Today we have the OnePlus 5 with its 5.5-inch Optic AMOLED Full HD display taking on the Huawei Mate 9 with its massive 5.9-inch IPS LCD display. The devices have a lot of similarities, including full-metal bodies, high-performance hardware, dual rear-facing cameras, USB Type-C connectivity and even proprietary fast-charging technologies. As if that wasn’t enough, they even come with relatively similar price-tags. Sure, they both have their own pros and cons, but is one of them a significantly better investment than the other? With a view towards determining just that, let’s take a closer look at each device to find out what else they have in common and the ways in which they differ from one another.
The OnePlus 5 has been one of the most talked-about smartphones this year, and while many people have expressed their reservations about the device’s looks because of its unmistakable resemblance to the iPhone 7 Plus, the fact still remains that the OnePlus 5 comes with great build quality, cutting-edge hardware and feature-filled software at a sub-$500 price-point, making it one of the best value-for-money smartphones to have been launched this year. The device is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC that comes with an integrated Adreno 540 GPU alongside a 64-bit CPU with eight custom Kryo cores clocked at a maximum of 2.45GHz. In terms of memory and storage, the device comes in two different versions – one with 6GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage, and another, with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of built-in storage.
Photography is one aspect of the OnePlus 5 that the company has put a lot of emphasis on, and it shows in the quality of images you can get from the device. The handset sports a dual-camera module on the back with gyro-based EIS and a dual-LED flash. As part of the dual camera setup, you get a 16-megapixel Sony sensor with an f/1.7 aperture on the one hand and a 20-megapixel sensor that’s paired with an f/2.6 telephoto lens on the other. The front-facing camera on the OnePlus 5 comes with a 16-megapixel sensor with 1.0μm pixels and has a lens with an f/2.0 aperture. Both the front and the rear cameras can take 1080p videos, but while the front-facing camera can only do 30fps, the rear-facing module can shoot full HD videos at up to 120fps and 4K videos at 30fps.
Connectivity features on the OnePlus 5 include Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA and Bluetooth 5.0, while cellular connectivity includes support for 34 different frequency bands. The device also supports GPS with A-GPS and GLONASS, while sensors include a fingerprint scanner, an NFC chip, an accelerometer, a gyroscope, a proximity sensor and a magnetometer. The device ships with a USB Type-C port for charging and data syncing, but also keeps the 3.5mm audio port for backwards compatibility with older headphones and audio systems. The OnePlus 5 comes with Android 7.1.1 Nougat pre-installed in the form of Oxygen OS, and carries a non-removable 3,300mAh battery. The device measures 152.2mm in length, 74.1mm in width and 7.3mm in thickness while weighing in at 153 grams.
Huawei Mate 9
Huawei’s Mate series is known for devices with rather large displays, and the Mate 9 is no exception. The device features a 5.9-inch IPS LCD display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. Huawei typically uses its own, in-house HiSilicon Kirin SoCs to power its smartphones and tablets, and again, there’s no exception to that rule in the Mate 9. The phablet is powered by the Kirin 960 SoC that comes with an integrated octa-core CPU that has four Cortex-A53 cores running at 1.8GHz and four Cortex-A73 cores running at 2.4GHz. The graphics processing duties in the chip is done by ARM’s Mali-G71 MP8 GPU. The Mate 9 packs 4GB of DDR4 RAM and 64GB of internal storage that’s expandable via a microSD card.
Photography is one of the major focus areas for Huawei’s marketing department these days, with the Leica cameras being a major talking point during the most of their high-end device launches. The Mate 9, predictably, follows the same path, and ships with a dual-camera module from the famed German optics brand. There is a 20-megapixel sensor for colored photos and a 12-megapixel sensor that shoots monochrome photos. The dual-cam setup is accompanied by OIS, PDAF and Laser AF, 2x lossless zoom and a dual tone, dual-LED flash. Software features include touch focus, face detection, HDR and panorama. The front-facing selfie-cam on the device incorporates an 8-megapixel sensor that’s accompanied by a 26mm wide-angle lens with an f/1.9 aperture.
The rest of the hardware on the Mate 9 is also along expected lines, with a rear-facing fingerprint sensor to unlock the device and authorize mobile payments. The handset ships with a 4,000mAh Lithium-Polymer battery with support for the company’s own SuperCharge technology that promises to get you a full charge in just 90 minutes – not a bad feat for a 4,000mAh unit. As far as software is concerned, the Mate 9 runs Android 7.0 Nougat out-of-the-box in the form of Huawei’s trademark EMUI (Emotion UI) 5.0. The device measures 156.9mm in length, 78.9mm in width and 7.9mm in thickness, while weighing in at 190 grams.
And The Winner Is …
The Final Word
The Mate 9 is a great device when taken in isolation, but just can’t match up to the OnePlus 5 on a number of counts. First off, it was released last year, which means it has started to get a bit long it the tooth, while the OnePlus 5 comes with some of the newest hardware the vendors have to offer today. However, hardware alone does not make the device, and while software is a matter of personal choice, the fact remains that the overly-stylized iPhone-like UI designs that most Chinese OEMs use on their devices are a bit of an acquired taste, and Huawei’s EMUI is no exception. OnePlus’ Oxygen UI, on the other hand, follows stock Android a lot more closely, but adds a boatload of features, making it a lot more intuitive if you’re migrating from any mainstream Android device. Add to that the frenzied third-party software developments that have now become a feature of all OnePlus devices, as well its network compatibility with carriers virtually anywhere around the world on account of its support for 34 frequency bands, and it’s easy to see why it is the clear winner between the two.