Huawei Mate 9 Review

Call Quality

Phablets may be great for productivity, but they're still less than ideal for voice calls


With its dual-SIM support and broad band coverage, the Mate 9's well equipped to get you through a few voice calls – should you still insist on communicating in such an archaic fashion. The good news is that everything sounds fine, just like we'd expect from a phone of this caliber.

The only real downside is that it still feels a bit unwieldy to be using a handset this size to make calls. The experience may be alright as you navigate through apps at arm's length, but feeling this huge expanse of phone pressed up against your face isn't necessarily the user experience we dream of. Users used to phablets may not share the same concern, but if you're coming from a smaller phone, expect a period of adjustment.

Battery Life

With 4,000mAh of power at its disposal, the Mate 9 can easily handle a day's worth of usage


Anytime we're looking at phablets, there's the chance for really crazy battery life; big phones afford manufacturers more room to fit in big batteries. Sure, sometimes that extra capacity is squandered, but we tend to go in with high hopes. Would the big screen on the Mate 9 end up negating the phone's 4,000mAh battery (not unlike what we saw with the Pixel XL)?

Good news: it doesn't. In our custom constant-brightness screen-on battery test, the Mate 9 lasted for over twelve hours of continuous operation; this is very much a phone that will push through a full day on a charge. Now sure, with the phone's super-bright screen, there's the potential to cut into that figure if you crank screen brightness as high as it will go, but with more conservative usage, we doubt you'll run into any problems.

Recharge times are also decent, taking about two-and-a-half hours to hit 100% with the included fast charger. That may sound like a long time, but considering the battery size we're working with, it's not half bad. Look at it this way: the Mate 9 takes roughly as long to recharge as the iPhone 7, a phone with a battery less than half the capacity of the Mate 9's.

Battery life (hours) Higher is better
Huawei Mate 9 12h 14 min (Excellent)
Apple iPhone 7 Plus 9h 5 min (Excellent)
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge 7h 18 min (Good)
Charging time (minutes) Lower is better
Huawei Mate 9 144
Apple iPhone 7 Plus 197
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge 99
Huawei Mate 8 156

Conclusion


The Huawei Mate 9 hits a lot of strong notes: it's fast, has tons of storage, and offers a really large screen for the size of the handset. And while we wish that the display was higher-res and a little better balanced, the fact that it's incredibly bright is a big plus. Audio performance isn't overlooked either, and the use of multiple speakers helps the Mate 9 stand its own against its peers.

The system software is a lot of fun to use, and Huawei really goes out of its way to add significant value beyond what Android 7.0 Nougat already delivers. All the features and customizable options can seem like a little much for new users to take in, but everything's arranged smartly and presented in a clean manner that makes discovery and use pretty fun.

Really, there's not a lot the Mate 9 does wrong, and our biggest issues with the handset are areas where we just wish it offered a little more. Take the new dual-camera system, for instance: it's mostly fine, but when you hear the Leica name, and learn about the combination of monochrome and color sensors, you expect it to all come together with jaw-dropping results – and those just aren't here.

The standard Mate 9, with 4GB of RAM and 64GB storage, sells in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East for about 700 euros; that's 200 euros less than the 32GB iPhone 7 Plus. In that light, the Mate 9 represents a decent value. But it's also really easy to get hung up on things like the lower pixel density screen than a lot of its competition, and feel that you really should be paying less for the Mate 9.

Ultimately, you're going to choose the Mate 9 because you want a big-screen smartphone above all else, and this phone offers that without making too many other sacrifices. It's not necessarily the best phablet around, but it's certainly one of the more compelling options you'll find.



Pros

  • Super-bright, large screen for the phone's size
  • Ample storage, with easy expansion
  • Kirin 960 offers some speedy performance
  • EMUI 5.0 is quite well done and useful
  • Long-lasting battery

Cons

  • We expected more from the dual-camera Leica system
  • No waterproofing

PhoneArena Rating:

8.0

User Rating:

9.8
4 Reviews

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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: 848; Member since: Jun 27, 2016

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

7. maherk

Posts: 6873; 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: 6873; 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: 3106; 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: 518; 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: 6873; 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: 7111; 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: 2280; 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 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

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