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Huawei P10 Plus vs P9 Plus vs Mate 9: What’s the difference?

Huawei P10 Plus vs P9 Plus vs Mate 9: We compared Huawei’s three biggest phones right now: the P9 Plus, Mate 9 and the newly launched P10 Plus, which just broke cover at MWC 2017.

Huawei P10 Plus vs P9 Plus vs Mate 9: Specs at a glance

  P10 Plus P9 Plus Mate 9
Screen size 5.5-inches 5.5-inches 5.9-inches
Screen resolution WQHD (2560×1440) Full HD (1920×1080) Full HD (1920×1080)
OS Android 7.0 w/ EMUI 5.1 Android 7.0 w/ EMUI 5.0 Android 7.0 w/ EMUI 5.0
Rear cameras 12/20-megapixels 12/12-megapixels 12/20-megapixels
Front cameras 8-megapixels (Leica) 8-megapixels 8-megapixels
Processor Kirin 960 Kirin 955 Kirin 960
Memory 6GB RAM 4GB RAM 4GB RAM
Storage 128GB + microSD up to 256GB 64GB + microSD up to 256GB 64GB + microSD up to 256GB
Battery 3750mAh 3400mAh 4000mAh

Huawei P10 Plus vs P9 Plus vs Mate 9: Hands-on comparison review

There’s a lot of DNA shared across these three smartphones and it’s worth paying Huawei credit for creating such a cohesive design language whilst also differentiating between the P-Series and the Mate family.

All three phones offer premium metal builds, both the P9 Plus and the P10 Plus sporting narrower, flatter profiles, whilst the Mate 9 shows off a more organic, curved body; better suited to handheld use considering its larger overall footprint.

Huawei sees the P-Series as the fashion-forward product family, thus the wider array of colour options and finishes available, especially in the case of the P10 Plus (which comes in eight different colourways including green. The P10 Plus and Mate 9 use more rounded natural forms, over the squared P9 Plus, hinting at a general move across Huawei’s entire line to smooth out its overall aesthetic with its newer devices.

Read next: Huawei P10 vs the world, is the P10 the best Android flagship out there?

The P10 Plus shrugs the long-standing rear-mounted fingerprint sensor setup that Huawei’s top phones have adopted for a few years now and mounts it beneath the display’s cover glass. Here it also serves as the single point of interaction for navigating to the phone’s home screen, pressing back or opening up the app switcher, jobs that still fall to three dedicated on-screen buttons in the case of both the older P9 Plus and Mate 9. Neither option is superior to the other in any real way, but people will undoubtedly have a preference.

As for displays, the P10 Plus trumps its predecessor and the Mate in terms of sheer pixels, packing a crisp WQHD panel. The P9 Plus offers more punch with a Press Touch-laden Full HD Super AMOLED screen that accommodates extra methods of interaction and more vivid colours, whilst the P10 Plus ditches the gimmicky Press Touch tech for faster touch response and swaps to brighter and whiter IPS LCD technology. The Mate 9 falls short on pixel density, packing a 5.9-inch display versus both other phone’s 5.5-inch efforts, but a comparatively low Full HD resolution doesn’t hurt it all that much, as narrow bezels ensure it’s still a pleasure to use and look at.

Read next: P10 Plus vs Galaxy S7 Edge, which one has the edge?

The older P9 Plus has been brought up to date to match the experience found natively on the Mate 9 in Huawei’s Emotion UI 5.0 overlay running atop Android 7.0. The P10 Plus unsurprisingly runs Android 7.0 out the box, like the Mate 9, but debuts Emotion UI 5.1.

This features all the same benefits as 5.0, but adds better memory management, faster touch response, colour-matched themes and a new ‘discover’ tab in the gallery app that creates video rundowns of events, people and places you capture, on the fly. Whilst these features could readily trickle down to both the P9 Plus and the Mate 9, there’s no guarantee, so if you want the latest and greatest in the software department, you’ll have to grab the P10 Plus.

Check out our in-depth EMUI 5 review for more info.

The P9 Plus lags behind on both the processor and camera front. Its Kirin 955 chip doesn’t offer the same graphical oomph shared by the newer Mate 9 and P10 Plus, whilst it matches the Mate 9 in terms of internal storage (64GB) and RAM (4GB). The P10 Plus runs away with the same chipset as the Mate 9, but 6GB of RAM and double the internal space, at 128GB, all three phones are, however, microSD expandable up to 256GB.

All three phones also feature Leica’s dual camera tech on the back, but the two newer phones use its second-generation iteration, which shoots at a higher resolution and can capture 4K video. The P10 Plus takes things a step further, with better Leica lenses than those found on the other two phones, and an improved portrait mode over the Mate 9’s, for creamier bokeh. Leica’s even fiddled with the 8-megapixel front facer on the P10 Plus, which should theoretically mean better selfies than both the P9 Plus and the Mate 9.

Check out our Huawei P10 camera review for more in-depth info, photo and video samples.

The last piece of the puzzle is batteries, which see the Mate 9’s larger body prove its worth with a whopping 4000mAh cell. In second place (at least with regards to capacity) is the 3750mAh battery in the P10 Plus, which has twice as many pixels to push – something that may affect longevity versus the 3400mAh cell powering the P9 Plus. Fast charging also becomes progressively more efficient the newer the handset you look at, with the P10 Plus’ Supercharger doling out a full charge in under 90 minutes or a day’s usage after jus 20 minutes.

All three phones hold value in the current smartphone space. The Huawei Mate 9 is still the best phablet in markets where Xiaomi doesn’t really have a presence, whilst the P10 Plus offers enough of an improvement across multiple disciplines to trump the P9 Plus (albeit without Press Touch, oh no). It’s now just a case of weighing up price tags to decide whether you can swing for the newer handsets.

Check out our video comparison of the P10 Plus with the Mate 9 below and take a look at our MWC 2017 hub for our full hands-on reviews of the new P10 and P10 Plus, and loads more comparisons.

 

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