Huawei Mate 9, mediocre design, extremely powerful
Huawei’s cutting-edge machine learning software delivers consistent performance by automatically prioritising CPU, RAM and ROM resources based on user habits. The Huawei Mate 9 automatically learns user habits to build app priority. The system anticipates the user’s next moves to prepare resources in advance. This process is run on the phone, not the cloud for better performance and privacy protection.
The Mate 9 has more than 1,000 different functions that can be tweaked, and Huawei says MLA can offer a 20% increase in smoothness of performance, a 50% improvement in system response times and a 20% boost to the graphics read/write speeds. There's a full metal unibody design, which feels premium in the hand, and there are very slightly curved edges on the front and back of the phone. It's not as comfortable to hold as some other phablets, but it's big as there's nothing you can do about it.
It measures 157 x 79 x 7.9mm, making it a very similar size to the iPhone 7 Plus. You get more screen on the Mate 9 compared to the iPhone 7 Plus, though, as the bezels aren't as thick. There's a fingerprint scanner on the back of the device, underneath the Leica branded dual-lens camera. It's a comfortable location when you're holding the phone in your hand, but if you regularly lay your phone down on a desk you'll have to pick up the phone to unlock it, or press the power button and unlock the phone on screen with your PIN or password.
On the bottom edge are two speaker grilles, either side of a USB-C slot for charging and data transfer. The Mate 9 features a 3.5mm headphone jack. It's on the top edge of the phone on the right hand side, which makes it easy to listen to music when the phone is in a pocket. The Huawei Mate 9 isn’t an exciting-looking phone. It looks premium, but it doesn’t have that distinctive look that phones like the more powerful and pricy phones offer. ■