Huawei Mate 9 Review: A Well-Appointed Android Device, At A Bargain Price

Huawei Mate 9 Review: Maintaining Relevance

Here's the long and short. Huawei’s Mate 9 may no longer hit all the high notes on the cutting-edge smartphone release circuit, but it still remains more than competitive on performance and stocked with impressive base-level features, including rear dual-camera capabilities.

In his fascinating book The Millionaire Next Door, Thomas J. Stanley discusses the propensity of millionaires to buy their cars used rather than new. The reasoning is as obvious as it is practical: You get nearly all the benefits from buying used at a fraction of the cost, and the money saved can be invested with compound interest, which ultimately adds up to tens of thousands of dollars over an adult lifetime. We could apply a similar philosophy toward smartphones, especially in light of products like the Huawei Mate 9 we'll be showing you here.

If the thought of buying a used phone makes you cringe (we’re talking about a high-use device with a roughly two- to three-year useable life, after all), we might still save a lot of money by buying a slightly aged model in the midst of today’s hottest releases. As of this writing, the Samsung Galaxy S8 retails for $750. Last year’s S7 sells for $480. The S8’s screen is bigger, and, with a beefier processor, it’s about 10% faster than the S7. Is that worth paying an extra $270 -- or, if we use 8% compounded interest over 30 years, $2,817.54? Maybe not.
And so we’d like to present to you the Huawei Mate 9, which arrived in late 2016 but still deserves a look in the wake of the second-quarter releases from the likes of Samsung, ASUS, ZTE, and HTC. The Mate 9 is an Android Nougat-powered phablet with a significantly souped-up rear camera setup with strong performance and battery life. Despite its visually ordinary exterior, the Mate 9 brings plenty of unique features and comforts that may pleasantly surprise you, at a price significantly lower than most of today's flagships.

Huawei Mate 9
Specifications & Features
Display 5.9" 1920x1080 IPS LCD 2.5D glass
Processor Huawei Kirin 960 4x A73@2.4 GHz, 4x A53@1.8 GHz 
Dimensions 156.9 x 78.9 x 7.9mm
SIM/Expansion Dual SIM, micro SD up to 256GB
Protection Corning Gorilla Glass 3
GPU Mali G71 MP8
OS Android 7 Nougat with EMUI 5.0
Storage 64GB - microSD up to 256GB
Cameras Rear camera: Dual 20 MP +12 MP, f/2.2, 27mm, OIS, 2x lossless zoom, Leica optics, phase detection & laser autofocus, dual-LED (dual tone) flash
2160p (30fps), 1080p (60/30 fps) video capture

Front camera: 8MP
F/1.9, 26mm lens

Flash, auto night mode, beautification software, & more
Networking 802.11a/b/g/n/ac 2.4 GHz + 5 GHz MIMO
Bluetooth 4.2, supports BLE
Sensors FingerprintSensor, G-Sensor, Gyroscope sensor, Compass, Ambient Light Sensor, Proximity sensor, Hall sensor, Barometer, IR
Power 4000 mAh non-removable LiPo battery
Audio 3.5mm jack
Space Gray, Mocha Brown, Champagne Gold, Moonlight Silver, Ceramic White
Price MSRP: $599.99 -- Lowest spotted online: $436.00


Despite massive success in other parts of the world, Huawei continues to fight for mindshare in America, and it’s a tough battle against the likes of Apple and Samsung. Still, we’ve now seen a string of strong releases from the Chinese phone titan, and the Mate 9 is no exception. By far, one of the most impressive aspects of the Mate 9 is its camera, a dual-camera system fueled by Leica lenses capable of delivering some stunning images under the right conditions.

If you peruse the specifications, you may cringe at the omission of a Snapdragon processor, but trust us -- as you’ll see, Huawei’s home-grown Kirin 960 was a smart play. From its fingerprint sensor and gesture control to Amazon Alexa integration and excellent battery life, this phone offers loads of perks, so many that you may not care about bothering with newer, more expensive options.

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