Tech firms falling over themselves to outdo each other is one of the more prominent features of the information age.
Little surprise then that device launches from the many smartphone producing companies, big and small, are a media spectacle that elevate this competitive aspect to the global stage.
The Middle East and Africa launch of Huawei’s latest flagship in its P series of smartphones, the Huawei P9, was no exception complete with an illusionist to highlight the mysticism of the device.
Slightly smaller than most smartphones the P9 with dimensions of 145mm X 70.9mm X 6.95mm, (152.3mm X 75.3mm X 6.98mm for the P9 Plus variant) the ‘magic’ is easily lost at first glance.
The front of the device is as plain as other models in the line featuring the secondary camera, a sensor, the earpiece at the top edge, and the brand’s name at the bottom.
A look at the back of the device however reveals the magic of the P9 and its variant.
The top edge of the back features two conspicuous cameras closer to the left, twin LED flash centered at the top edge, and the Leica brand name at the far right of the top edge.
All these are mounted on a scratch-resistant glass panel adding an aesthetically appealing design contrast against the prominently aluminium back.
Even with the twin cameras and LED flash, there is no protrusion at the back of the phone making slipping it in and out of the pocket a hustle-free affair.
Huawei have pulled out all the stops with this device in its push to make it the go-to for smartphone photographers.
Both primary cameras feature a 12 megapixel resolution with one capturing in monochrome, while the other capturing in the RGB colour system. The overlay of the two systems allows for shooting sharper, crisp images that feature balanced mid tones whether in monochrome or in full colour.
Huawei’s partnership with Leica that has been developing camera lenses for over 100 years has been lauded by reputable photographers who the firm invited to test the innovation.
Fashion photographer Ayaad Damouni said of the partnership, “For a photographer this collaboration meant the stakes were high but the phone delivered on all accounts – from aperture settings to manual focus capabilities and more.”
“Photography is experiencing another revolution with the rise of smartphone photography,” National Geographic’s David Guttenfelder said, adding; “With its ability to control the manual settings in the same way I would use my professional camera, the P9 allows photographers to really express their creativity with professional precision.”
The Huawei P9’s endorsements by professional photographers should bode well with the user with more basic shooting skills making it a clear favourite to other available options.
The photography capabilities of the device do not steal from its other functions such as a 5.2 inch full High Definition (1920 X 1080p) display protected with Corning Gorilla Glass. The variant features a 5.5 inch display also in full HD.
The almost non-existent bezel either side of the screen gives the P9 a 72.9 per cent screen to body ratio guaranteeing a clear display further enhanced by a 423 pixels per inch density.
The P9 Plus has a slightly smaller screen-to-body ratio (72.7 per cent) and pixels per inch density (401), neither of which affect the sharpness of the display on account of the 0.3 inch screen increase to that the P9.
Both versions of the P9 feature a Kirin 955 processor unit running on eight cores divided into two groups of four each. The first four cores clock a processor speed of 2.5 GHz with the second set of four working at a maximum 1.8 GHz.
This offers a perfect platform for the devices’ operating system, the Android Marshmallow 6.0. With this Huawei has introduced its version of the customised Android user interface - Emotion 4.1 - whose main feature is a preference for application folders as opposed to the conventional app drawer.
This is ideal for users who prefer to group related apps together, but could be bothersome for those who prefer a cleaner home screen with the apps tucked away in a drawer.
The P9 comes in two versions of internal storage; one offers 32 Gigabytes internal storage (expandable to 128GB) and 3GB RAM which is suitable for running several applications at a go without depleting the battery or causing the phone to heat up.
The other version is a 64GB internal storage space also expandable to 128GB, and a 4GB RAM. This is also the storage format for the P9 Plus.
Both devices have a dual sim capability (Nano SIM), a user has to choose whether to host an additional sim, or have the expanded external storage.
Both the P9 and the P9 Plus have non-removable Li-Ion batteries with the former offering 3000 mAh while the latter offers a slightly larger 3400 mAh pack. The P9 Plus offers accelerated charging which guarantees less time on the charger and more time on standby, or with moderate use.
The P9 offers more colour options (Ceramic White, Haze Gold, Rose Gold, Titanium Grey, Mystic Silver, and Prestige Gold) while the P9 Plus has a lesser array (Haze Gold, Quartz Grey, and Ceramic White).
With smartphone users’ craze to capture every moment in pictures, the Huawei P9 and the P9 Plus have definitely stepped in well to cater to this ever growing need for better quality without need for specialised training.