As the Huawei P9 was announced among a lot of excitement from both journalists and photography enthusiasts alike, the message was rather simple.
For those who want more, we have the Huawei P9 Plus.
And so it was. The Huawei P9 Plus is a very similar phone to the regular P9. However, it offers just a tiny bit more on almost everything. It is slightly bigger, offers more RAM, more battery, and more storage. Yet, it doesn’t take up too much space. Here is a comparison between the two phones.
|Display||5.2in display with a 1920×1080-pixel resolution at 423ppi||5.5in display with a 1920×1080 resolution at 401ppi, Super AMOLED|
|Dimensions||145mm x 70.9 mm x 6.95 mm||52.3mm x 75.3 mm x 6.98 mm|
|Weight||144 grams||162 grams|
|Storage||32 or 64, plus support for microSD cards up to 128GB||64, plus support for microSD cards up to 128GB|
|Memory||3 or 4 GB RAM||4 GB RAM|
|Processor||Kirin 955 2.5GHz 64-bit ARM-based processor||Kirin 955 2.5GHz 64-bit ARM-based processor|
|Front Camera||8 MP with laser auto focus||8 MP with laser auto focus|
|Rear Camera||Dual 12 MP with laser auto focus||Dual 12 MP with laser auto focus|
|Battery Life||3000 mAh||3400 mAh|
|Colours||Rose Gold, Prestige Gold, Titanium Grey and Mystic Silver||Haze Gold, Quartz Grey, Rose Gold and Ceramic White|
As is visible, the specs are almost the same. The greens highlight what seems to be the better option, and in many ways, the changes between the two phones are not really that much to write about. The one main difference, which has not been mentioned in the table above is that this also offers Force Touch or 3D touch, though the option is only really available in set apps, and since it is not really a standard Android feature, there isn’t much to do beyond the standard offerings on the phone.
So, let’s start with the highlights, shall we.
The phone’s announcement focused almost entirely on the camera, and for good reason too. Both the phones offer the exact same dual camera configuration. The combined Leica (or not Leica) lenses give you a great contrast and colour. It works well in all kind of light conditions, and while you can notice that the image stabilisation is not as good as some of the competitors, but it still works great. I can give you a whole load of photo samples to look at, but the internet is full of them. All I can say is that monochrome images definitely shine bright with this one!
What I do like though is that the app offers almost full manual control, and isn’t too far from many others.
Look and feel
Bigger phones come with a price in the form of extra weight and shape. The P9 Plus adds very little on top of the P9, and this means that in a funny kind of way, feels rather thin in your hand in your daily use. In fact, once you have used the P9 Plus against the P9, you really get used to the slightly bigger size and it isn’t really a problem any more.
While the basic looks are pretty much the same as that of the P9, the power button comes with a red border giving it a very slight ‘power’ edge.
The display is another areas where this phone shines above the P9. While you may have the same pixel count as the smaller one, you actually have a super AMOLED screen giving you brighter performance and better colours.
Performance and Software
The phone offers you the same specs as the P9 when it comes to the processor, though the P9 Plus comes with 4GB RAM as standard, as opposed to 3GB standard (and 4GB optional) for the P9. This drives EMUI 4.1 running on top of Android 6, and in many ways, this is the only downfall to a great bit of hardware. EMUI is one of those love it or hate it kind of skins, and while Huawei have done well in getting their hardware down to a tee, the software still leaves a bit to be desired. The problem with EMUI is that it is a bit closed, and hides the App Drawer as standard. There are ways around it, such as installing Google’s own Now Launcher, or our personal favourite, the Nova Launcher. You still have to deal with the standard EMUI UI though, i.e. with the settings and the lock screen and such like. Not all is bad news though, as Huawei have definitely squeezed in a few good features there that are not standard on Android. It is no Cyanogen though.
Then there is the matter of all the adware that comes loaded on this. There are games you cannot uninstall, and there are ‘stock apps’ that you cannot get rid of. While it is fine to have something Huawei branded to have such rights, I am not sure Spider Man is worthy of having a ‘cannot be uninstalled’ lock on itself.
Speaking of actual performance though, with 4GB of RAM and a highly specced processor, this phone has not given me any reason to have any issues. It is fast, it works well, and there isn’t any lag to report off.
I am a sucker for a good battery life. I will forgive anything in a phone if it gives me a good battery life. This is where the P9 Plus is definitely the winner over the P9. While a bigger screen does demand a bit more battery life, having used it for the last two weeks has given me a good comfortable going.
This is one feature that definitely doesn’t exist on the P9. The Press Touch, or Force Touch as it was formerly called, is Huawei’s answer to the 3D touch from Apple. Much like Apple, it takes a little getting used to, and as of now doesn’t really have much use apart from in the stock apps, such as zooming in or seeing previews of images. The potential is there, but we are yet to see some interesting and useful use.
On its own, the Huawei P9 Plus is an amazing phone. However, its biggest competitor is the P9 itself, which retails for about £130 less. This means that it definitely makes you wonder whether it is worth the extra dough. The choice is yours though. Do you want more? If you do, there is a price to pay!