Huawei P9 smartphone review: lifting photography to another level... sometimes.
Leica partnership makes this the best cameraphone
- Stunning pictures of nearby subjects
- Great value
- Fun to use
- Fast fingerprint reader
- Australian price hike
The P9 is a decent mid-range phone with best-on-the-market fingerprint reader and potentially the best camera of any phone (including many compact cameras).
Price$ 799.00 (AUD)
Selling a new phone by focusing on the camera is not a new thing and we’ve been impressed when it's happened in the past: Nokia’s Lumias did some great things (which masked Windows Phone’s deficiencies) while Apple’s 6S Plus impressed with its Dynamic Range and low light performance. But it’s the P9 that has stopped people in their tracks. You don’t have to be a photography connoisseur to recognise that what the P9 achieves (almost effortlessly) is a new level of quality.
So we’ll whizz through the specs and handling and quickly move on to see what the fuss is about.
The key specs
5.2-inch, 1080x1920, 423ppi screen, Dual (colour and monochrome) 12-megapixel rear cameras with Leica optics, 8-megapixel front camera, Kirin 955 chipset, dual quad-core processors plus GPU, 32/3GB RAM, nanoSIM, microSD card (up to 256GB), Android 6.0 (Marshmallow). USB Type-C, Fingerprint reader, Fixed 3,000mAh battery, 145x71x7mm. 144g. Full specs, here.
Handling and general usage
At 5.2-inches this is a relatively small phone which will be a boon to some but a shame to others. The quad-core processors keep it zipping along smoothly although if you take multiple pictures quickly it can lag a little – but it's no deal breaker. The metal chassis and rounded corners make it look very good and Android effectively functions as we’d expect with version 6.0 aka Marshmallow. Camera, screen and battery aside, it’s basically a smaller version of the excellent Mate 8 that we reviewed recently. The battery-difference is significant though. The small chassis means that the 3,000mAh unit just about lasts a full day – if you’re not making use of the camera. If you are then you’re best off carrying an external battery pack around with you.
As for making calls, we were told that we sounded a bit tinny by some people on the other end. A dual-SIM variant is available but not in Australia – the second slot by the nanoSIM is used as a microSD reader instead.
One of the best features, however, is the fingerprint reader. This is now the fastest on the market and even more accurate and secure with the addition of pressure detection too – it knows about the shape of your finger rather than just the print. Its position at the rear (as with other Huawei models) is inspired and unlocking securely is essentially effortless.
The screen is the best we’ve seen from Huawei. It’s Full HD and colours look very vibrant, accurate and bright: noticeably more so than the functional Mate 8. It would be nice to have had more of it with so many photos to play with but that’s a personal opinion.
Next: The amazing camera and conclusion
Join the PC World newsletter!
Gadgets & Things
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Finally! LG OLED TV 2016 range review
- 2 Google Daydream View VR full, in-depth review
- 3 Google Pixel XL full, in-depth smartphone review: Phones just got smarter
- 4 Apple iPhone 7 Plus review: including Portrait Mode
- 5 MSI GS70 laptop review
Latest News Articles
- Google releases Android 7.1.1 images for Pixel and Nexus devices
- Lenovo promises 12 new Moto Mod add-ons per year
- The Samsung Galaxy Note7's extreme thinness may be behind battery explosions
- Random iPhone 6s shutdowns due to faulty battery component, Apple says
- What happens when you send a text message to a landline telephone?
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
- The top 10 best and worst tech gadgets and products of 2016
- TV of the year award 2016
- Best phone of the year 2016
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- CCChange ManagerNSW
- FTDesktop Support Team LeaderQLD
- FTUX Design LeadNSW
- CCMS Dynamics CRM Functional ConsultantQLD
- CCApplication Specialist (Cerner) - Brisbane basedOther
- CCTest AnalystACT
- CCConsumer Social Specialist / Campaign Manager (Digital)VIC
- TPSolution Architect | HRISQLD
- CCSoftware TesterACT
- CCFinancial AnalystNSW
- CCIteration Manager / Scrum MasterOther
- FTEnterprise Architect - BusinessQLD
- FTDesktop Delivery Team LeaderQLD
- CCSenior Java Developer | WebNSW
- FTUI DeveloperVIC
- FTHelpdesk Support- LANNSW
- CCTest Lead : Perth BasedVIC
- CCBusiness AnalystQLD
- FTDevOps EngineerQLD
- FTJunior Data Centre Support Technician - Sydney CBDACT
- CCInfrastructure Project ManagersACT
- CCWeb Optimisation AnalystNSW
- FTInfrastructure AnalystQLD
- FTMid Level .Net DeveloperNSW
- CCSenior Performance Test AnalystNSW