HUAWEI P9 boasts a great camera, and much more

Believe it or not, phones used to be a lot simpler. Now, in addition to making and receiving calls, today’s smartphones have to be internet browsers, portable game consoles, music and video players, and yes, cameras.

While the HUAWEI P9 is all of these and more, it is its function as a camera that’s got everybody talking. It’s not every day that a Chinese tech behemoth and an esteemed, century-old camera manufacturer collaborate to produce a device’s standout feature, after all. The good news? The camera is definitely no mere gimmick, and the phone itself has everything you would expect from your modern-day premium gadget. All that, and it’s more affordable than competing products.

Please scroll down to the end of the article for the full P9 and P9 Plus specs.


HUAWEI partnered up with Leica, one of the world’s most respected camera brands, to create the P9’s innovative and powerful dual-lens camera.

This is comparable to LG’s G5, which also comes equipped with a two-lens camera. The difference is that while the G5 uses the lenses separately, the P9 uses its lenses in combination. One sensor is RGB, and so focuses on capturing vivid colors. The other is monochrome, and because it doesn’t have to deal with colors, it absorbs more detail and light. When you snap a photo, both sensors combine their strengths to form a single image.

The result? A clearer, sharper picture with less noise, even with close-up shots. Also, contrast and saturation are given a boost, which really helps the colors pop out. Images seem more alive, more vibrant. As for those who like shooting in monochrome, the P9 creates images with deeper blacks, generating some truly expressive black-and-white photos.

The fun doesn’t end there. The P9’s camera boasts a variety of functions. There are panorama, night shot, and HDR modes, and one that lets you capture streaks of light with a few taps. You can play around with the aperture to produce a bokeh effect – a clear focal subject against an out-of-focus background. It’s got filters that turn photos into pencil sketches, and other post-processing tricks that would make Photoshop unnecessary. There’s even a professional mode that lets you manually tweak more complicated controls, making it the perfect choice if you don’t want to lug around a DSLR.

The camera isn’t perfect, of course. It still takes a steady hand to generate the best images, and there remains no substitute for good lighting. But its pros far outweigh the cons. Simply put, the P9’s camera works like a charm.


Design-wise, the P9 is gorgeous, and clearly the best-looking HUAWEI smartphone. Its aluminum body is sleek; aside from the volume and power buttons, you’ll find no bumps, hard corners, or unsightly protrusions – even the camera lies behind a clear, transparent film. With its smooth, curved edges, the P9 makes for a comfortable (though slightly slippery) grip. And at 6.95 mm thick, it’s one of the slimmest Android smartphones around.

The back sports a shallow indentation, which is the accurate and responsive fingerprint scanner. This scanner can be programmed to execute simple commands. Its positioning on the back puts it within easy reach of your index finger.

The P9 has a USB Type-C charging port and 3.5 mm jack at the bottom. A microSD card slot allows you to increase its 32 GB / 64 GB of storage space to 128 GB.

The P9 is sturdy, resisting damage from falls. Avoid dunking it in buckets of water, though, as it isn’t fully waterproof.


The P9’s 5.2 / 5.5-inch display sports a full HD (1,920 x 1,080) resolution, amounting to 423 pixels per inch. This is lower than the Samsung Galaxy S7’s quad HD (2,560 x 1,440) resolution. The gap between resolutions is hardly noticeable on a small screen, though. The P9’s screen is still beautiful and bright, the texts and icons crisp and non-pixelated. Even video games look great. Plus, the smaller resolution is more power-efficient.

Software and performance

The P9 uses Android 6.0 Marshmallow as its operating system, but it’s barely recognizable thanks to HUAWEI’s EMUI skin. The skin makes some alterations to the user interface, one of the biggest being the curious removal of the app tray. This means the icons of installed apps are scattered all over the home screens. iOS users will probably just shrug this off, but Android devotees will likely find it messy. While there is a reduction in bloatware, HUAWEI has also included duplicate apps, such as its own email, messaging, and image gallery apps – further exacerbating the interface’s cluttered feel.

One good change is the new notifications system, which is more informative than the usual Android’s. When your phone is live, and something of importance occurs – such as when someone sends you a Facebook message – the notification appears at the top of the screen, complete with the content of the message. This saves you the trouble of having to open Facebook just to read it.

Another useful feature is the P9’s ability to easily connect to Wi-Fi networks. It searches for Wi-Fi hotspots, ranks them according to strength, then automatically chooses the best connection available, switching from one to another quickly.

The P9 uses HUAWEI’s own Kirin 955 octa-core processor. It’s not as powerful as Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 – the processor of choice of most contemporary Android smartphones – but the chip does perform admirably. Apps including graphics-intensive video games launch quickly and run smoothly, with nonexistent lag a majority of the time.


The 3,000 mAh (3,400 mAh for P9 Plus) non-removable battery performs reasonably well, and can last you anywhere from around 12 hours to nearly two days, depending on the types of apps you use, their frequency of usage, and the adjustments you’ve made to the battery and phone settings. Video games, camera operation, connecting to LTE and such can be rather taxing, but it’s possible to extend battery life by making tweaks to your phone, like lowering the screen resolution and brightness, or turning off Wi-Fi. There’s even an “ultra” battery mode that limits phone usage to basic call and message functions.

Fast charging restores a fully drained battery in under an hour.


HUAWEI has created its best smartphone in the P9. This premium device boasts a sleek, exquisite body that’s comfortable to hold, a bright and beautiful screen, and a long-lasting battery. Its Android skin might take some getting used to, and its processor may not be as powerful as those of other smartphones, but it has plenty of great features, and it runs apps with little to no problems. Last but not least, it’s got an excellent camera. With its rich variety of tools and ability to take some truly wonderful shots, it’s definitely one of the best smartphone cameras around.

Three versions of the P9 are available: the regular P9, the P9 Plus, and the P9 Lite.

P9 specs

Price: PHP 23,990

Size: 145 mm x 70.9 mm x 6.95 mm

Weight: 144 g

Display: 5.2-inch full HD, 2.5D glass

CPU: HUAWEI Kirin 955 (64-bit)

Octa-core (4 x 2.5 GHz A72 + 4 x 1.8 GHz A53)

Operating System: Android 6.0

Emotion UI: EMUI 4.1

Memory: 32 GB ROM, 3 GB RAM

Camera: Rear – Dual 12 megapixels (Monochrome & RGB)

Front – 8 megapixels

Battery: 3,000 mAh

P9 Plus specs

Price: PHP 29,990

Size: 152.3 mm x 75.3 mm x 6.98 mm

Weight: 162 g

Display: 5.5-inch full HD, 2.5D glass

CPU: HUAWEI Kirin 955 (64-bit)

Octa-core (4 x 2.5 GHz A72 + 4 x 1.8 GHz A53)

Operating System: Android 6.0

Emotion UI: EMUI 4.1

Memory: 64 GB ROM, 4 GB RAM

Camera: Rear – Dual 12 megapixels (Monochrome & RGB)

Front – 8 megapixels AF

Battery: 3,400 mAh

The P9 Lite is similar to the P9, but lacks the dual-lens camera. It costs PHP P12,490.

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