The Huawei P9 has been making the headlines thanks to its new Leica camera. But there’s more to the phone than just photography, so we’ve gone hands-on to see what else has been upgraded since last year’s Huawei P8.
Refined, premium design
At first glance, there’s not a lot of difference between the designs of the Huawei P9 and P8, but when you look closer and pick them up you notice the details of the new phone.
The sharp edges have been rounded off and the matte metal finish looks and feels a lot more solid. The front now also features 2.5D glass, which curves slightly at the edges to blend seamlessly into the aluminium body. The P9 seems much more premium than last year’s P8.
It’s not just the looks that have been gone over with a fine-tooth comb, there are some smart refinements that make the Huawei P9 easier to use too.
A new fingerprint scanner on the back can turn on the screen and unlock the phone with one quick touch. It can even quickly answer calls, take photos and turn off alarms.
Charging and connecting to a computer has been upgraded too, thanks to a new USB type-C port. It’s designed to give faster charging and data transfer speeds, but it’s also reversible so you can put your plug in any way up.
Finally, Huawei’s moved the headphone port to the bottom of the P9 as most people naturally put their phone in their pocket upside down.
The insides of the Huawei P9 have seen a massive upgrade since last year as well. The software looks similar, but it’s now built on Android Marshmallow. That means you get battery saving Doze for when you’re not using the phone, and lots of optimisations to make things smoother when you are using it.
Huawei’s even built a new processor, the Kirin 955, that’s one of the fastest you can get in a phone. With eight cores and a top speed of 2.5GHz, it easily powers through the best-looking games and handles multitasking like a laptop.
And to keep everything going all day, the battery’s been upgraded – it’s now 12% bigger than the one in the Huawei P8.
The new Leica cameras
Of course, the most exciting upgrade (at least for us photography lovers) is the new dual camera certified by lens-legends, Leica.
The two cameras work together to shoot super-detailed, brightly-coloured photos. To do this, one shoots a black and white image designed to capture every detail, while the other captures an image packed with colour. The phone then blends the two so you get the best of both worlds.
The dual lenses also let you change the focus after you’ve taken a photo and give you control over the aperture so you can create professional background blur.
What’s more, because the lenses were made with the help of Leica, all your photos look sharper than ever.
How does the Huawei P9 compare to the P8?
The Huawei P9 is a big upgrade. The new design is much nicer than last year’s P8 and the dual Leica camera is so far ahead it doesn’t feel fair to compare them. Huawei has taken some big strides in the last year.