Huawei’s new flagship smartphone has a 5.96 inch display, support for Google’s Daydream VR platform, and a Kirin 960 processor, making it the first phone to feature that chip.
The Huawei Mate 9 also has something else that helps set it apart from some of the company’s earlier phones: support for global networks. While Huawei is launching the phone initially in Europe and Asia, it’ll eventually be available int he US as well.
First let’s talk about that new processor. The Kirin 960 is the latest in Huawei’s own line of mobile processors, and its features include:
- Four 2.4 GHz ARM Cortex-A73 CPU cores
- Four 1.8 GHz ARM Cortex-A53 CPU cores
- Mali-G71 octa-core graphics
- GSM/UMTS/CDMA/LTE network support
Huawei says the new chip is optimized for Vulkan graphics on Android 7.0 and the modem supports Cat 12 speeds of up to 600 Mbps.
The phone has 4GB of RAM and comes with 64GB or 128GB UFS 2.1 storage options.
Now for the screen: it’s big. But Huawei says its phone is actually smaller than the 5.5 inch iPhone 7 Plus, thanks to slimmer bezels.
One odd choice? Huawei used a 1920 x 1080 pixel LCD panel for its display rather than a higher-resolution QHD screen. Not only does that mean that the Huawei Mate 9 has a lower pixel density than other high-end big-screen phones, it also makes me wonder how the phone will look when used with a VR headset like Google’s Daydream View.
The Mate 9 has a 4,000 mAh battery that the company says provides up to 2 days of run time. It also supports “SuperCharge” fast charging, giving you a few hours of run time from a 10 minute charge.
On the back of the phone you’ll find a dual-lens camera that the company “co-engineered” with Leica. It combines a 12MP RGB sensor and a 20MP monochrome sensor for capturing photos. There’s also optical image stabilization and a 4-in-1 hybrid autofocus that uses laser, phase detection, depth, and contrast to quickly focus your images.
Huawei says its dual-camera system also supports a “hybrid 2x zoom” which basically means a 20MP image is cropped to make it look as if you had zoomed in.
There’s also an 8MP front-facing camera, stereo speakers, a USB 2.0 Type-C port, 802.11ac WiFi, Bluetooth 4.2 and NFC. The phone can either support dual nano SIM cards or one nano SIM and one microSD card.
The Huawei Mate 9 ships with Android 7.0 and the EMUI user interface.
Huawei will sell the phone for €699 in Europe. No price or launch date for the US model has been announced yet.