- Mediocre battery life
- Inconsistent picture quality
- No quick or wireless charging
Huawei has slowly evolved from simple Chinese smartphone copycat to a company capable of churning out high quality products. In fact, Google used them to build the Nexus 6P. With the P9, Huawei hopes to finally become a household name.
Despite being cheaper than the Galaxy S7 and LG G5, the P9 doesn’t skimp on quality. It’s slim at only 0.27 inches. The all metal body gives it a nice heft, though it remains a manageable weight of 5.1 ounces. In terms of the design, reviewers were surprised with how comfortable it is. The straight sides seem sharp, but the chamfered edges and rounded corners made it easy to hold and the “tacky” texture thanks to the ceramic coating on the back gave them a good grip. While this design is not uncommon, The Verge states, “I look at the P9’s design, ask myself how it could be improved, and I find no easy answer.”
In order to keep the costs low, Huawei did have to make compromises, the most noticeable of which is the screen. At 5.2 inches, the display offers an HD 1080p IPS LCD, the same display found on the P8. For the most part, the display performed admirably offering vivid colors, deep blacks and accurate whites. Its pixel density of 423ppi is sharp enough that experts didn’t see any pixelation. It is also bright enough that they were able to view it in direct sunlight though they add glare wasn’t completely eliminated. It also comes with an auto-brightness setting, which they generally found to be accurate except on particularly bright days.
Instead of using Snapdragon, Huawei uses their own processor - the Kirin. This octo-core processor is paired with 3GB of RAM for an exceptionally powerful machine. Experts did not notice any lag or slow downs even when multi-tasking or playing processor intensive games. When compared against the Samsung Galaxy S7, the benchmarks are slightly slower, but in real life they did not really see a big difference performance-wise. All of this is backed up by a 3000mAh battery. For the most part, critics were barely able to eke out a full day of battery life with moderate usage. Still many hoped for more options to counterbalance the mediocre battery life like quick or wireless charging, both of which are not included.
The P9’s biggest selling point is its camera. Huawei partnered with Leica to create include a dual-sensor camera. The idea of a dual-sensor is that two cameras are better than one. On this phone, the two 12MP cameras work together to create more detailed images. One camera has an RGB sensor for more color while the other is monochrome (black and white) for better quality. Together, they create images that critics describe as “pretty great” and noise-free even in closeups. Of course, there are some manual settings and modes available on the camera app to add some filters, change exposure and even adjust aperture settings. While most pictures come out accurate, critics did notice some inconsistency especially in lower light situations where noise reduction post-processing tends to soften the images too much. Still, while they wouldn’t describe it as on par with the iPhone 6S, it performed well enough they consider it better than most smartphone cameras out there.
While reviewers consider the P9 to be Huawei’s best phone to date, they still have a hard time recommending it to everyone. Tech Radar states, “The Huawei P9 is a good, solid phone but it’s just not hit the right level of greatness yet.”