Huawei P9, the complete review of GizChinaIT

Huawei p9

Among the various top of the range presented in this beginning 2016, many awaited the arrival of the new Huawei P9, both for the success of the previous one P8 series (especially the P8 Lite), both for a series of interesting specifications leaked in recent days.

In a landscape where noteworthy innovations are struggling to come out, Huawei has in fact decided to introduce a device characterized by a dual rear camera. For heaven's sake, we are not talking about a completely new technology, if you consider previous terminals like the Qiku Q Earth or some HTC; however, we had not yet seen so much emphasis on this aspect, so the hype was certainly high.

That said, you just have to keep reading our full review of the Huawei P9!

Huawei P9, the review of GizChinaIT

Huawei P9 - Unboxing

Huawei p9

The sales box is presented in white with the logo shown above Leica, photographic company that took part in the creation of the photographic section of Huawei P9.

Inside we find the following equipment:

  • Huawei P9;
  • charger from 5V 2A;
  • USB / USB Type-C cable;
  • earphones;
  • pin for removing the SIM cart.

The headphones here present, from the shape of Apple headphones, have a good quality, although, personally, I prefer headphones in-ear.

Inside the package containing the pin, the user manual would probably also find a place, absent here, but we are talking about a package intended for journalists, so it will certainly be contained in the official sales packaging.

Huawei P9 - Design and construction quality

The Huawei P9 is definitely not a smartphone that goes unnoticed, thanks to the very sinuous lines.
Although speaking of purely (or almost) subjective aspects, it is undeniable as the metal unibody body, in this color Titanium Grey, gives the whole a decidedly elegant appearance, even if, by tapping on it with a finger, it is possible to notice how the thickness is not particularly pronounced.

Beyond that, portability is certainly favored by the compact size of 145 x 70.9 x 6.95 mm and a weight of approx 143 grams, even if the metal construction, as usual, in some situations can be slippery in use. The lateral curvatures front and back could partly compensate, but, not being particularly pronounced, almost cause the opposite effect.

Huawei p9

On the front we see the front camera positioned, the headset capsule, inclusive of Notification LED, the brightness and proximity sensors and the Huawei logo. The keys are on the screen.

Later we find a novelty compared to the previous P8, or the touch fingerprint reader. Operation is excellent, both in speed and accuracy. In addition to being able to record up to 5 fingerprints (but with different fingers), we have access to various gestures.

Huawei p9

In addition to it, we have the photographic module, which we will analyze later, underneath a glass body on which we find some of the technical characteristics. Along with it we have the dual tone dual LED flash and hybrid autofocus. On the sides, as well as below, there are the bands for the antennas.

Huawei p9

As for the side profiles, on the left are the volume rocker and the power button, with a comfortable knurling, while on the right is the SIM slot.
Then we see the noise suppression microphone, which works together with the main microphone located below, flanked by the entrance USB Type-C, the audio speaker, the 3.5 mm minijack input and 2 visible screws.

Huawei P9 - Display

As in the case of P8, also for this Huawei P9 the company has decided to continue to use a panel, from 5.2 inches, with resolution Full HD, PPI 423 and technology IPS.
Unlike some latest generation IPS displays, it is possible to see how the Huawei device still suffers from some flaws typical of this type of screens, first of all the depth of blacks.
It would have been preferable to see a panel used Super AMOLED like on the big brother Huawei P9 Plus. It's okay to differentiate products in different price ranges, but, in the case of the Huawei P9, we're still talking about a 599 euro phone at launch.


Beyond this particular, the color rendering è very good e well balanced, and it is also possible to calibrate the chromatic gradation of the display to our liking, either through 3 preset profiles, or manually through the appropriate color wheel.

La maximum brightness presents a good value di 500 nits, suitable in conditions of intense sunlight, while the minimum brightness it's so good, but not great.

Very good the oleophobic treatment and that anti-reflective. No problem even with regard to the touch screenAlways very reactive, except in one circumstance, that is when you go to adjust the brightness from the notification bar, even if, most likely, it is a temporary software bug.
Everything is protected by a Corning glass Gorilla Glass 4 with curvature 2.5D.

Huawei P9 - Hardware and performance

After seeing theKirin HiSilicon 950 on board Huawei Mate 8, here is that Huawei a few months after its launch comes on the market with a new version of the aforementioned SoC owner, or Kirin 955, which has no structural changes, but only relative to power. The chipset, made with a production process a 16 nm FinFET, includes a CPU octa-core with architecture a 64 bit ARMv8-A and 2 cluster: 4 x Cortex-A72 to 2.5 GHz + 4 x Cortex-A53 to 1.8 GHz.

Huawei p9

At a performance level, the device confirms what is already good seen with the aforementioned Mate 8: this translates into top performance, ensuring a daily use without lag and jamming, even during stress terminal use.
Furthermore, there is a i5 co-processor, used in carrying out some specific tasks, such as voice recognition, the management of the sensors HUB, GPS navigation and more.
Also worthy of mentionISP dedicated to 14 bit, used for the management of the imaging part, with a bandwidth of 960 MP / s.

The combined GPU is always the ARM Mali-T880 MP4 to 900 MHz, and here we find the only "flaw" of this SoC of Huawei, or the graphic power. The quotation marks are a must, as this flaw is particularly visible in the benchmarking phase (below is found the test Antutu), but thegaming experience it is valid and enough fluid, although occasionally it is possible to notice some frame drop in the most demanding titles like Real Racing 3 and Asphalt 8.

The device we analyzed is the variant with 3 GB di RAM e 32 GB di the memory, expandable via micro SD up to 128 GB, but there will also be a version with 4 GB di RAM e 64 GB di the memory.
As soon as it is switched on, the amount of RAM available to the user amounts to about 1.57 GB: poco bad, as software optimization handles everything better, with reloads only with many heavy apps running.
The only subjective defect is the multitasking screen managed horizontally.

Le memory used are fast enough, but do not reach the speed of memories with UFS 2.0 technology.
In this regard, we refer to the in-depth focus benchmark that we have performed in recent days.

Obviously no problem during the Browsing (Google Chrome by default) and in video playback, with support for 4K format.

Huawei P9 - Antutu Benchmark

Huawei P9 - Gaming test with Real Racing 3

Huawei P9 - Photo portfolio

But now we come to the pivotal aspect of this Huawei P9: the photo gallery.

First of all, the first novelty is represented by the collaboration with Leica, an important name in the field of photography that makes its way for the first time in the smartphone field. This synergy can be found in the Aspheric Summarit lenses of the rear camera, made by the aforementioned company, and inLeica Experience UI interface, personalized with some of the company's stylistic features.
From the main screen you can access the Pro mode, with which to manually set the parameters related to the focus, ISO, time and exposure value, and the white balance.
With a swype to the right you access the part related to Features, including HDR, Black and White, Panorama, Night Shot and Light Painting.
With a swype to the left, however, opens the settings curtain, from which to adjust the resolution, saving in RAW, the grid, the timer and so on.

Huawei p9

But the most obviously significant novelty is the presence of one dual rear camera, which stands out conspicuously on the back, since in these days of use many friends have been impressed by this. As already mentioned, this is not a real novelty, but never as in this case a company had staked so much on it.
Also showy the protective glass placed on it, on which we find some parameters of the camera, or the focal aperture f / 2.2 and the focal length of 27 mm.

L'hybrid autofocus is another feature on which Huawei has particularly insisted.
We have a hardware side autofocus laser, fast enough, even if not lightning fast, especially with inadequate brightness.
In addition to it, there is a depth autofocus, which can be activated through the appropriate function, with which you can take a picture and adjust its focus in post-production, deciding which subject to focus on and the amount of blur you want in the rest of the frame. The result is very interesting, especially once you understand how it works, but, being a software solution, it is not always perfect and showy artifacts can be seen.
Finally, we have the most classic contrasting autofocus.

But now let's talk about the main aspect, or the Sony IMX286 dual sensor with pixels from 1.25 um, whose first value is theabsence of protrusions, although the shell is quite thin.
The first distinction to make is that while a sensor is a standard type RGB, that is in color, the other is of type monochrome.
This involves two interesting innovations: the first is that it is possible to make shots natively in black and whitewithout having to apply software filters.
The shots obtained are very suggestive, since the B&W effect is not a simple software filter, but it is native, thanks to the special sensor.

The second concerns the yield of standard photos, as Huawei has stated that this new technology allows to obtain up to 90% more brightness than the Samsung Galaxy S7, whose camera is currently one of the best in low light conditions.
In fact, during our tests, we found that the brightness does not reach particularly high values, indeed, in situations of unfavorable light it is possible to notice a tendency to underexposure. Furthermore, the function HDR it does not seem to intervene a lot.

At this point, it is natural to wonder if the sensors actually work with each other, so we made some shots first and then normally covering the monochromatic sensor, and the result is that there seems to be no difference.

Reading on the net, some rumors would have claimed that the current firmware is not yet optimized and that some algorithms have not yet been implemented, so we reserve the right to give a definitive judgment on this as soon as Huawei has explained this situation. Fortunately, by setting Black and White shots and covering the monochrome sensor, the frame is actually covered.

Lo zoom, which should be 6x maximum, does not behave very badly.

At night the shots are facilitated by the dual flash dual-tone LED flash very powerful, in some cases perhaps even too much.
In Night mode you get very beautiful shots, but in this it is necessary that the smartphone is still, so as to avoid blurred photos.

Also to mention front camera, a Sony IMX179 da 8 mega-pixels with opening f / 2.4, with very good shots even in low light conditions (there is also a software flash via the display).

My opinion is that the camera of the Huawei P9 has a great potential, but that at the moment, probably due to software limitations (I hope) arginable, still can not give the best of itself, often resulting in fluctuating depending on the situation.

Regarding the video recording, there is no possibility to film in 4K, a marginal absence in my opinion, but it is possible to record in format Full HD also to 60 fps. If theabsence of OIS it is already felt during the photo session, here it is felt in a decisive way. Filming at 30 fps, however, you can activate theICE CREAM, which behaves all in all well.
Also present the options Time Lapse e Slow-motion (120 fps to 720p).

Huawei P9 - Full HD 60/30 fps recording test

Huawei P9 - Audio

One aspect that struck me positively is the sound quality of the main speaker.
Given the unused lower band, a frontal positioning of it would have been preferable; however the sound rendition è pleasant strong and decisive volume and with a sufficient amount of low frequencies.
Good listening through headphones too, although I recommend using an alternative player with better EQ.

Last, but not least, the headset capsule, whose yield is satisfactory, even if the output is not very high and I noticed a slight predominance of the mid-low frequencies.

Huawei P9 - Connectivity

In this variant of the Huawei P9 we only support in single SIM (in Nano format), since the other slot is used only for memory expansion.
No problem of receiving and hooking cells thanks to the modem LTE Cat.6, favored by the presence of a system to 3 antennas, with which go to make up for the possible weakening of the signal.

Connectivity is also very good 802.11 Wi-Fi a / b / g / n / ac Dual Band, in addition to that Bluetooth 4.2 and GPS / A-GPS / GLONASS / BeiDou. To be noted the presence ofNFC.and the possibility of using the smartphone as Wi-Fi Hotspot, sharing one's own Data connection with other devices nearby.

Huawei P9 - Software

At the software level on the P9 we find Android 6.0 Marshmallow, accompanied by the proprietary interface Emotion UI 4.1.
The differences compared to before are almost nil, if not for some minor graphic changes.

Huawei p9

The upper bar is always managed in 2 screens, one dedicated to notifications and one to quick toggles. Note that the receipt of a notification is accompanied by a small image: for example, if you receive a message on Telegram, you will see the profile picture of the contact in question.

From the appropriate menu, in addition to setting your own fingerprints, you can set the biometric reader to be used by some gestures to make the notification bar go down or to scroll through the photo gallery.
Speaking of gestures, we find again the Knuckle Sense, usable by its own knuckles.

Even if the display dimensions are not generous, there is the appropriate option for resizing the interface, for theone-handed use.

Huawei P9 - Autonomy

And perhaps it is in this department that we find the most significant software novelty on board the Huawei P9, or the "ROG energy saving“, With which to carry out a downscale display to HD resolution, even if, after some tests, I verified that the difference in use is quite ridiculous.

Autonomy is guaranteed by a battery from 3000 mAh, not bad when you consider the 6.9 mm thick. With an average use under 4G you can cover the day, with about 3 / 3.5 hours of active display, while with a "home" use, therefore under Wi-Fi and without cell changes, you can easily touch the 4 hours.

Huawei P9 - Conclusions

If you consider how much Huawei has focused on the photographic sector of this Huawei P9, it is undeniable that, on the part of many, there is a hint of disappointment, not because the results are not good, indeed, but nothing that is not easily replicable with others terminals.
For heaven's sake, the Black and White option is very valid, but how many times will we find ourselves using it in our daily life?

Exceeded this aspect, the terminal convinces, but not surprising. The it's good, but not great, and you can say just as much Kirin 955, which, from the graphical point of view, still suffers the gap with respect to competitors.

The pros are definitely one biometric scanner definitely reliable, a connectivity excellent and a elegant design, even if it falls back into subjectivity.

We remind you that the Huawei P9 is currently available in pre-order online, while the official sale the next one will start 16th April at all retail-stores (and not only) at the following prices:

  • 3 GB 32 GB: 599 €
  • 4 GB 64 GB: 649 €