Introduction


For a certain group of smartphone users, bigger means better, and they're going to want the largest, most feature-packed handsets they can get – while still small enough to fit in their pockets. And though manufacturers have been eager to deliver big-screen phone after big-screen phone, right now that market's in a bit of an upset after the spectacular crashing and burning (pun intended) of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7.

While the Note 7's early retirement doesn't leave us with an all-out vacuum, it does take away one of the most popular players in the big-screen-phone space. There's still the Galaxy S7 edge, granted, but it's a tricky phone to recommend now, with a follow-up presumably waiting for us in the early months of 2017.

So what does that leave us with? The 5.5-inch iPhone 7 Plus, absolutely, as well as new contenders like the Google Pixel XL, with another 5.5-inch screen. And if you want to go a little bigger still, there's always the 5.7-inch LG V20.

Those are all good options, but what if you want a phone with an even bigger display, one that makes you feel like you've got a full theater experience in the palm of your hand, or one large enough to make split-screen multitasking a joy?

Huawei may have just the phone for you, with the launch of the 5.9-inch Mate 9. It manages to squeeze in a screen that big without being ridiculously oversized itself, and runs some of the latest silicon to hit the mobile market. Should this one be on your short list of phablets to consider? Let's take a look, but do note that Huawei's Mate 9 is to be available across a number of European and Asian markets only. There has been word that the company might eventually bring it to the US, but we wouldn't hurry to get our hopes up.

In the box:

  • Huawei Mate 9
  • Earbuds
  • Case
  • USB Type-C cable
  • SuperCharge adapter
  • USB Type-C to micro adapter
  • SIM tool
  • Quick-start guide

Design

Huawei shows us that a big screen doesn't necessarily demand a giant phone


The way a phone is built is an important enough issue for smaller handsets, but when we're talking about those on the upper echelon of the phablet bracket, that consideration's all the more critical; how do you give users a big-screen phone experience that's still compact and practical enough to be carried around as a daily driver?

With the Mate 9, Huawei answers that challenge with a slim, solidly built metal frame and a screen bordered by some daringly thin side bezels.

The handset's a wee bit smaller than last year's Mate 8, measuring in at 156.9mm tall, 78.9mm wide, and 7.9mm deep. All those measurements are within a millimeter or two of the iPhone 7 Plus (158.2 x 77.9 x 7.3mm), yet the display on the Mate 9 has a 15% greater surface area. Unlike Apple's phone, though, Huawei finds space for an analog headphone jack up top.

Continuing our way around the handset, we've got an infrared transceiver also on the top edge for controlling your appliances, volume rocker and power button on the right side, speaker grille and USB Type-C jack on the bottom, and the hybrid dual-SIM/microSD tray on the left edge.

The body itself has a bit of a curve to it around the edges, though bevels mark the transition to the back and front. The result isn't quite as pleasing to hold as the Pixel XL or iPhone 7 Plus, but it does manage to look quite nice – and maybe more importantly, thin.

Dead-center on the phone's back we find its dual main camera, perched above the handset's fingerprint scanner. While there is a slight camera bump there, it's incredibly minor, and doesn't really detract from the Mate 9's lines.


Huawei Mate 9

Huawei Mate 9

Dimensions

6.18 x 3.11 x 0.31 inches

156.9 x 78.9 x 7.9 mm

Weight

6.70 oz (190 g)

Huawei Mate 8

Huawei Mate 8

Dimensions

6.19 x 3.17 x 0.31 inches

157.1 x 80.6 x 7.9 mm

Weight

6.53 oz (185 g)

Apple iPhone 7 Plus

Apple iPhone 7 Plus

Dimensions

6.23 x 3.07 x 0.29 inches

158.2 x 77.9 x 7.3 mm

Weight

6.63 oz (188 g)

Samsung Galaxy S7 edge

Samsung Galaxy S7 edge

Dimensions

5.94 x 2.86 x 0.3 inches

150.9 x 72.6 x 7.7 mm

Weight

5.54 oz (157 g)

Huawei Mate 9

Huawei Mate 9

Dimensions

6.18 x 3.11 x 0.31 inches

156.9 x 78.9 x 7.9 mm

Weight

6.70 oz (190 g)

Huawei Mate 8

Huawei Mate 8

Dimensions

6.19 x 3.17 x 0.31 inches

157.1 x 80.6 x 7.9 mm

Weight

6.53 oz (185 g)

Apple iPhone 7 Plus

Apple iPhone 7 Plus

Dimensions

6.23 x 3.07 x 0.29 inches

158.2 x 77.9 x 7.3 mm

Weight

6.63 oz (188 g)

Samsung Galaxy S7 edge

Samsung Galaxy S7 edge

Dimensions

5.94 x 2.86 x 0.3 inches

150.9 x 72.6 x 7.7 mm

Weight

5.54 oz (157 g)

To see the phones in real size or compare them with other models, visit our Visual Phone Size Comparison page



Display

Big and bright is a winning combination, though the lack of quad HD is curious


The Huawei Mate 9 is rocking a 5.9-inch screen, making it among the biggest of the mainstream phablets out there. While that's a step down from the Mate 8's 6-inch display, it's still larger than you're going to find from a lot of Huawei's competition.

Its picture looks pretty good, and offers one of the highest-brightness outputs we've seen all year – the iPhone 7 models and the Moto G4s come in at right about the same level, but you won't find much brighter – and that's a big plus for outdoor usability.

But while it's big and bright, we still have a couple issues with the Mate 9's screen. Maybe the most significant problem is that it's not particularly high-res, at 1080 x 1920. A full-HD panel like that looks great on a five-incher, and is acceptable on a 5.5-inch model, but as we're brushing up against the six-inch mark, we really start to crave quad HD – and both the smaller LG V20 and Google Pixel XL do indeed offer such a resolution.

This situation is made all the more frustrating by knowing that Huawei's giving its special Porsche Design Edition Mate 9 a 1440 x 2560-resolution screen, and that one's only a 5.5-incher. That the standard Mate 9 is both larger and lower-res is disappointing.

The Mate 9's screen also suffers from some color accuracy issues, with the sort of over-saturation we normally expect from AMOLED panels. The good news is that EMIU 5.0 allows you to adjust the display's color temperature and tweak its output to your liking. It would just be nicer if it were a little more accurate right out of the box.

The phone we tested came fitted with a protective screen cover. While we appreciate the effort to keep the handset looking in tip-top shape, the protector has a bit of a sharp-feeling edge to it that takes away from the Mate 9's otherwise positive tactile layout.



FEATURED VIDEO

36 Comments

1. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

I hate that black screen border :-( apparently, no water-resistant is a con right now... nice...

2. kkmkk

Posts: 699; Member since: May 06, 2013

yes it is because when the Samsung and apple is doing it which they are the market leaders it become a must have

3. RockeyCoco

Posts: 4; Member since: Jul 09, 2016

So after the Irish scanner coming to iPhone, No Irish scanner will be a big con as well......!!!

9. BobLawblaw unregistered

Us Irishmen are pretty easy to spot anyway..

12. athos07m

Posts: 137; Member since: Apr 22, 2012

Comment of the week :P

4. abdoualgeria

Posts: 928; Member since: Jul 27, 2015

8 is a little low score for such phone #justsaying

6. Papa_Ji

Posts: 859; Member since: Jun 27, 2016

Yes bro, puta APPLE logo on the back iphonearena will give it at least 9.5

7. maherk

Posts: 6965; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

I've seen nothing but praises for this phone on every review I have watched, and for you to give it an 8, shows again how biased this site is towards anything that don't have the Apple logo slapped on it's back. This is easily an 8.7/9 rated phone.

8. maherk

Posts: 6965; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

"Big and bright is a winning combination, though the lack of quad HD is curious" Double standards again, crying about QHD when you forgive Apple for offering "retina" screens in 2016.

10. tiara6918

Posts: 2263; Member since: Apr 26, 2012

I was more interested with the p9 plus even though the mate 9 came out. But when I saw that 12 hr battery life. Damn. This phone is now on my wishlist

11. Plasticsh1t

Posts: 3109; Member since: Sep 01, 2014

The EMUI should be a con. It's one of the worst Android skins out there. Stay away from it.

13. Ghost04

Posts: 522; Member since: May 03, 2014

iPhone 7 : 4 pros and 3 cons Scored 9.3 . Mate 9 : 5 pros and 2 cons Managed to score only 8 . I love PA for been so honest in reviewing phones .

17. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

and those 2 cons is totally subjective "-We expected more from the dual-camera Leica system -No waterproofing" HTC10, OP3, and lots of other flagship didn't have waterproofing but they didnt write it as cons before... as for camera, let's wait for review from other sites... (since I wont believe any review about camera from a site that say iPhone7 camera is better than S7e, lol)

18. maherk

Posts: 6965; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

Because those you mentioned where released before the iPhone 7, that wasn't a con as of yet in PA's books. Wait till the iPhone get an OLED screen, IPS screens will become a con as well.

28. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

yeah right... and 3.5mm jack should be written as cons from now on...

16. sissy246

Posts: 7124; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

"crashing and burning (pun intended) of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7." WOW, iphonearena once again showing its true colors at how bias they are with that comment and scoring this phone only a 8.

19. davthom123

Posts: 121; Member since: Mar 02, 2015

2 cons and an 8 ????

20. zarkonj

Posts: 17; Member since: Sep 30, 2015

I don't get why this phone doesn't have a better Score than 8/10. I mean the Score tells me - if you don't read the review - that the phone costs around 700.-, but is just ok. On the other hand, when I read the full review, there is almost nothing bad. It should score at least as good as the Pixel XL. Maybe the only thing better on the Pixel is the camera. But it also lacks of water-resistance, lacks of a monochrom camera (which btw was already on the P9 very cool), has worse battery and speakers, has around the same performance so...why does it score better? Why?

21. libra89

Posts: 2298; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

Really impressed with what this phone is offering for the people who desire big phones. EMUI 5 looks really good!

22. aznhachi

Posts: 212; Member since: Apr 12, 2016

oh booooi

23. teffyhilory1

Posts: 5; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

Lol comment of the week indeed

24. yann

Posts: 614; Member since: Jul 15, 2010

Since Apple put IP67 certification on iPhone 7, waterproofing became con. I didn't saw such con when was reviewed iPhone 6 or 6S?!?

25. c.y.a.n.i.d.e

Posts: 11; Member since: Aug 08, 2014

Seriously....what is phonearena's problem with Huawei phones?!?!?!?!?!I am really fund of my dad's honor 7 and yet here it has a rating of 7.0!!!I think honor 7 deserves a rating around 8.5 and based on that,mate 9 deserves at least 9.0

26. Omran2000

Posts: 101; Member since: Aug 18, 2016

2 cons had gave the mate 9 a score of 8/10 ! Phonearena has a real problem with chinese companies But they haven't ruined it , as they did with the mate 8

30. patjanter

Posts: 9; Member since: Mar 28, 2016

I have the mate 9 for a week ,its a bomb,only missing the qhd screen a bit and waterproving

31. Pabliell

Posts: 185; Member since: Mar 22, 2016

PhoneArena, could you please add Mate 9 to your size compare feature? Porsche Design and Lite versions are already there, but the regular Mate 9 is absent. Thank you.

32. Pabliell

Posts: 185; Member since: Mar 22, 2016

The only thing that bothers me in this review is the battery recharge time. 144 minutes? Everyone else is claiming that Mate 9 recharges 60% in just 30 minutes and is completely full after 90 minutes. That's almost and hour less than what you got in your test...

33. patjanter

Posts: 9; Member since: Mar 28, 2016

Its sooo fast 60 % IN 30 MIN YES

34. E.S.1

Posts: 308; Member since: Sep 14, 2013

Hi, Is this an unlocked phone and if yes would it work on Att in the US? I'm trying to decide between this and One Plus 3T. Thank you

35. Sirobert

Posts: 1; Member since: Jan 02, 2017

Why only 8? I have this pjone for few weeks and its the best I'he ever had..my wife has s7 edge which I use sometimes, h9 mate is better in my opinion..battery in h9 mate deserves 10

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

Mate 9
  • Display 5.9" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 8 MP front
  • Processor HiSilicon Kirin, Octa-core, 2400 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 4000 mAh

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at https://www.parsintl.com/phonearena or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit https://www.parsintl.com/ for samples and additional information.