Huawei continue to grow their popularity with another solid performer at excellent value
The P9 is compact enough and easy to operate with just one hand. Your index finger should fall perfectly on the rear-mounted fingerprint scanner. The sensor is always-on and unlocks the P9 immediately upon touch, no need to wake it up first. It's rated as Level 4 of fingerprint recognition security, which makes it one of the most secure scanners available on a phone.
The P9 actually has two cameras, a standard colour shooter and a dedicated black and white camera. Branded with the pedigree of the legendary Leica brand, both camera’s stand out as market leaders. In particular, the black and white shooter can produce stunning images in low light. This is the best smartphone camera around. The P9's wide range of shooting modes gives it enough complexity to take interesting shots, but it's equally capable of taking decent snaps with a minimum of fuss.
The aluminum shell has a semi-rough finish that really hits the sweet spot — it’s still soft to the touch, but can be gripped securely. It’s surprisingly comfortable to hold considering that it doesn’t have a slightly rounded back like many other flagships. It’s flat, with chamfered edges on the front and back and a rounded outer frame.
During everyday use, the P9 is terrific. Basic tasks are fluid, and streaming music and HD video is smooth. One thing Huawei can hang its hat on is thermal management — their HiSilicon SoCs are still more efficient and run cooler than Qualcomm’s, and it really shows once you start multitasking with the P9. It’s wonderful to be able to work a smartphone hard without it heating up in your hand and becoming uncomfortable.
The P9 continues the improvement of its Emotion UI, on top of the latest Android Marshmallow. The launcher is very intuitive and easy to use, but it has lots of tweaks and customizations settings that will please everyone. The company likes to focus on the user experience, and that's why the P9 has one of the fastest and most accurate fingerprint readers, one of the best IPS displays out there, and a very good battery life. Even the loudspeaker and audio quality performance are doing very well.
The best little feature of all time is back after being left off the Mate 8. You can once again swipe down on the backside fingerprint sensor to pull down the notification centre, which is just the best. It sounds like a throwaway feature, but it is probably the most useful minor design tweak we can think of. It’s perfect for one-handed use, since you don’t need to adjust your grip to pull down the notification centre anymore. You can also double-tap on the fingerprint sensor to clear notifications, which is equally brilliant. We’re not exaggerating when we say we would take this feature into consideration when deciding which 2016 smartphone to purchase.
The song remains the same for Huawei with the P9. This is a really great phone, and for the everyday user, it’s also one of the speediest, has excellent battery life, and is superb when running multiple apps at once while still running cool. And, again, swiping down on the fingerprint sensor to bring down the notification centre is just the best.