Do we have a good one for you today – the new LG G6 takes on the Huawei Mate 9. The completely redesigned LG G6 that went from an all-metal, modular body to an all-glass body goes head-to-head with the all-metal, dual-lens Mate 9. The result is a more modern looking LG G6 with small bezels and a smaller physical size, while the Mate 9 looks like a fairly conventional smartphone. The LG G6 will work on all major US networks, but the Mate 9 will only work on AT&T and T-Mobile in the US for 4G LTE. 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 LG G6 and the Huawei Mate 9 have a few things in common. The displays of the two devices are 0.2-inch different in size, with the larger Mate 9 slightly larger in physical size and weighs in at 27 grams heavier than the LG G6. The displays use the same LCD technology, but the different resolutions, and same Gorilla Glass 3 for protection. They use different processors and GPUs for graphics. They pack the same 4GB of RAM, different amounts of internal storage, but they both have the means to expand their memory via a microSD card. The primary camera areas and the front-facing camera (FFC) areas are similar in that they both use a dual camera setup – the LG G6 uses dual 13MP cameras, and the Mate 9 uses a 20MP and 12MP cameras – and both take great pictures. The FCC on the LG G6 uses a 5MP while the Mate 9 uses an 8MP sensor. Both have a fingerprint sensor for unlocking the device as well as NFC for authorizing mobile payments, including Android Pay. They both use a large 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.
While LG G5 owners may feel left out of the picture without any new modules that support the G5 design, LG did what they had to do to get back on track. The LG G6 looks nothing like the painted all-metal LG G5 with an all-new glass design with smaller bezels. This new sealed design forced LG to give up one of its most popular features – the removable battery – but it does allow the G6 to gain an IP68 certification. LG helped ease the pain a little by increasing the battery size and including standard wireless charging. The display is increased from 5.3-inches to 5.7-inches and LG gave it an 18:9 screen ratio that makes it slightly taller and narrower. LG kept the dual cameras but changed their megapixels. Let’s see if LG did enough to their LG G6 and see just how it stacks up to the Huawei Mate 9.
The LG G6 sports a 5.7-inch IPS LCD QHD+ display with a new 18:9 screen ratio. The resolution comes in at 2880 x 1440 pixels with an impressive 564 pixels-per-inch (PPI) and is now Dolby Vision/HDR10 compliant. LG included the ‘always on’ feature to save battery life and to make glancing at notifications much quicker. This ratio gives the viewer a more natural theater-like experience when watching movies and it allows two perfect squares for on-screen multi-tasking. LG decided to use the SD821 quad-core processor that has dual cores clocked at 1.6GHz and another dual-core clocked at 2.35GHz. The LG G6 packs 4GB of DDR4 RAM and 32GB of internal memory that is expandable to 2TB via a microSD card.
There is a growing trend toward a dual-camera design, which is something that LG has embraced the past couple of years. Their LG V10, V20, G5, and now the G6 have all used dual lenses. The LG G6 uses dual 13MP sensor cameras for both the primary and secondary camera. The LG G6’s primary shooter comes with an f/1.8 aperture, PDAF, OIS, and dual-tone LED flash and the G6 will use this camera for regular picture taking. The second 13MP camera comes with an ultra-wide-angle lens for capturing a wider group shot or a landscape picture and has a fixed focus with a much smaller f/2.4 aperture. In an era where FFCs are growing in size, LG decreased the LG G6’s from an 8MP to a 5MP sensor and gave it an f/2.4 aperture for selfies and video chatting. LG did take away the removable battery, but increased the size from 2800mAh to a 3300mAh, added Quick Charge 3.0, and standard wireless charging.
The small bezels dictate some of the G6’s design features, such as keeping the fingerprint sensor on the back of the device, which still acts as the on/off switch. LG did away with the once popular IR Blaster, but kept the FM radio around in certain markets. The LG G6 is also the first non-Google smartphone to include Google Assistant onboard so you can use your LG G6 to communicate with Google’s growing ecosystem that includes Google Home and Chromecast. The LG G6 measures 148.9 x 71.9 x 7.9 mm, weighs in at 163 grams and comes in Mystic White, Astro Black, or Ice Platinum. The device is available on all the leading carriers for about $700 for the 32GB model.
Huawei Mate 9
The Mate 9 continues Huawei’s tradition with a large 5.9-inch display and using only the Full HD (FHD) resolution on their Mate devices. Huawei seems to think the QHD is an unnecessary waste of battery life, although on a phablet-sized device the Quad HD could come in handy. 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. It has a beautiful all-metal build and is slightly curved on the edges, making it comfortable to hold for long periods. The Mate 9 is a GSM device so it will work on AT&T and T-Mobile. Let’s see just how it stacks up to the LG G6.
The Huawei Mate 9 sports a phablet-sized 5.9-inch IPS LCD FHD display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels and 373 PPI due to its large screen – still more PPI than Apple’s Retina Display. A QHD resolution on this size of display would be a little crisper, but our review of the Mate 9 gave it high praise for the display. Huawei used their in-house 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 competent Mali-G71 MP8 GPU that can handle any graphics you may encounter. The Mate 9 packs 4GB of RAM and 64GB of expandable internal memory via a microSD card.
Fortunately, for us, Huawei puts a lot of thought into their cameras and they did a great job on the Mate 9 by using dual lenses that were developed with the infamous Leica brand. There is a 20MP sensor for colored photos and a 12MP sensor that shoots strictly monochrome (B&W) photos. They added OIS, 2X zoom, and included both Phase Detection Autofocus (PDAF) and laser autofocus, and a dual-tone LED flash. The Mate 9’s secondary lens and software can help turn out some interesting Black & White pictures. The Mate 9 uses an 8MP sensor on its FFC with a large 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 puts a lot of thought into ways to give their smartphones a long-lasting battery even with a display as large as 5.9-inches. That is one of the reasons you will not find a QHD display resolution and a large 4000mAh battery that they claim will last you a full two days and then, when you need a charge, their SuperCharge system will get you up and running in no time. Huawei does not include any Hi-Fi circuitry to enhance its sound, but they do give you 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.
...And The Winner Is...
The Final Word
This was really a tough one to decide. On the processor side, the Mate 9 would win out over the Snapdragon 821 in the LG G6, but after that the LG G6 pulls away, if ever so slightly. The LG G6 has a better display, is Dolby Vision/HDR10 compliant, has the always-on technology, and because of its 18:9 ratio, it is easier to carry due to its smaller size. It also offers IP68 certification for dust and water and throws in wireless charging. LG included some very good audio circuitry, but left out stereo speakers.
The Huawei Mate 9 is a great device if you are on AT&T or T-Mobile's network and you want a huge display but are not picky about the resolution. It has an interesting camera area where you could have some fun, but no a better camera than the LG G6. It does sport stereo speakers, but has no Hi-Res audio to take advantage of them. The UI on the Mate 9 may not be to everybody's taste as it is overly feature ladened.
Even with the LG G6's extra $100 difference in pricing, it just seems as though the G6 is a more refined smartphone with a few extra features that are lacking in the Mate 9. I am calling the LG G6 the winner in this comparison.