In fact, with a 5.9-inch screen it’s even bigger than the Note 7, yet still cheaper, not to mention hopefully less flammable. With little else on the immediate horizon the Mate 9 could also be the last significant flagship before the madness of MWC 2017 early next year.
We’ll be putting the phone through a full review as soon as possible, but until then here’s all the specs and information on what could be the best Android-alternative to the iPhone 7 Plus.
- Read our hands on: Huawei Mate 9 review
Cut to the chase
- What is it? A big-screen Huawei flagship
- When is out? Soon
- What does it cost? Around £620, $775, AU$1000
Huawei Mate 9 release date and price
Huawei hasn’t confirmed exactly when the Mate 9 will go on sale, but we’d expect to see it appear for pre-order very soon, but we do know the price – €699 (around £620, $775, AU$1000).
We know it will be launching in the UK, with Three confirming that it will stock the phablet – but we’re waiting to here about wider launches around the world.
That’s a little surprising, as generally Huawei looks to undercut the competition – but with the Mate 9 it’s decided to match the big guns. It will be interesting to see if the Mate 9 can do enough pull people away from the bigger names in the market.
Huawei Mate 9 design
The Huawei Mate 9 doesn’t stray too far from the design of the Huawei Mate 8, with a full metal body in Space Gray, Moonlight Silver, Champagne Gold, Mocha Brown or Ceramic White.
The back is fairly plain, with just a small Huawei logo near the bottom, and the dual-lens camera and fingerprint scanner near the top.
Again, that’s similar to the Mate 8, albeit with an extra camera lens, and the weight and dimensions are similar too, with the Mate 9 coming in at 156.9 x 78.9 x 7.9mm and 190g.
That makes it larger and heftier than most phones, but then the Mate 9 also has a larger screen than most phones, and it still manages to be quite slim.
The Mate 9 looks to be a solid looking smartphone with enough premium appeal to just about justify that price tag – although we’d still like to see the fingerprint scanner on the front.
Huawei Mate 9 screen
There’s a massive 5.9-inch screen here, with a 1080 x 1920 resolution, for a pixel density of 373 pixels per inch.
That’s not quite as sharp as the 401ppi iPhone 7 Plus (which has the same resolution stretched across a smaller screen), but it’s still reasonable, and at a far lower price.
Thankfully with a screen of this size there’s not a whole lot else on the front of the phone, with just a tiny sliver of bezel to the left and right, and larger (but still small) ones above and below, housing the likes of a Huawei logo and the front-facing camera.
The screen on the Mate 9 is massive, and for many it’ll simply be too big – but for those eager for extra display real estate the Huawei Mate 9 is one of the few top-end smartphones offering such a large screen.
Huawei Mate 9 camera
If there’s one aspect of the Huawei Mate 9 that stands out other than its massive screen it’s the dual-lens camera. The phone has a 20MP monochrome (black and white) lens and a 12MP RGB (color) one.
That’s in stark contrast to the Huawei Mate 8, which has just a single snapper, and more in line with the dual-lens Huawei P9, but the camera has had an upgrade here as on the P9 both lenses are 12MP.
This pairing allows the Mate 9 to capture data from both lenses for superior image quality, or you can use the monochrome lens on its own to take true black and white shots, where most phones rely on a filter for a black and white effect.
The main snapper has an f/2.2 aperture, which is the same as the Huawei P9 and about average for a smartphone camera, but worse than some flagships like the Samsung Galaxy S7 and iPhone 7, meaning less light can reach the sensor than on those phones.
The Mate 9 does, however, have optical image stabilization, and can shoot video in 4K, so coupled with the dual-lens setup it should be a fairly strong snapper, at least on paper.
Around the front there’s an 8MP camera, which is at the upper end of the megapixel count you’d expect from a front-facing camera.
Huawei Mate 9 battery
The battery is 4000mAh, which is the same size as the battery in the Mate 8, but significantly larger than the units in most phones (even the almost-as-large Note 7 for example only has a 3500mAh juice pack).
We’ll let you know in our full review whether that size translates into longevity, but assuming it’s similar to the Mate 8 you should be able to comfortably get a day of life out of it, even with quite heavy use.
When it does come time to charge you’ll be able to do so quickly, thanks to the USB-C port used by the Mate 9.
Huawei Mate 9 OS and power
The Huawei Mate 9 runs Android 7.0 Nougat, so it’s fully up to date, though the operating system is overlaid with Huawei’s Emotion UI 5.0 – so you can say goodbye to the app drawer.
There’s a Kirin 960 octa-core processor powering the phone. That’s a slight upgrade on the Kirin 955 chip in the Huawei P9, and has four cores running at 2.4GHz and four lower power ones clocked at 1.8GHz.
There’s also 4GB of RAM, all of which puts the Huawei Mate 9 in line with other 2016 flagships.
Other specs and features include 64GB of built in storage, a microSD card slot with support for cards of up to 256GB, a fingerprint scanner and NFC.