Huawei Mate 9 teases big performance in a big body

Huawei has formally announced the Mate 9, its latest competitor in the crowded high-end Android smartphone market. Thankfully, the 9 in the phone's name doesn't refer to its screen size, a large-but-manageable 5.9". The Mate 9's Kirin 960 octa-core SoC is produced by Huawei subsidiary HiSilicon. That chip packs four Cortex-A73 cores and four Cortex-A53s alongside a Mali-G71 GPU, and Huawei touts the SoC as the "world's highest performance smartphone processor." That chip hides in a svelte metal body that Huawei claims needs an hour inside a CNC machine to get right.

The 5.9" display has a 1080p resolution, which owners of non-Apple high-end smartphones may consider pedestrian these days. The Mali G71 GPU in the Mate 9's SoC supports the next-generation Vulkan API, as is required for Android 7.0 Nougat support.  The phone also packs a Leica dual-lens camera on its backside. One of those lenses has a 20MP sensor behind it, while the other uses a 12MP sensor. Those sensors work together in a manner similar to that of the company's P9 phone. The phone's 4000-mAh battery features SuperCharge technology that allows a "full day's charge in 20 minutes."

Unlike Google's vanilla-Android Pixel phones, Huawei follows most other Android phone manufacturers in offering its own custom Android skin. Huawei calls its skin EMUI, and the Mate 9 carries the fifth version of the software. Huawei says its custom interface allows 50% of phone functions to be reached within two clicks, and 90% of functions within three clicks. EMUI 5 is built atop Android Nougat.

A special edition Mate 9 cooked up in conjunction with Porsche Design ditches the conventional 5.9" screen in favor of a 5.5" curved AMOLED display. The Porsche Design Edition also bumps the memory from 4GB to 6GB and the storage from 64GB to 256GB.

That Porsche badge and extra hardware will cost buyers. The standard Huawei Mate 9 will be available in six neutral colors for 699€. Buyers will have to fork out 1400€ for the Porsche Design Edition Mate 9, which only comes in black. According to Wired, the stanard Mate 9 will cost $775 and the Porsche Design version will ring in at a commanding $1550 in the US when sales begin in two weeks.

Comments closed
    • ronch
    • 3 years ago

    The more these high end phones sell for, the more I feel good about snagging a $160 Acer recently. Yes it isn’t perfect and the camera is kinda disappointing but it’s otherwise a great phone, a miracle of technology for much, much less.

    • blastdoor
    • 3 years ago

    Do we have any data or leading indicators on how the A73 compares to the custom cores from Qualcomm and Samsung?

    • Anonymous Coward
    • 3 years ago

    High-performance phones are pathetic in the same way as a high-performance scooter would be. One cylinder of furious noise! Yee haw.

    Related topic, old one-cylinder boat engines are awesome. I’m thinking things that are making maybe 60 RPM tops, blowing smoke rings on each power stroke. The sound and feel is unique.

      • ronch
      • 3 years ago

      Yeah. Hurrah for slow, low-performance phones!! Yay!! πŸ˜€

        • Anonymous Coward
        • 3 years ago

        Well, there is room in the middle.

    • ronch
    • 3 years ago

    Anybody here checked out the [s<]Elephant[/s<] Elephone S7? It's an amazing phone for the price, assuming quality and durability are good. It's just crazy how prices creep up across the four color options.

    • ronch
    • 3 years ago

    Expect a Lamborghini Design phone from Lenovo, a Ferrari Design phone from Xiaomi, and a Maserati Design phone from ZTE soon, each costing $1,500 or so.

    • chΒ΅ck
    • 3 years ago

    Lose the porsche and leica branding and it’s a $500 phone (retail).
    It’s interesting to see a prominent lens name other than zeiss on smartphones.

    • ronch
    • 3 years ago

    ‘Porsche DESIGN’ just screams CHINESE, doesn’t it?

    • ronch
    • 3 years ago

    This just in. I realized that $1,500 price may not work in many western countries where people mostly don’t care whether you’re sporting a 128GB iPhone or a cheap [url=http://www.doogee.cc/<]Doogee[/url<], but in Huawei's home town this is gonna be a hit among the affluent sort. In China, people love showing off their stuff. They buy expensive watches, clothes, cars, phones, anything... to show how far they've gone. I have Chinese relatives, and I know how it is there. Maybe it comes from being a country that just recently became wealthy. Like how people that recently got rich are still thrilled with all the finer things in life versus those who have been wealthy for generations and aren't as bent on showing off anymore and don't mind being seen wearing cheap sandals.

      • TheJack
      • 3 years ago

      In other words beating Apple in it’s own game. If this works for them, prepare for a round of super expensive gadgets.

    • iatacs19
    • 3 years ago

    It’s not bad, but the price is a bit high for me since I upgrade every 12-16 months. If the cycle were longer then it would be worth considering. It’s easier to get a $750 S7Edge and in another 12 months get an S8Edge for $750 and this Porsche Design phone would already be outdated.

    • DoomGuy64
    • 3 years ago

    [url<]http://www.geekbuying.com/item/Xiaomi-Redmi-Note-4-Pro-Helio-X20-3GB-64GB-Smartphone---Gray-371577.html[/url<]

    • TheJack
    • 3 years ago

    $1550 for a non iphone phone. Wonder how many they will sell.

    • gerbilspy
    • 3 years ago

    *Yawn* *Yawn*

    • Chrispy_
    • 3 years ago

    The Porsche Design blackberries were also priced stupidly. They actually had different, terrible angular keycaps that made the phone [i<]far[/i<] worse to use. In this case, the reduction in screen size appears to be [i<]solely[/i<] so that there was room to fit the words "Porsche Design" on the phone. Surely if you're in the market for a status symbol, you're going to get an offensively tasteless iPhone encrusted with diamonds or Swarovski crystal, [i<]not[/i<] a Chinese brand known for getting into the market by being super cheap.

      • VincentHanna
      • 3 years ago

      You say that as if every owner of the crackberry didn’t love their crackbaby. They did. All of them. They may be obsolete and dated now, but don’t put down the crackdaddy.

      • ronch
      • 3 years ago

      Speaking of status symbols, it seems to me that anybody who’s somebody is using an iPhone. Heck, even that crazy British banker turned world famous psycho was using an iPhone during his bedroom adventures. What’s up with that? I reckon Apple’s not the only phone maker in town.

        • Chrispy_
        • 3 years ago

        They’re a complete rip off and cost far more than their material value.

        That’s why they’re status symbols. They state that you have enough wealth to slurge frivolously on something that isn’t actually cost effective, just because you are wealthy.

        Poeople buying thousand dollar versions of the iPhone7+ can probably do everything they want (perhaps photos being the exception) on a sub-$100 android phone. They spend the extra $900 because they want to, and because it’ll be a nicer experience.

    • mkk
    • 3 years ago

    I found it comparatively interesting, if only the had managed a removable battery as well.

    • ronch
    • 3 years ago

    Everyone simply has to sell ~$800 phones these days, but $1,500+? I see another trend in the making.

    • brucethemoose
    • 3 years ago

    [quote<]$1550[/quote<] ...Why?

      • RAGEPRO
      • 3 years ago

      Because it says Porsche on it. Duh.

      • Firestarter
      • 3 years ago

      because Porsche buyers also buy $10K brakes that they’ll never put to use

        • jihadjoe
        • 3 years ago

        Those $10k brakes are actually a pretty good investment. Under normal use they last the life of the car, plus they also add significantly to the car’s value when it comes time to sell.

        Also have you seen values on Porsche’s GT and R models? Forget depreciation, if you can afford the cars you can use them for a few years and actually make money on the resale.

        Truly Captain Samuel Vimes ‘Boots’ theory of socioeconomic unfairness at work.

      • Laykun
      • 3 years ago

      Opulence

    • willmore
    • 3 years ago

    I just received my Le Eco Le S 3 today. $159 and free shipping.

    Not all good Android phones are huge and expensive.

      • fyo
      • 3 years ago

      That price point was a 1-day sale, so hard to compare. Anyone else will have to pay a hundred dollars more.

      LeEco heavily skin their phones, which is a big downside, particularly with the coupling to their LeTV service.

      Anyone considering one should note that they’ve ditched the 3.5mm jack, FM radio, expandable storage, and NFC. So no Android Pay or other contactless payment options.

      The phone is exceptionally similar to the LeEco L2, except without Glonass and BDS support (Russian and Chinese variants of GPS). Initial reports are that it’s not quite as accurate and doesn’t lock quite as quickly is high-end phones from e.g. Samsung. There are some questions
      surrounding the size, as it’s listed differently on many sites. It’s either identical to the L2 (which I would consider very likely) or 4mm wider. Probably mostly an issue for cases and accessories, where the L2 has quite a lot. To me it really looks like a US variant of the L2, although they didn’t include CDMA.

      Oh, and it’s not available in Europe, so that kind of limits anyone on that side of the pond.

        • VincentHanna
        • 3 years ago

        Expandable storage, an FM radio and NFC are all luxury items that you need to specifically buy for. They aren’t “to be expected” anymore… and they certainly don’t require a disclaimer/ kneejerk ragepost. I feel like LeEco must have kicked your dog or something. The 3.5mm jack silliness is weirder, but they are hardly the first apple copycat.

        Also, in case you missed it, his point was not “hey, go out and buy a LeEco” His point was that there are other options besides a $700 S7/Pixel/iPhone that should satisfy any nerd. He’s right.

          • designerfx
          • 3 years ago

          This is true. From the same folks, Honor 8 is good for the value and so is the Oneplus 3+. I feel those represent the highest price anyone should spend on a phone.

          I’m also humored by verizon, who offered 20% off pixels upfront – when tmobile offered $325 off pixels over 24 months. People must be really bad at math lately to spend huge amounts on phones.

      • shaq_mobile
      • 3 years ago

      I got an honor 5x a month ago for 200. Couldn’t be happier. πŸ™‚

      • XTF
      • 3 years ago

      Does it come with Nougat?

    • morphine
    • 3 years ago

    *Yawn* another phone the size of an iPhone 7+ for an almost-as-ridiculous price. πŸ˜‰

      • derFunkenstein
      • 3 years ago

      exactly. Boo “flagships”

      • ronch
      • 3 years ago

      Um, how is $1,550 ‘almost-as-ridiculous’ as ~$800 for the iPhone 7/Plus? Isn’t it [b<]even more[/b<] ridiculous, not almost as ridiculous?

        • morphine
        • 3 years ago

        I’m talking about the regular model, not the Porsche one.

    • Redundant
    • 3 years ago

    *Yawn* another oversized Android phone for a ridiculous price.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 3 years ago

      I appreciate the subtlety.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 3 years ago

    *Yawn* another oversized Android phone for a ridiculous price.

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