The Huawei P9 and P9 Plus, just surpassed 10 million sales worldwide, it also just so happens that I recently purchased a Huawei P9 to review… In the sea of iPhones and Samsung’s, many people may not have heard of Huawei but this Chinese company is rapidly growing in the smartphone market. The Huawei P9 is my first experience with a pure Huawei device, I say pure because my current phone, the Nexus 6P, was designed by Huawei for Google.
See my first impressions of the Huawei P9 by clicking here: Huawei P9: First Impressions.
The first thing that you’ll notice upon picking up the P9 is that at 144g, this phone is very light in the hand. This was something that I really liked. I say it’s the first thing that you’ll notice because the first thing most people said to me when they held this phone was “Wow, I didn’t expect it to be as light as this”. Usually followed by them then comparing it to the weight of their own phone. This was then often followed by another opinion which I share. People, including myself seem to think that this phone is very good looking. I have what Huawei call the Titanium Grey model of the P9.
At 5.71 x 2.79 x 0.28 inches, the Huawei P9 feels like a nice sized phone that would suit all hand sizes. I personally prefer a larger phone because you get the bigger screen size, but I have to say I felt that this phone fit in my hands very comfortably, ensuring that I could always have a comfortable firm grip. On the back of the phone is the fingerprint scanner. I find the back of the phone to be a great location for the fingerprint scanner, as it is where my finger naturally falls as I take the phone out of my pocket, meaning that the screen is already on when I turn the phone to face me. Obviously, it is not the best location if your phone is on a desk. The fingerprint scanner that is used on the Huawei P9 is extremely quick, as well as being highly reliable. I do not have any faults with this scanner. Even when my fingerprint was at awkward angles it seemed to always be able to read it.
Across the bottom of the phone there is the headphone jack, a USB C port and the speaker. The USB C port makes this phone more future proof than phones which use micro USB, as USB C is the USB port of the future that new phones are moving towards. The speaker on this phone is not great, it can get loud, but as you make it louder the quality quickly decreases.
If you have the screen facing you, on the left-hand side of the phone is the sim tray and on the right-hand side is all the buttons. Although buttons are only a small feature that are easy to overlook, they can make a real difference to the feel of the quality of the phone. If you have buttons that don’t really click and are spongier, it can make the phone feel cheap. With the Huawei P9 the buttons are just okay, I found that the power button was a bit spongier than I would have liked but nothing too bad. The volume rocker was slightly clickier than the power button which I liked.
There are three versions of the Huawei P9, each with internal differences. All versions support expandable storage of up to 256 GB via a microSD card. Both the EVA-L09 and EVA-L19 have internal memory of 32GB and 3GB of RAM. However, the EVA-L19 can also support a second sim card in the microSD slot. The third version is the EVA-L29, this version has 64GB of internal memory and 4GB of RAM, also, like the EVA-L19 it can support a second sim card in the microSD card slot if you need it to.
There is a non-removable 3000 mAH battery. I found that this easily got me through a day and under light usage could get me through two days. The Huawei P9 comes with a standard charger but does support fast charging. Using a regular charger, it takes 2 hours 15 minutes to get from 0 to 100%. When using a fast charger, it isn’t ridiculously fast but is obviously quicker than the regular charger. After 1 hour of charging I found a 73% increase in the battery life.
The Huawei P9 has a dual sensor 12MP camera, that was co-designed by German camera company, Leica. One of the cameras sensors is a monochrome sensor and the other is an RGB sensor. Having a dedicated monochrome sensor for black and white pictures is a nice feature, as it means that you can take natural black and white pictures, rather than taking a picture and then putting an effect over it. Huawei claim that having the RGB and monochrome sensor, allows for more light to enter the picture, giving you better brightness in your images. Huawei also gives you lots of professional features with the camera. I’m not a photographer by any stretch of the imagination, however I imagine if you know what you are doing then you will be able to have a lot of fun trying out the different features. Some of the features that sounded the most interesting to me are “Light Painting”, “Time-Lapse” and “Night Shot”.
The front facing camera has an 8MP sensor which takes good quality images. Annoyingly the default setting on the camera is to add a “beauty mode”. This has a scale of 1 to 10. This basically works by you moving up and down a slider, the closer you are to 10 on the slider the more the photo will be processed to remove imperfections. The closer the picture is to 10, the less natural the picture looks. It is easy enough to remove beauty mode though, as when you turn the front facing camera on, the word “Beauty” is at the bottom with a cross next to it, you just simply hit the the cross to turn it off.
The Huawei P9 uses EMUI version 4.1 on top of Android 6.0 Marshmallow. People who like IOS may like EMUI, but personally I found it to be a worse version of IOS, a less functional version. I also thought that EMUI seemed to take away some of the functionality of Android. Such as, you are not able to drag down your notifications from the top of the lock screen, which is a really good feature, so I’m not sure why they would take away that functionality. There is also no app draw in EMUI, so like in IOS, you have to arrange your apps into folders and multiple pages. If you don’t like the EMUI launcher, Huawei have made it more difficult than most other phones to select a new default launcher as well. However it is possible.
Overall I like the Huawei P9, hardware wise the phone is very good. However, on the software side, that is where the Huawei P9 falls. It isn’t terrible but there are better options out there. I did get used to it eventually, but, for me, I find using other Android software to be a much better experience. This phone is not for everyone, but there are some people who would really like it. For example, people who use the camera on their phone a lot would probably have a lot of fun with the P9.