If we were to look back say 4-5 years ago, Huawei might be a brand that most of you guys may not have heard of, or at least associate with those mobile internet dongles that you can purchase from carriers.
Fast forward to today, Huawei is starting to make a name for themselves in the smartphone market, and last we heard, the company was the world’s number 3 smartphone vendor. This is why you can understand why we might be excited to see what Huawei could come up with next with the Huawei P9.
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Starting with the phone’s design, in the past Huawei has been accused in some instances of copying the design of its competitors, and according to the latest leaks, it certainly looks like Huawei might have lifted some design ideas from the iPhone 5 and the iPhone 6. This is not necessarily a bad thing since those are nice designs, but if you’re after a phone for its originality then maybe you should look elsewhere.
Also based on the leaked images, it has been suggested that the phone could sport a metal construction. Huawei has done this with their previous phones like the Mate 8, Mate S, and recently the Nexus 6P that was also made by Huawei, so it wouldn’t be surprising if their next flagship were to pack a metal build as well.
Save for the Nexus 6P, Huawei’s previous releases came with display resolutions of Full HD, with the Nexus 6P breaking the mould with its QHD resolution. Considering that many OEMs have turned to using QHD displays, it wouldn’t be a stretch to think that is possible.
Unfortunately you might be disappointed. Evan Blass, who also goes by the Twitter handle @evleaks, has suggested that Huawei will be sticking to a Full HD display. Apparently the company thinks that it’s not worth trading the battery drain for a slight bump in resolution, which we have to admit makes sense, although we’re not sure how many will feel about it.
Huawei is one of the few phone OEMs who makes their own chipsets, along with Apple and Samsung. This is why despite the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 being an obvious choice for flagship phones in 2016, it is possible that Huawei could turn to the use of its own Kirin lineup of chipsets.
The rumors are suggesting that we can expect to see the Huawei Kirin 950 chipset make its debut in the Huawei P9. This is also essentially the same chipset found in the Mate 8 from last year, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing since it is an 64-bit octa-core chipset which should be more than capable of getting the job done.
In the RAM department, the Mate 8 had 3GB of RAM but it has been rumored that the P9 could sport 4GB. With phones from last year packing 4GB of RAM already, it wouldn’t be a stretch to think that this is possible. However there have also been rumors to suggest that the P9 could feature 6GB of RAM which is admittedly a bit of an overkill.
This is where it gets a bit interesting. It seems that 2016 could be the year of the dual cameras because the rumors are claiming that the Huawei P9 could sport a dual camera setup. In fact this has been “confirmed” several times in the various leaks that we have seen. It has been suggested that both cameras will be of the 13MP variety.
Huawei is definitely not the first to try the dual lens approach. HTC has tried it out in the past where they have attempted to mimic the Lytro’s capabilities. Presumably this is also the same effect that Huawei and other companies might be going for, as well as being able to capture better dynamic range, exposure, and etc.
Fingerprint scanner – With so much emphasis being placed on security these days, a good many high-end smartphones are packing fingerprint scanners. However it does not look like the Huawei P9 will have such a feature, or at least it is not obvious where it might be placed based on the leaked images. It is possible that Huawei could skip the feature in order for it to be more price-friendly.
Multiple variants – It seems that the Huawei P9 might come in more than one version. Evan Blass has noted that there could be 3 versions of the phone in the works. One would be called the P9, the other the P9 Lite, and the other the P9 Max. Given that Huawei has launched a P8 Lite in the past, this wouldn’t be entirely surprising. He also points out a possible fourth variant that will be better than all the other versions, like a larger display, more RAM, improved cameras, and more.
Pricing & Availability
Huawei will be hosting an event at MWC 2016 held on the 21st of February where presumably the Huawei P9 and its rumored variants will be launched. In terms of the phone’s availability, this is really anyone’s guess at this point in time. However if the P9 is indeed the successor to the P8 which was launched in April 2015, we can only assume that the P9 will be launched around the same time this year as well.
As for pricing, the Huawei P8 was launched last year with price of $530 for the base model with 16GB of storage. Assuming Huawei is keeping to this pricing model, hopefully we can expect the Huawei P9 to be priced similarly as well. The P8 Lite was priced at $249 so once again, we can only assume the P9 Lite will be priced the same as well, but no word on the P9 Max as of yet.
Take it with a grain of salt for now, but like we said at the start, Huawei is a rising star in the smartphone industry that used to be typically dominated by more international brands like Apple and Samsung, so even though Huawei’s phones aren’t as readily available in the US, they are definitely worth keeping an eye on, so check back with us this coming Sunday for the details.