The 5.5" curved AMOLED screen is the Huawei Mate 9 Pro's centerpiece. It's .4" smaller than the Mate 9's, but has a higher 1440p resolution and thus much higher 534ppi density.
There were quite a few people that thought the Mate 9's screen with its 1080p resolution wasn't exactly a good fit for a phablet flagship and hoped for more. And they got more with the Porsche Design Edition, which however came with a ridiculous markup.
Later we were glad to hear Huawei had plans to release the Porsche Design Mate 9 without its premium branding. And here it is today - Porsche Design or not, the Mate 9 Pro is ready to win over the people for whom the 1080p screen would not suffice.
To be fair, the Mate 9's 5.9" screen posted flagship-worthy scores across our display tests - brightness, contrast, sunlight legibility. The color accuracy was the only average result, but it didn't ruin the positive impressions we got.
In comparison, the colors provided by the Huawei Mate 9's AMOLED screen are very good, but not as perfect as we'd hoped for. The average DeltaE of 3.8 is excellent, but the colors aren't as consisted - the cyan and red hues are way punchier (DeltaE of 8.1), as are some of the blues, and thus the screen can't be praised for its color calibration. Playing with the color temperature settings didn't help. On the other hand, AMOLED is often imagined as punchy, so we doubt anyone will complain of that. And an average DeltaE of 3.8 is a flagship-worthy score anyway, so even the pixel peepers will have a hard time finding any flaws.
The contrast is as good as an AMOLED screen can offer and the brightness, at 366nits, stays around the average numbers for this type of displays. The AMOLED units aren't known to be very bright, to begin with - the Mate S has a brightness of 372nits, while the P9 Plus hit the 400nits mark.
A definite positive point is that the minimum level of brightness is only 4 nits, which would make for a comfortable reading experience in dark environments.
The black parts of the image do not turn off contrary to what you may have come to expect from AMOLED screens. It's not the first AMOLED display to exhibit this behavior, but we can only guess about the reasons. Some suggest this is to prevent screen burn-in, while others point to backlight leaks - the current passing through the LEDs to sustain the screen refresh rate. Anyway, this shouldn't bother you, but it gives a better explanation of the results below.
|Display test||100% brightness|
|Black, cd/m2||White, cd/m2|
The average brightness on an AMOLED screen sometimes leads to not so impressive sunlight contrast ratios, but still above the average as is the case with the Huawei Mate 9 Pro. The screen visibility is great outside, so there is nothing to worry about. We suspect the factory-applied screen protector might have taken its toll on the sunlight score as it does count for the additional reflectivity.
The Huawei Mate 9 Pro may be smaller than the Mate 9, but its battery capacity didn't take a hit. It's still a 4,000mAh unit, and it's still one of the most generous offerings in the premium segment.
Huawei Mate 9 posted an excellent score of 82h, but we weren't quite sure what to expect of the new AMOLED screen on the Mate 9 Pro.
With that preface, the Mate 9 Pro posted an excellent battery endurance of 87 hours. It performed admirably across all of our routines - video, call, web, and standby.
The battery testing procedure is described in detail in case you're interested in the nitty-gritties. You can also check out our complete battery test table, where you can see how all of the smartphones we've tested will compare under your own typical use.
There's a few things to be said about Huawei's charging procedures. The phone ships with a beefy charger capable of outputting 5V/4.5A, 4.5V/5A, and 5V/2A, with the 22.5W maximum only exceeded by Oppo with their VOOC chargers (some of them 25W), and Motorola with its 25W TurboCharger, which doesn't seem to be available for purchase.
Now, similarly to Oppo's phones, to achieve these crazy numbers you need to use the Mate 9 Pro's charger together with the Mate 9 Pro's USB cable (and the Mate 9 Pro itself, duh!). You do get nice purple accenting on the connectors to notify they all comply with the same proprietary charging standard.
Swap just the cable with another one and you'll be down to 5V/2A, which is still not the worst-case scenario - some third-party Qualcomm QuickCharge 3.0 chargers we had lying around were rendered nearly worthless as the Mate would only draw 1A at 5V. Then again, most existing 5V/2A chargers (say, the Samsung one from the Galaxy S7) will output exactly that with any decent cable.
Upon closer inspection, we saw that the Huawei-made cable has four extra pins on the Type-C end in addition to the standard Type-C power pins, obviously. It sounds like that Huawei, similar to Oppo, is charging two separate batteries inside the phones.
There is nothing inherently wrong about that, just don't expect to get the same charging speed with third-party chargers.
And speaking of charging speeds, with its adapter and cable the Mate 9 Pro charges ridiculously fast. Mere ten minutes of charging gets you from 2% (that's the lowest point before the device powers off) to 20%. Thirty minutes from the start of the charging and you're looking at 55%. Sixty minutes gets you to 88%, and 95% is achieved in 75min after plugging it in. After the 60% mark charging speed starts tapering off, so you should have that in mind. Finally, flat to full is 90 minutes in total and that's a respectable speed for a 4000mAh battery.
The phone does get warm in the early stages, but only slightly so, and once it's past the fast charging stage, it goes back down to room temperature. Quite an impressive feat overall, but with the caveat that all the bits of the charging system are proprietary.
The Huawei Mate 9 Pro supports LTE-Advanced with 3-carrier aggregation, Cat.12 LTE for theoretical speeds up to 600Mbps down and 150Mbps up, 20 LTE bands, 6 3G bands and the usual quad-band 2G.
There's full-fledged Wi-Fi support - a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, with Wi-Fi Direct and hotspot support. You also get Bluetooth v4.2 for peripherals, A-GPS, GLONASS, Beidou, and Galileo for positioning, and NFC for, well, near field communication, right. We know some of you will also be glad to hear there's also an IR emitter on the Mate 9 Pro.
The Type-C USB port only adheres to the USB 2.0 spec (480Mbps theoretical) and not USB 3.0 or 3.1. It's not your average Type-C port either, as it has two more contacts for the SuperCharge tech, but those don't interfere with using standard-spec Type-C accessories.
There's an old-school 3.5mm headphone jack too. What the Huawei Mate 9 Pro lacks is FM radio support.