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Huawei Mate 9 Review

With CES long gone and us currently in that few week period between last year’s news and this year’s upcoming excitement, it’s time we take a good long look at Huawei’s latest product for the US, the Mate 9 smartphone. 

On paper, the Mate 9 fits the bill perfectly for ex-Galaxy Note 7 owners who had to return their phones due to the recall. With a large 5.9″ FHD display, coupled with an insane 4,000mAh battery, there’s no reason owners shouldn’t see a solid two days of battery life. With all of that battery, users can take advantage of the Leica-branded dual cameras on the backside, dual stereo speaker setup for bumping tunes, as well as flying through apps thanks to tweaks I completely love inside of EMUI 5.0 on top of Android “Nougat.”

For all of the other info you might need on the Mate 9, check out our complete video review below.

Too Long; Didn’t Watch

If watching a video isn’t on your schedule today, don’t trip, I can sum up the Mate 9 very easily for you. At $599, it’s a crazy-good buy, considering the hardware build, monstrous 4,000mAh battery, fantastic camera experience, and useful software tweaks that Huawei bakes on top of Android “Nougat.” I’d say it’s one of the best deals in smartphones today. If you find yourself enjoying overly large displays, two days of battery life, and dual stereo speakers, you shouldn’t look anywhere else. Huawei killed it with the Mate 9.

  • Carlos Antonio

    I am loving my mate 9 very much! When i backed it up, i just use AirMore and evrything works perfectly fine. i back up my files on pc with the help of this tool 🙂 https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.airmore&hl=en

  • Boomdizzle

    Got the same mic as Kellen eh? Nice.

  • Rob Watkins

    Excellent review Tim!!

  • I just wish there was a mocha brown US version. I’d get one today.

  • senor_heisenberg

    I just wish all these OEMs making these less expensive, great hardware phones were more reliable when it comes to updates and support.

  • Osaz E.

    Anybody have a link to the wallpaper in the video?

  • Jackson Daniel

    Why the Fu*k can’t this work on Verizon. I really want this phone.

    • a d00d

      Because VZW, Sprint, US Cellular, etc are crap networks running old, incompatible-with-everything-else CDMA along with a giant mix of incompatible manufacturers and their proprietary BS. Also VZW *LIKES* f**cking with people, or didn’t you watch the latest T-Mobile commercial, which is both hilarious AND true!

  • T4rd

    Will this phone be sold through AT&T or T-Mobile? Does it support WiFi calling for either carrier?

    • Aaron MacNaughton

      In the video review they mention it’ll only be sold unlocked and not via carriers. Atleast if I’m remembering it right now lol. Don’t know about wifi calling but I’d give a tentative yes considering my unlocked Nexus 6p does on T Mobile.

      • T4rd

        I wouldn’t assume it would support WiFi calling because the 6P does. They share nothing besides the Huawei name; their software support and features come from two completely different entities.

        • Aaron MacNaughton

          That’s why it was a tentative yes haha. I googled it and the phone itself supports wifi calling but can’t find information on specific carriers. Here ya go: https://forum.xda-developers.com/mate-9/help/wifi-calling-mate-9-t3521218

          • T4rd

            Cool, thanks for the info. I’m considering selling my 6P towards this phone. I really miss the IR blaster from my M8 and I really like stereo speakers on my phones. The M9 was the last phone to have both of those things and this phone looks awesome otherwise. But my 6P has been stellar as well with the PureNexus ROMs. I really have no complaints with my 6P other than the missing IR blaster, so it’s hard to justify giving it up now, hah.

          • Aaron MacNaughton

            I hear ya there. I’m looking at this phone then looking at my still in great condition 6p and I’m like yeah I can’t justify this purchase right now lol.

  • Aaron MacNaughton

    Forgot to mention as well that this was a great video review for the Mate 9. Been looking forward to your guy’s review for awhile on this. Keep up the good work!

  • David Thomas

    Wow, Tim! You really stepped up the post production on this video. Good job, man. Impressive. Made me watch the whole vid, which I often don’t do!

  • santy83

    One potential drawback for some is IPS screen. Many prefer Amoled.

    At this price comparison should not only be restricted to Pixel XL which is at $770 but with One plus 3T as well . Is it worth ~ $150 premium over it ?

  • wickets

    OK, first drawback is that it doesnt support verizon…neither here nor there, BUT even after lusting over this phone (6″ etc) since it was first leaked. after using the pixel xl since novemeber, using the mate 9 was just a big anti climax. Ex the pixel comparison, I can see why people love using the mate 9 and off topic somewhat I think that Huawei would giving samsung a giant run for their money if they were carrier ‘friendly’…..especially with verizon

    • Dat_Raccoon

      If it had vzw bands, big red probably wouldn’t activate it easily just like 5x/6p early on. They don’t want devices on their network they haven’t been paid 3 ways for

      • DER

        I thought Verizon loosened up on unlocked phones recently? I think someone should get one and try to make it work.

        • Aaron MacNaughton

          They may have but this phone is GSM unlocked only as far as I know not CDMA which is what Verizon uses. So out of luck there :/

          • DER

            I used my active Verizon SIM on an unlocked AT&T S7 (GSM) and was able to get it to work 100% (Voice/Data/Text)
            I think its worth trying. I’m going to buy one.

          • Aaron MacNaughton

            Really? Nice. Well good luck man. Hope it works for ya.

      • T4rd

        It was only an issue if you were trying to activate a new SIM/line on the phone on Verizon. If you already have an active SIM and a phone that supports Verizon’s bands (and they’re unlocked unlike the HTC 10’s were, but you could unlock the CDMA bands yourself if needed), then it will work on Verizon. Verizon doesn’t white-list phones on their network, they just have issues activating SIMs on phones not registered on their network already. Another easy fix for that was to activate your new SIM in a normal Verizon phone, which is what my friend did with his new SIM for his Moto X Pure when they launched.

  • Aaron MacNaughton

    Wow no comments whining about it only being a 1080p display yet? Amazing. I’m sure they’ll come though. Still don’t really understand people’s obsession with super high resolution phone displays. Especially considering most people, including me, still have around a 40-50 inch tv that’s 1080p and have no complaints about that. But only 1080p on a phone screen? God forbid 😛

    • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

      You create your own conflict that no one else is talking about…. Just so you can talk about it, when no one else is?

      • Aaron MacNaughton

        Go to the other articles on this same site about the Mate 9 flooded with the complaints. I got into a back and forth with a few guys about it on one of them. So yeah…believe what you want. And why did you comment on my comment which could potentially create “conflict” with me if you’re so worried about it lol.

    • Orlando aka Pixel XL

      How about that low resolution 1080 screen?

    • David W

      I see the 1080 screen as an asset. All about the battery life.

      • Aaron MacNaughton

        Yep same here. More battery life the better for me since I seem to burn through my phone battery daily.

  • Peter Levine

    huawei/honor 4 lyfe

  • Dat_Raccoon

    Swipe across nav bar for one handed mode is great on mate 9. No more shimmy to reach top corner.

    They’re already stepping up support for this device. I broke the screen on mine and they’re fixing it for free, it’s in process now. If they can keep improving product support, huawei will be the go to for me

  • droidify

    I assume this doesn’t support VZW bands?

    • Aaron MacNaughton

      No CDMA support sorry :/ GSM only meaning T-Mobile or AT&T from the big players. Sprint and Verizon are out.

  • Chad

    Thanks for the TL;DW!

    • Jay W.

      Agreed. I will check out the video this evening, but in the meantime that was a nice succinct summary that is useful to me while in the office.

  • Chris

    Huawei needs to step up their support in a major way if they want to sell non-disposably-priced phones. Their handing of the Nexus 6P battery issue has been a disaster.

    • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

      What battery issue?

      • Dat_Raccoon

        My 6p has been shutting down with 20%+ battery left.

        • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

          I believe that’s a Nougat issue though? Right?

          • Chris

            That’s what Huawei wants to tell you. But the problem remains after flashing back to Marshmallow and it is fixed by a new battery/replacement phone. The Google Store is replacing phones outside of warranty for people, but if you got yours elsewhere you’re stuck dealing with Huawei. They have been sending people their phones back with the same battery and same problem but downgraded to Marshmallow. And if your warranty is expired, good luck getting any straight answers out of them regarding a COD repair.

          • Chris

            It’s a common battery failure that happens to occur at about a year of ownership, coincidentally timed around the Nougat release. People who didn’t buy the phone at/near launch aren’t having the problem (yet).

  • The Doctor

    I loved this phone. Too bad it didn’t have an IPXX rating, though.