Best Flagship Phones of 2016: Huawei vs. Apple and Samsung
By Andre Chan. Updated December 29, 2016.
For so many years, the battle of the top dogs in the smartphone world has always centered around Apple and Samsung. Huawei though has increasingly taken to shaking things up in recent times with offerings that are worthy of a competition. Take the Mate 8 and P9 for example, both smartphones able to give the top flagships a serious run for their money with both stellar hardware and unique features.
With the release of the Mate 9 [pictured above], we once again take a look at whether Huawei has in their hand what it takes to upstage two of the highest profile smartphones in 2016 -- the iPhone 7 Plus and Samsung Galaxy S7 edge.
Huawei Mate 9 Over iPhone 7 Plus and Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
Like the Mate 8, the Mate 9 packs a large 5.9-inch Full HD display that dominates the front panel with 77.5% screen-to-body ratio, which is highest among the three phones, and yet, it is compact enough to be held comfortably in one hand. Putting it side by side with the iPhone 7 Plus, you can see that there isn’t that much of a difference between the two in terms of overall dimension even though the Mate 9 possesses a much larger screen.
As far as design goes, even though its metal body is not as striking as the glass material on the Jet Black iPhone 7 Plus and S7 edge, at least it will not easily attract ugly fingerprints and smudges.
CPU delivers the best multi-core performance among all smartphone SoC
In the hardware department, the Mate 9 runs on the latest Kirin 960 chipset, which outperforms the S7 edge’s Exynos 8890/Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 according to GeekBench benchmark test. In terms of multi-core performance the Mate 9 scores the highest among all its competitors, even managing to outpace the iPhone 7 Plus by a healthy margin, which supports Huawei’s claim that it is currently the top dog in GeekBench’s multi-core test. Of course, the higher the score, the faster and better a phone’s performance is.
Storage-wise, it packs a generous 64GB worth of memory on board with an option to further expand it up to as much as 256GB via its microSD slot. In comparison, the S7 edge only gives users 32GB by default while the iPhone 7 Plus also has 32GB as base memory (non-expandable) with costly upgrades to higher-capacity models.
4000mAh big density battery, Supercharges 30 minutes can reach 58%
When it comes to battery, the Mate 9 is again the clear winner with its huge 4,000mAh battery, compared to the 2,900mAh battery on the iPhone 7 Plus and 3,600mAh battery on the S7 edge. More than just a bigger and longer-lasting battery however, the new SuperCharge technology on the Mate 9 requires only 30 minutes to charge it from 0% to 58%, which makes it an eye-popping 400% faster than the iPhone 7 Plus. It is also faster than the S7 edge’s Adaptive Fast Charging which charges up to 50% with the same amount of time.
Leica dual-camera, one step closer to professional photography
Both the Mate 9 and iPhone 7 Plus have dual-lens camera setup but the one on the former has the advantage in being co-engineered with Leica. Besides that, while the iPhone 7 Plus’s second lens functions merely as an optical zoom, the Mate 9’s 20MP monochrome second lens take true black-and-white images. Combined with its RGB lens, the Mate 9 is able to take very sharp and detailed shots as well as professional-looking “bokeh” shots using its wide aperture mode. Meanwhile on the front, the Mate 9 has the highest-resolution selfie camera at 8MP while the iPhone 7 Plus and the S7 edge have 7MP and 5MP front snappers respectively.
The unbeatable value-for-money
The best part of all these advantages is that the Mate 9 still costs considerably less than its two competitors. It is going for RM2,699 whereas the iPhone 7 Plus will set you back a minimum of RM3,799 for the base model (that’s more than RM1,000 difference!). Even though the S7 edge has already been around for 9 months, its RM3,099 price tag is still a pretty hefty one. The Mate 9 is even more value-for-money when you consider the premium after-sales service you will be getting alongside the purchase of the phone such as 1 to 1 exchange within 12 months, door to door pick up & delivery services, 1x free LCD replacement within 3 months, 2x free cleaning services within 12 months as well as priority service at Huawei exclusive service centre.
The Huawei Mate 9 advantage recap -- huge screen; highest screen-to-body ratio; compact design; not fingerprint magnet; powerful Kirin 960 chipset; 64GB internal storage memory (expandable); dual-lens Leica camera with RGB and monochrome sensors; highest-resolution front-facing camera; biggest capacity and longest-lasting battery with SuperCharge; better value-for-money; premium after-sales service.
iPhone 7 Plus Over Huawei Mate 9 and Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
Perhaps the biggest advantage the iPhone 7 Plus has over the other two is the software optimization of iOS 10, which remains one of the fastest and most fluid mobile operating systems. With the A10 Fusion chip, the iPhone 7 Plus is the fastest iPhone ever. It is also now splash and water resistant with IP67 rating. Other notable advantages include a stereo speaker system and pressure-sensitive 3D Touch.
The iPhone has always been know as having one of the best mobile cameras in the market and now with the telephoto second camera, iPhone 7 Plus takes things further by being able to utilize optical zoom which does not compromise image quality, instead of digital zoom like in most smartphones. Besides that, the iPhone 7 Plus can also take better low-light photos.
The iPhone 7 Plus advantage recap -- iOS 10; A10 Fusion Chip; stereo speaker system; 3D Touch; telephoto second camera
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge Over Huawei Mate 9 and iPhone 7 Plus
Even after almost a year since its debut, the S7 edge still has an unsurpassed dual-curved screen and metal-glass combo design. It may not win the hardware and camera battle against the two newer releases but it still boats a couple of unique features which may be deal breakers for some. For instance, its Quad HD Super AMOLED 2K display is still the best-looking one by packing double the resolutions of a normal Full HD display. It is also the only phone out of the three that supports wireless charging and has the highest water-and-dust-resistant IP68 rating.
Then there’s Samsung Pay. The S7 edge is one of the supported Samsung smartphones for the new-age payment system which saves your credit card information onto the device. That means you can make purchases and payments over the counter using just your mobile phone without the need to bring out your credit card. Samsung Pay is currently in beta testing in Malaysia.
The Samsung Galaxy S7 edge advantage recap -- unique design; 2K display; wireless charging; IP68; Samsung Pay