Huawei Mate 9 vs Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge: not always better

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Huawei has been focusing on addressing the competition coming from South Korea. The Mate 9 has put considerable pressure on rival devices such as the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge. The planned Mate 9 Pro could also add to this pressure, since it is 5.5 inches – just like the S7 Edge. Before that is available, we’ll do a quick comparison of the Huawei Mate 9 and the Galaxy S7 Edge.

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The Galaxy S7 Edge is available now for about $600, while the half-a-year younger Mate 9 costs around $800. For this price you have more internal memory with the Huawei device, and it is considerably larger.

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5.5 against 5.9 inches difference is quite visible. / © NextPit

In terms of design, a comparison between the Mate 9 Pro and the Galaxy S7 Edge would be more appropriate on both sides, due to them being the same size and having dual-edge design. 

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The dual-edge sides are distinctive. / © NextPit

The Mate 9 is considerably larger at 5.9 inches. It has the distinctive dual-edge sides, which makes the profile narrower and the display appear larger in proportion to its overall size. Another important difference in the build quality is the splash protection: the Galaxy S7 Edge can survive a bath, while the Mate 9 is not IP-certified.

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Aluminum and an ergonomic feel for both, but only the the Mate 9 has an IR blaster. / © NextPit

Both devices have an aluminum unibody. The Galaxy S7 Edge is protected against impacts and scratches with Gorilla Glass 4, whereas the Mate 9 is protected with Gorilla Glass 3. This is supposedly offers better against scratches but, nevertheless, Huawei still sticks a film on the glass.

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The Samsung display has a finer resolution. / © NextPit

Samsung has installed a super AMOLED display in the Galaxy S7 Edge, which provides higher values with contrast and sharpness. The Huawei display, however, is visibly brighter and produces a cleaner white.

The main difference between the two devices is the VR optimization: Samsung provides VR glasses with some of its mobile bundles. Huawei has stated that the Mate 9 is Daydream-ready, but we have our doubts on whether the full-HD display is really suitable for VR fun.

Huawei Mate 9 vs. Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge technical specifications

  Huawei Mate 9 Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
Dimensions: 156.9 x 78.9 x 7.9 mm 150.9 x 72.6 x 7.7 mm
Weight: 190 g 157 g
Battery size: 4000 mAh 3600 mAh
Screen size: 5.9 in 5.5 in
Display technology: LCD AMOLED
Screen: 1920 x 1080 pixels (373 ppi) 2560 x 1440 pixels (534 ppi)
Front camera: 8 megapixels 5 megapixels
Rear camera: 20 megapixels 12 megapixels
Flashlight: Dual-LED LED
Android version: 7.0 - Nougat 7.0 - Nougat
User interface: Emotion UI TouchWiz
RAM: 4 GB 4 GB
Internal storage: 64 GB 32 GB
64 GB
Removable storage: microSD microSD
Chipset: Sorry, not yet available! Samsung Exynos 8890
Number of cores: 8 8
Max. clock speed: 2.4 GHz 2.3 GHz
Connectivity: HSPA, LTE, NFC, Dual-SIM , Bluetooth 4.2 HSPA, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 4.2
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The Mate 9 accepts up to two SIM cards, depending on the version. / © NextPit

The Mate 9’s dual-SIM version is available in the United States as the MHA-L29. The S7 Edge, on the other hand, is only available as a single-SIM device. That said, with both of these smartphones you can insert a MicroSD card, which will allow you share your photos or MP3 files.

The battery life on both devices is good, and each will provide about one and a half days. These are first-rate devices for heavy mobile users, as the Mate 9 or S7 Edge can handle even the hardest eight-hour days. In the case of the Mate 9, however, such a glowing review only applies to the single-SIM mode. Both smartphones offer a high-speed recharge mode; the Mate 9 can be recharged quickly with USB Type-C compatible standard chargers.

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Huawei uses the contemporary USB Type-C port. / © NextPit

The sound quality on the Mate 9 is outstanding. On the one hand, the two housing speakers have the option of producing a two-way system in the vertical or a stereo system in the horizontal format. On the other hand, the quality of the noise reduction system for calls is above average. Even in noisy places with music or on the station platform with loudspeakers and arrival noise, you'll be able to hear as clearly as if you were taking the call in your office.

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Cameras vs. camera: Huawei’s dual concept is asserting itself – almost. / © NextPit

Huawei has the potential to make a real impact with its Leica dual-camera, but only if the software would not constantly make the pictures worse when it tries to improve them. The wide aperture mode produces visibly unrealistic blurring, and the post-processing of conventional snapshots also stands in the way of you being able to get perfect results. Having said that, the Mate 9 does produce better pictures and is more fun for semi-professionals thanks to the Pro Mode as well as the RAW output.

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Nougat – beautiful and good, but… / © NextPit

By default, the Huawei Mate 9 software is more modern than the Galaxy S7 Edge. The latter is nevertheless safe, thanks to monthly security updates. New Nougat features are available only with the Huawei device, as the Chinese manufacturer has tried to optimize its use of the available Android software.

Thanks to machine learning optimizations, the system is able to recognize which apps and features you use the most and will store these in its memory. Additionally, the memory is continuously tidied up and any apps you are not likely to use are removed from the system.

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Side note: the fingerprint sensor in the Mate 9 works faster. / © NextPit

Unfortunately, Huawei still goes too far with its optimizations and isolates itself – but only in a few areas. In some cases notifications will not arrive and you won’t be informed about incoming messages. Huawei is continuing to work on improvements, as we were promised in our interview.


Prior to the release of the Mate 9 this comparison, as we previously stated, is only provisional. In reality, the Mate 9 should have been positioned against the Note 7. As the latter is no longer available, the Mate 9 was promoted as the best alternative to this device.

The Mate 9 Pro, thanks to its dual-edge design, better resolution and more internal memory, could become the sharpest competitor of the S7 Edge. It would then also be in direct competition with the Mate 9.

What would you choose? Would you prefer to go with the Galaxy S7 Edge or would you consider the Huawei Mate 9 as your next smartphone? Let us know in the comments below!

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  • Matthew Hymer Mar 11, 2017 Link to comment

    Currently sitting with a brand new Mate 9 (Space Grey) and a brand new S7 Edge (Coral Blue). Both amazing devices but can't keep them both unfortunately...
    Love the screen size, software fluidity, storage, battery life and metal body of the Mate 9.
    Love the reliable camera, appearance, lighter weight/manageable size and general attention to detail of the S7 Edge...
    Really struggling to decide which one to keep!
    Any suggestions will be most welcome.

  • Momohunt Jan 1, 2017 Link to comment

    I'm currently owning both mate 9 and edge s7, to say one is better than another is unfair to either device, but from my personal experience, here are some of things I felt while using both.

    Samsung s7 edge
    +screen looks sharper when side by side
    +camera great at low light, but not miles apart, double press button to camera shortcut really great plus point for me
    +feels great on hand due to it size
    +s7 looks prettier to me

    Huawei Mate 9
    +battery are great, but samsung is not far behind, mate 9 lasted about 12 hours and samsung 10hours, I'm a very heavy user
    +Speaker definitely mate 9 better, especially when using with both hand, s7 speaker often gets blocked, mate 9 will have hearing speaker working too, give more stereo experience
    +feel smoother while using
    +much faster fingerprint sensor
    +In my area because it comes with 1 year warranty with one to one exchange warranty and samsung doesn't

    There are more little differences makes the user experience differs, like when u long press to copy text on s7, it let u select all and copy in two steps, while mate 9 take 4 steps, but s7 comes with exactly duplicates of apps like internet browser which no way to remove in normal circumstances, making it even less internal storage to use from a 32GB storage

  • Ron Cosby Dec 14, 2016 Link to comment

    Never buy from a Chinese manufacturer until they learn to give after sale support to its customers, or a Samsung for that matter but from what I've read, Sammy is the lesser of 2 evils compared to the apparent abandonment you receive from Huawei once they get your cash.

  • Umair Shah Dec 14, 2016 Link to comment

    Huawei keyboard is the worst in all its devices. bundle of typing errors.

  • Rick B. Dec 14, 2016 Link to comment

    I know what flaws the Samsung Edge has and doesn't have. I'll stick with the Edge for quite some time before considering the Huawei. They have a lot of self-proving to do.
    Also, Huawei does not have better resolution. The Samsung does as you stated yourself near the beginning of your article. The S7 Edge uses the superior AMOLED screen with higher resolution and the number of pixels.

  • John Kerr Dec 14, 2016 Link to comment

    I've been using Samsung phones since the Galaxy Nexus and am currently on my 5th - an S7 Edge. None have failed in any way. I'm going to see how Huawei devices hold up a while before I throw down on one.

  • paul alibone Dec 13, 2016 Link to comment

    Already have the mate 9 after giving up the note 7. Bar its issue n7 was the best device.
    The mate 9 is darn close. Never been attracted to the s range as I'm a note fan. But God the mate 9 is so good.

    • Jeff Tung Jan 20, 2017 Link to comment

      so what aspect do you think the note 7 is better than mate 9, and which part mate 9 does better than n7?

  • Kia Pinero Dec 13, 2016 Link to comment

    Samsung Phones are now on sale only at NewSmartphoneDeals(.com

  • CrimsonFury Dec 13, 2016 Link to comment

    The review states both phones have aluminum unibody. Incorrect. The entire back of the S7\S7 edge is glass. Obvious inaccuracies like that make me wonder if you guys even looked at the phone?

    • Rick B. Dec 14, 2016 Link to comment

      I believe it is glass over an aluminum unibody.

  • Nikolas Alexandre Dec 13, 2016 Link to comment

    The Huawei does NOT have better resolution than the s7 edge. The s7 is a QHD phone. What else did you get wrong?

  • michael doidge Dec 13, 2016 Link to comment

    The mate 9 looks alright , I think I'd go with S7 edge though , it has more bells and whistles , and with the 7.0 update it is a bit smoother than the version you guys have probably tested it on , and the S7 has the better screen , it's a no brainer for me ..
    I don't know if I misunderstood , but you mention the mate being able to do raw photos, I was under the impression the S7 could too ? Or am I thinking note 7 ?

    • Robin Parker Dec 13, 2016 Link to comment

      S7 can shoot RAW. Also worth mentioning is the fact that the video stabilization in S7 is miles ahead of Mate 9. S7 is also better in low light snaps.

      • michael doidge Dec 13, 2016 Link to comment

        Thanks Robin , I thought that was the case .

      • Matt Spencer Dec 13, 2016 Link to comment

        Thanks to the recent update for the Mate 9 OIS has been significantly improved as well as low light shots. They are now on-par with the s7.

      • Rick B. Dec 14, 2016 Link to comment

        As reviewed by who?

    • Rick B. Dec 14, 2016 Link to comment

      You are correct the S7/S7 Edge will process RAW photos.

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