After the Nexus 6P, Huawei managed to seal its place in the premium smartphone segment. The 6P had everything going for it, but can the same be said for its flagship P9?
Upon unboxing, I found an extremely well-finished phone in my hands. With a metallic unibody design, the sleek P9 left me impressed. But then, the phone took it a notch higher when I flipped it over. It boasts of dual primary cameras "co-engineered" with Leica. For the uninitiated, Leica is a German optics enterprise which manufactured the first practical 35-mm camera pre-World War II.
After having being enchanted by the phone before I even turned it on, I decided I should not get ahead of myself.
The P9 comes with a 5.2-inch Full HD IPS LCD display, which is neither too small or too big, and is a delight for one-handed usage. Having a pixel density of 423ppi, the phone turns watching HD videos into a satisfying experience. The colours are sharp and the contrast well-adjusted. So far, so good.
The P9 houses an octa-core Kirin 955 processor with 3GB of RAM. The phone is able to handle everyday tasks with ease. Most phones buckle under the pressure of multi-tasking, but the P9 didn't disappoint. In my limited time, I tried installing and playing Injustice: Gods Among Us and Grand Theft Auto San Andreas - two very RAM-heavy games.
There wasn't any noticeable lag but the phone did heat up a bit when my playing time crossed the one-hour mark.
The P9 also comes with a fingerprint sensor, placed at the back of the phone, which is quite fast and setting up your fingerprint doesn't take long either. The phone runs Huawei's custom user interface Emotion UI on top of Android 6.0 Marshmallow. The Emotion UI also gives a wider dimension to the fingerprint sensor. It lets you set gestures which enables you to answer calls or look up notifications. The custom UI, which is the same as in the Honor 5c, is minimal and provides for a near stock Android experience.
With a 3,000 mAh battery, the P9 is decent enough, but for a flagship phone it falls short. It can last for a day on moderate usage but if you want to put in hours of gaming and photography, make sure to keep a USB type-C charger ready.
Now, the most interesting aspect of the phone - its camera. The P9 comes with dual 12-megapixel (MP) primary cameras "co-engineered" with Leica. A thing to note: The camera doesn't contain parts manufactured by Leica. The German company has merely provided Huawei with suggestions on how to go about it. Nevertheless, the primary camera is pretty impressive. The modus operandi is pretty simple - the RGB camera captures colour photos and the monochrome camera, as the name suggests, captures monochromatic pictures. I immediately took a liking to the monochrome camera. The pictures I shot with it have an amazing level of detail. Yes, you can spot some noise when you zoom in, but the overall picture quality is sure to leave you impressed. The colour pictures were equally great, with the pictures having vivid colours. The best thing about the P9's dual camera is how it captures pictures in low-light conditions. Most smartphones fall short in this department, but the P9 comes out victorious. The 8MP secondary camera is decent enough for selfies. However, despite being a flagship phone, the P9 is not able to shoot 4K videos.
The Huawei P9 might not match up to other flagship smartphones but it does pack a punch. At Rs 39,990, it is on the higher side, especially when other flagships provide you with better specs. But, if you want to flaunt a good-looking phone with a great camera, look no further: The P9 is what you need.