Huawei Mate 9 review

8.2/10 AVG.
RATING



8.2/10
Informr score
The Huawei Mate 9 currently has an Informr score of 8.2 out of 10. This score is based on our evaluation of 46 sources including reviews from users and the web's most trusted critics.

The "1-Minute" Review

What's good

  • All-day battery
  • Plenty of internal storage
  • Great rear camera
  • Blazing performance
  • Quality design and materials
  • Dual SIM support
  • MicroSD support

What's bad

  • Too big for one-handed operation
  • Emotion UI
  • Proprietary fast charging
  • Price
  • Screen resolution not suited for VR

The Mate series has been known for its massive screen sizes and quality components. With their latest model, Huawei is taking aim at the top of the phablet market in both pricing and specs. But does this big phone justify its big price tag?

Reviews are rolling out and we’ve scoured the best of them to bring you this phone summary.

Let’s dig in!

With their previous releases, Huawei has proven that buying Chinese phone doesn’t mean sacrificing quality. Reviewers were pleased with the metal and glass design of the Mate 9. While reviews were quick to note that the phone felt great in the hand, they also pointed out the sheer size of the phone. PhoneScoop said, “The curved rear panel and smoothed-over side edges help hand-feel somewhat, but the Mate 9 is a huge phone that constantly requires two hands to use effectively.”

The phone includes a fingerprint scanner on the rear panel which you can program to perform a variety of common actions. Reviewers loved the responsiveness and pointed out that the slight indentation made it easy to find with your finger.

Flipping around front, you’ll find a 5.9-inch 1080p display. Although the resolution is lower than competing flagships, reviewers found little to complain about with the screen. SlashGear stated, “The Huawei Mate 9’s screen can be best described as being decent and tolerable. Just OK, but nothing exceptional.” Reviews indicate that unless you’re looking to use it with a VR headset, the resolution is ample for daily use, gaming and media consumption.

To push those pixels, Huawei went with their own 2.4Ghz 8-core Kirin processor and 4GB of RAM. Benchmarks from reviewers indicate it keeps up with and even outperforms the Snapdragon chips common with other 2016 flagships for basic daily use. The Guardian noted, “It actually felt faster than any other Android smartphone I have used to date, which is an achievement.”

With an internal storage capacity of 64GB, you should have no problem fitting your favorite apps or media on the phone. There’s a tray on the side for microSD cards up to 256GB should you need more space. However, this is the same slot used for a second SIM card. So you must choose between extra storage or an extra line.

As with previous Huawei devices, there's much debate about the phone's interface. While it runs Android 7.0 Nougat out of the box, Huawei’s Emotion UI changes the look of the software significantly. Though many reviews were quick to point out that this latest version is an improvement over past Emotion UI releases, ArsTechnica UK noted, “It still feels like a jumbled mess of too many iOS-like features on an Android system.”

Battery life is equally debatable. With the 4,000mAh battery was enough to get most reviewers through the day, Huawei’s use of their own SuperCharge quick charging technology means you won’t find many options for third-party charging accessories. However, when paired with the Huawei charger, it offers a full charge in under 2 hours. SlashGear summed up experiences well, saying, “The battery won’t last you days under high screen usage time but the 4,000 mAh battery will last you until very late night before you have to recharge it – very impressive battery life.”

If you’re looking for a phone with a powerful camera, reviews show the Mate 9 can keep up with the best phones available. Huawei claims the 20+ megapixel dual-lens rear camera offers improved color accuracy, finer details and great low light performance. Reviews agreed. PhoneScoop said, “The Mate 9 may not replace a dSLR, but it's certainly enough camera for most occasions.” Reviews were equally positive for the front-facing 8MP lens.

Overall, the biggest complaint about the Mate 9 from reviewers is it’s price. With a suggested retail price above even the major manufacturers' flagships, some reviewers felt the value didn’t add up. Mashable said, “While the Mate 9 is a very good phone, it will only be the best for some users: those who care deeply about battery life, fast charging and some niche features like black and white photography.”

Alphr summed up overall opinions well with their final verdict, saying, “If you want a big phone in 2016 then, with the death of the Note 7, the Mate 9 stands virtually alone. You’ll be very happy with Huawei, but you need to really want that extra inch to make the Mate 9 a must-buy.”


Operating system
Android
Processor
2.4 GHz
Screen Size
5.9"
Camera
20+ MP


What the Critics Are Saying...


The Wirecutter

The Huawei Mate 9 is a big, excellent phone with Alexa support and amazing battery life, but a relatively low-res screen and a few software foibles.

- Ryan Whitwam, The Wirecutter
TechRadar

The Huawei Mate 9 is a phablet that's built to last, with an impressive camera, powerful processor and great battery life. It's just let down a little by a larger price tag than we've come to expect from the brand.

- James Peckham, TechRadar
Reviewed

There's no doubt about it: The Mate 9 is a great option for people who want a phablet-sized smartphone without paying hand-over-fist for the Pixel XL, the S8 Plus, or the iPhone 7 Plus. Its performance bites at the heels of those higher-priced options despite costing significantly less.

- Michael Desjardin, Reviewed
Android Police

The Mate 9 is still officially selling for $600, but you can get it a little cheaper if you look around. I'm not going to tell you this is the best phone on the planet, but it's a very good one. I like to gauge a phone's staying power by how often I use it after the initial review is done. A phone t...

- Ryan Whitwam, Android Police
Talk Android

All in all, the Huawei Mate 9 isn’t a bad smartphone in the least. There’s some obvious hints that it was geared towards the Asian and European market, but at the same time, Huawei has really come up with something that could compete with the big players in the US market.

- Brad Ward, Talk Android


Prices (Where to Buy)




Common Questions


Huawei released the Mate 9 on November 3, 2016.


We've got you covered! Download a free PDF copy of the Huawei Mate 9 user manual here.


Huawei backs up the Mate 9 with a 1 Year parts & labour warranty.


If your Mate 9 has problems and is still within its warranty period, you could contact Huawei support or the retailer you purchased the phone from. You'll find Huawei's contact information here. If your phone is off warranty and needs repair for a physical problem such as a broken screen or bad battery, you should visit an authorized service centre or a local phone repair shop. You can also connect with others in The Informr Community Forum to find and share answers to questions.



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Quick view

Screen Size
5.9"

The Huawei Mate 9's screen size is 5.9 inches with 1080 x 1920 pixels resolution.

Processor
2.4 GHz

There is a HiSilicon Kirin 960 Octa core 2.4 GHz processor (CPU).

OS

The phone runs on the Android 7.0 Nougat (Update Available: 8.0 Oreo) operating system (OS).

Camera
20+ MP

You can take photos with the phone's onboard 20+ megapixel camera.

There is also a secondary front facing camera with 8+ megapixels resolution.

Storage
64 GB

Internal memory is 64 GB. An external, MicroSD, MicroSDHC, microSDXC (up to 256 GB) expansion slot is available for increased storage capacity.

Battery
4000mAh

The phone is powered by a Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion), 4000 mAh battery. Huawei's performance ratings are 1800 minutes, 857 minutes Wi-Fi surfing.

Mate 9 Specs

Overview
Release date November 3, 2016
Regions available USA, UK
Networks
GSM:
850/900/1800/1900 MHz
UMTS:
850/900/1700/1900 /2100 MHz
LTE:
1700/1900/700/2100 /800/850/900/1800/2600 MHz
Data:
GPRS, EDGE, HSUPA, HSPA+, LTE
SIM card Nano-SIM
Dual SIM No
Operating System Android 7.0 Nougat (Update Available: 8.0 Oreo)

Compare Android Smartphones

Processor HiSilicon Kirin 960 Octa core 2.4 GHz
Internal Flash Memory 64 GB
RAM 4 GB
ROM No
GPS Type A-GPS
Digital compass Yes
Flightmode Yes
Hearing Aid Compatible Yes
TTY/TDD No
Noise Cancellation Yes
SAR Head: 1.42 W/kg
Body: 0.6 W/kg
Languages English
Manufacturer Warranty 1 Year
Accessories Included Manual, Headset, Data Cable
Power & battery
Type Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion)
Battery Capacity 4000 mAh
Removable Battery No
Wireless Charging No
Fast Charging Yes
Video Playback Time Up to: 1200 minutes
Internet Use (Wi-Fi) Up to: 857 minutes
Internet Use (Celluar) Up to: 1200 minutes
Talk Time Up to: 1800 minutes
Standby Time Unknown
Physical Characteristics
Design type Bar
Multi-Use Smart Phone / PDA Yes
Material Aluminium
Colors Space Gray, Moonlight Silver, Champagne Gold, Mocha Brown, Ceramic White, Agate Red, Topaz Blue
Dimensions [H x W x D] 15.7 x 7.9 x 0.8 cm (6.2 x 3.1 x 0.3 in)
Weight 190 grams
Water Resistant / Waterproof Unknown
Rugged design No
IP Rating No
Antenna Type Internal
Changeable Faceplates No
Display / Screen
Type Color
Technology LCD (IPS)
Colors 16.7 million
Resolution 1080 x 1920 pixels
Pixel density 373 pixels
Size 5.9 inches
3D No
Secondary Display No
Sensors Ambient Light, Proximity, Motion / Accelerometer, Gyroscope
Graphics Yes
Themes Yes
Backlit Illumination Yes
Zoom / Magnification Yes
Screen Orientation Lock Yes
Multi-Touch Yes
Fingerprint-Resistant Coating No
Additional Display Features Capacitive touch screen
Input / Navigation
Sleep / Wake Key Yes
Home Key No
Mute Key No
Input Type Touchscreen
Navigation Type Touchscreen
Predictive Text Entry Yes
Physical keyboard No
Voicemail Key No
Any Key Answer No
Voice Commands Yes
Keypad/Screen Lock Yes
External Volume Control Yes
External Media Playback Controls No
Fingerprint Sensor Yes
Call Management
Wi-Fi Calling Unknown
Voice over LTE (VoLTE) Unknown
Contact List Capacity Depends on system memory
Multiple Numbers Per Contact Email address, Other fields
Contact Groups Yes
Auto Answer No
Voice Activated Dialing Yes
Photo Caller ID Yes
Web / Email / Messaging
Web Browser Yes
Email Client Yes
Email Protocols POP3, IMAP, SMTP, Microsoft Exchange
Additional Email Features Gmail
Messaging SMS, MMS, IM
Push-to-talk (PTT) No
Connectivity
USB USB Type-C
USB OTG Support Yes
Infrared Yes
Bluetooth 4.2
Bluetooth Profiles A2DP, AVRCP, OPP/FTP, HFP, HSP, PAN
Bluetooth Audio Codecs SBC
WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n
WiFi Encryption No
Mobile Hotspot Yes
WiMAX No
Memory Expansion Slot Yes
Expansion Slot Info MicroSD, MicroSDHC, microSDXC (up to 256 GB)
PC Synchronization Yes
TV Out No
DLNA Support Yes
NFC Yes
UMA Support No
Data Tethering Compatibility Yes
Java Applications No
Brew Applications No
ECML / Digital Wallet No
PictBridge No
Camera
Main Camera
Aperture
ƒ/ 2.2
Resolution
20+ megapixels
Dual lens
Yes
Zoom
Yes
Flash
Yes (Dual LED)
Additional Rear Camera Info
Auto focus, Effects, Face detection, Geotagging, Image stabilization, ISO, Multi-shot, Panorama, Dual camera feature (12 MP 2nd camera)
Video Recording Formats
3GP / 3GPP, H.264 / AVC, MPEG-4, WMV, ASF, XviD, RealVideo
Video Recording Parameters
Ultra HD (3840 x 2160 pixels)
Front Camera
Resolution
8+ megapixels
Zoom
Yes
Additional Front Camera Info
Auto focus
Video Recording Parameters
Audio / Video
Audio Playback Yes
Audio Formats AAC, AAC+, eAAC+, MIDI, MP3, MP4, M4A, OGG, WMA, WAV
Radio No
Video Playback Yes
Video Playback Formats 3GP / 3GPP, ASF, H.264 / AVC, MPEG-4, RealVideo, WMV, XviD
Mobile TV No
Streaming Video Yes
External Speakers Yes
Headset Jack 3.5mm
Custom Ringtones Yes
Vibration Alert Yes
Downloadable Ringtones Yes
Ringtone Composer No
Ringer ID Yes
Haptic Feedback Vibration Yes
Speakerphone Yes
Apps
To-Do / Task List No
Calendar Yes
World Clock Yes
Alarm Yes
Stop Watch Yes
Timer Yes
Calculator Yes
Currency Converter No
Weather Yes
Stocks No
Maps Yes
NotePad No
Voice Memos / Recorder Yes
Games Downloadable
Apps Downloadable
Included Software / Apps -
More
Additional comments Additional Sensors: Barometer
Also available in dual-SIM variant.
Related Links Quick Start Guide (PDF)
Manual (PDF)
Huawei Mate 9 Reviews
Where to buy Huawei Mate 9
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Critic Reviews


The Wirecutter

Phablet with amazing battery life

from The Wirecutter

The Huawei Mate 9 is a big, excellent phone with Alexa support and amazing battery life, but a relatively low-res screen and a few software foibles.

Read full review

The Huawei Mate 9 is a big, excellent phone with Alexa support and amazing battery life, but a relatively low-res screen and a few software foibles.

Read full review

Less

TechRadar

A nice kind of déjà-vu

from TechRadar

The Huawei Mate 9 is a phablet that's built to last, with an impressive camera, powerful processor and great battery life. It's just let down a little by a larger price tag than we've come to expect from the brand.

Read full review

The Huawei Mate 9 is a phablet that's built to last, with an impressive camera, powerful processor and great battery life. It's just let down a little by a larger price tag than we've come to expect from the brand.

Read full review

Less

Reviewed

Big, bold—and kind of a bummer

from Reviewed

There's no doubt about it: The Mate 9 is a great option for people who want a phablet-sized smartphone without paying hand-over-fist for the Pixel XL, the S8 Plus, or the iPhone 7 Plus. Its performance bites at the heels of those higher-priced options despite costing significantly less.

Read full review

There's no doubt about it: The Mate 9 is a great option for people who want a phablet-sized smartphone without paying hand-over-fist for the Pixel XL, the S8 Plus, or the iPhone 7 Plus. Its performance bites at the heels of those higher-priced options despite costing significantly less.

Read full review

Less

Android Police

Alexa is a flop, but it's still a great phone

from Android Police

The Mate 9 is still officially selling for $600, but you can get it a little cheaper if you look around. I'm not going to tell you this is the best phone on the planet, but it's a very good one. I like to gauge a phone's staying power by how often I use it after the initial review is done. A phon...More

The Mate 9 is still officially selling for $600, but you can get it a little cheaper if you look around. I'm not going to tell you this is the best phone on the planet, but it's a very good one. I like to gauge a phone's staying power by how often I use it after the initial review is done. A phone that I never voluntarily put in my pocket is not something I would tell people to buy. The Mate 9 is still something I drop my SIM card in on a regular basis for no other reason than I like it. The build quality is great, and I love the giant screen. It's about the same size as the Pixel XL, but with much more screen real estate.

Read full review

Less

Talk Android

The US perspective

from Talk Android

All in all, the Huawei Mate 9 isn’t a bad smartphone in the least. There’s some obvious hints that it was geared towards the Asian and European market, but at the same time, Huawei has really come up with something that could compete with the big players in the US market.

Read full review

All in all, the Huawei Mate 9 isn’t a bad smartphone in the least. There’s some obvious hints that it was geared towards the Asian and European market, but at the same time, Huawei has really come up with something that could compete with the big players in the US market.

Read full review

Less

TechSpot

Big screen phone, a flagship phablet

from TechSpot

With the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 failing spectacularly, there’s a big gap in the market for other large-screened Android handsets to shine. The Huawei Mate 9 is a great alternative for those who want high-end hardware and an excellent media consumption experience, especially when you consider its affordable $599 price tag.

Read full review

With the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 failing spectacularly, there’s a big gap in the market for other large-screened Android handsets to shine. The Huawei Mate 9 is a great alternative for those who want high-end hardware and an excellent media consumption experience, especially when you consider its affordable $599 price tag.

Read full review

Less

Gearburn

Definitely got the looks and power

from Gearburn

The Huawei Mate 9’s long endurance and great camera experience definitely makes it a worthy upgrade over the Mate 8. But, unless battery life is the undisputed top priority for you, I’d recommend you wait a month or two for the P10 Plus.

Read full review

The Huawei Mate 9’s long endurance and great camera experience definitely makes it a worthy upgrade over the Mate 8. But, unless battery life is the undisputed top priority for you, I’d recommend you wait a month or two for the P10 Plus.

Read full review

Less

Ausdroid

A great piece of kit that I am sure most people would absolutely love

from Ausdroid

The Huawei Mate 9 excels as a piece of hardware. The display is big and bright. The processor performs admirably and is relatively fast albeit with an occasionally slowdown. The software on the other hand is a bit disappointing.

Read full review

The Huawei Mate 9 excels as a piece of hardware. The display is big and bright. The processor performs admirably and is relatively fast albeit with an occasionally slowdown. The software on the other hand is a bit disappointing.

Read full review

Less

VR-Zone

A consumer-centric device

from VR-Zone

The Mate 9 is an all-purpose phablet that does Huawei proud. At a retail price of S$898, the Mate 9 is not an expensive flagship. Its strong battery life, powerful rear cameras, and incredible graphics performance and speed is what makes it shine amongst the sea of smartphones in the market. The...More

The Mate 9 is an all-purpose phablet that does Huawei proud. At a retail price of S$898, the Mate 9 is not an expensive flagship. Its strong battery life, powerful rear cameras, and incredible graphics performance and speed is what makes it shine amongst the sea of smartphones in the market. The user-friendly EmotionUI further adds value to the Mate 9 and Huawei’s new line of devices. The only room beef we have with the Mate 9 is a slightly dull design and a heavier than average weight on the device.

Read full review

Less

techAU

Fantastic value for money

from techAU

If you’re looking for a new phone, make sure the Mate 9 is on your short list, I’d definitely recommend it. The camera is great, the screen is great and their UI actually compliments Android rather than detracts from it.

Read full review

If you’re looking for a new phone, make sure the Mate 9 is on your short list, I’d definitely recommend it. The camera is great, the screen is great and their UI actually compliments Android rather than detracts from it.

Read full review

Less



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