Learning To Live With A Phablet

Dubai: Huawei’s Mate 9 is the last flagship smartphone of the year and it can fill the gap created by the absence of Samsung Note 7.

Even though both the Mate 8 and Mate 9 phones are almost similar in design and measures 7.9mm thick, Mate 9 is 5.9-inch compared to Mate 8’s 6-inch screen. It weighs 190 grams.

The Full HD device (1920 x 1080 pixels at 373 pixels per inch density) is more brighter than its predecessor with the latest octa-core 2.4GHz Huawei 960 Kirin chip set (paired with a Mali-G71 graphics chip), coupled with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage capacity. The microSD card supports up to 256GB (hybrid slot on the dual-SIM version).

It is high time that Huawei should have moved to Quad HD display (1440 X 2560 pixels) as most of the other brands’ flagships have better resolution and with water and dust resistance.

Having said that, Mate 9 display is brighter with thin bezels, which means more screen real estate. The edges are slightly curved and the brushed metal back feels premium. The phone support dual SIM cards.

The IR blaster on the top can be used as a remote control for your A/Cs, TVs and other audiovisual equipment using the pre-installed Huawei app. The bottom houses the stereo speakers.

It runs on latest Android 7.0 out of the box, skinned with Huawei’s latest EMUI 5.0 user interface.

The new GPU also support Google’s Daydream virtual reality ready but the lower-resolution screen would play spoilsport. The Kirin 960 also takes full advantage of the pioneering Vulkan graphics standard on Android 7.0, increasing the graphics performance. Gaming is superfast on this device.

The Emotion UI (5.0) user interface is almost similar to a stock Android device. The Quick Settings menu now has more shortcuts. The Mate 9 has over 1,000 different functions that can be tweaked depending on users’ need.

The new EMUI makes several drastic changes from the software (4.1) found on the P9. Most notable is the dual-plane notification pull-down shade. The notification shade on the Mate 9 is now a single page that resembles stock Android. The app overview set-up has also gone from a horizontal scroll to a vertical one. The user interface gives users the option of having an app drawer.

The ‘App Twin’ app lets users create second Facebook and WhatsApp accounts with different names. But this will not work with third-party apps.

The fingerprint sensor on the back of the device is superfast and it opens the device faster than the blink of an eye. The new processor is extremely fast in opening and closing apps and multitasking is a breeze.

Huawei claims to have added machine learning algorithm to improve the performance of the device with time but I could not verify this as I need to device to be used for close to one year.

The dual-lens Leica camera has matured into the second generation with 20MP monochrome and 12MP colour with f/2.2 aperture lens, OIS, 2x zoom, phase detection, 4-in-1 hybrid autofocus (phase/laser/contrast/depth sensing), dual-LED (dual tone) flash. The 4K recording is first in the Mate line-up but it does not have optical stabilisation. Stabilisation is available in 1080p at 30fps.

The dual lens produced very good snaps with decent lighting compared to single lens cameras. The images show accurate colours, high detail level and good dynamic range but the monochrome camera is the best. Despite having the dual lens, it does not have the details as in Samsung S7 or iPhone 7 in autofocus mode.

In suffers in very lowlight conditions and the snaps are bit grainy but there is also Pro mode for those who want to tweak things further. If you’re a photography fan you’ll likely find the Pro mode useful and enjoyable.

The 8MP autofocus selfie camera, f/1.9, 26mm lens does everything you would expect but again struggles in very lowlight conditions. It can capture videos in Full HD.

When it comes to connectivity, Huawei is the king as it is a leader in telecommunications technology. It has LTE Cat 12 (600 Mbps downlink), WiFi a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.2, NFC, IR blaster, 3.5mm headphone jack, WiFi Direct and hotspot support.

The 4,000mAh battery gives more than one-and-a-half days for heavy users and the battery manger gives variety of options to extend battery life. The battery manger will remind users if they got intensive apps running in the background, and advise them to close them to make the most of battery power.

The new rapid-charging technology with proprietary 22.5W charger is another bonus as it will charge the device from zero to full in just close to two hours. Charging for 10 minutes gives you from 2% to 20%, another 40% in another 10 minutes charge. A full hour and you’re at about 90% and the last 10 per cent takes a while to fill.

I got 16 hours of browsing and more than 14 hours of video playback, which is pretty good?

To ease the transition to USB-C, the box also comes with a micro-USB to USB-C adapter that you can use with other chargers. It is priced at Dh2,299.


Great battery life

New user interface

New chip offers faster performance

Takes amazing black and white photos

Excellent stereo sound



Camera lags behind competition

No dust or water resistance

No Quad HD display

Hybrid dual SIM/microSD slot limits options

Size counts for some

Source : http://gulfnews.com/business/sectors/technology/mate-9-a-powerful-phablet-with-a-bigger-battery-and-dual-lens-1.1940860