With dual sensors and Leica branding, the Mate 9 has a lot to prove

If the Mate 9 has one stand-out feature – at least according to what Huawei would tell us – it's the dual rear camera. This setup represents the second generation of Huawei's partnership with Leica, and the hardware pairs one extra-high-res 20MP black-and-white camera with a 12MP color camera, both with optical stabilization. The idea is sound enough: combine the data from those two cameras and you have a system that should excel at low-light performance and capture tons of image detail without sacrificing standard full-color operation.

Image quality

There's clearly tons of promise in the Mate 9's Leica-branded camera system, but how are the actual results? Well, they're alright, but we found ourselves expecting a bit more after all of Huawei's hype.

Images tend to be a little light-looking, often with overexposed highlights, and with colors not particularly saturated. Indoor or low-light performance is by no means impressive, with a desaturated, low-detail look.

Taking a pic Lower is better Taking an HDR pic (sec) Lower is better CamSpeed score Higher is better CamSpeed score with flash Higher is better
Huawei Mate 9 1.5
No data
No data
Huawei Mate 8 2.5
Apple iPhone 7 Plus 1.33
No data
No data
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge 1.5

Video recording

The Mate 9 supports video recording in resolutions up to 4K, as well as 60fps 1080p and various lower-res modes. Of these, 4K easily lookx the best, but we ran into some issues when exporting the footage to a PC, with our computer stumbling a bit during playback, as if the Mate 9's video stream was having problems with its compression. Lower-res modes played back better, but a lack of digital stabilization really hurts.

Huawei's given the Mate 9 an array of four microphones to do a bit of directional-audio action when recording sound along with video, helping to emphasize the subject. That's a fine idea, but there's no toggle for this option, so if you're trying to narrate a video you're not starring in yourself (as we did with our video samples), audio capture is really inconsistent; it's almost like you can hear the phone trying to isolate and remove your voice.


Really pleasing stereo sound comes as a welcome surprise

A big-screen phablet's in a great position to be a powerful media-playback machine, and the Mate 9 doesn't let us down. Its speakers, while a little light on bass response, still sound pretty good, and are nice and loud, to boot.

Like Apple's iPhone 7 models, the Mate 9 outputs sound simultaneously from its bottom-edge main speaker, as well as the phone's earpiece, for a stereo effect. Here, the earpiece audio isn't nearly as loud as the primary speaker, but it's still enough to broaden the aural landscape and make the Mate 9's audio output that much richer.

The included earbuds form a serviceable accessory that really does sound alright, but probably isn't going to replace your favorite pair – and thanks to the presence of an analog headphone jack, you can go right on using whichever you choose.

Headphones output power (Volts) Higher is better
Huawei Mate 9 0.296
Huawei Mate 8 0.368
Apple iPhone 7 Plus 0.992
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge 0.707
Loudspeaker loudness (dB) Higher is better
Huawei Mate 9 75.1
Huawei Mate 8 71.4
Apple iPhone 7 Plus 77.4
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge 72.9



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: 852; Member since: Jun 27, 2016

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

7. maherk

Posts: 6884; 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: 6884; 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: 3108; 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: 521; 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: 6884; 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: 7120; 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: 15; 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: 2282; 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: 184; 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: 184; 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 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

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