Huawei are everywhere, they're the world's third largest smartphone manufacturer, and you've probably seen their ads everywhere in NZ. They know how to make a phone, and they're finishing up 2016 with their top flagship, which is much more competitively priced than the competition.
This is The Huawei Mate 9
Big phones are interesting, just a handful of years ago we considered a 5-inch screen to be massive, but now we've got smart devices available in every size you can imagine. Now, the Mate 9 is big - but it's not that big, these days it's less about the size of the screen, and more about the size of the overall device. With a 5.9” IPS display it sounds like a monster but if you sit it next to an iPhone 6 plus, which only has a 5.5' display, you see that they are basically the same size.
The difference is Huawei have virtually removed the side bezels allowing them to squeeze way more phone into the same footprint. The screen is sitting at only 1080p, but it looks really good, colours are vibrant with a good amount of contrast and it can also get really bright outdoors as well as quite dim for late night browsing. The build quality is also excellent, uni-body aluminium, in a colour they call Mocha Brown, with the face of the phone having this subtle radial pattern, I think it looks quite good and definitely stands out in a sea of black phones. Under the hood, the mate 9 is running Huawei’s brand new Kirin 960 octa-core processor, which is running on new architecture for both the CPU and GPU. That Paired with 4GB of RAM gives this phone more than enough power to fly through everything you can throw at it. From navigating the UI, switching between apps, and playing 3D games, it all just works so well now without any hiccups even when using some the more intense Android 7 features like split screen multitasking.
Huawei have also implemented a machine learning feature which, they claim, actually makes the phone faster over time rather than slower, by learning how you use your phone, optimising resources for the apps you use and de-prioritising the ones you don't, pretty cool, but there's a bunch of things that make this phone special. It has 4 noise cancelling microphones for getting super clear sound, if you turn the phone on the side it uses the bottom speaker combined with the earpiece to give you stereo audio for listening to music, supports dual NZ sims, comes with 64gb of internal storage and you can increase that storage size up to 256gb with a micro SD card.
There's also an IR blaster in the top which is definitely an under-rated feature, this turns your phone into a universal remote for controlling TV's and I had no problems with this, it just worked straight out of the box. The battery size is sitting at 4000mAh which will last you over a full day of heavy use, and it features Huawei's new Super Charge technology, this charges your phone at 5A and Huawei say it can give you a full day of power in only 20 minutes of charging.
So let’s move onto my favourite part, and that’s the cameras, there’s actually 3 of them. The front facing camera is sitting at 8mp, which is more than enough for a few selfies and video calls and then on the back we get the remaining two cameras, the top is a 20MP monochrome sensor, and below that a 12MP colour sensor. So when you take a photo, colour information is captured from one sensor and then exposure and light information is painted in from the monochrome sensor. Producing Jpegs with a wider dynamic range and far less details lost in the brighter sections of an image, giving you greater control to play around with. This is definitely an in-depth camera, and if you have the time to play around with all the manual settings you can really take some amazing photos. but, of course if you don't have time, there’s also heaps of automatic modes to take advantage of.
They also have this wide aperture feature. Here you can take a photo of a subject and then adjust the amount of blur you want in the background to produce images that look like they've been shot on a high quality DSLR lens. This actually works really well the majority of time, sometimes you get a few edges not quite right, but overall a great feature.
The mate 9 can also shoot 4K video which is really nice and it has optical image stabilization built in, which does a pretty good job at removing those little jitters you get from moving around.
Bottom line is this phone really is top notch, the performance is so fast, and Huawei have implemented some awesome features that just make this handset the complete package.
If you're looking for a premium phone with all the bells and whistles, check out the mate 9 online or in store.