Stand at any retail counter selling mobile phones and you’ll quickly figure out that one of the major selling points is the camera technology. They say a picture tells a thousand words, and for that reason, handset makers have been focusing intensely on integrating their new devices with powerful cameras. While Apple claims that the focus of its cameras is not to produce a “beautiful” photo but a realistic one, Huawei Technologies seems to have pushed the boundaries even further. The Chinese device maker’s latest P9 device sets a new standard in smartphone photography.
Huawei has teamed up with the biggest name in camera lenses, Leica, to create a unique dual camera setup. With one camera shooting in black and white and the other capturing vivid colour, you get the best sharpness and most natural hues possible. The quality of these 12 MP photos is truly impressive; the two rear cameras work in tandem to enable users to create images of great detail, depth and colour by capturing more light and stitching together vivid colours and monochrome images.
The P9, targeted at the growing premium smartphone market, retails for R39,999. We got the Titanium Grey variant for a product evaluation and take my word, Huawei seems to have pulled out all the stops for the camera in their latest device. With the P9, users can capture images with great clarity, richness and authenticity, leaving very little photo corrections to post production.
Out of the box, the P2 comes across as a beautifully designed phone that looks and feels prem-ium. It is made up of superior-grade 2.5D glass and an aeros-pace-class aluminum, with diamond-cut edges rounded out by carefully balanced curvatu-res. Thanks to the almost flat edges and straight shapes it is easy and comfortable to hold when used as a camera. The P9 has a translucent metal surface and in my opinion, it is the best-looking phone Huawei has made till date.
Probing further, the P9 is equipped with the power, connectivity and speed that today’s high-end smartphone user expects from Huawei. At the bottom edge you’ll find a USB Type-C port, and along its long right hand side you’ll find a Nano SIM and microSD card slot. With a 5.2-inch 1080p display, the smartphone is powered by the new Kirin 955 2.5GHz 64-bit ARM-based processor for good mobile performance. The 3,000 mAh battery offers P9 users great battery life.
The back of the P9 has the fingerprint sensor and a camera strip at the top. Key to the phone’s superlative imaging capabilities is a dual-lens camera design that fully unleashes the power of Leica’s optical lenses, renowned for precision and attention to detail. The RGB camera on the P9 specialises in capturing colour, while the monochrome camera is adept at acquiring picture detail. The P9 excels in low-light conditions, as the dual-camera design guarantees more light and detail capture.
Soon after the setup, I started snapping away photos of almost everything and was impressed with the image quality. Users may choose between three film modes: Standard, Vivid Colours and Smooth Colours, depending on their personal preferences. With meticulous calibration of the P9’s camera parameters, each film mode faithfully rend-ers the authentic colour and style of Leica. By selecting monochrome mode, users can use their devices as a true mono-chrome camera to capture powerful and evocative black and white images of superior quality.
Deploying Huawei’s Hybrid Focus technology, the P9 captures images with superior speed, accuracy and stability. The phone supports camera focusing based on three method-ologies—laser, depth calculation and contrast—and automatica-lly selects the one that yields the best result in any given environ-ment. The wide-aperture photography feature on the P9 allows users to experiment with innovative visual effects to create unique images and cont-ent. The phone makes it easy to adjust the camera aperture to create bokeh and other depth-of-field effects, while keeping the main object in sharp focus.
All in all, Huawei has truly produced something special with the P9 device. It’s one of the best all-round Android smarphones I have used in recent months, combining a stunning 5.2-inch FHD screen with a fantastic dual-camera setup that oozes quality. Highly recommended.