HUAWEI P9 PLUS REVIEW: CAMERAS AND PHOTOGRAPHY

Like the Huawei P9, the main selling point is the dual-camera Leica-certified set up, which consists of two 12Mp sensors. One is a regular BGR while the other is monochrome. Why? Huawei says that the cameras can combine the two separate images to produce better quality images with 300 percent more light and 50 percent better contrast. That’s not all either – the Huawei P9 Plus also takes incredible black and white filters because unlike most smartphones, it features a black and white lens instead of applying a black and white filter over a colour photo. There’s also an 8Mp front snapper for selfie lovers and video chatters.

What does this translate to in real-world use? Photos taken on the Huawei P9 Plus generally capture a great amount of detail in well-lit conditions with vibrant colour reproduction, however despite the ability to capture 300 percent more light than a standard one-lens setup, the Huawei P9 Plus starts to fall over in low-light environments. As with many smartphones, the levels of noise began to rise and colours became flat as the light in the environment dropped. You can see a selection of photos taken on the Huawei P9 Plus below (click for full-res images).

One feature that Huawei does offer with the cameras of the P9 Plus, as with the P9, is plenty of control with different modes, including a pro option. Huawei even offers a Leica UI, fonts and shutter sound for the camera which is a nice touch. It can perform tricks like we’ve seen on other dual-camera phones such as refocusing a shot after it’s been taken and adjusting the depth of field, adding a professional feel to even simple selfies.

There’s no optical image stabilisation (OIS) as Huawei says the camera takes pictures so quickly that it doesn’t need it, although we’re left wondering if Huawei forgot about the benefits for video. Another thing lacking on the video side is no option to shoot in 4K resolution, which is strange as it’s a feature of many other 2016 flagships (and a few 2015s, too!). The Huawei P9 Plus features the ability to record at a maximum of [email protected], quite surprising when the company invested so heavily in the camera setup.

Huawei P9 Plus review: Software and apps

As you’d expect from a 2016 flagship phone, the Huawei P9 Plus runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow. It’s also not a surprise that Huawei adds its own software user interface, Emotion UI (or EMUI) 4.1 this time around, which the firm says it’s fully committed to with a team of developers constantly working on improving the UI.

As with previous Huawei P devices, the software is a weaker element to the experience with choices like the lack of an app menu/tray. It results in an iOS-like setup with app icons all displayed on the homescreen, which may be a plus for those recently jumping the iOS ship, but not for long-time Android fans.

There are many other tweaks throughout including the notification bar which is laid out like a timeline of notifications rather than a list, and it doesn’t feel as ‘Androidy’ as many rivals.

Unfortunately, as with other Huawei smartphones, the device comes packed with bloatware – much of it Huawei branded, but also with apps it thinks you’d like including Facebook, Twitter and demos of paid-for games. We’re not really a fan of pre-loaded apps as we’d like to make the choices ourselves straight out of the box, but Huawei does let you remove many of the pre-installed apps (although not the Huawei-branded ones!).

Specs

Huawei P9 Plus: Specs

  • Android 6.0 Marshmallow with EMIU 4.1
  • 5.5in IPS SuperAMOLED Full HD screen (1080x1920, 401ppi)
  • Kirin 955 octa-core processor
  • Mali-T880 MP4 GPU
  • 4GB RAM
  • 64GB storage
  • Micro-SD up to 128GB
  • Dual-12Mp rear cameras with Leica lenses
  • 8Mp front camera
  • 11ac Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth 4.2
  • IR blaster
  • USB-C
  • 4G LTE Cat 6
  • 3400mAh non-removable battery
  • 75x152x6.98mm
  • 162g