The Huawei Y9 Prime 2019 officially went on sale on 1 August. At the media event two weeks ago, I got a review unit to play with and now that my primary writing commitments are out of the way, here’s a quick hands on post.

Y9 Prime pop-up camera

 

Where does the Y9 Prime 2019 fit in?

 

The Y9 Prime 2019 is a mid-range device that is meant to offer premium features at an affordable price point. It goes head to head with the likes of the Samsung A Series, like the A50; both coming in at under R6000. Within the Huawei stable, you get the slightly cheaper P Smart 2019 or the P30 Lite for a little more. The main difference being the few hundred Rands between them, and to look at screen size, camera and battery.

 

What makes the Y9 Prime 2019 unique?

 

The Y9 Prime 2019 is the first smartphone camera in South Africa that has a pop-up feature. It literally pops up when you tap on the selfie-camera button. When not in use, it goes back into the device and sits flush. Once you tap the selfie-cam button, it takes a second to open up. The 16MP front-camera has AI built-in to optimise your photos if you like that kind of thing.

If you’re wondering about durability, it has been tested to open over 100 000 times and that’s the number Huawei is going with. If you open and close it daily 50 times, it will last over five years. Additionally, it can hold up to 15kgs in weight, while open. If this sounds crazy, we tested it live at the media event with 10kgs of weights; insane. The phone is suitable for -20°C to 60°C weather. 

 

What are its notable features?

 

The Y9 Prime has a 6.59-inch full view ultra-wide display without a notch and very minimal bezels. It has a 91% screen-to-body ratio and a 2340x1080p HD resolution screen. This makes it ideal for watching videos without anything cutting into the video, like you’d find on most screens today with a notch. It’s refreshing to see a phone with this design in 2019 because as much as we look at our notches every day, it’s still fugly.

Many will appreciate the rear camera set-up that consists of a trio of a 16+8+2MP lenses. The 16MP lens has a F/1.8 aperture; the 8MP is a wide-angle with a 120° field of view; and the 2MP brings depth of field effects for portraits. As mentioned earlier, the selfie-camera is 16MP and does studio-like shots in portrait mode. I think having a wide-angle lens should be standard on all phones that come out now, so this is a great addition on a mid-range device.

Regarding battery life, I love that it has a massive 4000mAh battery. It’s the largest when compared to the P30 Lite or P Smart 2019 if this is an NB feature to you. Huawei says its optimised for extended periods of work, pleasure or gaming activities due to its Kirin 710 chipset (12nm) that ensures battery life saving.

Other features include 4GB of RAM, 128GB of storage – expandable to 512GB, and a dual SIM slot – as seen on my review unit. I can’t be sure if the secondary SIM slot is blocked by our beloved network operators. It comes in three colours: green, blue and black; all will be available in SA.

 

Is it worth the money?

 

The Y9 Prime 2019 retails for R5400. That’s a lot of phone for your money. If you want a phone that stands out from the crowd and gets attention with the pop-up camera, then it’s worth it. Not to mention a full view uninterrupted display and large battery.

The phone does compete with other Huawei phones like the P Smart 2019 for R5000 (has a smaller battery and fast charging, 6.2-inch screen a dual 13+2MP camera) and the P30 Lite for R6000 (has a smaller battery with fast charging, 6.15-inch screen, 24+8+2MP rear-cam and 32MP selfie-cam). You can also get the Samsung A50 for R5800.

 

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