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Huawei Mate 9 Hands On, First Impressions

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Huawei Philippines yesterday had a media preview of the Huawei Mate 9, the company’s 2017 flagship phablet offering. We were able to take a quick look on this device and we were able to fiddle with the camera. Yey! Is the Mate 9 the best Galaxy Note 7 alternative? Let’s find out.

Huawei Mate 9

  • Octa Core HiSilicon Kirin 960 processor
  • Mali G71 MP8 graphics
  • 4GB RAM
  • 64GB internal memory expandable via microSD up too 256GB
  • 5.9-inch Full HD IPS LCD display (1920 x 1080 pixels) with 2.5D arc glass
  • 20 megapixel + 12 megapixel Leica camera f/2.2 aperture with OIS, PDAF, Laser Autofocus and dual LED flash
  • 8 megapixel front facing camera, f/1.9 aperture
  • Dual SIM, Dual Standby
  • 4G/LTE, WiFi, Bluetooth, Fingerprint Scanner, USB Type C
  • GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, BDS
  • 4,000 mAh battery with fast charging
  • Android 7.0 Nougat with EMUI 5.0
  • Price: P31,990
  • Status: Available at select Huawei stores (as of this writing)

One big improvement of the Huawei Mate 9 as compared to the Mate 8 is its more manageable to hold. Trimming down bezels helped the Mate 9 achieve one-hand use, well, at least for us. We never forget that the phone has a large 5.9-inch display. Size-wise, it is slightly bigger than the 5.5-inch iPhone 7 Plus. It is still encased in a glossy but not fingerprint attracting finish which is interesting. The simple reason why we hate glossy finish is being smudge prone but for some reason, Huawei has managed to prevent this from happening.

Another improvement is on the software. Though we have nothing against with the omission of an app tray on EMUI, Huawei’s custom skin on top of Android, hardcore fans of Google’s mobile OS seems not happy with it. So Huawei made an option to put an app tray instead of all apps being on the home screen. By default, the option is turned off but you can change it via the settings. Overall experience was fast and fluid but the even better news is it will stay that way Huawei has managed to come up a way to prevent the Mate 9 from slowing down as it ages. In the long run, the phone remains snappy as if it is brand new. Another smart feature is the Mate 9’s capability to learn from your smartphone usage.

The highlight of the preview was the second generation dual camera set up by Leica. Just like the Huawei P9, the two cameras work together to achieve better photos. Still the same set up – one monochrome and the other is RGB. We took some sample shots and we were left drooling. 🙂

Huawei has also up the ante when it comes to battery charging Though we did not see the phone’s charging capabilities in action, Huawei said that they included a chip from the included wall charger and another one near the charging port as they like communicate to handle current output adjustment and to avoid excess voltage output that causes heating issues while charging.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

The Huawei Mate 9 has blown us away to another level! Such features like a machine learning algorithm that learns from your smartphone habits and a smarter way to charge your phone are the features we find very useful. Not the mention the camera is better than the P9 now. Oh well, we are drooling over this phone! We will have a more extensive review of the Huawei Mate 8 once we received our review unit. If we can’t wait since we are now dreaming of having one for ourselves to use as an everyday driver, we might buy one. Wait, maybe we should! 🙂