Huawei Mate 9 review: Mighty Mate

Mighty Mate

GSMArena team, 14 November 2016.

Telephony

The Mate 9's dialer shares a common interface with the contacts app. There are no groundbreaking features here, and nothing really missing. A nice touch is the ability to tell the device only to pick up sounds from a 120-degree arc around the primary mic when on speakerphone, useful in loud environments.

Smart dialling - Huawei Mate 9 review contacts - Huawei Mate 9 review in-call interface - Huawei Mate 9 review directional speaker - Huawei Mate 9 review omni-directional speaker - Huawei Mate 9 review
Smart dialling • contacts • in-call interface • directional speaker • omni-directional speaker

The dual-SIM settings menu lets you rename cards, disable them from software and select which one does calls or data by default. The interface leads us to believe that while 4G may be limited to just one card, both get 3G connectivity in addition to 2G, which the specs don't indicate.

The interface is not ideal in that dual SIM settings is in one menu, while the mobile networks are in a different one, and you may need to do a little back-and-forth to set things up precisely to your liking - say limit the primary card to 3G. 'Primary' as in the default card that gets 4G connectivity - you choose that in dual SIM settings. Then in the mobile networks section you get to pick the preferred network type, but only for this primary card - the other one makes do with the rest of the available radios.

Dual-SIM settings - Huawei Mate 9 review Dual-SIM settings - Huawei Mate 9 review Dual-SIM settings - Huawei Mate 9 review mobile networks settings - Huawei Mate 9 review mobile networks settings - Huawei Mate 9 review
Dual-SIM settings • mobile networks settings

Loudspeaker

Knowing the Mate 8, we knew not to expect much from the Mate 9 regarding loudness. Boy, were we in for a surprise.

The Mate 9 exceeded our expectations and posted very high numbers in all three of our tests, securing an Excellent mark. Not only that, but it sounded clear and distortion free even at maximum volume.

The Mate 9 actually has stereo speakers, sort of. The earpiece doubles as left channel, when the phone is held in landscape, and it does create a stereo effect even though the earpiece is quite a bit more quiet. When in portrait, there is no such channel separation. There's also an annoying pause in playback while the phone switches modes.

Speakerphone testVoice, dB Pink noise/ Music, dB Ringing phone, dB Overall score
Sony Xperia XZ 61.6 65.5 67.6 Below Average
Huawei Mate 8 67.8 65.8 66.6 Below Average
Xiaomi Mi Max 67.1 66.2 68.1 Average
Xiaomi Mi 5s Plus 65.0 68.2 70.8 Average
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge 70.0 69.1 71.8 Good
Apple iPhone 7 Plus 68.3 72.2 72.9 Good
LG V20 68.2 68.6 80.9 Good
Huawei Nexus 6P 74.7 77.8 72.1 Very Good
Huawei P9 Plus (regular) 71.7 73.7 81.3 Very Good
Google Pixel XL 73.4 72.1 84.1 Excellent
Huawei Mate 9 83.1 74.5 85.0 Excellent

Text input

You get a choice of two keyboards on the Mate 9 - one is courtesy of SwiftKey (which replaces the Swype solution on the previous Mate), while the other is the stock Android one.

AOSP keyboard - Huawei Mate 9 review SwiftKey - Huawei Mate 9 review SwiftKey - Huawei Mate 9 review SwiftKey - Huawei Mate 9 review SwiftKey - Huawei Mate 9 review
AOSP keyboard • SwiftKey

Pre-installed apps

The Mate 9 ships with WPS office, which can be used for some basic document editing on the go. It can handle text documents, spreadsheets and presentations as well as PDF files. It can also export to PDF.

WPS office - Huawei Mate 9 review WPS office - Huawei Mate 9 review WPS office - Huawei Mate 9 review
WPS office

Huawei has bundled the Mate 9 with its Health app, which tracks steps and calculates calories burnt, but can also supposedly count the number of floors you've climbed. A file manager is also present, and it supports batch actions.

Health app - Huawei Mate 9 review Health app - Huawei Mate 9 review
Health app

You also have a ton of basic tools preloaded, including a proper file manager, compass, sound recorder (with pre-sets for directional recording taking advantage of the multiple mics), and flashlight.

Very good file manager - Huawei Mate 9 review Very good file manager - Huawei Mate 9 review Very good file manager - Huawei Mate 9 review voice recorder - Huawei Mate 9 review voice recorder - Huawei Mate 9 review
Very good file manager • voice recorder

The bundled Smart controller app has a large database of devices with pre-loaded IR commands and in less than a minute we had a TV and a set-top box set up and operational via the smartphone.

Smart controller makes use of the IR emitter - Huawei Mate 9 review Smart controller makes use of the IR emitter - Huawei Mate 9 review Smart controller makes use of the IR emitter - Huawei Mate 9 review Smart controller makes use of the IR emitter - Huawei Mate 9 review
Smart controller makes use of the IR emitter

Reader comments

  • Anthonhio

The silver color is very nice in short Huawei mate there all nice

  • Huawei User

Please suggest, will I buy Mate 9 or not? I have to buy during this month. All suggestion repect

  • Raj from Chennai

Why FM radio is not available.It is a basic for every body need. Try to implement......