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Huawei Mate 9

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Huawei is expected to launch the next version of its Mate-series flagship very soon- the Huawei Mate 9. Huawei has announced the HiSilicon Kirin 960 processor a few weeks before the Mate 9 is expected to be revealed. Kirin 960 is the successor to their potent Kirin 950 and 955 processor. It is a big step up for mobile chips in general.

Specs

The Mate 9 should have some of the most powerful and high-end components currently available. That means it’s likely to be the first phone to sport the company’s own Kirin 960 processor

Huawei Mate 9

As well as its most powerful processor to date, the before mentioned leaks indicated that we should see the usual pricing and memory tiers we see often from Chinese manufacturers. That means there’s likely to be two versions with 4GB RAM, one of those will have 64GB storage, the other 128GB, while there may also be a 6GB RAM model with 256GB storage.

The display is expected to measure in at a whopping 5.9-inches diagonally, and resolution is said to differ between the curved and non-curved models. The dual-curve edged version – code-named Long Island – will purportedly feature a Quad HD resolution display, while the flat model – code-named Manhattan – will have a Full HD 1080p panel.

It’s claimed to be a dual camera on the back. Rumours have suggested we could see either a 12-megapixel sensor , or 20-megapixel sensor.

Huawei Mate 9

Design

It appears the Mate 9 will very much look like its predecessor, the Mate 8. That’s to say we’re likely to see a slightly rounded, wide, all-metal rear with parallel antenna bands running horizontally near the top and the bottom edges.

The one big difference to previous iterations of the Mate smartphone series – according to Venture Beat – is that it’ll come in two versions. One will have the usual flat-screened design, the other will have curved edges on both sides, like the Galaxy S7 edge and the ill-fated Note 7.

Huawei Mate 9

On the front, it seems as though there will be a huge – virtually bezel-free – screen dominating the available space, while the portions of the frame at the top and bottom have a subtle reflective finish like the back of the Honor 8.

As is common for Huawei phones, the power and volume buttons sit on the right edge, within thumb’s reach, while the bottom edge – in the leaks we’ve seen – plays home to a USB Type-C port flanked by two sets of speaker grilles. Like the Nova Plus, it’s likely only one of these actually has a speaker behind it.

Kirin 960

The Kirin 960 is quite possibly the first chipset to feature cutting-edge A73 cores, succeeding the heavy-lifting A72 cores revealed late last year.

The A73 promises some significant efficiency gains. In fact, at the time of the core’s reveal, ARM claimed “sustained performance and power efficiency” gains of 30% compared to the A72. In other words, expect better battery life for the same tasks and better performance for sustained tasks (e.g. lengthy gaming sessions, benchmarks etc).

The HiSilicon chips have generally been mediocre in the graphics department, with the Kirin 950 using a ARM Mali T880 MP4 (the four in ‘MP4’ denotes ‘quad-core’ graphics) GPU. This was easily the weakest link in the Kirin 950.

By comparison, the Exynos 8890 used in the Galaxy S7 range used a similar but beefier Mali T880 MP12 graphics component (featuring 12-core graphics). As a result, Samsung’s processor was able to out-muscle most smartphones in the graphics and VR stakes.

Huawei Mate 9

Fortunately, the Kirin 960 ups the ante in a big way, in the form of all-new Mali-G71 graphics, built on new architecture. According to Anandtech, the new chip will feature octacore graphics, so not as many cores as the Exynos 8890, but the new design should fill that gap in many ways.

The Kirin 960 should deliver a smooth VR experience and might just take the fight to Samsung’s Exynos chips.

“The Mali-G71 GPU was developed expressly to meet the needs of new industry advancements such as the Vulkan cross-platform graphics API from Khronos as well as the ever growing demand for a smooth mobile VR experience,” ARM explained on its website.

Huawei Mate 9

The new GPU is capable of delivering “up to 20% better energy efficiency, 40% better performance density and 20% external memory bandwidth saving compared to Mali-T880 under similar conditions”. And this comparison is ostensibly done with the same number of cores, which means the Mali-G71 GPU used in the 960 could be an even more formidable beast.

The Kirin 960 marks the first time that Huawei’s own high-end chips support 4K video recording, Anandtech noted. In other words, expect the Mate 9 and P10 to support 4K video recording.

Actual retail release date predictions and launch date bets have varied widely from September to December, and everything in between. However, Huawei has sent out invitations to an event on 3 November in Munich.

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