Huawei Mate 9 review

Huawei Mate 9
The Huawei Mate 9 (

Pining for a phablet in your Christmas stocking? Huawei hopes you'll choose the Mate 9.

The Chinese tech giant's flagship big-screen phone is available in New Zealand from today. After the Samsung Note 7 debacle, it's asked Santa to send it lots of happy new customers.

So what's new with the Mate 9? After a week or two of playing with one, I've found it powerful, big on battery and great for taking photos (even if you're useless like me).

The phone has a 5.9-inch screen wrapped in a metal alloy unibody. It looks expensive and attractive, particularly in mocha brown - the colour I reviewed.

The screen is high definition (HD) rather than quad high definition (QHD), which might not impress some people, particularly as QHD is needed for virtual reality headsets.

Like the P9, the Mate 9 has a finger scanner on the back which can be used for more than just unlocking the phone. You can also set it to do things like open up your notifications, turn off your alarm or answer your phone.

A great feature is the camera setup. One 12MP colour, one 20MP Leica-sourced black and white. They are stacked vertically in a single, optically stabilized unit with a flash and laser autofocus positioned alongside.

For video you can record in up to 4K, but facial tracking and stabilisation are lost. 

The phone's battery life is great, around 16 hours of proper use, and a  large cooling area should stop the chipset from choking. 

Huawei's software interface has had an overhaul. EMUI 5 is based on Android 7.0 Nougat. 

Some will love it, others won't be so convinced. Android fans can use the app drawer but there's also a no app draw option for old iPhone users.

The phone isn't water resistant but it is fairly scratch resistant, using Gorilla Glass 3. 

Also, if the phone's screen is accidentally broken within 12 months of purchase, Huawei will replace it.


  • fast charging
  • long battery life
  • good value
  • solid camera.


  • large and heavy
  • average gaming performance
  • not waterproof.

All in all, the Mate 9 is a sexy looking, solid phablet for a reasonable price. 

The phone comes in black, space grey, moonlight silver, champagne gold, mocha brown and ceramic white. The recommended retail price in New Zealand is $1099.


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