In the vast Indian mobile market where Chinese mobile phone manufacturers rule the roost in the budget and mid-ranged segment, Chinese maker Huawei has been maintaining a rather low profile recently and it chose not to bring in its previous flagship model, the Huawei P8. However, the company has decided to change this by launching its latest flagship – the new Huawei P9.

The new Huawei P9 is a good premium smartphone that is worthy of its flagship status and has been priced at Rs. 39,999 for the Indian market. The premium phone comes with a premium pricing, but it does offer a lot of good things, especially in terms of camera performance.

Huawei P9: A Great Performer Packed In A Slim Body

Here’s a look at the new Huawei P9:

Design & Display

In keeping with the trend, the new Huawei P9 flaunts a sturdy all metal unibody construction that feels truly premium. The edges of the device are all chamfered, and it is sleeker and lighter than most of the other flagship models. The smartphone has an overall compact design and being so slim and light it is extremely comfortable to hold in one hand and operate smoothly. On the whole the design is elegant, smart, neat, smooth and very much premium without being over the top.

The Huawei P9 flaunts a charming 5.2 inch display which curves very gently off the edges, which results in a rounded visual appeal and at the same time makes the screen look bigger than its actual size. The device boasts of a full HD IPS LCD display that comes with the protection of Corning Gorilla Glass and pixel density of 424 ppi. Although it does not have Quad HD screen resolution like the other flagship models, the screen is very sharp and is rich both in terms of quality and detailing. The display is also nicely vibrant and bright and offers decent blacks, while color reproduction is also very good, although not excellent.

The button layout is pretty standard and the device offers the SIM and microSD tray on its side; speaker grille, the 3.5 mm socket, and the USB Type-C port at the bottom. The rear panel of the device features the fingerprint sensor, while the camera strip is placed at the top.

The fingerprint sensor is also pretty good and matches the quality of the back mounted units that come on the flagship models. It is very accurate and with the looks and placement of it, it seems like most users will be using their index fingers to lock or unlock the device. The phone can be unlocked by touching the fingerprint sensor even on standby model which is convenient, while the sensor is quick as well.

Specifications & Software

Huawei and its sister concern Honor mostly use HiSilicon Kirin SoCs for their offering, and the flagship Huawei P9 adheres to this. The device comes packed with the range topping Octa core Kirin 955 SoC that ticks at 2.5 GHz for its four cores, while the other four cores are clocked at 1.8 GHz. The processor is supported by a good 3 GB of RAM. The handset offers 32 GB of onboard storage that is expandable to up to 256 GB with the help of a microSD card.

The Huawei P9 variant that is available for sale in the Indian mobile market is a single SIM model and also offers an NFC chip support. Connectivity options on the phone include 4G, 3G, Bluetooth 4.2, Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, etc. The box offers a basic ear phones, a USB-A to USB-C cable and a power adapter for wall sockets. The device supports fast charging, but its own 10W unit takes more than two hours to fully charge it. So, you’ll need the right charger to charge it fast.

The P9 runs on the latest Android 6.0 topped with Huawei’s own Emotion UI 4.1. The device offers a superb phone manager app that offers the users better control on system optimization, battery consumption, securing apps and data usage with the fingerprint sensor. The phone’s performance is very good and smooth and the Huawei Emotion UI is also decent and neat, although to some it might feel too basic and dull.

Cameras

The primary attraction of the new Huawei P9 flagship smartphone model are its superb cameras, and the device really seem to charm us with the sheer performance of the snappers. The handset comes packed with a dual 12 megapixel primary cameras which have been developed in collaboration with the German optics manufacturer Leica. Due to this, other than offering everything top-notch like any other flagship model, the Huawei P9 claims to offer photography experience that is remarkable even in the premium smartphone segment.

Although the Chinese mobile maker has partnered with the German company Leica for the two primary cameras on the P9, it is good to mention that neither the sensors nor the lenses are built by Leica. Leica has only offered inputs for the development of the new camera system of the device, and thus, the official statement says ‘co-engineered’.

The Huawei P9 uses the dual 12 MP camera sensors together, one which is regular RGB and the other a monochrome sensor. This system is to provide more brightness and detailing to the pictures. The primary cameras also use a hybrid autofocus system which makes use of the laser autofocus and phase-detection autofocus features together. However, none of the sensors offer optical image stabilization. The camera performance is really impressive with rich, vibrant, crisp, sharp images with stunning details, even in low-light conditions. The device also comes with an 8 MP front facing secondary camera to take care of the selfie and video chat requirements very efficiently.

Conclusion

The Huawei P9 is no doubt an impressive new smartphone with superb elegant looks and brilliant cameras. However, for a flagship model it is not the kind of all-rounder that we would have loved. The device’s display and software are not that impressive, while its price point at Rs. 39,999 also feels to be quite high for what it offers. Moreover, even though the device’s primary camera is excellent, it also has some limitations like its lack of optical image stabilization and 4K video shooting capability. However, on the whole it is quite a performer, especially in terms of camera in a superiorly styled body.