The Huawei P9 stagnates
Analysis of the Huawei P9

The Huawei P9 is the fourth flagship of Huawei since the Ascend P6 began the saga in 2013. The new generation has more power, a double camera championed by Leica and also a rise in price. Here you will find the good and the bad of this flagship.



Access directly:

  • Availability and price
  • Design and Finishing
  • screen
  • Special functions
  • software
  • performance
  • Audio
  • Camera
  • Battery
  • Technical specifications
  • Final Verdict
  • Where to buy

Evaluation

Pros

  • Camera
  • Performance
  • Battery

Cons

  • Very aggressive energy saving
  • Strong photo processing

Huawei P9 – Availability and price

The Huawei P9 was presented on April 6, 2016 during an event organized by Huawei in London. The phone will be available for € 599. On April 7 began its presale in some markets and from April 21 will begin to be sold in stores. Huawei Spain has already started pre-sale of P9 from its website.

During the Huawei event that took place at the IFA in Berlin, the Chinese brand has presented two new colors for the P9: red and blue. The two colors are inspired by the Pop Art of the 60s that show the brand’s willingness to launch original and innovative products to the market.

The red variant of the P9!
The red variant of the P9!

We do not know yet if these color variants will arrive in Spain and we will update this section as soon as we have more information about it.

The blu variant of the P9!
The blu variant of the P9!

The brand has also presented the P9 Plus that has 4 GB of RAM, 64 GB of internal memory and a 5.5-inch screen. It will be available in the marking in the coming weeks in quartz gray color at a price of € 699.

Huawei P9 – Design and finishing

The P9 offers an elegant metallic unibody body that reminds quite of its predecessor, the P8. The latter was a terminal that stood out a lot during 2015 for its elegance and the special attention that was placed on the finishes. It reaffirms the desire of the Chinese brand to offer users a smartphone with premium appearance and very good technical specifications.

The body has rounded corners and shows a slight curvature at the edges that joins the opaque frame around the device.

Cameras protected by a Gorilla Glas 3.
Cameras protected by a Gorilla Glas 3.

Like its predecessor, it does not have a start button in the front. This leaves a very broad lower frame only used to put the name of the brand.

In the back we find the main novelties of the P9: the double camera and the fingerprint reader. The two camera lenses have a circular design surrounded by an aluminum frame that barely protrudes. Next to the two lenses we find one below the LED flash and the autofocus laser.

Power button with rough texture.
Power button with rough texture.

The fingerprint reader has a square design like the Honor 7. The rear panel, as in the P8, is interrupted by a band at the top and a thin line at the bottom, where we also find the logo of the brand.

As for the physical keys, the P9 houses, along the right edge, the volume control, followed by the power button (rough texture to be easily locatable). On the left we have the SIM slot and the microSD card. In the lower part we find the USB Port Type C and the minijack for headphones.

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Thickness of less than 7 millimeters.
Thickness of less than 7 millimeters.

With its 145 x 70.9 x 6.95 mm and 114g, the P9 is light and easy to handle, and the physical buttons are easily accessible with just one hand without any problem.

It is noted that Huawei is committed to making a well-finished smartphone (thin edges slightly curved and the engraving of the Leica logo on the body), able to stand out not only in the design, but also in the photographic experience. In hand, the P9 is ergonomic, lightweight and robust at the same time.

Cancellation microphone on top.
Cancellation microphone on top.

Huawei P9 – Screen

The P9 has a 5.2-inch screen with Full HD resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels (423 ppi), covered with 2.5D glass. The panel  is rounded at the edges and has good viewing angles. In the screen settings, it is possible to change the brightness, color and temperature.

The Huawei P9 stagnates
Screen with 2.5 D effect.

During our brief test, the screen had great brightness and responded quickly when navigating the menus. During the event, the brand has ensured that the P9 screen offers 96% more saturated colors and a higher brightness. The colors are very vivid and he copes with direct sunlight.

Huawei P9 – Special functions

The Huawei P9 has a fingerprint sensor on the back, as in the Honor 7 and Mate S. This biometric sensor gives the smartphone an extra level of security for locking the terminal. You can also use it to download the notification bar.

Another of the unique features of this P9 is the support for using two SIM cards. In addition, it is the first device to incorporate a triple virtual antenna, which should substantially improve the quality of the connection.

In your system you will also find some extra features like hitting the screen twice with a knuckle to make a screenshot.

Huawei P9 – Software

The P9 runs from the start with a version of Android 6.0 Marshmallow custom, as we have customary Huawei, with its EMUI 4.1 customization layer. Like other terminals of compatriot manufacturers, this layer of personalization lacks a drawer of applications, all of them being accessible by simply sliding your finger on the screen.

Huawei gives a good review of Android.
Huawei gives a good review of Android.

EMUI is an interface very similar to iOS but with the possibility of using widgets, something like a perfect mix between the two ecosystems. Although if you do not like it you can always change to another launcher to have an application drawer again.

Themes to personalize.
Themes to personalize.

At EMUI we have an application of themes to transform the interface deeply from a visual point of view with hundreds and hundreds of topics. Most are free but some that are worth paying. In order to fully enjoy this application, it is necessary to have a Huawei ID.

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Some savings mode are a bit drastic.
Some savings mode are a bit drastic.

You have to be careful with the battery saving mode that you choose as it is the second background of the applications you are using. If you do not activate the application to work in saving mode you can lose WhatsApp notifications, for example.

Backup of applications.
Backup of applications.

Huawei has incorporated a function to make backup copies of applications. These are stored in the microSD memory or in the computer and can be password protected.

Huawei Bloatware

Among the pre-installed applications, with which Huawei charges this P9, we have Google Play, the rest of Google services, HiCare, Health and Huawei Wear. During the first contact, the system has run very smoothly, showing good compatibility between software and hardware. The user interface presents, as usual, a clean and simple design, which you can customize extensively..

The notifications and shortcuts remember the blur of iOS.
The notifications and shortcuts remember the blur of iOS.

Huawei P9 – Performance

The standard version of the P9 has 3 GB of RAM and 32 GB of internal memory. On the other hand, the Plus version has 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of internal memory. Both models have a Kirin 955 processor with a Mali-T880 GPU, which promises a much higher performance than its predecessor the P8.

A processor with more clock speed than the P8.
A processor with more clock speed than the P8.

The LTE performance is well above the average that Huawei brought. The connection is very fast and can be connected with the three 4G bands used in Spain.

Dual SIM or expand the memory.
Dual SIM or expand the memory.

Huawei P9 – Audio

The sound of the mono speaker that we have in the lower part of the terminal is quite good for calls in hands-free and to enjoy a little music. The headset at the top provides good sound as well. The noise cancellation of the phone is very balanced and allows calls in noisy environments.

A mono speaker hides behind the aluminum slots.
A mono speaker hides behind the aluminum slots.

Huawei P9 – Camera

The camera of the P9 is undoubtedly the element that, in recent months, has more to talk about. It has two 12 MP lenses with dual pixel technology and f / 2.2 aperture. Huawei has chosen Leica as its assistant for the realization of the lens of the main camera, a detail that shows the will of the manufacturer to offer a higher quality of photography to users. The P9 has an RGB sensor and a monochrome sensor that combined should provide more brightness, better detail, and, in general, better quality photos in low light conditions.

Double camera, with the collaboration of Leica.
Double camera, with the collaboration of Leica.

Each of the sensors has six individual layers and offers pixels 28% larger than those of the P8, resulting in a greater amount of captured light and, therefore, in the best images. It also provides hybrid auto-focus and a new and faster IPS.

Manual mode.
Manual mode.

It also has new and interesting features such as instant preview, movie mode, black and white, and standard. One of the most interesting aspects is also the Leica interface integration, in addition to introducing a manual mode for photo enthusiasts, which allows to adjust the ISO, the exposure, the focus and choose RAW format.

On the front, Huawei has placed an 8 MP lens with an aperture of f / 2.4, with plenty  of beauty options.

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In the middle of the contrast the post-processing puts a strange blur.
In the middle of the contrast the post-processing puts a strange blur.

The idea behind the duplication of the camera is to have a larger sensor. So installed two sensors adds twice as much light information through the software. And this post-processing calculation means that images of dimly lit or backlit objects sometimes do not look as they would like.

Huawei P9 – Battery

To keep the P9 alive we found a non-removable 3000 mAh battery, as opposed to the P8, which offers 2680 mAh. It should be noted, however, that if last year most devices brought a capacity below 3000 mAh (see Samsung Galaxy S6 and HTC One M9), this year’s range has decided to opt for a few more milliamps ( both the Samsung Galaxy S7 and the Xiaomi Mi 5 have a 3000 mAh battery).

With plug Type C but USB 2.0
With plug Type C but USB 2.0

The P9 is capable of reaching 24 hours of use. If we use the energy saving modes it can still be extended a bit more but be sure to control the applications that it inhibits so as not to take surprises because you do not receive the messages.

Although it has a Type C plug, it does not support USB 3.1, which can charge up to 3 amps. Unfortunately the P9 only supports the current USB 2.0 standard.

Huawei P9 – Technical specifications

DIMENSIONS: 145 x 70.9 x 6.95 mm
WEIGHT: 144 gr
BATTERY SIZE: 3000 mAh
SCREEN SIZE: 5.2 inches
SCREEN: 1920 x 1080 pixels (424 ppi)
FRONTAL CAMERA: 8 megapixels
REAR CAMERA: 12 megapixels
FLASH: LED
ANDROID VERSION: 6.0 – Marshmallow
USER INTERFACE: Huawei EMUI
RAM: 3 GB
INTERNAL MEMORY: 32 GB
REMOVABLE MEMORY: micro SD
CHIPSET: HiSilicon Kirin 955
NUMBER OF NUCLEI: 8
MAXIMUM SPEED: 2.5 GHz
CONNECTIVITY: HSPA, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 4.2

Final verdict

The P9 is an elegant smartphone, of excellent construction and with good technical specifications. The design has been studied in detail and, despite remembering the previous generation, shows the commitment of the brand to offer users a top quality, solid and ergonomic phone.

The brand has decided to focus on the user experience through the integration of a fingerprint reader (now present in all high and medium range devices), boosting the battery and optimizing the photographic sensor.

In fact, the P9 is almost a camera with phone features. The only bad thing is that sometimes the postprocessing of the images leaves something to be desired. Anyway, I hope that this aspect of the software will improve very soon, since Huawei is putting a lot of effort into bringing updates more often than we had previously.

In short, the P9 is much better than you would expect for the price.

What do you think of the new P9? Disappointed or satisfied with the work done by Huawei?

Huawei P9 – Where to buy

The Huawei P9 is already available in pre-order from its website. If you book now, you can get a Kardon Onyx Studio speaker as a gift.

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