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Huawei P9 vs P9 Plus vs P9 Lite: spec showdown

|April 11 2016 |Mobiles, Android Phones, Huawei, Comparisons

"A detailed comparison of Huawei's latest smartphone trio"

Earlier this week, Chinese manufacturer Huawei finally pulled the covers off its latest smartphone offerings at a dedicated event in London. The new smartphones, dubbed as the Huawei P9 and P9 Plus, feature an interesting dual-lens camera setup which is made in collaboration with popular camera brand Leica. Surprisingly, the Huawei P9 Lite was made official at a separate event in Russia. Apart from offering tons of features, all three smartphones cater to the needs of different categories of users. Let’s find out how the smartphones differ when we pit them against each other.

Design and Display

Huawei P9 PlusHuawei P9Huawei P9 Lite

Huawei has always been innovative and successful when it comes to the design of its smartphones, and the P9 series is no different. All variants come with a unibody metal design that gives the devices a solid look, while still maintaining the sleek subtleties. The major difference among the three is the size of the device, owing to the different screen sizes. And while the P9 and P9 Plus come in six colour options, the P9 Lite is only be available in gold and silver hues. All three smartphones are extremely thin measuring just around 6.9mm on the waistline.

When it comes to the display resolution, all three smartphones pack in a 1080p panel. However, the P9 Plus opts for a larger 5.5-inch screen compared to the 5.2-inch screen of the P9 Lite and P9. This results in a higher pixel density of 424ppi on the P9 and P9 Lite than the lower, yet still respectable 401ppi of the P9 Plus. The inclusion of an AMOLED display on the P9 Plus should ensure deeper blacks and more vibrant colours than the IPS LCD panel on the other two devices. One highlighting feature of the P9 Plus is its pressure sensitive display, similar to 3D Touch on the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus.

Performance

As expected, the Huawei P9 and P9 Plus pack in the company’s own HiSilicon Kirin 955 processor. The octa-core processor has 64-bit capabilities and packs in a Mali-T880 MP4 GPU for rendering graphics. The P9 Lite, on the other hand, settles for the octa-core HiSilicon Kirin 650 processor which is clocked lower than the Kirin 955 SoC. The P9 Lite will come equipped with 2GB or 3GB RAM, while the P9 will get 3GB and 4GB RAM variants. The P9 Plus would only be available in the 4GB RAM configuration. 

Camera

Huawei P9 (2)                Huawei P9 Plus Camera

Certainly a key highlight, the Huawei P9 and P9 Plus pack in dual 12MP Leica cameras at the back with an extremely wide aperture. Featuring a larger pixel size to capture more light, one of the sensors handles RGB colour while the other is a monochromatic sensor. There’s also hybrid laser and depth auto-focus to enhance the focusing capabilities of the camera for different ranges. There's no doubt Huawei has got us pumped up when it comes to the cameras on their phones.

Unfortunately, the P9 Lite misses out on the dual-lens camera set up to cut costs, and justify its title of being a lite device. Instead, it features a 13MP rear camera with LED flash. All three smartphones sport an 8MP front camera.

Software and Connectivity

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Out of the box, the new devices run Android 6.0 Marshmallow with the company’s own EMUI 4.1 user interface. The UI has been filled with an array of interesting features like Magazine Unlock which gives you a new wallpaper every time you unlock your smartphone. All three smartphones pack in a fingerprint scanner for an extra layer of security. The fingerprint scanner too, gets its share of new capabilities as it can be used as a shortcut to launch pre-determined apps, or even open the notification area. Huawei also allows its users to lock certain apps with their fingerprint. Overall, these are some welcome additions to the Android experience.

All three smartphones come with dual-SIM functionalities. Other connectivity options include 4G LTE, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth, GPS, NFC and Infrared support. The folks at Huawei were also touting the unique triple-antenna design of the smartphones which should lead to better network reception.

Battery Life and Storage

Huawei P9 Plus battery

As suggested by the rumours, the P9 and P9 Lite feature a non-removable 3,000mAh battery to power their hardware. The P9 Plus, on the other hand, gets more juice with its 3,400mAh battery. The company claims up to two-days of battery life for its smartphones. The decision to go with a 1080p screen instead of a 2K panel may also be beneficial to battery performance in the long run. All three smartphones come with a USB Type-C port for charging and data transfers. Combining all this with the battery saving features of Android Marshmallow and we might actually see the company’s claims come true.

On the storage front, the standard edition of the P9 will offer 32GB and 64GB variants, while the P9 Plus would only come featuring 64GB of internal storage. The Huawei P9 Lite features 16GB of onboard storage. Thankfully, all three smartphones come with an option to expand the memory with the help of a microSD card.

Pricing and Availability

Huawei P9 colours

The 3GB RAM/32GB storage variant of the P9 has been priced at €599 (~Rs 46,000), while the 4GB RAM/64GB storage variant has been priced at €649 (~Rs 49,000). The Huawei P9 Plus will be hitting the shelves at a price of €749 (~Rs 57,000). Initially, the two phones will be made available in 29 countries across Asia, Africa and Europe starting April 16th. Unfortunately, the company has not disclosed the pricing and availability details of the Huawei P9 Lite smartphone. We expect that Huawei will launch the P9 and P9 Lite in India later this year, but we don't have a launch date yet 

Closing thoughts

Huawei seems to have ticked all the boxes when it comes to its latest smartphone offerings. With three different variants, the company has provided choices for a wide audience. The new devices come with a seamless metal design, powerful hardware, and an amazing camera set up to top it off. Overall, it’s an interesting addition to what may be a successful year for Huawei.

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