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September 29, 2016

Huawei Mate 9: Specs, release date and everything else we know so far

by John_A

Huawei is widely tipped to launch the next version of its Mate-series flagships very soon, and with the prevalence of leaks and details having been published online, the picture of what to expect is becoming clearer by the day. 

Let’s dive in to what could be one of the greatest phones the Chinese manufacturer has released to date. 

Huawei Mate 9: Design

If the latest leak is anything to go by, it appears the Mate 9 will very much look like its predecessor, the Mate 8. That’s to say we’re likely to see a slightly rounded, wide, all-metal rear with parallel antenna bands running horizontally near the top and the bottom edges. 

The dual camera system will sit near the top, with the two lenses sitting vertically, rather than side-by-side horizontally like the P9 and P9 Plus. On either side of the camera system, there’s a dual LED flash and a laser sensor for autofocusing, while the round fingerprint scanner sits underneath. 

  • Huawei Mate 9 renders confirm Leica branded dual camera

As for colour schemes, it’s likely – according to a Weibo leak – that we’ll see up to nine different colours; including Amber Gold, Ceramic White, Amber Grey, Rose Gold, Moonlight Silver, Sky Grey, Mocha Gold, Champagne Gold and Enamel Gloss Black. Basically, all the golds. 

Weibo

On the front, it seems as though there will be a huge – virtually bezel-free – screen dominating the available space, while the portions of the frame at the top and bottom have a subtle reflective finish like the back of the Honor 8. 

As is common for Huawei phones, the power and volume buttons sit on the right edge, within thumb’s reach, while the bottom edge – in the leaks we’ve seen – plays home to a USB Type-C port flanked by two sets of speaker grilles. Like the Nova Plus we reviewed, it’s likely only one of these actually has a speaker behind it. 

We’ve not seen any clear images of the top edge yet, but we assume this is where we’ll see the 3.5mm jack placed, just like the Nova Plus. It’s not likely Huawei will “do an Apple” and get rid of the port just yet. 

Baidu (via GSMArena)

Huawei Mate 9: Hardware and display

Spec-wise, the Mate 9 should have some of the most powerful and high-end components currently available. That means it’s likely to be the first phone to sport the company’s own Kirin 960 processor. And if that’s anything like the 950 or 955, this phone will be really quick. 

As well as its most powerful processor to date, the aforementioned leaks indicated that we should see the usual pricing and memory tiers we see often from Chinese manufacturers. That means there’s likely to be two versions with 4GB RAM, one of those will have 64GB storage, the other 128GB, while there may also be a 6GB RAM model with 256GB storage. 

Huawei Mate 9: Camera

With Huawei and Leica having recently announced a partnership, it’s no surprise that the two companies are claimed to be working together again on the Mate 9’s optics.

Like the P9 and P9 Plus, it’s claimed the dual camera on the back will again be made up of one monochrome (black and white) sensor alongside a more usual colour one. Rumours have suggested we could see either a similar 12-megapixel sensor in each, or 20-megapixel sensor.  

To keep costs down, and presumably battery life up, there’s been suggestion that the 5.9-inch screen on the front will have a resolution of 1920 x 1080, which doesn’t seem quite as sharp as what you’d expect from a line-leading smartphone. Especially not with a screen this large. We’ve been hoping for a quad HD panel, but it’s not been mentioned yet. 

Huawei Mate 9: Software

Like all Huawei phones, the Mate 9 is bound to launch running Android with the company’s own EMUI skin on top. Which versions of each is possibly up for debate. 

The company’s most recent efforts run Android 6.0 Marshmallow – the OS launched originally in Autumn last year – and EMUI version 4.1.

With LG having already launched an Android 7.0 Nougat phone, it wouldn’t be too unbelievable if Huawei followed suit in offering its first Android N device to market. There has been suggestion in the past that we may see Nougat – albeit a heavily skinned version – running the show on the Mate 9. 

Huawei Mate 9: Release date

Actual retail release date predictions and launch date bets have varied widely from September to December, and everything in between. However, Huawei has just sent out invitations to an event on 3 November in Munich.

  • Huawei Mate 9 launch date confirmed, 3 November in Munich

All things considered, it would seem that is the date the Chinese firm will unveil its next creation, with a bigger focus on European and UK launch this year.  

Huawei Mate 9: Price

Of the three storage/memory models mentioned at the top of the post, it’s been claimed that the cheapest model will only be available in Europe, and that it’ll cost around €700. That puts it at a price of around £600, which is virtually iPhone 7 territory. 

While we don’t know for sure how much it will cost here, it’s clear that the next Mate series phone isn’t aimed at the budget/affordable end of the market. This is a high-end phone with a premium price. Best start saving now if you’re certain you want one already. 

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