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NEWS SECTIONS / TECHNOLOGY

Finally Huawei Has A Device That Seriously Takes It Up To Apple + Samsung

By David Richards | Friday | 03/02/2017

Huawei, have had a tough gig trying to get traction in the Australian smartphone market in the past, now the Chinese Company has a product that could well give the current top end of town smartphone brands a run for their money.

Their brand-new Huawei Mate 9, which goes on sale next week at JB Hi Fi, Harvey Norman, Vodafone and Optus has what it takes to earn pedigree points.

Apart from a dual 20 megapixel Leica Camera, the device which I suspect has been influenced by the designers at Porsche Design who have designed a separate Porsche Design Huawei Mate 9 handset this device is well worth consideration if you want a top end Android device.


Click to enlarge
European Porsche Huawei Mate 9 Left. New Australian Mate 9 model right.

The device has dual-SIM capability for those with two phone accounts. Power is delivered by a Kirin 960 chipset, which is probably the best performing smartphone processor around,
The 5.5in 2K curved display is also very good.

According to Huawei executives the new Mate 9 is aimed primarily at men, which is probably why the model I was given to review is black.

Known for their gold and pastel coloured devices in the past Huawei, who is one of the biggest smartphone brands in the world is set to have a serious crack at attracting millennials, who treat smartphones as oxygen to drive their daily lives.

The Mate 9 has plenty to get their adrenalin going.

For one, I destroy batteries every day, constantly talking, downloading data and watching video's. The Mate 9's large battery which comes in at 4,000 mAh in capacity is brilliant.

When compared to the Galaxy S7 Edge's 3,600 mAh battery, Google Pixel XL's 3,450 battery, and the iPhone 7 Plus' 2,900 mAH battery) the Mate 9 battery is seriously out there which is why this device is a tad heavier than the LG V20 or the Samsung S7 Edge.

Also, built into this device is a second-generation Leica dual-lens camera with "2x Hybrid Zoom," a 12-megapixel RGB sensor and a 20-megapixel monochrome sensor.

Earlier this week Leica launched their $10,000 M10 in Australia, this top end camera has a setting that allows one to set up the device to shoot black and white pictures. Ironically while I was in New York recently several people indicated that they were now shooting black and white images. Why asked about the big transition, they said that black and white images "look cool" "kind of retro" they said".


Click to enlarge

And guess what the new Mate 9 has a Leica setting optimised for black-and-white photography, like dedicated Leica's M Monochrom.

The Mate 9's camera looks and sounds good, and because we have not had much time to properly review this device we were unable to dig deep.

The question I have isn't whether or not it offers great image quality; it's whether or not it can outperform rival phones made by LG who have a great camera in the V20, Apple, Samsung, and Google.

At CES the hottest product was the Amazon Alexa and while the current Australian version of the Mate 9 does not have the Amazon's Alexa voice assistant built-in, it will be added through a software update in the future. This allows the device to handle many of the same tasks as the Amazon Echo. Users will be able to ask Alexa simple questions, control smart home devices, or even order a pizza with their voice.

Made of metal and glass, the phone looks sleek, I initially though the device would easily slip out of my hand, that was until I discovered the very smart skin that slips onto the back of the device. This not only protects the corners of the device it stops the device easily slipping out of a pocket.

The Mate 9 lacks a physical home button and instead includes navigation keys that appear on screen as needed, like many Android phones. Thus, the fingerprint sensor is located on the back of the device, as is the case with the Google Pixel.

I have a problem with this as I often use my smartphone on a mount in my car. However, I am assured by Huawei executives that one can also unlock the device when mounted by entering a security code.

Another big benefit of this device is that one can choose to use the circular fingerprint scanner as a touchpad for the notification panel.

Swiping down will cause the alert pane to drop down from the top of the screen, while swiping up dismisses it.

The Mate 9 also supports a split-screen mode that makes it possible to view more than one app at the same time.

A unique Huawei algorithm, allows the device to learn a user's habits and allocates its processing resources accordingly.

Out of the box the Mate 9 includes both a USB-C port for charging and a standard 3.5mm audio slot for plugging in headphones.

The device comes with 64GB of storage; users can add up to 256GB via a microSD card.

Early Thoughts

Apart from it's long lasting battery life, sharp camera, and attractive looks this device lacks little and is well worth the AU$999 price tag when it hits local stores next week.
And while it does not have the same brand pedigree as an Apple or Samsung smartphone you will not be let down by this device.

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