As you probably know, Huawei announced its new flagship in London yesterday, the P9. I was invited to attend the event by Huawei South Africa, which took place at Battersea Evolution.

1. Why should you care?
This is the first time that an iconic photography brand, Leica, has partnered with a smartphone manufacturer to ‘co-engineer’ the device, not just provide lenses. Also, the P9 and P9 Plus feature Sony’s 12-megapixel IMX286 sensors. Huawei says this partnership takes photography to next level, that being an artistic one. If you’re familiar with the German brand Leica, you should know what to expect on the photography front. I’m quite excited to test the camera properly. As this rate, I think I need a lesson on how to use it properly.


2. How good is the camera?
Having only spent several hours with the camera, I am suitably impressed. I took it to dinner last night and tested it on my way to the restaurant in Chinatown. It was just after sunset, so was getting dark, yet the camera took spectacular shots.


The purpose of having two rear (12-megapixel) cameras is that it allows you to refocus after taking your photos, and provide a depth of field like effect on pics, something you’d expect from a DSLR. The cameras have been designed for the P9 and P9 Plus (5.5”) specifically, and have larger sensors, allowing more light to get in (Huawei says 270% more than the iPhone 6S; and 90% more than the Galaxy S7).

I’ve used all previous versions of the phone – P6, P7, P8 and I’ve noticed with the P9 that it’s not as intuitive. It takes a while to get used to the controls. A left inward swipe brings up the modes, while a right inward swipe brings settings. Then a top middle option brings live filters (all adjustable like Instagram). All it takes is spending more time with the camera to familiarize myself with it.


3. What’s different, spec wise?
The biggest hardware change on the Huawei P9 is that it now has a USB-C port. This means if you want to make the switch when it becomes available here (around June 2016), all your existing cables/accessories won’t be compatible with it. Seeing that it is the trend going forward, it’s not a deal-breaker.

The handset like its predecessor, the P8, also supports dual-SIM; the secondary SIM shares the same port as the micro-SD slot. The screen resolution is 1080p, I must say I was expecting something higher; and runs on the new 2.5GHz Kirin 955 64-bit chip. Battery life is 3000mAh, which is quite massive for a smartphone. I tested the fingerprint scanner, as its fast; iPhone fast. The P9 also comes in a new ‘ceramic white’ colour, complementing its existing line up of grey, gold and pink.

One more thing about the 5.5″ P9 Plus, it features “Press Touch”, which is the same thing as the formerly Force Touch, now 3D Touch on the iPhone.

The P9 will cost a lot more than the P8, for obvious reasons. It is expected to hit our shores in June, and will retail for R11 999; while the P9 Plus will go for R12 999.

Oh, Huawei also announced it’s two new global brand ambassadors – Scarlett Johansson and Henry Cavill. And this happened…