I reviewed the Huawei P9 back in May 2016. Click HERE to read my full review.
6 months later Huawei have released the P9 Festival Edition. This is simply either a red or blue finished P9. I really liked the phone when I reviewed it 6 months ago, and now that it is available in 2 new colours, I decided to take the plunge and get the blue colour.
It is not a vivid or dark blue, more a pale grey type blue. In some lighting it does look more blue, but nonetheless its still stunning.
The first thing to re-adjust to is its cameras. It has 2 x 12mp rear cameras. One monochrome and the other is a colour sensor. The above shot was taken in its monochrome mode. The Huawei P9 also allows RAW shots in its Pro Mode so I shall be having some fun with this phone periodically. The raw image files are around 22mb per photo.
The other reason for getting the P9 is to try the nougat beta along with EMUI v5. Once I have this installed on the P9 I shall report back with my findings.
If you have any questions about the Huawei P9, please ask.
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Welcome to my review of the Huawei P9. The Huawei P9 is Huawei’s flagship phone that for the first time is available from all UK networks. The P9 is by far the best Huawei / Honor phone I have used from the software, hardware and cameras.
The Key Specifications
– Screen 5.2-inch IPS LCD, 2.5D glass, 1920×1080 resolution (423ppi)
– Cameras – Dual 12MP (colour & monochrome), ƒ/2.2 lens, Leica certified
– 8MP front camera
-Battery – 3000mAh capacity Non-removable
– Processor Huawei Kirin 955 Quad-core 2.5GHz
– 3GB or 4GB RAM
– 32 or 64GB internal storage
– microSD slot
– Dimensions – 145mm x 70.9mm x 6.95mm
– Weight – 144g
Hardware and Design
If you buy a phone just based on looks then the Huawei P9 is a winner for you. It is beautifully made. The phone is only 6.95mm thick and still comes with a 3,000 mAh battery and the twin Leica branded rear lenses do not protrude.
The phone has the fingerprint sensor on the rear along with the two lenses, two tone flash and laser auto focus. The right edge has the power and volume buttons. The bottom edge house the USB Type C connector, 3.5mm headphone jack, mic and loudspeaker. The left edge houses the nano sim card/micro SD card. I have the 3gb ram/32gb P9. The model number is EVA-L09. This specific version does have NFC. Some of the models sold in different countries have 4gb ram and sometimes don’t have NFC so it is worth checking before you buy. Any official UK model should have NFC which is important as android pay is about to go live.
Software and Phone Basics
Huawei still use EMUI, this time as version 4.1. I installed the Running theme which I felt looked the least offensive. You will either love or hate EMUI. EMUI like many other phones does not include an app drawer which really in my book doesn’t matter. If you want to change the launcher just install Google Now or Nova Launcher.
Some of the software features provided by the P9 include WiFi Direct, Data Traffic Management, NFC, Tethering, Link+ (WiFi+, Signal+, Roaming+, Link+), Normal or Easy Home layouts, Themes, Colour temperature display adjustments, LED notifications, Fingerprint gestures (show notification panel, browse photos, Floating dock (icon appears on screen so you can easily access back, home etc), motion controls (flip to mute, pick up to reduce volume, raise to ear to speak, knuckle screenshot, knuckle gestures used to draw a letter to open camera, designated app, music or weather), One handed UI (shift screen, mini keyboard), Voice control, smart cover options, smart headset control when using Huawei Music app, Gloves mode and Huawei ID. So the kitchen sink of options!
Call quality is excellent on the P9 as are most of the other cellular and connectivity options. This is a strong point for the P9. However, I did notice that if the WiFi signal was weak, it did not automatically reconnect unless you selected the WiFi network manually.
The 1080p panel offers decent viewing angles and is readable in the sun. Battery life is excellent on the P9. I always got to the end of the day with ease. The combination of the 1080p screen and a 3,000mAh battery really helps. The Kirin processor seems to play most games reasonable well. Occasionally there was some stuttering/lag.
Camera and Audio
This is where Huawei made all the focus during the P9 launch. On the rear you will find 2 lenses with LEICA branding. The lenses are not made by LEICA, merely endorsed by LEICA who helped co-engineer and worked with Huawei on the development and processing aspects.
What I initially discovered is the P9 for very fast action shots in burst mode was not fast enough. Future testing improved this slightly. However, I don’t think the shutter speed goes fast enough for very fast shots. However, the shot of George does actually look cool and you get a sense of his speed.
The P9 colour reproduction is outstanding at times. It can produce such real life like images that are better than the S7 or G5. The menu is incredible.
What you have with the rear lenses is one monochrome lens and the other a standard lens. The concept is that together more light and depth data can be gathered.
The P9 has loads of camera modes but one of them is a refocus mode. After taking the above photo, you can tap anywhere on the shot to create a focus point and then adjust the f stop from f/16 to f/0.95. You can create and save as many different refocused images from one image too.
The Huawei camera app is one of the best available. Features includes, filters, 14 shooting modes (beauty, beauty video, light painting, watermark, monochrome, HDR, night shot, slow mo, photo, video, panorama, time-lapse, document, audio note), film modes (standard, vivid colours, smooth colours), camera grid options (grid, phi grid, fibonacci spiral left, fibonacci spiral right), Timer, audio control, touch to capture, smile capture, object tracking, ultra snapshot and image adjustments. The P9 also has a Pro mode which gives you options from focus points, ISO(50-3,200), Shutter speed (1/4000 to 30 seconds), EV, AF-S, AF-C and Manual Focus and AWB. The max photo resolution is 12mp. The max video resolution is 1080p at 60fps.
I have created a dedicated Flickr album for the P9 – Click HERE. Jonathan Morris has created an open Google Photos Gallery which has over 14 different people contributing photos from their P9 phones. Click HERE.
My opinion on the P9 camera is that with some care and skill it is possible to snap some great shots. The monochrome mode is superb and works well. Some of the special light painting modes are unique to the android phones e.g. silky water. In fact the light painting modes includes car light trails, light graffiti, silky water and star track. The P9 is the only flagship phone to offer such options. RAW capture is equally impressive. Video recording is just average and there is no 4K option. The lack of OIS will mean you will end up with a few blurred shots from time to time. The front facing camera is reasonable too with plenty of beauty options to knock 10 years off your age! A weakness of the P9 is low light shots with people or movement. However, static shots using the night, light painting, monochrome or Pro modes produce stunning photos.
The headphone quality is reasonable with Dolby DTS provided. The output is loud, but not of the highest audio quality available. Bluetooth is ok too. The loudspeaker is average but acceptable.
When you consider everything you get in this phone, it is quite remarkable. At an official retail price of £450 there are plenty of other options available that might be more appealing. But when you consider several places are now offering the P9 at less than £400, this becomes a more viable option. Even more appealing Vodafone is offering this at £300 on Pay as You Go and is unlockable after 30 days. At this price it becomes a great option and unique.
Huawei are soon to be selling the larger version of the P9, the P9 Plus. This is slightly improved as it has a 5.5 inch AMOLED screen, not IPS. It also has 4gb ram and 64gb rom, Infra Red Blaster, 3,400 mAh battery, stereo speakers and Press Touch screen technology.
For more information on the Huawei P9 and the latest pricing on Amazon UK click HERE.
Once again I went out with the Huawei P9 and took some more photos. I have add some comments after each shot. Also don’t forget to click on each photo to view full size.
Tomorrow I will be publishing the Huawei P9 review.
Above are shots of the National Park Visitor Centre. First auto and then in monochrome. The sun was at an awkward angle just above the building i.e. I was partially shooting at the sun. Shots were both ok considering that.
Same issue with both of these shots in that the sun was in the wrong place. But again reasonable shots from the P9.
The church is well captured here. There is something really appealing about the photos from the P9. They look so life like.
Shot in monochrome and into the sun. I like this photo.
So the same view but in Pro mode and the above photo is the taken from the raw image which was post processed on the phone using Adobe Photoshop Express. I have noticed that the raw image files possess huge dynamic range.
Another Pro mode shot and using raw. Post processed in the same method as above. Here I made the image more vivid. Using raw images on the P9 really helps sometimes.
So there you have it, some more shots with the sun in awkward places and some taken in raw. Tomorrow I will have my main review covering all the other aspects of the phone.
In this instance it really does show the weakness of the Huawei P9 camera.
This was burst mode. The resolution drops from 12mp to 8mp.
The below 2 photos are the best from the burst. As a comparison if this had been the S7 there would have been 70 perfect shots. The G5 would have produced about 23 perfect shots. The P9 could not produce a single one.
Whilst this is disappointing in other areas the camera is excellent.
Yesterday I provided a few shots from the Huawei P9 camera. Today I have included a few more, this time using some of the more specialised modes from the P9 camera. For each photo, to view full size, click on it and select original or full size.
Below is a shot of my local church. This is taken as a base mark to compare the quality with all the other phones I have tested, as each phone always has to capture this landmark.
And now the same church but just using the monochrome lens.
The standout points from the church photos is the realistic translation of colours. Monochrome looks superb too. The level of detail is excellent. However, the monochrome version is too dark for my liking.
Shot of an exposed roots from a tree. Colour accuracy was excellent.
Below another example of colour versus using the monochrome lens.
In this example I don’t think the monochrome lens adds anything special to the shot.
Special mode – Silky water. Stunning ability to create silky water. I used a 1 min exposure for this one. But this was snapped using the special silky water mode, so no skill is required. Mount on a tripod and wait.
The P9 also allows you to refocus after the shot and below is an example.
And another refocus shot. Just look at the bokeh.
But I bet you’re wondering how the Huawei P9 compares to the LG G5 and Samsung Galaxy S7. Well that will be my next article amongst many others coming soon, along with new device reviews. So stay tuned.
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So I have the Huawei P9 in the house and have started to test the camera. What I have seen so far is impressive whilst snapping photos.
The colour accuracy is excellent and the monochrome lens take some cracking photos. I will push the boundaries of this dual lens Leica branded setup and have some more posts. The church shot came out really well. This was plain auto mode.
Inside Domino’s Pizza and they have stools to sit while you wait for your food. This is taken using the monochrome lens.
Above is the pizza menu to illustrate the colours snapped by the Huawei P9.