Huawei Mate 9 review.
If your like most Americans, then you’ve probably never heard of the name Huawei, and you’ve never heard of smartphones called the Mate 7 or 8, much less the Mate 9. However this is more than just another super smartphone out of China, it’s a device meant to solve 3 of the biggest problems facing smartphones today.
Welcome to my review of the Huawei Mate 9.
Huawei Mate 9 to solve 3 smartphone problems.
- Bad battery life
- Slow software performance
- Poor camera quality
These are the 3 main problems Huawei set out to solve with the Mate 9. I’ll report on wether it succeeds in my full hands-on review, for now I’ll just have to tell you how the phone tries to solve them.
First up battery life.
The Mate 9 packs a 4000Mhz power pack, that’s about 30% larger than most of the Android phones out there.
Plus the display on the Mate 9 is a modest full HD resolution. This means the Mate 9 display isn’t as sharp as its high-end competitors, but it also means there are fewer pixels for the processor to drive.
While I still would have preferred an AMOLED panel over the LCD here, this screen is more than serviceable. If it does allow for increased endurance, then I’m all for it.
There’s also a new fast charging protocol on the Huawei Mate 9 called “Huawei supercharge”. With the in-box adapter the company claims you can get from 0 to 58% in a little over half an hour.
In the shadow of Samsungs Note 7 recall, Huawei was sure to tell me several times, how safe and cool the charging system is on the Mate 9.
Next on the Smartphone problem checklist “Slow Performance”.
Every Android smartphone is pretty quick out of the box these days, but over time performance erosion sets in. Smartphones slowing down as app junk piles up and weighs down the system.
Born Fast Remain Fast.
Huawei’s mission statement with the Mate 9 is “Born Fast, Remain Fast”, which I like despite its clunkyness.
At the heart of the Mate 9 is the all new Kirin960 system on a chip, which includes a bunch of speed improvements, but Huawei puts a lot more emphasis on software.
The Mate 9 uses “machine learning algorithms” to essentially figure out how you use your smartphone over time, and then it uses that information to optimise the performance of your favourite apps.
There’s also stuff like “GPU acceleration” and “memory impression” that Huawei says it does differently to any stock Android. The Mate 9 even uses a different file system all together.
This explains why the Huawei company stuck with its own user interface.
With EMUI 5 Huawei thinks it can deliver a better software experience than even Google can, especially in terms of keeping the phone fast as it ages.
Only time will tell when it comes to this, but all I can say today is that the new interface looks pretty nice, and gives you the typical Huawei customisations.
- Knock on the glass for a screenshot.
- Use the fingerprint scanner as a trackpad.
- Put custom buttons in your nav bar.
- Or my favourite, keep the traditional Android app drawer if you want it.
Huawei Mate 9 Camera.
Finally we come to the Mate 9 camera, which has been completely reworked since the last Mate.
The Mate 9 now features a Leica branded 2 camera system, featuring a 12 megapixel color sensor, and a 20 megapixel monochrome shooter.
The spec-sheet says the color camera is optically stabilised, but there’s a lot of questions I still have on this, and where the second camera factors in is alien to me.
I unfortunately didn’t get to use the Huawei P9 so this for me is uncharted territory.
I am a little worried about the F 2.2 aperture, it’s not the largest around so image quality in low light is an open question.
On the other hand there are plenty of camera toys to play with in the view-finder. So I will just have to wait to see how the Mate 9 camera performs in the real world.
Huawei Mate 9 impressions.
The rest of my impressions of the Huawei Mate 9 span the spectrum. The Mate 9 features nice surprises like an IR transmitter, an old favorite like a headphone jack and “meh” moments, like boring gridded speakers.
As for how it feels? The Mate 9 feels like a Mate 8, or a Mate 7, or a smoother Nexus 6P. In other words it’s a big, yet thin Aluminium smartphone. Huawei isn’t exactly re-inventing the wheel here.
The interesting question to me is wether it manages to fix those 3 big problems Huawei set out to fix with the Mate 9. Also when it will be available in the US.
Stay tuned for the answer to these questions, which I hope to come very soon.
Thank you for reading my first impressions Huawei Mate 9 Review.