“The Huawei Y9 Prime 2019 is an iterative upgrade to the Y9 2019 smartphone that was launched earlier this year”

Huawei is the latest phonemaker to throw its hat in the ring of pop-up selfie camera smartphones with the Y9 Prime 2019. The mid-range offering features an all-display fascia and a hidden front camera that retracts from the top edge every time you need to take a selfie or need to unlock the phone with the face recognition tech. We managed to get up close with the Huawei Y9 Prime 2019, and after spending some time with it, here are our initial impressions.

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The Huawei Y9 Prime 2019 features a glass-sandwich body that’s devoid of any notch or bezels up front. The back panel of the handset has a dual-tone finish beneath the polycarbonate glass, with the bottom half featuring silk texture design that shimmers under the light. While the glossy finish adds a premium look, it also means that the device is quite slippery and catches fingerprints and smudges rather easily. Thankfully, Huawei ships a TPU protective case with the phone.

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Other than the Emerald Green hue that we received, the Huawei Y9 Prime 2019 also comes in the Saphhire Blue colour variant. The fingerprint scanner is exactly where the forefinger rests while holding the device whereas the triple rear cameras that jut out slightly are placed on the top-right corner. There’s no functional element on the left edge, whereas the right spine houses both the power switch and volume buttons. At the bottom, there’s the USB Type-C charging port, which is sandwiched between a 3.5mm headphone socket and a speaker grille.

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Talking about the display, the Huawei Y9 Prime 2019 sports a 6.59-inch panel, which is slightly bigger than its predecessor. However, thanks to its notch- and bezel-less design, the handset doesn’t feel that large, and if you have big hands like me, the single-hand usage won’t be a problem. The IPS screen bears full HD+ resolution and offers good contrast levels and vibrant colours, which should make reading text or watching videos an enjoyable experience. 

Huawei Y9 Prime 2019 11While Huawei has launched its new mid-range HiSilicon Kirin 810 SoC, the Y9 Prime 2019 rocks last year’s HiSilicon Kirin 710 processor that’s coupled with 4GB of RAM and 64GB or 128GB user-expandable storage. During our brief usage, the handset didn’t show any stutter or lag, though it still needs to be tested while playing graphically-intensive games like PUBG Mobile.

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Coming to the cameras, the Huawei Y9 Prime 2019 packs a 16-megapixel pop-up selfie snapper that slowly (or rather too slowly) rises from the top accompanied by an electronic whirring. The selfie camera seems fairly strong even when pressure is applied. Additionally, the camera retracts every time it detects a fall. Sadly however, there is no facial unlock on the phone.

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Moving on to the rear cameras, it gets a 16-megapixel primary shooter coupled with a 2-megapixel depth sensor, which is the same as the regular Huawei Y9 2019 (first impressions), but features an additional 8-megapixel ultra-wide-lens for capturing landscapes. The cameras are backed by Huawei’s AI algorithms, and offer 3D portrait mode, night mode, HDR, Time-lapse and slow-mo capabilities. 

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Software-wise, the Huawei Y9 Prime 2019 comes running Android 9 Pie garnished with the vendor’s custom skin EMUI 9.0 out of the box. The entire setup is fueled by a beefy 4,000mAh battery with no fast charging tech.

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For its starting price of Rs 15,990, the Huawei Y9 Prime 2019 is competing with the OPPO K3 (review) and Realme X (review), both of which feature pop-up selfie cameras and are priced similarly. Compared to its arch-rivals, the Huawei Y9 Prime 2019 lacks AMOLED panel, in-display fingerprint scanner, and fast charging, but we can’t take away the fact that it packs a beefier battery and triple rear cameras. 

Photos by Raj Rout