“The Y9 2019 boasts an impressive spec sheet with a large notch-toting display, powerful specs, quad cameras and a beefy battery. We go hands on”

While Huawei’s sub-brand Honor has been making great strides in the Indian smartphone market, the parent company has been cautious of its approach in the country. But as we posited in the top brands to look out for in 2019, the Chinese company seems to be all set to make it big in the subcontinent. The brand’s first launch for the year seems to suggest the same as it caters to the voluminous budget category. Dubbed the Huawei Y9 2019, the handset brings an impressive spec sheet with a large notch-toting display, powerful specs, quad cameras and a beefy battery. We managed to spend some time with the device during its launch event in Delhi, and here’s how we’ll sum up our experience.

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The Huawei Y9 2019 is a gorgeous smartphone with a glass-sandwich design that offers an immersive display up front and curved edges on the rear. The phone is rather large considering it ships with a 6.5-inch screen, though I didn’t face any issues in reaching the corners while using it single-handedly. Tipping the scales at 173g, the smartphone seems to be bulky but the weight has been distributed quite well. The handset features a sleek frame of 8mm.

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The ports and controls on Huawei’s Y9 2019 follow the norms, with both the volume rocker and power switch placed on the right, a 3.5mm audio socket up top and a micro-USB socket at the bottom (yes, it’s 2019, and even though the phone carries the year in its moniker, it continues with the older USB standard). At the back, you’ll find the dual-camera array placed on the top-left corner along with an LED flash. There’s also a fingerprint sensor on the rear, which is easy to reach and works like advertised.

Coming to the 6.5-inch display, the IPS panel bears a resolution of 1,080 x 2,340 pixels with an aspect ratio of 19.5:9. The screen is sharp and offers vibrant visuals with ample brightness. The notch up top isn’t very wide, and considering it’s home to two front cameras, we can’t really complain. And thankfully, you do get an option to disable the notch in the settings of the Y9 2019.

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Huawei’s latest offering is among the rare breed of phones that offer dual cameras on the rear as well as front. At the back, the mobile features a 13-megapixel f/1.8 snapper, which is accompanied by a 2MP depth sensor. Sitting inside the notch on the fascia are 16MP f/2.0 + 2MP shooters. Along with the usual set of features, it’s interesting to see that the AI mode is available on both the rear as well as front cameras. Initial shots taken by the phone were quite good, though we’d like to hold our judgment till we get to spend more time with the Y9 2019.

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Taking care of the performance on the Huawei Y9 2019 is the brand’s in-house Kirin 710 SoC. The 12nm chipset offers a pair of quad-core clusters ensuring a balance between performance and battery efficiency. Coupled with 4GB of RAM, the smartphone offered smooth performance during my limited time with it. In terms of the storage, the handset comes with 64GB of memory onboard, which can be expanded further by up to 400GB using a microSD card.

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Huawei has provided a 4,000mAh pack with the Y9 2019. The handset also supports Quick Charge 2.0. Sadly, the smartphone boots the older Android 8.1 Oreo out of the box, which is layered with the EMUI 8.2 skin. We can expect the company to rollout the update to 9.0 Pie soon, however. 

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Priced at Rs 15,999, the Huawei Y9 2019 makes the competition in the budget segment more intense. But that also means that the handset is up against some notable options such as the ASUS ZenFone Max Pro M2 (review), Realme 2 Pro (review), and Xiaomi Redmi Note 6 Pro (review). Not to mention that it’ll also face competition from its own cousin – the Honor 8X (first impressions). Huawei does make the deal sweeter by bundling Boat Bluetooth earphones worth Rs 2,999 free with the phone, however. We’ll be putting the new smartphone through its paces as and when we get it in our labs… keep an eye out for our in-depth review.