Review: the Huawei P9 – gorgeous flagship device

by JohanDid you know...03/05/2016

Review: the Huawei P9 – gorgeous flagship device
Huawei is one of those companies that is avidly trying to dethrone the two major smartphone-powerhouses, Samsung and Apple. And with this P9 they are getting very close. But they still have a bit of ground to cover…

Did you know that Huawei is actually pronounced “wah-wei”? We bet you didn’t, but what shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone is that Huawei is trying very hard to get beautiful, modern smartphones on the global market.

The P9, Huawei’s newest flagship smartphone, is entitled to carry the “Made In China”-label with pride. Does that put the Chinese manufacturer on the same level als Samsung and Apple? Not quite yet, but with the P9 they do offer a gorgeous and solid alternative with an attractive price tag.

A short overview:

The Leica-camera’s

Let’s start with the P9’s absolute showpiece: the camera’s.

Huawei is one of those brands that is competing in the race to develop the ultimate cameraphone and, to get there first, they’ve partnered with Leica.
The result is remarkable. Leica’s hard-and software perform exceedingly well. To such an extent that you can put the P9 up there right next to the Galaxy S7 or iPhone 6S.
But… there are a couple of side notes. The P9 offers no less than 14 pre-programmed camera modes and they certainly work as advertised.
But if you really want to get the full kick from Leica’s magnificent technology, you should opt for the Pro-mode which means full manual control of all the relevant settings such as ISO, shutter speed, aperture, white balance, etc. Just like a real camera.
But that also requires a bit more knowledge and insight into photography. So while you can certainly get supreme photo’s from the P9, it will take a bit more effort.

On the outside

The P9 is just a couple of millimeters larger than the iPhone 6S, which gives it plenty of room to fit a 5,2” screen, as compared to 4,7” on the 6S.
And that screen is locked into a aluminium with lightly curved edges. The device is only 7mm thick which can be a touch clumsy on a lot of devices. Fortunately the outer casing is in brushed aluminum so it won’t slide out of your hands that easily and you won’t notice greasy fingerprints that much.

The FHD 1080x1920 pixel display is a step down from competing smartphones as the Galaxy S7, which sports a 2560x1440 pixel resolution. But, for everyday use, that really is a minor detail. The display gets you 423 pixels-per-inch which makes for razorsharp images and icons.

On the inside

A bit of a bother on the P9 is that Huawei is still opting for its own EMUI-skin instead of the standard Android interface. And that skin is sufficiently different that it will take Android users some time to get used to it. It also comes with a range of apps (i.e. calendar, email, gallery, …) that don’t necessarily perform better than native Android apps.
On the upside: it’s relatively easy to replace the skin with a launcher such as Google Now, but the Huawei skin and apps do remain on your phone and take up extra space.

That being said, the P9 performs exceptionally well. It’s Kirin CPU is very solid and lets you, effortlessly and without hitches, switch between menus and applications.


Battery life is a known issue for most modern smartphones these days, and the P9 is one of them. As with most competitors, you’ll be able to squeeze 1 or 2 days out of your battery. But this time Huawei has also added fast charging so you can recharge faster than before, which is a must on any modern phone.

Our opinion

The Huawei P9 is a great device with superb camera’s and a processor that can cope with the biggest loads. Design-wise you can put it right up there next to the best Samsung or Apple have to offer. With its quality build, it’s a robust phone that won’t disappoint and comes at a very competitive price.

The EMUI-interface still underperforms, but it’s easy to get around that. And the Leica camera’s might not be quite as revolutionary as first thought, but they do deliver the goods!


  • Gorgeous desing
  • Solid performance
  • Leica camera’s


  • EMUI interface
  • Making pro-photo’s requires some know-how

Want to know more about the Huawei P9? Click here.

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