Huawei P9 Smartphone
Following the company’s recently established practice of alternately switching between the release of a premium and more budget orientated model, the latest offering to appear from Huawei is the company’s high-end P9 smartphone product. Released with more than a touch of the style I have come to expect from Huawei, the P9 has been created in collaboration with Leica Camera AG. The result is the first-time appearance of a distinctive dual-lens camera smartphone. Another first, but this time from mi own personal point of view, is that the P9 is the first smartphone I have come across that uses the new USB Type C form of connectivity.
Currently available in a choice of Mystic Silver or, as in the case of my review model, Titanium Grey, the P9 has body dimensions of 145 x 70.9 x 7mm (H x W x D) and a weight of 144g. Following its usual practice, Huawei has positioned the volume rocker and power on/off controls on the right side of the handset. As a right-handed user I found the placement ideal for me while the handset as a whole felt comfortable in my hand with a nice compromised between size and comfort.
The left side of the P9 houses one of those trays that are released from the body of the unit with the aid of a supplied pin-prick tool. This tray can hold either two nano-SIM cards or a single nano-SIM and a microSD card. While a fairly standard arrangement, I have to confess to some feeling of disappointment as an earlier Huawei release offered dual SIM and SD card support. I feel the P9 card support has missed an opportunity to my mind. With the P9 smartphone I opted to go with the combination of a nano-SIM and a microSD card to give me more storage space.
Arranged along the bottom of the handset are connections for a standard 3.5mm jack headset and a USB lead. As mentioned earlier, this USB option uses the new type C connection that can be inserted either way round. Huawei has provided one of the new USB leads for this purpose. As many users might find themselves in a position where they do not have access to another device with this type C connection, Huawei has taken the sensible decision to provide a lead that has a type C connection at one end and a standard USB 2 connection at the other end thus allowing the P9 to be charged from a legacy type power source. The base of the P9 also features a speaker and microphone. A second microphone, this time of the noise-reducing variety, is located on the top edge of the handset.
Dominating the front of the handset, as is usually the case, is a 5.2-inch IPS-NEO LCD capacitive touch-screen delivering 16M colours at a resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels. With multi-touch support, this screen is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 4. The screen has a ~72.9% screen-to-body ratio with ~423ppi pixel density that produces reasonable quality in different lighting conditions.
Positioned across the top of the screen are the earpiece, light sensor, status indicator and the handset’s front camera which is an 8MP model. This has an f/2.4 lens capable of 1080p resolution. While often used for those popular Selfie captures, this camera offers a variety of modes including those designated as photo, panorama, time lapse and beauty plus capturing a video, you can also add a watermark plus an audio note.
Located on the rear of the P9 is the dual-lens 12MP main camera. With this f/2.2 27mm Leica optics you get the benefit from phase detection, auto-focus, dual-LED flash, face/smile detection, touch focus and geo-tagging plus a range of modes that are revealed by a right swipe. Videos can be captured at 30, 60 and 120fps depending upon the chosen resolution. The rear of the P9 also features a fingerprint sensor for an additional form of privacy protection.
Concealing within the body of the P9, and providing the power behind the scenes, is the new Kirin 955 2.5GHz 64-bit ARM based processor with support from a Quad-core 2.5GHz Cortex-A72 and Quad-core 1.8GHz Cortex-A53 CPU and Mali-T880 MP4 GPU. Internal storage is 32GB and this can be expanded up to 128GB through the use of an SD card. 3GB of RAM is provided. A non-removable Li-ion 3000 mAh battery is rated at giving 566 hours on standby or up to 18 hours of talk time from a single charge. Running my usual continuous video playback session, I was able to get 11 hours and 20 minutes of movie watching.
Huawei has gone with the latest 6.0 (Marshmallow) version of Android. A three second depress of the power button is required to start the boot up sequence with a further 26 seconds being taken up before arriving at the lock screen. As usual Huawei has added its own take on the basic vanilla Android. To many the additional flavour could be regarded as applying the Marmite effect. While I do not particularly mind its effects, I have heard of some who hate its presence.
As with some other Huawei smartphones that have come my way, the P9 was delivered to me without any documentation. Fortunately you can go online and download the necessary User Manual and Quick Start documentation for this particular device in order to gain the full benefit of this well designed and attractive smartphone.
According to information from Huawei this handset will come with a price of £449 and will be free on contract subject to tariff. Along with the main networks, the P9 will be available SIM free from vMAIL by the time you are reading this review.
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