Huawei unveils P9, P9 Plus with high-end specs and Leica camera branding

There's some ambiguity on what exactly the Leica partnership means, but early indications are the phones offer admirable low-light performance.

Huawei pulled the curtain back on its newest flagship smartphones at an event in London Wednesday, with a first look of the Huawei P9 and P9 Plus.

They’re very much targeting the high-end market, with the P9 packaged with a 5.2-inch screen, a 12-megapixel camera, 3,000mAh battery, USB-C port, 3GB of RAM, and the company’s own octa-core Kirin 995 processor inside of a slim, aluminium body.

The P9 Plus gets a slight boost with the internals, with a larger 3,400mAh battery, 4GB of RAM, and a 5.5-inch display that Huawei says offers better color saturation than the iPhone 6S Plus.

It’s the cameras that Huawei played up the most, particularly with a partnership with Leica. Next to the camera is a 12-megapixel Monochrome module that is said to improve contrast by 50 percent and triple the amount of light the cameras can take in. Huawei didn’t detail exactly what the “co-engineering” effort did to specifically improve certain aspects of the camera, but the true test will be in real-world performance.

There’s quite a bit of color variation, with the P9 to come in ceramic white, haze gold, rose gold, titanium gray, mystic silver and prestige gold. The P9 Plus is available in the ceramic white, titanium gray, haze gold and rose gold. The phones also employ a fingerprint sensor on the back and support for 18 different 4G LTE bands.

Right now there’s no U.S. launch date, with the devices slated to hit the UK, Europe, and the Middle East. We’ll update you if Huawei decides to send them to our shores.

Why this matters: These two phones are a major play by Huawei to push itself into the high-end smartphone market worldwide. Devices like the Nexus 6P shows that the company knows how to make good hardware, it’s now trying to push outside of China and make a larger splash through Europe and the U.S.

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