Display Quality, Tests
The Mate 9 packs a 5.9-inch 1920 x 1080 IPS LCD with a pixel density of 373 PPI. I’m a little disappointed this phone has used a 1080p display over 1440p at this size, as I feel 1440p would deliver noticeably crisper text and imagery in some situations, as well as being better suited to mobile virtual reality. 1080p is still decent enough in 2017 and this display looks great, it’s just not the best hardware available.
Alongside excellent viewing angles, the Mate 9’s display produces over 600 nits of brightness at peak, which is a fantastic result that places this display among the best LCDs. Due to this high level of brightness, you’ll have little trouble viewing the Mate 9 in strong sunlight. The display’s contrast ratio is also respectable; it’s not at the level of AMOLEDs, but it does help make colors pop.
Color accuracy out of the box isn’t terrible, but it’s not fantastic. Default color temperature is very cold, giving the display a blue tint in all situations. This leads to poor grayscale accuracy and gamma. Saturation and general accuracy are disappointing for a phone that doesn’t exceed the sRGB spectrum (I recorded 98.6% sRGB coverage); in other words, the display isn’t oversaturated, it’s just inaccurate in general.
The only option Huawei provides for calibrating the display is a color temperature circle that allows you to tint the display towards any color in the spectrum. There are also “warm” and “cold” options. For best results, you should manually drag the dot all the way to the edge of the circle, approximately in the orange zone. This doesn’t fully correct the display’s color temperature, but it does make it closer to the ideal 6504K.
With the display ‘calibrated’ in this way, color accuracy improves to a small extent. The biggest gains are seen in grayscale performance, but even in this area the display is still not properly accurate. It’s a shame Huawei doesn’t include an sRGB calibrated option here, though the display looks pretty good in general for casual users.