The Huawei P9 was a significant release from Huawei in 2016. It marked Huawei’s ambition to compete in the premium smartphone segment, and one of its standout features was the dual-camera setup co-engineered with the renowned camera brand, Leica. Here’s an in-depth review of the Huawei P9:
The Huawei P9 was designed to showcase Huawei’s capabilities in terms of design, performance, and camera technology. The collaboration with Leica for the camera was a major highlight, signaling Huawei’s commitment to delivering a top-tier photography experience.
- Operating System: Initially shipped with Android 6.0 (Marshmallow) with Huawei’s EMUI 4.1 skin.
- Display: 5.2-inch Full HD IPS-NEO LCD with a resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels.
- Processor: HiSilicon Kirin 955 Octa-core.
- Memory: Options of 3 GB RAM with 32 GB storage or 4 GB RAM with 64 GB storage, expandable via microSD up to 256 GB.
- Camera: Dual 12 MP rear sensors co-engineered with Leica, featuring f/2.2 aperture, phase detection autofocus, and an 8 MP front camera.
- Battery: A 3000 mAh non-removable battery.
- Other Features: Fingerprint sensor, USB Type-C, and infrared port.
- Camera: The dual-camera setup, with one sensor capturing color and the other capturing monochrome details, allowed for better low-light photography and depth-of-field effects.
- Design: The P9 featured a sleek aluminum unibody design, giving it a premium look and feel.
- Performance: The Kirin 955 chipset, combined with ample RAM, ensured smooth performance for most tasks.
- Compact Size: The 5.2-inch form factor was comfortable for one-handed use.
- EMUI Skin: While feature-rich, Huawei’s EMUI skin was often criticized for straying too far from stock Android, leading to a polarizing user experience.
- Camera Limitations: Despite the Leica branding, the camera lacked optical image stabilization, and the f/2.2 aperture wasn’t as large as some competitors, limiting low-light capabilities.
- Battery Life: The 3000 mAh battery was average, and while it could get through a day for most users, heavy users might have desired more.
Comparisons to Other Technologies:
In its segment, the Huawei P9 faced competition from:
- Samsung Galaxy S7: Offering a 5.1-inch Quad HD Super AMOLED display, a powerful Exynos 8890 chipset, and a highly-praised camera.
- LG G5: With its modular design, 5.3-inch Quad HD display, and dual-camera setup.
- iPhone 6s: With its 4.7-inch display, Apple’s A9 chip, and a focus on ecosystem and software experience.
The Huawei P9 was announced in April 2016 and released later the same month.
- Software Updates: Some users reported delays in receiving software updates, and the device took a while to receive the Android Nougat update.
- EMUI Quirks: The software experience was a common point of contention, with some users disliking the lack of an app drawer and other EMUI-specific changes.
- Camera Expectations: While the Leica branding set high expectations, some users felt the camera performance, especially in low light, didn’t always meet these expectations.
The Huawei P9 was a bold move by Huawei to establish itself in the premium smartphone segment. With its sleek design, dual-camera setup, and solid performance, it was a compelling offering. The collaboration with Leica was a significant selling point, though it also set high expectations. While the P9 had its strengths, especially in terms of design and general camera performance, it also faced challenges, particularly in terms of software experience and competition from other flagship devices. For users who valued photography and wanted a device that stood out, the P9 was a worthy consideration.