Huawei has slowly established itself as a major player in the smartphone market in recent years, first through volume of devices, then through standout phones.
Devices like the Nexus 6P, the excellent Huawei Mate S with a pressure sensitive display and, more recently, its Mate 8 phablet, have all demonstrated that Huawei is more than capable of innovating and creating a great device. Now it's the turn of the P series.
The Huawei P9 at 5.2-inches and P9 Plus at 5.5-inches are the company's new flagship devices. Launched with great fanfare at a star-studded event, here's everything you need to know about the Huawei P9 and the Huawei P9 Plus.
Huawei P9 versions
Huawei likes to mix things up a bit and at a global event like the launch of the new P9, there's often some confusion around the actual models that will be available. Here's how it breaks down:
- There's a standard Huawei P9 that comes with 3GB RAM and 32GB storage.
- There's an enhanced Huawei P9 that comes with 4GB RAM and 64GB storage.
- There's the Huawei P9 Plus with the pressure sensitive display.
There will be a range of colours and some are limited to particular models. The enhanced P9, for example, comes in "haze gold" and "ceramic white".
Huawei P9 and P9 Plus release date and pricing
Huawei announced both the P9 and P9 Plus during a launch event on 6 April, with the smaller model planned for release across Europe - including the UK - and Asia from 16 April.
The Huawei P9 Plus will be available from 20 May in both regions. There are no current plans for a US release.
Prices start at €599 (around £480) for the 32GB Huawei P9, €649 for the enhanced 64GB model, and €749 for the 64GB Huawei P9 Plus. The enhanced P9 isn't coming to the UK.
Huawei P9 and P9 Plus design
The biggest standout design change concerns the camera on the rear. It has a dual lens so both the P9 and P9 Plus look markedly different to the P8.
One design flourish that Huawei is keen to stress though is that the camera lenses are flush to the rear casing. On most rival phones, the lens sticks out a tad, making the back look a little clumsy.
There is also a fingerprint biometric sensor on the rear, while the P9 will be available in four colours: rose gold, "prestige" gold, titanium grey and, our favourite (in name, anyway), mystic silver.
A P9 enhanced model will be available in haze gold and ceramic white. The P9 Plus will also be available in haze gold and ceramic white, while a different quartz grey colour scheme will be an option.
Otherwise, both the P9 and the P9 Plus feature a unibody design similar to previous devices. The P9 measures 145 x 70.9 x 6.95mm and weighs 144g. The P9 Plus measures 152.3 x 75.3 x 6.98mm and weighs 162g.
Huawei P9 and P9 Plus display
Huawei perhaps surprised everyone by launching not one but two handsets in the P9 range, the 5.2-inch P9 and 5.5-inch P9 Plus.
The 5.2-inch model has a Full HD resolution, which equates to 423 pixels per inch. Huawei also shouts about its brightness and colour saturation, especially when compared to the iPhone 6S. It claims it has 96 per cent colour saturation (over the iPhone's 72 per cent), while brightness is rated at 500nits.
The 5.5-inch screen on the Huawei P9 Plus is also 1080p in resolution (so therefore drops the ppi a little), but it utilises Super AMOLED tech instead. The display on the P9 Plus is also pressure sensitive.
Huawei P9 and P9 Plus specs and hardware
In terms of internal hardware, Huawei likes to keep things in house. Both the P9 and P9 Plus are powered by the same Kirin 955 chipset. That's based on the TSMC 16nm FinFET Plus chip technology.
It runs with four 2.5GHz A72 cores, and four 1.8GHz A53 cores. While the graphics are Mali T-880.
Huawei claims that the CPU runs 100 per cent faster than the chip used in the P8 and 3D graphics performance is 125 per cent faster.
The P9 comes in 32GB and the enhanced 64GB storage sizes, while the P9 Plus comes with 64GB of storage. There is a microSD card slot for further expansion.
There's a USB Type-C connection for fast charging. And some models will come with dual SIM capabilities, although that depends on territory.
Both phones have LTE (Cat.6) 4G capabilities.
Huawei P9 and P9 Plus cameras
Huawei has made a lot of noise about the cameras on its devices, cramming in a lot of features and functions, both on the front and rear. We've seen some great results in former years too. However, the cameras on the P9 and P9 Plus are quite unique.
The camera has been developed in partnership with Leica and features two 12-megapixel sensors, fronted by a Leica Summarit lens. The two modules are different however, as one features a colour RGB sensor and the other is a monochrome sensor.
The idea is that the camera can combine the information to get more out of a scene, but this also means that a dedicated monochrome function is available, capturing in black and white, rather than using a filter in post-processing.
That's really where Leica comes in. The camera firm still offers models designed solely for monochrome photography.
The twin lenses also capture the data to triangulate and get depth information, in addition to offering laser-assisted and contrast detection autofocus.
Huawei's pitch with the P9 is all about the camera experience. When it comes to selfies, there's an 8-megapixel front-facing camera. The P9 Plus has the advantage of autofocus on the this front camera.
Huawei P9 and P9 Plus software
Huawei like its own EMUI skin that sits over Android and that's once again the case with the two latest phones. The Huawei Emotion UI 4.1 interface sits over the top of Android 6.0 Marshmallow.
The experience is very much as it has been on other Huawei devices with a comprehensive reworking of every aspect of Android, plenty of additions in terms of functions, and lots of customisation options.
Huawei P9 and P9 Plus: Where can I get them?
Perhaps the most surprising element of the Huawei P9 launch is that all the major UK networks have announced that they will be stocking this new handset. In previous years, Huawei hasn't always been so widely adopted.
The UK networks are fully expected to reveal details of how much the Huawei P9 will cost on their specific price plans. Some have already shown their hand or announced their intentions to carry both handsets, although we still await others.
Pre-order details will be "announced in due course", but you can pre-register your interest in the Huawei P9 here: ee.co.uk.
The company has stated that it will stock the P9 in titanium grey, although it is yet to reveal whether it will also carry the P9 Plus.
O2 will also be stocking the Huawei P9 on its launch. It will also carry the P9 Plus, it has revealed to Pocket-lint.
Both handsets will be available on the network's O2 Refresh plan and you can pre-register your interest here: o2.co.uk.
Three has announced that it too will be stocking the Huawei P9, although there's no word yet on the P9 Plus.
Vodafone has confirmed that it will be offering the Huawei P9, with pre-orders for the smaller model now available. You can pre-order the titanium grey model now or the silver version from 11 April.
Price plans start at £30 a month with no upfront cost. Pre-orders on Vodafone also include a Huawei W1 Classic smartwatch for free (worth £289).
Find out more here: vodafone.co.uk.