Huawei P9 review: a solid smartphone - but it won't change the way you see the world

UPDATED. A sleek handset with two, yes TWO, Leica cameras

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  • Sleek design
  • Interesting camera set up
  • Good battery life


  • Nothing innovative
  • Screen lackluster
  • Camera could be better

Huawei wants the P9 to change the way you'll see the world, have they succeeded? We don't think so, but they have created a solid smartphone.

Let's start off by looking at the design. The P9 has a pretty understated, sleek aluminium unibody design. It's attractive and well-made, but can't quite match the iPhone 6S or Samsung Galaxy S7 for premium feeling-ness.

The front is taken up by a large 5.1-inch Full HD screen, and thanks to the small bezels, the phone actually feels quite petite. It's 6.95mm thin, which I prefer over the chunkier S7.

On the rear is where all the innovation is -- the P9's flagship feature is a dual camera set up.

Both of the cameras are 12-megapixels with Leica developed and certified lenses in front. One camera sensor is RGB only, and the other is monochrome only.

Huawei claim there are two advantaged to this.

1. Better black and white image performance (than simply putting a black and white filter on top)

2. This setup captures 200-percent more light information, and 50-percent more contrast. Therefore better images.

Unfortunately, the results aren't very good and weren't incredibly impressed. It's no match for the Samsung Galaxy S7. Huawei says the differences would become more apparent on a computer screen. But most images taken on a smartphone are viewed on a smartphone...

Stay tuned for image samples from the P9.

Leica has also reworked the camera interface, and we think it's really well setup now, offering both professional or simple controls when needed.

Inside the phone is a Kirin 995 octa-core processor and 3GB RAM. That's on par with most other flagship smartphones, and we certainly didn't have any problems swiping and tapping through the UI. It's as zippy as you'd expect.

Onboard storage is 32GB only, but that can be expanded via MicroSD.

The battery is 3000mAh, which Huawei claims lasts around 1.5 days. That's impressive, but in reality, we found ourselves charging this every night.

The P9 has a USB Type C charging port, but doesn't feature fast charging.

The smartphone comes running Android Marshmallow with Emotion UI on top. Emotion UI is a little cartoonish, personally, I don't like it, but it's not entirely offensive, and you can always install a different skin on top.

Huawei P9 pricing

The Huawei P9 will be available in Mystic Silver and Titanium Grey. It comes with an RRP of £449.

There's another version - the Huawei P9 Plus in Quartz Grey that is exclusive to Vodafone for £549 (4GB + 74GB) and will be available on tariffs from £9 per month. Three, O2 and EE will also be ranging the handset.


I like the Huawei P9, but I think it's a bold claim to say it'll change the way you see the world. It's well made, it's a really solid performer, but that camera isn't as good as they promised.

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