Do we have a good one for you today – The Huawei Mate 9 goes up against the popular OnePlus 3T. The Mate 9 with its large display and all-metal backing takes on the updated all-metal OP3T. Does the new Mate 9 have what it takes to surpass the revised OP3T? The Huawei Mate 9 is their latest in phablet devices and OnePlus took their popular OnePlus 3 and gave it new life with a few improvements. Let's look at just what these two devices have in common, if anything, and then we will take a closer look at each one in hopes that we can determine a winner of this comparison.
The OnePlus 3T and the Huawei Mate 9 have a few things in common. The displays of the two devices are almost one-half inch different in size. This size difference results in the Mate 9 being slightly larger in physical size and weighing in at 32 grams more than the OnePlus 3T. The displays use different technologies, but the same resolutions, and different Gorilla Glass for protection. They use different processors and GPUs, although both are top-notch. They pack different amounts of RAM– 6GB in the OnePlus 3T and 4GB in the Mate 9 – but only the Mate 9 has the means to expand its memory via a microSD card. The primary camera areas could not be more different – the OnePlus 3T uses one 12MP sensor, and the Mate 9 uses a 20MP and a 12MP camera – but both take great pictures. Both have a fingerprint sensor for unlocking the device as well as NFC for authorizing mobile payments, including Android Pay. They both use a non-removable battery, and both have rapid charge capabilities. They come with the usual suspects – WiFi, Bluetooth v4.2, GPS, NFC, and the newer reversible Type-C port for charging and data transfer.
Please take a thoughtful look at the detailed Specifications Comparison chart below, and here you will see just how these two great devices stack up against one another – click on the "View Full Comparison" link at the end of the chart to expand the details. After that, we will look at each device in greater depth and point out some of its pros and cons. From all of this information, we will try to determine the winner based on specs and execution of design and functions.
Huawei Mate 9
Huawei uses their Mate series to highlight their love of large displays and the Mate 9 continues that tradition with a large 5.9-inch display. Huawei does not like to waste battery life on a QHD display so that you will find their typical FHD resolution on the Mate 9. Even with an almost tablet-sized display, Huawei was able to keep the Mate 9 relatively compact by using small bezels and placing the fingerprint sensor on the back of the device. We are looking forward to the official US version on its way that will work on all the major US carriers. It has an all-metal build and its slightly curved edges make it comfortable to hold for long periods. Let's see just how it stacks up to the cheaper OnePlus 3T.
The Huawei Mate 9 sports a true phablet-sized 5.9-inch IPS LCD FHD display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels and 373 pixels-per-inch (PPI) due to its large screen. For the processor, they chose their powerful 64-bit Hisilicon Kirin 960 octa-core model with four cores running at 1.8GHz and four cores running at 2.4GHz. Huawei included their accomplished Mail-G71 MP8 GPU to handle any graphics thrown its way. The Mate 9 packs 4GB of DDR4 RAM and 64GB of expandable internal memory via a microSD card.
Fortunately, for us, Huawei is into photography and likes to include a good camera on their smartphones. They did a great job with the Mate 9 by using not only the infamous Leica brand; they also included dual lenses – a 20MP sensor for colored photos and a 12MP sensor that shoots strictly monochrome (B&W) photos. They added OIS, 2X zoom, both Phase Detection Autofocus (PDAF) and laser autofocus, and a dual-tone LED flash. Those that like to experiment with black and white photos can take advantage of that secondary lens and the Mate 9's software. The Mate 9 uses an 8MP sensor on its front-facing camera (FFC) with a larger f/1.9 aperture and 26mm wide-angle lens for great selfies and video chatting. The Mate 9 packs a large 4000mAh non-removable battery along with Huawei's SuperCharge to charge your battery from 0-100-percent in only 90 minutes.
Huawei is more interested in saving battery life so even with a display as large as 5.9-inches you will not find a QHD resolution. Huawei does not include any Hi-Fi circuitry to enhance the sound on the Mate 9's dual stereo speakers. The Mate 9 has a rear-facing fingerprint sensor to unlock the device or authorize mobile payments, including Android Pay. The Mate 9 is running Android 7.0 Nougat out of the box. The Mate 9 measures 156.9 x 78.9 x 7.9mm, weighs in at 190 grams and comes in Space Gray, Moonlight Silver, Champagne Gold, Mocha Brown, Ceramic White, and Black. Its pricing is about $600.
Shortly after the updated Snapdragon 821 became available, OnePlus inserted it into their OnePlus 3 and started selling their new flagship as the OnePlus 3T. The two devices are physically identical looking except for a subtle color change to a Gunmetal color, and then added a Gold version. According to Qualcomm, the Snapdragon 821 is reportedly 10-percent faster than the Snapdragon 820. OP also improved the battery size from 3000mAh to 3400mAh and added a scratch-resistant lens cover over the primary camera. Besides the base 64GB model, you can now purchase a 128GB model, although neither one has expandable memory. We are looking at an all-metal device that has excellent build quality at a decent price but how does it hold up to the more expensive Huawei Mate 9?
Neither OnePlus nor Huawei likes to use QHD displays, and the OnePlus 3T comes with their familiar FHD display. It does carry over their use of a new 5.5-inch FHD Optic AMOLED display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels and a respectable 401 PPI. The OnePlus 3T includes the new Snapdragon 821 with the same dual cores as the 820 clocked at 1.6GHz and another at 2.15GHz and running the same Adreno 530 GPU. The OP3T packs a full 6GB of DDR4 RAM and 64GB of the faster UFS 2.0 internal storage. There is no expansion available, but you can now order a model with 128GB of internal memory.
OnePlus included the same excellent camera from the original OnePlus 3. The OP3T uses the same hardware but does have a more scratch-resistant sapphire covered lens. It uses PDAF, a LED Flash, a large f/2.0 aperture, and OIS for stability. The FFC camera increased from only 8MP to 16MP with a f/2.0 aperture to take great selfies and for video chatting. The OnePlus 3T has a larger 3400mAh non-removable battery that includes OnePlus' Dash Charge that will give you up to a 60-percent charge in only 30 minutes.
The OnePlus 3T is OP's best effort since they started designing smartphones. They included both a fingerprint sensor and NFC chip on their OnePlus 3T, allowing the user to make mobile payments as well as Android Pay. If OP would include a model that will work on Verizon and Sprint, more users could enjoy the OP experience. It runs mostly stock Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow out-of-the-box with OnePlus' OS called OxygenOS on top but has since upgraded to Android 7.0 Nougat. The OnePlus 3T measures 152.7 x 74.7 x 7.35mm and weighs in at 158 grams. It will cost you about $440 USD for the 6GB/64GB model and about $480 for the 6GB/128GB model, and there is a choice of Gunmetal or Soft Gold.
…And The Winner Is…
The Final Word
This was a tough decision because the OnePlus 3T is a lot of phone for the money and is a well-built, solid device. However, it lacks a couple of essentials that the Huawei Mate 9 possesses – usability on all major US networks and lack of memory expansion. The Mate 9 may cost $150 more than the OP3T, but it is money worth spending, and that is why I am crowning it the winner of this comparison.
The Mate 9 is a beautiful looking device that comes in several colors, offers a 'big screen' and a robust processor and GPU. It has 4GB of RAM and expandable internal memory. It comes with a terrific camera setup and dual stereo speakers. It packs a much larger battery and has a built-in IR Blaster.
The OnePlus 3T is a solid pick, but only if you can stay on AT&T or T-Mobile, and do not need memory expansion. It does sport an AMOLED display, although only an FHD resolution like the Mate 9. It does pack two more gigabytes of RAM, but is it necessary and how does OP utilize it to an advantage?
Either device is a good buy, but for the extra $150, it seems that the Mate 9 offers a more sophisticated setup than the OP3T and that is why I am sticking with it as the winner of this comparison.