The Huawei P9 smartphone is the latest addition to the Chinese manufacturer’s P series of Android flagship smartphones.
A lot is to be expected from this flagship model mainly as it is supposed to compete with the likes of the Galaxy S7, HTC 10 and the LG G5.
The P9 boasts a full metal unibody design similar to that of its predecessor the Huawei P8. However unlike its predecessor, the new P9 looks more like a high-end premium gadget thanks to its brushed metal finish. The phone is available in white, gray and silver. The volume and power rockers are conveniently located on the right-hand side while the SIM tray is located on the left. The P9 weighs in at 144 grams and has a thickness of 6.9 mm. At the back of the phone is a fingerprint scanner while the front is dominated by a 5.2 inch IPS (In-plane-switching) display. With a 1920x1080 pixel resolution, the 5.2-inch screen of the P9 is incredibly bright and sharp; the saturation of the screen is also high. A Corning Gorilla Glass 4 protects the screen, and the screen occupies more space thanks to the phone's thin bezel.
Apart from being a great looking smartphone, the P9 is also a great performer. Under its hood is an octa-core Kirin 955 processor - clocking in at 2.5 GHz, the Kirin 955 chipset is also more powerful than the Kirin 950 processor found in the Huawei Mate 8. For multitasking, the P9 is equipped with an impressive 3 GB of RAM, and Huawei throws in a Mali-T880 MP4 graphics card, which is undoubtedly the most powerful graphics card to be fitted in a Huawei device.
The P9 comes in two versions, the 32 GB version, and the 64 GB version. The 32 GB variant comes with 3 GB of RAM while the 64 GB model has 4 GB of RAM installed. Also, this handset is available either as a dual-SIM or a single SIM. Both versions can accommodate SIM cards of up to 200 GB.
The hallmark of the P9’s flagship status is its dual lens 12-megapixel camera. The Chinese phone maker has partnered with German camera maker Leica to deliver an unequaled photography experience. The dual lens configuration of the P9’s rear camera is a first. In addition to its unique configuration, the P9’s camera comes with a wide assortment of modes from HDR, Panorama to a full manual mode. The 12-megapixel rear camera is supported by an 8-megapixel front facing camera.
Similar to other flagship models, the P9 comes with a wide assortment of connectivity options. These options include Bluetooth, WI-Fi, NFC, 4G LTE, dual band, and is powered by a 3000 Mah battery.
While the P9 is undoubtedly one of the best flagship models of 2016, it is not the best. One of the phone’s major drawbacks is its display. The 5.2-inch screen on this smartphone uses the IPS LCD screen technology, which is inferior compared to the AMOLED (Active-matrix OLED) technology. Being Huawei's flagship model, it was anticipated that they would equip the P9 with an AMOLED display, which would have put it in the same league as other flagship models; a prime example being the Galaxy 7. Another shortcoming is that this screen is not a QUAD HD (four times the definition of standard HD). Therefore, the screen cannot compete on the same level as the LG G4 and the new LG G5.
The Huawei P9 runs the Android 6.0 Marshmallow OS with the manufacturer’s proprietary UI. Dubbed the EMUI, making the user Interface feel unfamiliar and void of an app drawer; the UI, in my opinion, is more complicated than using a stock Android OS. Making it another drawback of using the P9.
Though this smartphone features a Type C USB port, it lacks a fast charging charger. This means that it charges considerably slower than its competitors. The phone needs to stay connected for two hours fifteen minutes to charge from zero to hundred percent; this is a significant drawback given the Huawei Mate 8 charges faster.
The phone’s lack of optical stabilization also means that it is not the best choice for recording videos.
Huawei is known for manufacturing pocket-friendly high-end handsets, and the P9 is no exception, and although this smartphone features an IPS LCD it is still considerably less expensive than some of its competitors that flaunt an AMOLED display. Also, the phone’s excellent camera and elegant design make up for all its flaws.