(Pocket-lint) - Huawei has made several smartphone announcements over the last few months. The Mate S and the Mate 8 both arrived in the latter half of 2015 and received plenty of praise. They are now joined by the Chinese company's next flagship and it's bigger brother - the Huawei P9 and P9 Plus.
A big focus is placed on the camera for these two devices, with Huawei claiming to "change the way you see the world", but what else do they offer and how do the new flagships compare to last year's P8?
We have put the specs of the Huawei P9 up against the Huawei P8 to see what the differences are and what new features the next-generation of the P series brings. Our separate feature goes through the differences between the P9 and P9 Plus if you're trying to decide between large and small.
Huawei P9 vs P8: Design
The Huawei P8 measures 144.9 x 72.1 x 6.4mm and weighs 144g, making it a very slim and light device. It has an all-metal build with a wide plastic antenna strip at the top of the device on the rear, where the camera is situated, and a thinner strip at the bottom. The Huawei logo sits towards the top of the device and it comes in Titanium Grey and Champagne Gold colour options.
The P8 offers a great design and although we aren't a fan of the excess protrusions on the top and bottom of the display, or the thick antenna strips on the back, the metal body's chamfered edges look premium and it's lovely and slender in the hand or pocket.
The P9 measures 145 x 70.9 x 6.95mm and weighs 144g making it almost the same size and weight as its predecessor, albeit a little thicker and not quite as wide. The same applies as the P8 though - it's a great design aside from a couple of things, one being the plasticky look of the antenna strips at the top and bottom of the rear again. We also don't love the doubling up on branding in the P9. The P9 does have a real moment of greatness though and thats in its fingerprint scanner, which is hands down the best we have used to date.
The P9 comes in four colours including Rose Gold, Titanium Grey, Mystic Silver and Prestige Gold, with a P9 Deluxe model also available in Haze Gold and Ceramic White. We had the Mystic Silver in for review, which we thought was the best looking.
Huawei P9 vs P8: Display
The Huawei P8 comes with a 5.2-inch display offering a Full HD resolution for a pixel density of 424ppi. It's a good screen, with bright but not overbearing colours and great viewing angles.
The Huawei P9 comes in the same size while the P9 Plus provides a larger screen option at 5.5-inches. There were reports in the run up to the P9's launch that we would see a Quad HD resolution like the LG G5 and the Samsung Galaxy S7, but that has turned out not to be the case.
The Huawei P9 instead comes with a Full HD resolution like its predecessor, meaning a pixel density of 424ppi. Again, you get a great display on the P9. Its up-to-500-its brightness copes well in a variety of conditions and although it can appear overly pumped, it is slightly brighter and punchier than its predecessor. We had no complaints on the contrast or viewing angles either.
As a note, the P9 Plus also opts for a Full HD resolution, dropping the pixel density to 401ppi, but it adds a pressure sensitive display like the top-of-the-range Mate S, which is something neither the P9 nor P9 offer.
Huawei P9 vs P8: Camera
The Huawei P8 offers a 13-megapixel rear camera with an f/2.0 aperture and optical image stabilisation on board. The camera is the P8's best asset, taking stunningly good pictures. The close-up macro mode is brilliant with a level of detail in shots that for a smartphone camera, is extra pleasing.
Huawei introduced the world's first RGBW sensor for the P8, said to deliver better brightness readings and shots are indeed bright and colourful with limited image noise in good-to-moderate conditions. Low-light fares well too though so overall, the P8's camera shouldn't disappoint.
The Huawei P9 and P9 Plus both arrive with dual rear cameras. Both sensors are made by Sony and offer a 12-megapixel resolution with one being RGB and the other being monochrome. At their core, the cameras are plenty capable. Quality is decent, focus speed is decent, colour is decent and the monochrome option delivers some excellent results.
Leica technology is also on board the P9 and P9 Plus, offering users standard, vivid and smooth film modes, Leica shutter sound and full manual control. Leica isn't renowned for having the best or most usable menu systems though. If anything it's renowned for having the most finicky ones, which, at times, shows in use in the P9.
Overall there's a lot to like about the P9's cameras, when ignoring some of the glitchier software stuff. It's easy to switch between manual and point-and-shoot, the speed and quality is up there with the other flagships on the market and the ability to shoot raw files in addition to JPEGs is great. There are plenty of positives.
The front camera of the P9 and P9 Plus is 8-megaixels, although the Plus adds autofocus to this camera. The P8 also offers an 8-megapixel selfie snapper.
Huawei P9 vs P8: Hardware and specs
The Huawei P8 features the company's own Kirin 930 chip, supported by 3GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage. Our experience was mixed despite the big numbers though. We found the operating system lacked snap and the chip caused notable heat to emanate from the rear, particularly when using it as a Wi-Fi hotspot. The battery capacity sits at 2680mAh and charging takes place via Micro-USB. It will get through a day but it doesn't sail through.
As you would expect, the Huawei P9 and P9 plus offer a faster processor and upgraded specs. The Kirin 955 is under their hoods and for the P9 there is a choice of 32GB internal storage with 3GB of RAM or 64GB with 4GB of RAM. The P9 Plus comes in one model featuring 64GB of memory and 4GB of RAM.
The graphics on the P9 are definitely an improvement on the P8, delivering fluid playback when crunching through games. The device still gets hot when using it as a Wi-Fi hotspot but the P9 does offer improved performance over the P8.
The P9 and P9 Plus also offer USB Type-C and battery capacity has increased to 3000mAh for the P9 and 3400mAh for the P9 Plus. Despite the P9's increase, the battery didn't last as long as we hoped. It will get you through a working day but we were down to 20 per cent after less than 15-hours.
Huawei P9 vs P8: Software
The Huawei P8 comes with Android Lollipop with the Huawei's EMUI software over the top and when it first arrived, we didn't have much nice to say about it. The company adds something to almost every aspect of the Android stock software but things have improved for the P9.
The Huawei P9 and P9 Plus arrive on Android Marshmallow with the EMUI 4.1 software over the top. Huawei said it added hundreds of user experience tweaks and improvements and the experience is definitely better compared to the P8. You can read our P8 review and P9 review for a more detailed rundown of the software.
Huawei P9 vs P8: Conclusion
The Huawei P9 and P9 Plus offer a similar but more refined design compared to the P8, arriving with the addition of dual cameras on the rear, a fingerprint sensor and USB Type-C.
The P8 had a great camera on board, but the P9 delivers here too, along with a faster and slicker user experience, a brighter display and an excellent fingerprint sensor.
The P9 is a worthy upgrade for those with the P8 or an older P series device, especially if the camera or a fingerprint sensor are important to you. If you want to know more about the P9 you can read our everything you need to know feature, which includes information on pricing and where you can pick a P9 or P9 Plus up from.