The market for second-tier smartphones that want to compete with the likes of Apple and Samsung is growing all the time. Xioami, LG, Motorola and Huawei all manufacturer phones that have the same look and feel as a Galaxy or iPhone, but for a fraction of the price.
The Huawei P9 is the latest offer from the Chinese smartphone giant, but it can stand up to the bigger top-tier brands out there?
Right out the box
As soon as you unpack the Huawei P9 you’ll notice that it’s aiming at the same smooth lines and sleek design as big name smartphones. The P9 is around the same size as a iPhone 6, but the screen takes up as much space as a Galaxy. In terms of size I’d say it occupies the middle group, small enough to operate with one hand while still being big enough to house all the hardware and a screen big enough to comfortably view content. It also needs to be said that the packaging is top notch, I felt the same thrill while opening and first handling the Huawei P9 as I would have with the latest Apple or Samsung products.
Two lenses are better than one
One of the biggest selling points for the Huawei P9 is it’s 12 megapixel dual-lens rear facing camera. Essentially what the two lenses give you are more detailed images, better zooming capabilities and the ability to shoot under different conditions. So how to the two lenses make a difference? Each lens picks up on different aspects of the image, the first tracks the colours of the image while the second picks up other details like texture and patterns.
If you prefer to customise your photography experience the Huawei P9 also comes with a variety of pro features that allow you to adjust and switch between using the lenses.
All in all, the camera on the P9 is the best that Huawei have released so far and definitely the highlight of the phone. Sure, you can get a better camera on more expensive smartphones, but you’d be hard pressed to find a better camera on other mid-tier smartphones like the Huawei P9.
What’s under the hood?
Let’s have a look at the performance of the Huawei P9, and exactly what grade of hardware it’s using.
First off, the P9 has better battery life than previous Huawei P models. While Huawei claims that the device has over a day of battery life, I didn’t find this to be the case. However this isn’t to say it has terrible battery life, the P9 is capable of running apps or playing media without draining too much of the battery. But as most smartphone users already know, you’re going to have charge the device at least once a day.
The visuals and sound of the Huawei P9 are also nothing amazing, but also not terrible. Video runs in 1080p, and the phone is a nice size for watching video clips and other media.
Something else that really stood out for me is how well the P9 runs apps and it’s overall impressive general performance. Armed with 3GB of RAM and an eight-core processor I played my usual range of games on the P9 and encountered no problems. So as far as games go, consider the P9 on the same level as top-tier smartphones.
The Huawei P9 runs on the Android 6.0 operating system, giving it a familiar interface and general feel. Some minor gripes include you being asked whether you want to close apps to conserve battery life, constant performance notifications and the usual bloatware that is found on too many of today’s smartphones.
The Good The Bad
Top-notch camera Average battery life
Great looking design Average sound and media playback
There’s a certain stigma attached to anything “Made in China”. We expect mass produced, low-quality and dirt cheap products that we don’t expect much from. We expect to sacrifice things like performance and design in favour of a lower price-tag. The Huawei P9 destroys this stereotype by giving you the best of both worlds; namely a quality product that won’t break your bank account. Huawei have upped the “mid-tier” smartphone game significantly, and the industry kingpins would do well to take notice as this could mean a whole new way in what we expect from more affordable smartphones.
To view the Huawei P9 in more detail click here to be redirected to our product page for pricing and availability.