Was it smart of Huawei to wait until this close to the holiday season for the announcement of its iPhone 7 Plus and Samsung Galaxy Note 7 “killer”? Well, since the Note 7 basically committed suicide, chances are things will work out just fine for the increasingly ambitious world’s number three smartphone vendor.

It obviously helps that the Huawei Mate 9 makes quite an impression straight off the bat, despite a mostly recognizable look for people familiar with some of the company’s previous premium designs.

Thanks to a 5.9-inch 1080p display, this is an unapologetically big device, although it manages to slot nicely between the 5.5-inch Pixel XL and 5.7-inch LG V20 in terms of overall size perception. Smoothly crafted from prime aluminum, the Huawei Mate 9 doesn’t follow the questionable headphone jack-annihilating trend, niftily integrating dual stereo speakers, as well as an improved rear-fitted fingerprint reader, and above all, a second-gen dual 12 + 20 MP camera setup.

Powered by Leica once again, this aims to take depth perception and bokeh effects to the next level, which we’ll explore more of in an extensive review coming soon. For the time being, you’ll have to settle for a quick but greatly encouraging exclusive hands-on preview:

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