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Tested: the Huawei P9

Published on 06/07/2016 in Bits & Bytes

Tested: the Huawei P9

This smartphone shoots beautiful photos, get creative!

huawei P9

Although Huawei might be a relatively new name in the Belgian smartphone world, the Chinese brand has conquered many hearts in a short space of time. They mainly achieved this with devices aimed at consumers with smaller budgets. 

But now they're trying a different approach. With the new P9, Huawei wants to deliver a phone that does not have to play second fiddle to any other brand in any respect, but above all, one that shoots beautiful photos. The ideal tool for the creatively inclined among us. 

The P9 is claimed to be the first smartphone camera to truly come close to achieving the quality produced by a real camera. 

But will Huawei actually succeed in this? We're putting it to the test.

The results: the photo champion

Just like its older brother, the P8, the Huawei P9 is strong as iron on the outside. Despite that, the polished metal housing, combined with the glass, feels slim and light. Lighter even than the top models from the competition.
And it's thin too: that's apparent right away. Along with its rounded forms it also fits nicely in the hand. Moreover, its camera doesn't protrude at the rear. That's an advantage as it can look rather ugly otherwise.

What we did notice is that the phone is prone to scratches. Especially the metal rear side. However, the scratches are merely superficial. Besides, if you invest in a case, that's no longer an issue, is it?

New for Huawei's P-series is the fingerprint scanner. This is situated on the rear side. The scanner works very well and quickly. To give you an idea: place your finger on the sensor when taking the P9 out of your pocket and it will be unlocked even before it's left your pocket.


The P9 has a Full HD touchscreen. Some people are claiming this is already outdated and that Quad HD is the new standard for smartphones in this price category. To be honest, we feel this is exaggerating things somewhat. For a screen of this size (5.2 inches), everything works just swimmingly. The images on the Huawei P9 screen are nice and sharp and the colors are well balanced. What about blacks? Well, those are truly black.

Moreover, the screen is battery-friendly. And that makes a difference if you take your P9 out of your trouser pocket a good many times throughout the day.


In our opinion, this is the Huawei P9's greatest strength. Indeed, it has not one but two rear cameras, courtesy of Leica, a leading manufacturer in the photographic sector. But why two? Well, one camera focuses on colors while the other focuses on black and white. And we have to say, we found that the combo really does deliver sharper pictures. The colors in particular are amazing: they are truly natural and nicely vivid, without exaggerating. And if you like taking black and white pics every now and again, the P9 will be even more to your taste: contrasts are very well rendered in such photos.

Although a real camera may still have the upper hand, aspiring professionals can still indulge themselves with this smartphone. You have a lot of control over shutter times and ISO speeds, to name just a few aspects. In addition, there is much greater scope for subsequent processing of the photos made by the dual camera in Photoshop, say. For example to sharpen the images.

Is that the only good photo-related news? Not at all, there's good news for selfie fans too. The P9 has a high-quality front camera of no fewer than 8 megapixels. This effectively delivers among the best results you'll find on the market today. Just one tip: don't use the beauty mode. That produces the opposite effect to what you would expect.


Despite the smartphone's thinness, the device harbors a powerful battery. This, combined with the frugal processor and screen, ensures you can always rely on this machine. In case of more intensive use, you'll still manage to get to the end of the day without having to charge it. And what if you don't use it that often? In that case you'll easily manage to get one and a half days of use out of it. And more.

If your battery is almost empty after all, you can always resort to the ultra-battery-saving mode.

Multimedia and games

The processor and working memory make a strong team. You don't need to worry: together they can easily run several apps at the same time. And heavy HD films and 3D games are no problem either. Just go for it.

The P9 has one small speaker located at the bottom of the device. Even so, it blasted us off our chairs. Even when the volume is turned up loud, the sound is hardly distorted at all.

The highlights

A number of nice features stood out for us. Here’s an overview:

Dual 12 megapixel rear camera

© The Tech Chap TV

Together, they deliver superb photos!

Adjustable aperture

© Mrwhosetheboss

Provide a great sense of depth. Like a pro!

Fingerprint scanner

© The Tech Chap TV

Give your valuable possession that extra bit of protection. Good, isn't it?

In short ...

Looking for an attractive smartphone with a great battery? And do you want to take a more creative approach to your photography? Then we have good news: this smartphone is simply the ideal companion for you. 
OK, admittedly it's not the cheapest phone on the market, but we can honestly say that you’ll really get your money's worth.

Huawei P9

Get creative, shoot great quality pictures!


  • Top-notch front and rear cameras
  • Solid casing
  • Sharp HD screen  
  • No 4K video
  • No rapid charging function


A lover of technology in the Mobile Devices team. Every day I'm busy with smartphones. Besides surfing on technology blogs I brew beer in my spare time.

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