There were a lot of rumors, but finally, the Huawei Mate 9 has been unveiled. Initially only available in a handful of countries, it will be on sale in the United States first and is expected to give the iPhone 7 Plus and Google Pixel XL a run for their money. But how does it compare to these already-popular devices?

huawei mate 9 compared

Huawei Mate 9 vs. iPhone 7 Plus vs. Google Pixel

For as long as we can remember, there have been manufacturers sitting at the top of the smartphone pile. Then there are those that come under the pretender’s title, which are those companies with an eye on the top spot that may one day get there. Lastly, there are those who produce great handsets but don’t have the brand recognition to reach great heights. Huawei is, at this moment, in the latter group and hopes the Mate 9 will be its breakthrough handset.

Will the Huawei Mate live up to its billing as a killer flagship?

RAM and chipset

The iPhone 7 Plus runs on Apple’s A10 Fusion chip, which makes it up to 40% faster than the iPhone 6s Plus. Throw in 3GB of RAM, and you’ve got the best-performing iPhone of all time.

The Google Pixel XL features the very latest from Qualcomm, the Snapdragon 821, plus 4GB of RAM, which makes it one of the fastest Android handsets in existence, if not the fastest.

With the Huawei Mate 9, the Chinese firm decided to use its own Kirin 9 chipset. Developed in-house, it features the world’s first ARM Cortex-A73-A53 octa-core CPU. It has a Mali G71 GPU, which, combined with the ARM Cortex CPU, is said to be the best multi-core SoC on the planet. According to Huawei, the Kirin 9 not only provides excellent performance, but it also reduces power consumption by 15%. Working alongside the chipset is 4GB of RAM, which surely will make this handset a great performer.

Display

Thanks to Samsung, the phablet has been with us for some years now, and the form factor has become so popular that even Apple followed suit. Its latest big-screen handset, the iPhone 7 Plus, features a 5.5-inch display with a resolution of 1080 x 1920 or 401ppi.

The Google Pixel XL has the same display size as the iPhone at 5.5 inches, but, its resolution is superior at 1440 x 2560, which equates to 534ppi. Additionally, it is protected by Gorilla Glass 4, so it is safe from scratches and some knocks.

The Huawei Mate 9 is the largest of the three. At 5.9 inches, the display takes up a massive 77.5% of the handset’s face. However, when it comes to resolution, this is where it falls a little. At 1080 x 1920, it’s the same as the iPhone, but due to its large screen, the pixel per inch quality drops to 373ppi.

Camera

Thanks to technology improvements, the camera has become the focus of attention for many manufacturers. For instance, the iPhone 7 Plus carries with it two rear 12MP lenses. One sensor is a telephoto lens, and the other a wide-angle sensor. Additionally, Apple has included optical image stabilization for the first time, which makes this camera formidable, especially when you throw in a front-facing 7MP sensor too.

The Google Pixel XL comes with a 12.3MP rear camera with features like optical image stabilization, a dual-LED flash, auto-focus and more. Its front-facing camera has an 8MP sensor, which Google hopes will make it the ultimate selfie-snapper.

So how does the Huawei Mate 9 compare? Like the iPhone 7 Plus, it has a dual-lens rear camera setup which has a 20MP sensor and 12MP sensor. Features include Leica optics, phase detection, laser auto-focus, and a dual-LED flash. Its front-facing camera is almost identical to that found on the Pixel XL at 8MP.

Battery

Of the three handsets in this comparison, surprisingly, the Huawei Mate 9 carries the largest battery. It’s a massive 4,000 mAh non-removable Li-Po battery, which right now we have no further information on. However, it’s fair to say that the lifespan of this battery must be impressive. It has likely been incorporated to offset the significant amount of power required by the big display.

Next, in order of battery size, we have the Pixel XL, featuring an also large 3,450 mAh non-removable Li-ion battery. It’s thought that this could be a super efficient device. This handset puts Google in a position to take some of Samsung’s market share.

As for the iPhone 7 Plus, Apple is always a little cagey about revealing all of its devices’ specs, but we do know that the 7 Plus has a 2,900 mAh battery, which makes it the smallest here. However, according to Apple, the A10 Fusion chip can operate efficiently enough to allow the handset to compete with phones that have larger batteries.

Specs compared

huawei mate 9 specs compared

Price and availability

The Huawei Mate 9 was initially expected to be announced in December with a launch date in the middle of the month. However, thanks to an early reveal, it’s thought a mid- to late-November launch will happen. Huawei has not given pricing details, but in the United States, the handset could be priced around $650. This price is for the only variant available with 64GB of storage.

The Pixel XL comes with two storage sizes, which are 32GB and 128GB. The prices for these variants are $769 and $869. The iPhone 7 Plus comes in 32GB, 128GB, and 256GB variants at the prices of $769, $869 and $969.

So will the Huawei Mate 9 be able to take on the iPhone 7 Plus and Google Pixel XL? We think it has the specifications to do so, but a handset is the sum of its parts. So depending on the quality of those parts, we will have to wait and see; it’s still very early.