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Huawei P9 First Impressions

Huawei P9 was officially launched, and the Chinese smartphone with two main cameras is among the most interesting smartphones we’ve seen this year.

Photographing with your smartphone turned into a subject of international competition, so we should not be surprised if the mobile manufacturers are focusing on the “eyes” of their devices. While Samsung and Apple are struggling in the battle of best performance and speed, other companies are trying to stand out in other ways. After LG launched the two-camera phone, LG G5, the main one being wide, now comes Huawei’s turn (third player worldwide in terms of sales) to try their luck with a device that has two main cameras.

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Before proceeding, it is worth noted that P9 is not Huawei’s first phone with two main cameras, Huawei Honor 6 Plus, a mid-range released last year, had two cameras, however, Huawei P9 uses some more interesting technologies and provides the users with some unique features.

However, until we get to the cameras, let’s talk a little about…

Huawei P9: Design, construction, and display

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Huawei launches good looking phones for several years. Even now I remember the feeling I had when I put my hand on a Huawei P7 for the first time, how easy it was and how pleasant to the touch was its construction. Alas, Huawei P9 doesn’t disappoints either when it comes to construction and design. The Chinese have opted for a metal unibody case that gives a pleasant sensation to the touch, and users will be able to opt for two types of finish: one ceramic, which dresses up the metal in a smooth surface, and a “hairline”, which offers a fine texture.

The phone uses the classical form. Huawei P9 is a rectangle with rounded corners, but the fine details present in both the front and the back, over the cameras, gives it uniqueness. The display is surrounded by a very thin margin and is covered by 2,5D glass. The 5.2-inch Panel has full HD resolution and is bright, colorful and offers high contrast and increased visibility angles.

Huawei P9: Performance and autonomy

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The folks at Huawei are using for several years their own processors, and the P9 model integrates a Hisilicon Kirin 955 which has four cores clocked at 2,5 GHz and four cores clocked at 1,8 GHz and is a toe-to-toe competitor for Snapdragon 820. We have tested the 3GB RAM model, but there is also a version with 4 GB RAM. The performance is good and the experience offered by phone is a fluid one. In situations of normal usage, Huawei P9 works seamlessly but if you start to update some applications, there will be a noticeable lag in the menus and apps. The 3000 mAh battery does a good job.

Huawei P9: Camera

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Huawei P9 is, primarily, a camera phone, and the Chinese have done a good job in this chapter. Partnering with Leica assumes that Huawei P9 is equipped with two cameras and two separate sensors, one able to capture color images, and the other able to capture black and white images only. According to company representatives, a dedicated image processor would combine those two shots captured simultaneously (the color and black and white) in order to provide the best possible contracts and the best colors. From the time I’ve spent on the phone, I can say that the results are at least interesting.

Most of the pictures have a fine film grain and strong contrasts, giving the impression of some pictures taken with a camera. An option of “vivid” emphasizes this effect, even more, leading to some results that have managed to impress me.

There is also a mode that allows you to get a very strong background blur, similar to the one that you see at DSLR cameras and adjust in real time or after photography, in order to determine how much “bokeh” to be in the photo.

Huawei P9: Price and availability

Huawei P9 will be available in a 32 GB version with 3 GB RAM, starting at $599.

The P9 Plus model will be available in 64 GB variant with 4 GB RAM having prices starting from $749. The new models will be available in over 25 countries, including Austria, China, France, Germany, Portugal, Belgium, Italy, Spain, United Arab Emirates and England. Subsequently, the smartphones will be available in other markets.

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