Huawei Challenges Tier One Phone Makers

Huawei’s new phones, created in collaboration with camera manufacturer Leica, are said to set ‘a new standard in smartphone photography’. They are the P9 and P9 Plus, and were launched at an event in London.

The P9 is the first phone developed with Leica. It has a dual-lens camera: one capturing RGB images, and one for black and white. Low-light photography is a speciality, as the dual-lens design captures more light and detail than a conventional camera. Users can choose between Standard, Vivid Colours, Smooth Colours and Monochrome shooting modes.

Huawei has built a hybrid focus system into the P9, using laser, depth calculation and contrast to speed autofocus. The aperture is also said to be very wide, lending itself to depth-of-field adjustments. Features such as focus and metering points can be chosen independently.

The camera lenses sit flush with the body of the phone, keeping it down to 6.95mm thick. The P9’s body, housing a 5.2″ display, is also only slightly larger than that of the iPhone 6S, which has a 4.7″ display. Huawei has achieved this by stripping away unnecessary casing. A USB-C port is featured.

Each P9 features 2.5D glass on the display and an aluminium chassis. Screen resolution is 1920 x 1080, and a 64-bit octa-core 2.5GHz Kirin 955 CPU runs Android 6.0. The battery is 3,000mAh, and there is an option hidden in the settings to reduce screen resolution in order to save power. 32GB (3GB RAM) and 64GB (4GB RAM) models are available.

Revealed at the same time was the 5.5″ P9 Plus. Sharing features with the P9, this phone also has a Press Touch (force-sensitive) AMOLED display and larger (3,400mAh) battery. It also features rapid charging, delivering six hours of talk time after 10 minutes of power.

Huawei will sell the P9 and P9 Plus soon, starting at €485 and €605 ex VAT, respectively.

Analyst Comment

While the phones themselves are impressive, it is the Leica partnership that will be the main draw for consumers. Huawei has even licensed the shutter sound and camera UI from the German company and has said that, in the future, all of its flagship will feature Leica lenses and branding. (TA)