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Full Review

Huawei P9 Review: First Impressions

With the buzz around the Samsung Galaxy S7 and LG G5 gradually slowing down a new phone has entered the fray, this time the Huawei P9.

It’s a smaller name, but it makes up for that with a competitive price tag of just £449, coupled with a fairly unique and innovative camera. So is Huawei’s latest flagship worth getting excited about? Read on for our first impressions.

Screen

The Huawei P9 has a 5.2-inch 1080 x 1920 screen. That’s the same size and resolution as the Huawei P8, which is a bit of a disappointment. It’s also substantially lower resolution than the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S7 and LG G5 with their QHD displays.

But it’s still sharp at roughly 424 pixels per inch and it can stand up to the Sony Xperia Z5, which is a fairly recent flagship. So while a sharper screen would have been nice this one gets the job done.

Design

The design is far more impressive, coming in at just 6.95mm thick and crafted from aerospace-grade aluminium. The Huawei P9 looks stylish and high-end, with a range of colour schemes ensuring there’s something for all tastes.

Huawei P9 Review: First Impressions

It’s slightly plain and isn’t water or dust resistant, but those are minor complaints. Overall the Huawei P9 looks great.

Power

The Huawei P9 is packing a seriously powerful processor. It’s a 64-bit octa-core Kirin 955 chip with four cores running at 2,5GHz and four clocked at 1.8GHz. That’s real flagship power there, but sadly it’s backed up by just 3GB of RAM, rather than the 4GB which is starting to become standard on high-end phones.

As such you shouldn’t expect quite as strong performance from it as from high profile handsets like the Samsung Galaxy S7. But the Huawei P9 can still more than hold its own and zip through apps and games.

Camera

The camera is the real reason many might be considering the Huawei P9, as it’s this that truly sets it apart from the competition.

It has two 12MP sensors on the back. One is just a standard lens, but the other is monochrome and by using the two together the P9 can take in far more light than most rivals and deliver photos with superior contrast. That monochrome lens also allows it to snap true black and white images and there is also a range of shooting and editing options, so you can take photos your way.

Huawei P9 Review: First Impressions

It’s too early to say exactly how good the P9’s camera is, but early tests are promising and suggest it could give the Samsung Galaxy S7 and LG G5 a run for their money.

The front-facing camera is quite strong too, as it has an 8MP lens, allowing it to take sharp, detailed selfies.

Features

Other than the highly innovative camera the main feature of the Huawei P9 is its fingerprint scanner, which sits on the back of the phone in an easy to reach position and allows you to quickly and securely unlock it.

It’s worth noting also that the Huawei P9 runs Android Marshmallow, though it’s overlaid with Huawei’s own UI, which strays quite a long way from stock Android, by for example omitting the app drawer.

Battery life, memory and connectivity

The Huawei P9 has a 3000 mAh battery, which is a reasonable size and given that it only has a 1080p screen it will hopefully be plenty. The Samsung Galaxy S7 has an identically sized battery but a QHD screen, so that bodes well for Huawei’s phone. We’ll let you know how it holds up in our full review.

Memory comes in at 32GB. There is a 64GB model but that’s not landing in the UK. However, the phone also has a microSD card slot, so you can bulk the storage up.

Connectivity options include Wi-Fi, 3G, 4G, Bluetooth 4.2 and NFC. That last one combined with the fingerprint scanner should enable various contactless payment solutions to function.

Early verdict

Huawei P9 Review: First Impressions

The Huawei P9 has three main things going for it: Its innovative camera, its stylish build and its relatively low price of £449.

Everything else about the phone seems more than solid, but in many cases like a step down from other, pricier flagships. It’s a shame that Huawei didn’t pull out all the stops, but if the camera lives up to its promise or you just want to save a bit of money the P9 could still be well worth buying.

It’s not the biggest or most powerful flagship of the year, but it’s got enough going for it that it should hopefully be able to carve out its own niche.

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Specifications

Specifications

Dimensions (mm): 145 x 70.9 x 6.95

Weight (g): 144

Battery capacity (mAh): 3000

Colours: Haze Gold, Ceramic White, Rose Gold, Prestige Gold, Titanium Grey, Mystic Silver

Screen size (inches): 5.2

Resolution: 1080 x 1920

Pixels per inch (PPI): 424

Processor: 2.5GHz octa-core

Processor make: Kirin 955

RAM: 3GB

Internal storage: 32GB

Expandable storage up to (GB): TBC

Camera: Dual 12-megapixel (8-megapixel front-facing)

Operating System: Android Marshmallow

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