The Huawei Mate 9 Pro comes in a retail package that leaves no doubt about its premium market position. Aside from the presentation, the contents are pretty lavish, too.
You'll find two additional separate boxes inside and the first one holds the mighty 22.5W charger, a proprietary Type-C cable (more on that in the Battery section), a micro-USB to Type-C adapter, and a headset.
The second one contains the SIM eject tool and a transparent case. The latter snaps tightly onto the Mate and covers the back and the corners.
The Huawei Mate 9 Pro measures 152 x 75 x 7.5mm, which is about right for a 5.5-incher and it's very close to the Galaxy S7 edge's measurements. As expected, the Mate 9 Pro is smaller than the Mate 9 - it's 5mm shorter and 4mm narrower.
The Mate 9 has lost some weight - it's 169 g, 21g down from the Mate 9, but 12g heavier than the Galaxy S7 edge.
The Huawei Mate 9 Pro was envisioned as a premium product, and you can tell by the involvement of Porsche Design. But even losing the pricey logos, the superior design and appearance are easy to spot.Huawei Mate 9 Pro next to the Mate 9
The curved front glass is an immediate attention grabber. The Galaxy S6 edge originally established the double-edge design, and it was successfully continued as a trend by the Galaxy S7 edge. Huawei's intent to be edgy might have gone a bit too far, though, as the Mate 9 Pro looks are a bit too S7 edge-y, pun intended.Huawei Mate 9 Pro next to the Galaxy S7 edge
The curved Gorilla Glass 3 keeping the curved 5.5" AMOLED screen safe should do a fine job. But the Mate 9 Plus might come with a screen protector pre-applied in some markets. While we aren't particularly fond of this cheap piece of polyurethane, you at least have a choice to keep it or remove it, depending on your definition of safety. And having a choice is always a good thing, so we give Huawei credit where it's due.
While the Mate 9 Pro and Galaxy S7 edge have a lot on common on their faceplates, the back is where they part ways.Huawei Mate 9 Pro next to the Galaxy S7 edge
For quite some time we were convinced the Mate 9 Pro's metal back has a lot of similarities to the original Mate 9's. But shortly after the joy of handling a new device wore off, we noticed the backs are completely different, with the two identical bits being the cameras' bed and the choice of material.Huawei Mate 9 Pro next to the Mate 9
The brushed pattern and the polished metal are a nice touch and complement well the luxurious front. The plastic lines are unavoidable in a metal unibody, but we like the way Huawei used the top one to emphasize on the dual camera setup. HTC began using the antenna bands in the same way with the One series (M7, M8, M9) and we can now see a few similarities with the gold One M9 model.
The Huawei Mate 9 Pro may not be unique, but that's true for almost any phone these days. It's the build quality and sturdiness that matter the most and the Mate 9 Pro has got them just right. The curved glass fits perfectly into the metal shell, and there are no gaps whatsoever. Handling the Mate 9 Pro is a premium experience by our book, though all these curves hardly help with the handling.
While the original Mate 9 phablet follows the footsteps of the previous Mates, the Pro flavor breaks the pattern and goes for the best materials and shapes known to the market. You can tell it's different in an instant, and that was the point all along - to be better looking than the Mate 9. It may not be unique, but it's still nothing short of gorgeous.
The 5.5" AMOLED screen is the centerpiece of the Huawei Mate 9 Pro. Above is the earpiece, which also doubles as a second speaker. The ambient light sensor is hidden under the earpiece's grille, which is something we don't see often.
The proximity sensor is responsible for the small black dot left of the earpiece, and there is a tiny RGB LED notification light nearby. The 8MP autofocus selfie is further to the right.
Below the high-res display is a deck with three capacitive keys, all of them - highly customizable. For starters, the Home key is not clickable; it reacts to taps only. It also has an embedded fingerprint scanner, which has the fastest and most accurate sensor we've encountered to date. Huawei has always employed blazing-fast biometric scanners, but this one beats everything else. Oh, and it's always-on so you can wake the phone from standby just by touching it.
The Home key surprises continued once we dug into the Settings menu. You can opt to disable the other two cleverly hidden, though backlighted capacitive keys, and make the Home one a multi-functional tool - one tap for Back, long tap for Home, and swipe left or right on its surface for Task Switcher. It's like Meizu's mTouch key, but even better.
The ejectable SIM bed is on the left, while the volume controls and the power/lock key are on the left.
The IR blaster is the only thing of interest at the phone's top. The bottom is pretty crowded, though - there is the USB Type-C port, the primary speaker and mic, and the analog audio jack.
Finally, the back has the vertically-aligned 12MP color and 20MP monochrome sensors as parts of the second-gen dual camera setup. They are complemented by a two-tone flash and a laser beam to assist the autofocus. The secondary microphone is around, too.