Huawei P9 review
The frontier of smartphone photography
Huawei breaks all of the rules and sets up a new frontier for smartphone photography by co-engineering the Huawei P9 with German camera maker Leica Camera AG.
Update: Huawei Honor 8 review - The new flagship smartphone from Huawei
The Huawei P9 will bring imaging at a quality never seen before and it will be available in the UK from the 16th April, for £485 SIM free or from free on a 24 month contract.
Looking for a bigger screen and battery? Read the Huawei P9 Plus review.
Display - Resolute colour saturation
Before we get into the detail about the Huawei P9’s camera, we will take a look at the build quality. The build includes a 5.2” display and the 2.5D form gently curves over at the edges to meet the body of the phone, giving the display a floating-typed illusion.
New: Huawei P10 review
The display projects light from 96% of the colour spectrum, giving superb colour saturation and high contrast. This is used to full effect over 1920 x 1080 pixels.
Design - Attention to detail
Huawei always pays attention to the small details and it is this practice that gives the Huawei P9 one of the most desirable looks on the market. The rounded diamond cut edges feel smooth in the hand and the aerospace-class aluminium unibody, feels cool to the touch.
Looking to save some money? Check out the Huawei P9 lite review
The finish includes brushed hairlines and metal polishing, down to the micron-level and the textured power button adds character. The slim 6.95mm body is easy to hold and the phone feels almost weightless at 144g.
On April 16th three colour options will be available for the consumer and these include Prestige Gold, Titanium Grey and Mystic Silver.
Phone Set Up
Getting started - Security meets Android
The Huawei P9 works in much the same way that the Huawei-created Google Nexus 6P does. This means that users can set up fingerprint security and choose between two memory options (32GB/64GB).
|Nexus 6P review|
Just like the Nexus 6P, Google’s operating system, Android Marshmallow, powers the phone but the look is distinctively different, with Huawei’s EMUI 4.1 user interface adding hundreds of tweaks and new features.
Performance - Kirin meets 2.0 connectivity
The Huawei P9 is powered by the Kirin 955 processor, which brings octa-core power at speeds of 2.5GHz. Putting this into perspective, the processor is 100% faster than the one used in the Huawei P8 and it improves 3D graphics by 125%.
|Huawei P8 prices|
Connectivity also gets an upgrade with Signal+ 2.0 technology giving a virtual triple antenna effect, ensuring that network signal strength isn’t lost when the device is held in any position. Wi-Fi+ 2.0 tech is used to rank Wi-Fi hotspots and the phone then automatically connects to the strongest signal.
The Huawei P9 also has superior hands-free operation with powerful microphones picking up voices from up to three metres away, making it perfect for group / conference calling.
Camera & Video
Photography - Leica dual-lens camera
You probably won’t have heard of camera manufacturer Leica, unless you are a professional photographer. This fact hints that the camera on the Huawei P9 is going to be professional-grade and here we find out exactly what that means.
In the camera module sits two 12MP camera lenses and these work in tandem to capture more light for better image clarity. The is achieved by one of the 12MP sensors capturing RGB details (Red, Green, Blue) while the other captures monochrome detail (Black, White).
A special Huawei P9 merging algorithm then works to combine the colour from one lens with the detail of the other. The result is 300% more detail gained through 200% more sensitivity, which is truly a remarkable step forward for smartphone photography.
Camera app - Focus, edit and manipulate
The laser focus is fast and accurate and because two images have been captured by the dual cameras, it is possible to add wide aperture effects. These are usually created by professionals on cameras with expensive lenses.
The nuts and bolts of wide aperture effects is the possibility to precisely focus on any object in the frame and create background blur. This is achievable because the dual cameras see the scene from slightly different angles.
Images can be edited after the shot to change the focal points and images can be manipulated further on a computer because the camera saves the original RAW image data.
The selfie camera also performs well and has an 8MP resolution.
Power - USB Type-C
The Huawei P9 uses the new symmetrically shaped USB Type-C, so unlike microUSB, the cable can be inserted either way up. The 3,000mAh battery gives long usage times, with Huawei stating that the P9 could play HD video continuously for 12 hours.
Verdict: If photography is your driving factor for buying a new smartphone, then the Huawei P9 should be your number one choice.
Looking for another review? Visit our reviews page
Written by: Michael Brown