Pros and cons: Our quick verdict on the Huawei Mate 9

Consider it for the long battery life and brisk performance.

Engadget, @engadget
12.24.16 in Mobile
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    The most interesting thing about Huawei's latest flagship, the Mate 9, is actually invisible to the naked eye. Under the hood, the phone uses machine learning to anticipate which apps you're going to use when, allowing for supposedly smoother performance. What the phone would have been like without this AI, we don't know, but we can say that the performance feels brisk throughout. If fluid day-to-day use seems like table stakes, you might also be impressed with the long battery life, bright display and the fact that it actually has a headphone jack. Unfortunately, what's otherwise a great phone stumbles with low-light photography, as well as some heavy-handed software tweaks that will turn off Android purists. ]

    The Mate 9 isn't on sale here in the US yet, but we expect to learn pricing in the next month or so. If the price is on par with what it costs in Europe, the phone will be on par with or slightly cheaper than its rivals, which would make it a good value, so-so camera notwithstanding.

    Engadget Score
    Poor
    Uninspiring
    Good
    Excellent
    Key

    Pros
    • Unique machine learning algorithm
    • Impressively thin for such a large-screen device
    • Long battery life
    • Brisk performance
    • Large, bright display
    • Actually has a headphone jack
    Cons
    • Only supports GSM carriers
    • Mediocre camera quality in low light
    • Polarizing skin will turn off Android purists

    Summary

    Huawei has set itself apart from its competitors by making an actually smart phone that can adjust its performance based on your habits. The Mate 9’s machine-learning algorithm prioritizes resources to apps that it anticipates you’ll use, making your overall experience smoother. But this handset’s most appealing features are actually its stellar battery life and spacious 5.9-inch display. Unfortunately, though, despite the company’s continued collaboration with Leica, the Mate 9’s camera still struggles in low light. That said, if it ends up costing the same as it does in Europe, the Mate 9 will be cheaper than its rivals, making it a good value for its performance.

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