As smartphone hardware performance approaches the apex of development, the next big thing that will separate good smartphones from great smartphones are their software experience. Huawei’s Mate 9 is a testament to how far this Chinese company has come with their flagship devices.
Huawei’s best software experience yet
Huawei’s brand new phablet comes packing the company’s latest software — EMUI 5.0 that’s based on Android 7.0 Nougat and it comes with a whole bunch of revamps, bringing it more in line with Google’s vision of what Android is supposed to look like. It is also the first smartphone in Malaysia that comes bundled with Android Nougat out of the box. While past versions of EMUI may have only appealed to certain segments of the market, this new EMUI will certainly appeal to a wider group of people.
First up, it comes with a lot of the new awesome visuals that are native to the latest version of Android. This includes the large (and detailed) notification tabs on both your pull-down notifications tray and the home screen. You can interact more with these notifications (like reply to an email or WhatsApp message) and it also shows you more information than on previous versions of Android. Additionally, a half swipe across these notifications will also let you customise notification settings.
Besides that, you also get other useful features like the quick-switching between two recent applications by double tapping the recents button as well as a more optimised way to navigate the UI. Huawei put a lot of effort into the optimisation of the software as they have reconstructed over two thousand systematic functions and over a hundred different user scenarios so that you can access 90% of all your apps in just 3 taps or less.
But that’s not all. Huawei also packed in several features of their own, including their popular Knuckle sense technology as well as a new App twin feature. This new App twin feature lets you have two versions of applications like Facebook and WhatsApp so you can separate business from your social life. Huawei’s new EMUI 5.0 also adds a private space function that’s the equivalent of an independent private account. You can even set a special fingerprint to access this account!
This new smartphone’s software also improves your bog-standard emergency call function. On the Mate 9, when a user dials an emergency number, the smartphone obtains the user’s current location, even when you don’t enable location services, and displays it to recipients.
Huawei further tweaked the audio experience on the Mate 9 too, allowing the smartphone to use the earpiece as a treble — or high frequency — speaker alongside the bass and lower frequency speaker at the bottom. These have been tuned to produce the best audio experience for any situation as well as a stereo set-up when the phone is in landscape.
But that’s just what you see on the surface. Huawei has also worked on greatly improving what goes on in the background so that their new smartphone stays fast even after 18 months. How? Well, they’ve developed a sophisticated machine learning algorithm with EMUI 5.0 that’s designed to learn how you use a smartphone so that it can make the device perform better for you.
This machine learning is personalised and is carried out at device-level so that you save power and have more privacy when it comes to your daily usage. EMUI 5.0’s machine learning works better the more you use the device. Over time, the software allocates resources dynamically with a scheduling algorithm that gives more memory and CPU performance to foreground applications to ensure a smooth and fast experience. It will also keep your most used applications open in the background so that the smartphone can launch these apps more quickly.
EMUI 5.0 also has advancements in memory and storage optimisations. In essence, Huawei has developed a fast memory recycling mechanism and combined that with an exclusive memory compression technology to boost performance. Thanks to this, the Mate 9 doesn’t require any manual app cleaning as all of it is done automatically, in the background, while the phone is idle.
The company’s new EMUI 5.0 is so effective, in fact, that when the company rolled out the Beta version of the software to its existing P9 users, they reported a boost in CPU performance by up to 50%. What’s more, this software also increased the P9’s average battery life by 7% (which is about 2-3 hours).
Incredible, isn’t it?
Huawei’s Mate 9 is quite an attractive package especially when you add its top off the line Kirin 960 octa-core processor, 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage. You also get a pair of Leica co-engineered cameras (20MP Monochrome and 12MP colour) for an excellent smartphone photography experience.