Huawei calls the Porsche Design version of the Mate 9, “the best smartphone ever made,” and Huawei certainly made it clear the relationship between the two firms would never have gone ahead if that wasn’t the end goal. It’s definitely more than that. Yes, Porsche Design’s name is emblazoned above the display and its PD logo is stamped centrally on the back, but it’s attached to a beautiful, eye-catching design, filled with some superb technical specifications.
Previously Porsche Design got involved with smartphones, it teamed up with BlackBerry. The resulting phones certainly stood out, but in the same way as a big, nasty wart does on the back of your hand. The Porsche Design Mate 9 doesn’t look like the regular Mate 9, a phone that could actually do with a more eye-catching design, but instead, it really resembles the Galaxy S7 Edge. In reality, it feels more like the Galaxy S6 Edge Plus in the hand, thanks to sharper, more angled sides. It’s not uncomfortable to hold, but it doesn’t match the smoothness we love about the S7 Edge. The curved screen doesn’t take on any special purpose like the S7 Edge, either. It’s just there for looks.
It’s matched to a curved rear panel, and the phone only comes in a brushed, almost matte black finish. The finish gives the phone a mature air, so it doesn’t look like a flashy trinket, and you’re going to feel pretty special every time you pull it out of your pocket.
The display measures 5.5-inches, smaller than the Mate 9’s huge 5.9-inch screen, but has a higher 2,560 x 1,440-pixel resolution. It looks great, filled with color and detail, and even in the short time we spent staring at it, we’d consider it a step beyond the Mate 9 and likely equal to Huawei’s other 1440p screen on the Nexus 6P.
It’s running Android 7.0 Nougat with Huawei’s new EMUI 5.0 user interface over the top, which has a cleaner, simpler design to previous versions. Huawei is also talking up its long-term speed benefits too, saying it won’t slow down over time. It’s certainly speedy thanks to the new Kirin 960 processor and a whopping 6GB of RAM.
The Mate 9 Porsche model has the same 4,000mAh battery with SuperCharge technology, Huawei’s fast charger that rushes to 58 percent capacity in just 30 minutes. The price starts from 1,400 euros, or at least $1,600 onwards.