Huawei isn't the only Chinese electronics juggernaut looking to break into European and US markets, but it's the one making the most noise this year. The Mate 9 is Huawei's latest flagship phablet, and it arrives alongside a new Fit wearable.
Huawei will be looking to the Mate 9 to fill some of the void left by the demise of the recalled Galaxy Note 7, with the Mate's 5.9-inch display, hefty 4,000 mAh battery and generous 4 GB of RAM. It's all powered by Huawei's fastest processor yet, the Kirin 960.
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Those are pretty eye-popping specs on paper, and it's coming to the US too, something that hasn't always been the case with Huawei's previous handsets.
It's also tricked out with a fingerprint sensor, USB-C, and a 12/20 MP dual-lens camera system similar to the one installed on the Huawei P9 and again developed in partnership with Leica.
While the standard Mate 9 comes with a full HD 1,920 x 1,080 pixel resolution, the "limited edition" Porsche model ups this to 2,560 x 1,440 pixels on a smaller 5.5-inch screen. The premium variant also get an extra 2 GB of RAM and an internal storage boost from 64 GB to 256 GB.
Also worth noting is the supercharge technology, which Huawei says can provide a day's worth of power in just 30 minutes, and the intelligent software tweaks that will apparently optimize the OS as you use it and avoid the standard system slowdowns. We'll have to wait for a review unit to test this out, though.
It's good to see Android 7.0 Nougat on board here too, even if it is buried under Huawei's rather underwhelming EMUI skin.
We've been impressed with Huawei's hardware and design chops so far in 2016 but software and distribution continues to hinder its expansion as a serious smartphone maker outside of Asia. It'll be interesting to see if the Mate 9 can solve those problems.
Huawei is promising the Mate 9 will come to the US at some point, though as yet we don't have a fixed price or launch date. Right now it's rolling out in the near future in Europe for €699 (roughly US$775) with the Porsche edition costing a wallet-busting €1,395 (about $1,545).
Huawei also had time to announce a Huawei Fit wearable, which the company says "bridges the gap between smartwatch and fitness tracker" like so many hybrid devices before it. It retails for $129.99 and is on sale now.
In a Pebble Round-style shape, it offers the usual collection of features, including step, sleep and heart-rate tracking, and call and message notifications from your phone. The quoted 5-day battery life sounds like one of the most promising features, but there are also more complex features like readings for VO2 max and recovery time.
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