With the release of its flagship, Huawei P9, the Chinese company looks to take up a bigger share in the high- end phone market as a way of supplanting itself firmly as the third largest global smartphone maker. The genius in Huawei’s best phone release is not its superior hardware, but the fact that the high- end device has managed to keep the price significantly lower than that of the other two tech giants, Apple and Samsung.
Huawei typically manufactures phones with exciting features but which ultimately end up haggling for supremacy in the mid- range section of the market. Not lately though. Since the release of Huawei P8, last year, the company signaled very boldly its intentions to vie with the top dogs as well. The result is the stunningly beautiful Huawei P9 which brings this objective to reality.
To bring out the elegance, the designers used metal and glass to craft the P9. In terms of dimensions, the unibody consists of 145 x 70.9 x 6.95 mm measurements. Essentially, it is a very slim phone—slimmer even compared to Samsung Galaxy S7 and Apple iPhone 6S. The smaller frame also accounts for the lightweight specs amounting to 144 grams.
Counting HTC 10 and the Galaxy S7, flagship smartphones seem to aim for the 5.2- inch average screen size as the most ideal. This is the same size of display on the P9, only difference being that Huawei P9 retains a lower resolution panel than its competitors. The 1080 x 1920 pixels resolution on screen with 424 ppi is one of the ways we suspect Huawei managed to keep the price of its flagship low. There is no compromise on the structural integrity of the display though, as it has been fitted with a strengthened layer of Corning Gorilla Glass 4 to protect it from shock damage. Huawei manages to include a large screen on an otherwise small body to make it stand out in a gorgeous way. The 2.5D glass display curves slightly along the outer edges, but not as much as Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge. These alluring features and the compact nature make it a greater object of beauty compared to its sibling, Huawei Mate 8.
One of the other more worrying criticisms that Huawei has faced is the fact that it has overlaid Android 6.0 Marshmallow with a rather ‘heavy’ portion of Emotion User Interface 4.1. The interface changes how you experience Google’s software leading to fears that updates to the software would take longer to be integrated to Huawei P9. Much of the interface is also allegedly inspired by iOS, including the multitasking app switcher.
At the back, you will find a rectangular fingerprint scanner which is fast and reliable in unlocking the phone. Its shape and location where you can easily access it with the index finger make it one of the most desirable parts of the phone.
Still, Huawei’s biggest selling point for its flagship is not any of the things I just mentioned above. The marketing budget has almost entirely been directed towards highlighting the dual camera at the back. A familiar logo “LEICA” is inscribed next to the binoculars- like pair of camera lenses. Leica Camera AG, is a German optics enterprise and manufacturer of Leica cameras with over 167 years of experience in the field of photography. The two cameras from Leica have been designed to capture different details from images. One of the cameras has an RGB sensor that captures color details while the other has a monochromatic sensor which focuses of light. By combining details from the two camera sensors, Huawei P9 takes photos with incredible quality to rival any camera phone in the market today. To make it even more justifiable, the cameras do not protrude outwards from the back surface like the bumps we see in every other camera on the back of smartphones these days.
The color sensor has three shooting modes, namely the Standard, Vivid and Smooth. All of these offer different types of color rendering that are each appealing in their own respect, but most importantly giving the user the leeway to take photos in the most preferred mode. The 12 megapixel monochromatic lens not only ensures the best quality of low- light photos for the P9; it also ensures that you can capture true black and white photos.
For all the credentials of the camera manufacturer, there was bound to be a professional mode as well. When you switch to manual, the camera software allows you to shoot in RAW, to adjust the focus manually as well as control the ISO levels. We can’t help but feel the details in the photos could be improved further if the size of the pixels were increased a little from the 1.25 µm size. Low light video capture is very good as well but the highest quality of video you can take is 1080p at 60 frames per second. The selfie camera at the front records 1080p video and captures some great images as well.
An octa- core HiSilicon Kirin 955 processor, manufactured by Huawei, keeps everything working in lightning speed. This consists of a quad-core 2.5 GHz Cortex-A72 chip and a second quad-core 1.8 GHz Cortex-A53 chip which come together to provide the needed high- level performance.
There are dual SIM and single- SIM variants of this phone available, so buyer beware. The single SIM version will come with 3 GB of RAM and 32 GB internal storage space as standard. The dual SIM versions will feature base levels of 32 GB internal storage space with 3 GB of RAM and a second option of 64 GB native storage and 4 GB of RAM.
A non- removable 3000 mAh battery resides at the back but it does not support fast charging. We do not immediately know the reason for this since we saw the feature in Huawei Mate 8. But in summation, the Huawei P9 has proven that Samsung and Apple might not keep playing the dominant forces at the top of smartphone echelons alone for too long now.
|Dimensions (LxWxD)|| 145 x 70.9 x 7 mm
|OS||Android OS, 6.0 Marshmallow|
|Processor||2.5 GHz Quad-core Cortex A72 &
1.8 GHz Quad-core Cortex A53,
HiSilicon Kirin 955 chipset
|Internal storage||32/64 GB|
|External storage||Micro SD, up to 128 GB|
|Screen size||5.2 inches, Corning Gorilla Glass 4|
|Resolution||1080 x 1920 pixels (Full HD)|
|Pixel density||424 ppi|
|Screen type||IPS-NEO capacitive, 16M colors|
|SIM||Nano SIM, optional dual SIM|
|Speed||3G Up to 42.2 Mbps DL, 5.76 Mbps UL
LTE Up to 300 Mbps DL, 50 Mbps UL
|Wi-Fi||Dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA|
|Battery||3000 mAh Li-Ion|
|Camera||Primary Dual 12 MP Leica optics, Phase AF
Secondary 8 MP, 1080p
|Others||Fingerprint ID, NFC (Optional)|