Huawei throws its feet deeper in the smartphone world with the release of the Huawei P9 that promises to stir the waters in the smartphone market. The P9 is a flagship phone in every respect except for its price, which is reasonably priced compared to high-end phones from its competitors including LG, Apple and Samsung. The device comes with a dual-camera set up in the back that is meant to reinvent the smartphone photography and take it to the next level thanks to Leica. The system is powered by Huawei Kirin 955 (64-bit) Octa-core 2.5GHZ Cortex –A72 and a Quad-core 1.8GHz Cortex A53 processor. It also features a Mali-T880 MP4 GPU which is a powerful chip to have been embedded on a Huawei Phone. There are two versions one coming with 32GB of storage space and 3GB of RAM memory whereas the other version packs 64GB of storage and 4GB of RAM. The review focuses on the 32GB version. The 5.2 inch display smartphone comes with a resolution of 1920x1080p making it a decent device. The smartphone combines top of the range features to offer a smooth performance with its selling point being its camera quality.
The Huawei P9 sports a full metal body along with chamfered edges. The smartphone measures 2.8 x 0.3 x 5.7 and weighs a mere 1.1 pound. It comes in a great size that is comfortable to hold or slide easily into your jeans pocket. Huawei has placed both the volume rocker and power buttons on the left side, it’s their choice and well, it works.
The smartphone features an in-house Kirin 955 SoC build on 16nm FinFET. The chip boasts an Octa-core CPU configuration built from four Cortex-A72, clocked at 2.5GHz, four Cortex-A53 cores, clocked at 1.8GHz. It comes with 32GB storage space and 3GB of RAM which is decent enough to get the job done. The combination of a powerful processor and system memory enables the device to handle everyday tasks fast and smoothly. Apps open and close fast, the UI animations are smooth and multitasks well without slowing down. However, it is important to note that the 3GB version at times runs into a little bit of lag. In as much as it is not alarming, there are instances where apps particularly the camera loads slowly.
The system is also embedded with a Mali-T880 MP4 GPU. This is certainly the most powerful graphics chip in a Huawei phone we have seen around. The GPU works well in delivering smooth performance in playing of 3D games.
The P9 comes with a USB Type- C port for charging the smartphone and connecting it to a PC. There is also a MicroSD card slot that comes in handy to expand your storage space. This allows ample space for storage of files, music, videos and pictures. There is a 3.5mm headphone jack at the bottom that will allow you to enjoy your music without disturbing others in the room or while travelling. The bottom is also mounted with a pretty good speaker which allows the phone to play well even when lying flat on a desk. Internet connectivity is available through Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac wireless internet and Bluetooth 4.2.
The 5.2 inch Full HD IPS display and 2.5D glass smartphone comes with a resolution of 1920×1080 pixels with 424ppi. The resolution is appropriate in delivering smooth, vivid and detailed visuals. It is therefore ideal for watching movies, browsing photos or playing games. The 1080p resolution enables the GPU to handle demanding games and applications that consume more power and produce higher frame rates. The screen however lags when it comes to color accuracy with bluish tints which overshadow the displayed highlights. Outdoor visibility is possible thanks to the 450 nits of brightness the screen produces which are adequate.
The highlight point of the Huawei P9 is the revolutionary camera. Huawei has partnered with Leica, the legendary German Camera maker to come up with a dual-sensor camera. It comes with a 12MP dual-lens set up on the rear. One has an RGB sensor meant for color reproduction and the other one mainly for capturing black and white in detail. The dual sensor delivers better light sensitivity. This is a 200 percent increase for the monochrome sensor compared to 50 percent contrast produced by the regular sensors. The camera offers different focus modes namely the contrast, depth and laser focus and a depth measurement chip. This allows the two lenses to focus separately for the device to choose the best result.
The front-facing camera comes with 8MP that is adequate for taking selfies and video chat with family and friends using programs such as Skype. The camera features a perfect selfie mode and several beauty presets that allows one to set various beauty presets when taking a selfie for consistent looks. The disappointing part of the camera in the P9 is its inability to rotate the UI elements when changing the picture orientation from portrait to landscape.
Other features worth noting include the fingerprint reader which is placed below the camera on the rear of the phone. It is very responsive, accurate and flexible, it unlocks the phone fast by resting your index finger on it. The fingerprint sensor can as well perform other tasks including answering a call, browsing photos and taking a photo.
The non-removable 3000mAh battery capacity on the P9 is considerably bigger that is capable running for 7 hours with simple tasks such as web browsing and streaming of videos. Playing 3D games will however drain the juice faster to give you almost 3.5 hours of usage from a full charge. The device can therefore take you all day without charging with normal usage. The good news is that the device supports relatively fast charging which will enable you to get a full charge within 2 hours and 15 minutes.
The Huawei P9 comes into the mix with a great design and a camera that really pushed boundaries. As such, it deserves to be ranked with the other great smartphone cameras we have seen in the market. The 12MP-dual set up rear camera is a rare spectacle that Huawei utilizes as its selling point. The 3000mAh battery installed in the device is equal to the task to push you all day. However, the software installed in this system just drags it down but then it is still a bargain considering its price. All said, the Huawei P9 is a great device for everyday use especially for photo enthusiasts who may find it necessary to include it in their shopping list.