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Huawei Mate 9 vs Google Nexus 6P: Which is best for me?

Huawei Mate 9 vs Google Nexus 6P: With the Note 7 out of the picture, there are few other options for those looking for a true phablet experience right now, luckily Huawei’s newly unveiled Mate 9 and last year’s Nexus 6P both fit the bill for different reasons, so which works best for you?

Huawei Mate 9 vs Google Nexus 6P: Specs at a glance

  Huawei Mate 9 Google Nexus 6P
Screen size 5.9-inches 5.7-inches
Screen resolution Full HD (1920×1080) Quad HD (2560×1440)
Weight 190 grams 178 grams
OS Android 7.0 w/ EMUI 5.0 Upgraded to Android 7.1
Front camera 8-megapixels 8-megapixels
Rear camera(s) Dual 12-megapixels/20-megapixels colour/monochrome 12.3-megapixels
Processor 2.4GHz/1.8GHz octa-core Kirin 960 1.55GHz/2.0GHz octa-core Snapdragon 810
Memory 4GB RAM 3GB RAM
Storage 64GB. Expandable via microSD up to 2TB 32GB/64GB/128GB. Non-expandable
Battery 4000mAh w/ fast charging 3450mAh w/ fast charging

Huawei’s been pouring more time and care into the designs of its smartphones in recent years and it didn’t squander the opportunity to work with Google when it created the Nexus 6P back in 2015. The phone features a subtly curved bead-blasted metal unibody with diamond-chamfered edges, a Type-C USB port at its base and a fingerprint sensor on the back.

With the exception of the colours the phone comes in (two versus three), the new Mate 9 echoes these trends closely, with an equally high level of fit and finish. It doesn’t offer the same dual front-facing speaker arrangement and the larger screen and battery mean it’s unsurprisingly a larger, heavier handset, but it’s still thin and squeezes in more tech.

The Mate 9’s four microphones allow for active noise cancellation and directional audio recording using its native sound recorder or when shooting video, with two at its base, one set within the earpiece and one integrated into the rear camera arrangement. The 6P only packs three and lacks a native directional sound recorder altogether.

On the front the 6P’s dual speakers bookend a 5.7-inch Quad HD AMOLED display that boasts vibrant colours, good overall brightness and respectable viewing angles, the Mate 9 meanwhile offers up a larger 5.9-inch IPS LCD, which packs brighter, more accurately coloured imagery and superior viewing angles, however, Full HD resolution means it’s not quite as pin sharp as the Nexus (although perhaps easier on the battery as a result).

The last big talking point on the outside is the 6P’s 12.3-megapixel camera with laser autofocus, a dual-tone LED flash and up to 4K video recording – it’s a good flagship snapper, although age and lack of OIS do place it behind newer handsets. With the Mate 9, Huawei’s continued its partnership with Leica, giving you a similarly sounding 12-megapixel camera with laser autofocus, a dual-tone LED flash and up to 4K video recording, but that’s only one-half of a dual rear camera arrangement, not too dissimilar from the Huawei P9’s offering.

This second-generation Leica-developed camera boasts OIS on the colour sensor and a secondary 20-megapixel monochrome sensor with EIS and enlarged pixels for superior low light performance. The dual lens design also helps the phone acquire depth data for creating shots with creamy DSLR-like bokeh ‘in portrait or landscape’ – a clear tip of the hat to the iPhone 7 Plus’ new Portrait mode.

On the inside, the 6P is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 810 and 3GB of RAM, which still holds up well a year on from the phone’s release, helped in part by the fact the phone runs stock Android 7.0 (it launched on 6.0 Marshmallow). The Mate 9 meanwhile is the first phone to sport the company’s own Kirin 960 octa-core chipset, accompanied by 4GB of RAM. That means faster performance, support for newer technologies like Vulcan graphics and it also promises reduced performance deterioration over time versus the company’s previous devices by working in conjunction with the new Android 7.0-based Emotion UI 5.0.

On the software side the stock experience offered up by the 6P is as ever, clean, clear and guaranteed to receive another year of support direct from Google, whilst the Mate 9 launches on Android Nougat and will likely see only one major software upgrade in its lifetime. That said, EMUI is a tidier take on the company’s skinned user experience with improved security, performance and useful features like fingerprint sensor-based gestures and the ability to add or remove an apps drawer.

Storage on the 6P is limited by a lack of expandability, with 32GB, 64GB and 128GB options on offer, whilst the standard Mate 9 packs 64GB internally, but also accommodates microSD cards up to 2TB from its hybrid SIM slot, which can also support dual SIM cards (depending on the variant).

Lastly, we come to battery life, with a capacious 3450mAh battery inside the 6P that lasts up to a day and a half and fast charges for 7 hours usage from 10 minutes using the in-box adapter. Unsurprisingly, there’s an even larger 4000mAh cell inside the Mate 9 that boasts fast charging by way of a new in-box Super Charger, which offloads some of the fast-charging tech from the phone’s internals, resulting in 58 per cent charge from 30 minutes at the wall and a full charge possible in around 90 minutes.

Overall the Nexus 6P’s lower price, smaller, higher resolution AMOLED display and front-facing speakers render it the superior choice for media lovers, whilst the larger screen and new technologies on offer, including better connectivity and general performance from the Mate 9 make it the perfect productivity companion.

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