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Huawei Mate 9 is a dual-camera bruiser

Beyond the 5.9-inch display, the phone packs an octa-core processor, Android Nougat software and a neat dual-camera system.

Now playing: Watch this: The Huawei Mate 9 boasts a big screen and burly specs

If you've just had to send back your Samsung Galaxy Note 7 before it catches fire and you're struggling to decide what to replace it with, Huawei's new Mate 9 phone might be the answer.

It's a beefy phablet, packing a 5.9-inch display into an all-metal body. The display's resolution is only full HD (1,920x1,080 pixels) -- which is a step below the 2,560x1,440-pixel display of the Note 7. That said, there are enough pixels on screen to make text look nice and crisp.

Beyond the display, the phone runs an octa-core Kirin 960 processor, which Huawei claims is "the fastest processor [it has] built." It certainly seemed nippy during my hands-on time with the phone, but we'll be putting it through its paces properly in the full review. Huawei also says it's made a whole bunch of software tweaks to keep it running smoothly over time.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

I've not been too keen on Huawei's software before now because it changes so much of the stock Android interface that it ends up feeling quite bloated and sluggish. It's been toned down somewhat this time round, which I'm hoping will make for a more pleasant experience when using the thing. At its core though, it's running the latest version of Android Nougat.

The back of the phone is home to the same dual-camera setup that we've seen already on its P9 phone. While one 12-megapixel sensor takes photos in colour, there's another 20-megapixel sensor which is specifically designed to only shoot in black and white. I was really impressed with the P9's black and white shots -- they were rich, detailed and with a really satisfying contrast. I'm hoping for similar results from the Mate 9.

The Huawei Mate 9 has a lot of exciting tech stuffed inside its metal body, and if Huawei has indeed made its software less bloated then it could well be a great handset to consider if you're after a powerful phablet. It's due to go on sale globally before the end of the year, although prices have yet to be announced.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Huawei has also partnered with Porsche Design for a limited edition version of the Mate 9. As well as Porsche Design branding, the phone will have 256GB of storage, 6GB of RAM and a higher-resolution display. Huawei has yet to confirm where the phone will be available or how many.

Specs and features

  • USB-C charging port
  • Four microphones for active noise cancellation during calls
  • Infrared blaster for controlling TVs
  • 3.5mm headphone jack
  • 4,000mAh battery with fast charging
  • Fingerprint scanner
  • 64GB storage
  • 4GB RAM

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