Huawei Mate 9 Pro Review: Display


Mate 9 Pro is still Huawei's flagship after P10 and P10 Plus released. This Mate 9 Pro is equipped with Kirin 960, 4GB RAM, 64GB internal storage, and a Leica certified dual-camera, powered by Android 7.0, and starts from 4699RMB (about $630). Thanks to a young majesty providing.

The biggest difference between Mate 9 and Mate 9 Pro is the display screen. Mate 9 adopts a 5.9-inch FHD IPS display screen, while Mate 9 Pro has an edge curved 5.5-inch QHD Samsung AMOLED one. Although the Pro one owns a smaller screen, the indicators are better. This AMOLED display is using PenTile subpixel layout, which is called as Diamond Pixels, and has less subpixels than ordinary layouts. But when reaches a QHD resolution, this disadvantage is not a problem only when using it as a VR device.

Most hi-end Android smartphones are using OLED displays as its vividness, high contrast, flexible, and low ghosting. Last winter, lots users complained about the ghosting on P9 and Mate 9, but AMOLED displays have less problems on this. From Samsung Galaxy Edge series, we can see that the edge curved OLED displays can thin phone bodies visually. However, neither Huawei Mate 9 Pro nor vivo Xplay 6 does not design visual borderless.

Mate 9 Pro has same display related settings with Mate9. Adjusting color temperature, which actually is adjusting display color tones, Increase Readability in Sunlight tucked away under Developer Options, and no color management. Although we do not hope that Huawei could adjust display colors like Apple or Samsung flagships, Mate 9 Pro is also a flagship of Huawei, consumers are requiring more. As usual, the quantitative results are tested by SpectralCal Calman.

Display Mode Default Cold Warm Manual
Max Brightness 365
Grayscale (Gamma 2.2) 2.05 2.04 2.06 2.06
Average Color Temperature K 7187 7693 6288 6702
Average Luminance Error, Delta E 4.1 6.6 5.25 2.36
Comparision Huawei Mate 9 Pro Huawei Mate 9 Huawei P9 vivo Xplay 6 Moto Z Standard Mode iPhone 7 Plus Samsung S7 Edge Standard Mode
Brightness cd/m2 365 560 421 316 339 525 349
Grayscale (Gamma 2.2) 2.05 2.10 2.2 2.01 2.16 2.21 2.12
Average Color Temperature K 6702 7870 7906 7517 6854 6794 6415
Average Luminance Error 2.36 5.96 4.35 6.18 2.74 1.95 2.13
Display Mode Cold Manual
Color Gamut (sRGB) 130.41%
Average Color Error 5.51 4.58
Max Color Error 8.17 7.37
Comparision Huawei Mate 9 Pro Huawei Mate 9 Huawei P9 Manual Mode vivo Xplay 6 Moto Z Standard Mode iPhone 7 Plus Samsung S7 Edge Standard Mode
Color Gamut(sRGB) 130.41% 125.69% 130.07% 141.19% 109.12% 101.45% 103.60%
Average Color Error 4.58 5.66 4.23 7.75 2.38 1.69 1.74
Largest Color Error 7.37 9.38 7.67 9.89 4.18 3.08 2.73
  • Max Screen Brightness (cd/m2 or nits): The maximum brightness one screen could reach, without considering glass quality, algorithm or dynamic adjusting. Over 500 cd/m2 can be used under strong light, below 400 cd/m2 will be to use.
    Gamma 2.2: Gamma value is the key factor in contrast display. Our eyes do not perceive light the way cameras do. Under sRGB, if the gamma value is 2.2, the tonal range is just what human eyes receive. Lower than 2.2, the contrast will go down, otherwise, it will go up. Except the gamma value, we have to see form the picture if the red, green and blue curve overlap, if not, different color contrast will be different. The value between 2.1 to 2.3 is qualified for display, while if the value is below 2 or over 2.4, the contrast will be lower or higher than standard.
    Average Color of White: The average color temperature in degrees, D65 with 6500 K is the standard color of White for most Consumer Content and needed for accurate color reproduction of all images. Higher than 6500K will tend to be cold, otherwise will be warm.
    Color difference: A measurement used to indicate how much a color deviates from standard. The higher the E, the more inaccurate the color. This is because the human eye is only capable of detecting color difference at certain thresholds. It is hard to detect if average E is below 5, less than average 3 E and less than 5 E is excellent, the smaller the E is, the better the color is. Between 5 to 10 E is detectable, over 10E is significantly detectable.
    Color Gamut(sRGB): The specific range of colors that one device is able to display. Our test is based on sRGB. If wide-gamut device is tested, Adobe RGB or NTSC gamut will be noted for reference. Display with over 90% will be enough for everyday use, higher than a certain percentage will not affect using experience significantly. However, photo playback requires precisely range, 10bit video requires wider gamut.
    Restricted by our devices, we will not test the viewing angle. On average, more than 30 would bring over 50% brightness loss.

Mate 9 Pro's performance is somewhat surprising. In general, AMOLED displays lacking effective color management has a much wider color gamut than sRGB, and the typical color space would reach about 140% sRGB. However, the Mate 9 and Mate 9 Pro's color reference seem to be the DCI-P3. Mate 9 Pro has a wider color space than Mate 9, which is nearer to DCI-P3 standard.

Luminance Error Mate 9 Pro's display Gamma is lower than the standard 2.2, leading a lower contrast performance. But this does not bother daily use. The default color temperature is near 7200K, higher than the D65 standard. Under the three default color temperature settings, the luminance error are a little high, but experienced users can adjust color temperature to find an ideal value (about 6700K) to lower DeltaE into 3, which is the best performance among any Huawei smartphone we ever tested, and this result is also significantly better than most Chinese brand smartphone's AMOLED displays.

Color In our manual setting, Mate 9 Pro has a slightly better color performance, but if we are using the apps with lots red, orange or pink colors, we still feel it is too vivid and a little dazzling, while this performance is better than the vivo Xplay 6. Unfortunately, the Mate 9 and Mate 9 Pro's cameras are still restoring photos with sRGB, not DCI-P3, unable to take advantages of wide color gamut display screen like iPhone 7 series.

In our daily use, Mate 9 has a good auto brightness performance, low screen reflectance, and Increase Readability in Sunlight helps the display in strong light. This Mate 9 Pro has the best display among the Huawei smartphones we ever touched. This display also helps us when taking photos outdoors. If you want to experience DayDream VR, the Pro vision is better than the ordinary vision. However, Samsung S7 Edge is also sold at a similar price, Mate 9 Pro's display performance is still far from Samsung and Apple's flagships. Huawei still has a long way to go.

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