Huawei P9 lite review
A mid-range gem from Huawei
The Huawei P9 lite should be on the radar of anyone looking for a mid-range smartphone. Even though it is the lite version of the Huawei P9, this phone is a demonstration of just how good a mid-range phone can be.
Design - Metal, polycarbonate and glass
The slim body (7.5mm) has a metallic bezel and finely finished alloy frame. The polycarbonate back case has a metallic appearance, giving it the same looks as the more expensive P9.
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The front of the Huawei P9 lite is glass and all areas that are not the display, are coloured in one of three colour schemes; white, gold or black.
Display - Improved vibrancy
The difference in the display, compared to the Huawei P8 lite, is extremely noticeable, with the P9 lite having good brightness and excellent colour reproduction. The user can even adjust the colour temperature to their liking.
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The display measures 5.2” and has a FHD resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels (424 pixels per inch). Most of the front face is display with a 76.4% screen-to-body ratio.
Processor - Kirin 650
HiSilicon, which is fully owned by Huawei, have provided the 2GHz octa-core Kirin 650 processor, which does what a good processor should, giving high performance while using little power.
The internal 16GB memory offers plenty of space for storing new apps, photos and videos, and this is backed up by a microSD card slot, with support for memory cards of up to128GB.
Phone Set Up
Getting started - Fingerprint security
The Huawei P9 lite has chip-level fingerprint security with ARM TrustZone technology, indicating protection at a hardware level. Once fingerprint security is set up, users will find that the rear-mounted sensor does more than just unlock the phone.
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Recognising fingerprints through 360 degrees, the all-weather sensor can be swiped from top to bottom to drag down the notification window or tapped to take selfies or answer/end calls.
Sound - Smart PA
The Huawei P9 lite has good musical properties with HiSilicon Hi6402 audio DSP, a 9 V Smart PA and integrated speaker design that amplifies sound to high levels, without causing damage to the speaker.
Although there are two sets of speaker grills at the bottom of the phone, there is in fact one mono speaker.
OS - Android Marshmallow
The Huawei P9 lite is powered by Android Marshmallow with Huawei’s EMUI 4.1 user interface. This gives the OS a different feel and also includes Huawei designed apps.
Android Marshmallow apps, which come pre-loaded, includes Google Voice Search, Maps for use with GPS, Gmail, Play Music and the Play Store app for downloading new apps, music and media.
Camera & Video
Photography - HDR video
The Huawei P9 lite has a 13MP camera coupled with a Sony IMX214 image sensor.
This is the first 13MP CMOS image sensor that enables HDR output at 30fps, giving HDR for both video and still imagery.
HDR (High Dynamic Range) is one of the most dramatic tools for smartphone photographers and it enables the camera to capture the detail of dark elements within a brightly lit scene.
The large f2.0 aperture of the camera allows it to capture high quality results and for those who wish to get serious, there is a Pro-camera mode and Pro-video mode, for adjusting all manner of settings, such as the white balance, ISO and EV.
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Special shooting modes includes Light Painting, Time-lapse and Slow-mo.
Selfies - Beauty Video mode
The 8MP selfie camera has a 27mm wide-angle lens and the screen works as a flash, under low-light conditions. The user can adjust beauty parameters with Beauty mode and Beauty Video mode and can customise the preset selfie effects.
Power - Huge battery capacity
The 3,000mAh battery is an impressive addition for a ‘lite’ phone and this should easily get users through the day, even with moderate to high use. This performance is in part due to the efficient processor but SmartPower 4.0 is also working in the background to optimise the user experience.
Final thoughts: The Huawei P9 may be considered by some as ‘over the top’ and it is these people who will want to snap up a Huawei P9 lite. Although the P9 lite fits into the mid-range it certainly sits at the very top, punching well above its weight.
Written by: Michael Brown