galaxy Note 7 alternative.

In the past, Huawei lacked the brand recognition required to have any real cache in retailer and carrier stores. Heck, it wasn’t long ago that Huawei told jokes at press events about Americans not even being able to pronounce the company’s name. But things have changed since the Nexus 6P, Mate 8, Huawei P9 and Nova series. Huawei is seen much more as a global brand now.

We’ll just have to wait and see what January 6 brings and whether we’ll see any U.S. carrier deals announced (Canada’s Rogers has already picked up the Nova Plus). If you can’t wait that long you can always hit the link below to snag an international unlocked version for $799 from Amazon, just be sure to cross-check network compatibility with your carrier first.

BUY HUAWEI MATE 9

Huawei faces “challenging” Mate 9 launch in the US

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Huawei is soon set to launch its latest smartphone, the Huawei Mate 9, in the US, but could face difficulties in getting consumers to adopt the brand. Speaking to The Wall Street journal, a Huawei US manager, who wished to remain unnamed, said the hurdles of the Mate 9’s US release are “very challenging”.

The Chinese manufacturer’s low brand recognition in the US and concerns with its phones’ security – which were once suspected of posing a potential national security threat to the States – may hurt Huawei’s sales opportunities. However, Huawei is also expected to incur significant costs in making its smartphones meet the technical demands of US cell networks. “We haven’t figured out how to remove those obstacles,” said the Huawei manager.

Huawei announced that the Mate 9 would be sold in the US last month, but hasn’t revealed a release date or price. People familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal that the device would likely be sold through online retailers only, expressing that Verizon and Sprint would see little benefit in selling Huawei phones on their network. A partnership with T-Mobile could be ruled out on account of Huawei being in the midst of a patent dispute with the carrier.

See also:

Huawei Nova Plus International Giveaway!

1 day ago

Huawei began selling its flagship phones in the US earlier this year and currently holds a reported 0.4% smartphone market share there, compared to Apple’s 39% and Samsung’s 23% share. In a recent interview, CEO of Huawei’s Consumer Business Group Richard Yu said he wants Huawei to overtake Apple as the second biggest smartphone manufacturer in the world in two years.

The Huawei Mate 9 is on sale now for €699 (around 743 dollars) in Europe. Read our current thoughts on it in our hands-on Huawei Mate 9 review.

Huawei’s futuristic vision of an AI-focused ‘Superphone’ will be a “double of you”

Speaking at the World Internet Conference in China recently, Huawei CEO Richard Yu delivered a futuristic keynote speech on artificial intelligence. In that speech, Yu outlined his concept of an AI-centric ‘Superphone’ that ultimately would be a “double of you”.

See also:

Google reveals RAISR: an image enhancement tech which uses machine learning

4 days ago

Not surprisingly, Yu detailed the ways in which Huawei is already heading in that direction, with investments in four key areas: device, connectivity, the cloud and chipsets. Yu then discussed the emergence of the “information civilization” which he says is “evolving in two areas: richer information and more convenient access”.

Touching on the increasing digitization and convergence of information we are now witnessing, Yu quite accurately sees the expansion of the digital world as an overwhelming and ultimately unmanageable trend.

The increasing digitization and convergence of information we are now witnessing is an overwhelming and ultimately unmanageable trend, but it is a problem that AI can solve.

According to Yu, this exponential data growth is becoming incomprehensible to humans, a problem in dire need of a solution. The solution Yu envisions is a smartphone powered by advanced AI: what he calls a Superphone.

As Yu says, “a Superphone goes far beyond making calls and browsing the internet, it’s not only your personal, go-to assistant for daily tasks, but even a double of you. The Superphone will introduce a new information-management architecture.”
Huawei’s futuristic vision of an AI-focused ‘Superphone’ will be a “double of you”This AI-focused Superphone will no longer be a passive device meant only for interactions between the user and the device, “the Superphone will be special because it will proactively interact with the physical world.” Yu sees the Superphone interacting with the real world with “abilities matching or exceeding those of a human’s eyes, ears, tongue, nose, body and mind.”

Think of it like this: The eyes are computer vision, ears are smart voice, tongues are a taste sensor, noses are an air sensor, other various robotic technologies will represent the body, and the mind is informed local decision-making – not intuitive responses, but well-reasoned decisions. All of these sensors combined with device-based AI will be able to fully replicate the human ability to comprehend the physical world.

It’s a pretty compelling vision from one of the leading figures in the mobile industry. But this isn’t just navel-gazing futurecasting, Huawei is already committed to creating the Superphone. “In order to realize our vision,” Yu concluded his keynote, “we need to continue to create innovative technologies that fuel the development of the Superphone, a goal that is rooted in our lifeblood.”

This isn't just navel-gazing futurecasting: Huawei is already committed to creating the Superphone.

As you may recall, one of the main software selling points for the recently announced Huawei Mate 9 is its ability to learn over time and be “born fast, stay fast.” The Mate 9 does this through machine learning that picks up on your behaviors and preferences and predicts what you’re likely to do and when.

Using this information, the Mate 9 might, for example, prepare an app it thinks you’ll use next, periodically defragment your storage for faster access or manage system resources according to your usage habits. This may just be the early stages of an AI-driven Superphone, but the future, at least in Huawei’s eyes, is already knocking.

How do you think AI will improve smartphones in future?

Huawei Mate 9 Lite revealed: smaller, lighter, weaker and no Leica or EMUI 5?

Remember the Mate 9? And the Porsche Design Mate 9? Oh, and don’t forget the Mate 9 Pro for China… Well, the Mate 9 now has another….mate: the Huawei Mate 9 Lite. As you might expect from the name though, don’t go expecting a similar specs sheet compared to the larger Mate 9 family. In fact, don’t go expecting pretty much anything to be the same.

See also:

Huawei Mate 9 versus the competition

2 weeks ago

The Huawei Mate 9 Lite specs include a 5.5-inch Full HD display, so it’s smaller and lighter than the regular Mate 9. It is powered by an octa-core Kirin 655 chipset with four high performance cores clocked at 2.1 GHz and four energy-sipping cores clocked at 1.7 GHz, so it’s also weaker than the regular Mate 9.

There are two variants listed on Huawei’s website, a 3 GB of RAM with 32 GB of storage model and another with 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage. Both of these options come with a 3,340 mAh battery and are running EMUI 4.1 on top of Android Marshmallow, giving them an older version of Huawei’s interface, an older version of Android and a smaller battery than the larger Mate 9.

Huawei Mate 9 Lite revealed: smaller, lighter, weaker and no Leica or EMUI 5?

On the camera front you’ll still get that fancy dual-camera setup we know from the other Mate 9 options, but it lacks the Leica branding. Depending on how cynical you are though, you may not think that means you’ll miss out on anything. Resolution-wise, those cameras drop to 12 MP and 2 MP each, with an 8 MP selfie camera up front.

There isn’t a price listed yet and we don’t know if the Mate 9 Lite will be restricted to a Chinese launch or if it will also come to global markets. We’ll be sure to let you know as soon as we find out, but considering the very short list of similarities the Mate 9 Lite shares with its flagship namesake, this phone is a Mate 9 in little more than name.

How do you feel about ‘lite’ phones that water down flagship specs? Should they just be called something else?