Following Wednesday’s launch, it was confirmed that the new Huawei P9 and P9 Plus pack camera experiences built in collaboration with Leica.
Huawei invited over a thousand journalists to the London-based global launch of its newest flagship smartphones, the P9 and the P9 Plus. While the P9 pair build on last year’s P8 in obvious but meaningful ways, the biggest feather in Huawei’s cap is a distinctive dual camera system, created in partnership with respected camera brand, Leica.
Huawei P9 and P9 Plus: Design
Both P9s boast a predominantly metal build, continuing much of the design work laid out by the Mate S, and more recently the Mate 8. The metal body features a highly polished brushed hairline treatment that the company claims is an industry first. On the front you’ll also find a wafer-thin bezel around its display topped and tailed by textured ceramic elements.
Not unlike the Huawei-made Nexus 6P, the phone also boasts a centrally-positioned fingerprint sensor and a black glass bar along the top, which features the Leica logo alongside the phone’s dual LED flash, laser autofocus array, and twin camera sensors.
Huawei P9 and P9 Plus: Cameras
The primary camera, or rather cameras, are capable of capturing ‘professional grade’ photos with dual 12-megapixel sensors and Leica’s ASPH lens design. There’s also a dual LED flash and a hybrid autofocus system that leverages a laser array for close-up subjects. That dual lens arrangement helps to establish greater depth at greater distance, offering a dedicated depth ISP that Huawei claims is 200% faster than processing image depth using software alone. Selfie fans may also appreciate that front-facing 8-megapixel sensor.
To push the Leica experience more heavily, along with full manual control, both P9 handsets pack a new camera user interface that is designed to fit in alongside Leica’s own camera experience. Even details like the fonts and the shutter sound were chosen to emulate Leica’s cameras.
The company actually hinted at the new dual camera system ahead of these phone’s unveiling with its #OO social media efforts. Huawei’s campaign slogans, including “change the way you see the world,” alluded to the P9’s focus on imaging.
Huawei P9 and P9 Plus: Other specs
Looking at the rest of the P9’s hardware, the phone sports a 5.2-inch Full HD display (the P9 Plus packs a 5.5-inch display), 32GB or 64GB of inbuilt storage (expandable via microSD using its hybrid SIM slot up to 1TB, which can also be used to turn the P9 into a dual SIM device), 3GB or 4GB of RAM and the company’s own Kirin 955 octa-core processor – an upgrade over the 950 chipset that impressed us on the Mate 8.
There’s also a 3000mAh battery inside the P9 and a 3400mAh cell inside the P9 Plus, both of which support fast charging over Type-C USB, with claims from Huawei that the former can last over a day during heavy use, and the latter lasting a day and half under the same conditions.
Huawei confirmed that the P9 will be available in six colours, whilst the P9 Plus will be available in four colours. Stay tuned for a full review very soon and check out our guide to the P9 UK price and release date, which also contains details on the best network deals as they come in.