The Huawei P9 is the tip of the spear of theHuawei smartphone lineup. Designedwith the latest technologies that Huawei can field to the market, the P9 has a thin and light design, an innovative dual-camera setup in the back and a fast Kirin 950 chip from HiSilicon. With a rising worldwide market share, and an equally rising brand recognition, how far this the Huawei P9 handset pushes the envelope? Let’s find out.

Industrial Design


The Huawei P9 represents the next evolution of a Huawei design language that has been used in the Huawei Mate 8, just to cite a recent one. Right off the bat, the 2.5D glass curvature is noticeable, thanks to the reflection around the soft, rounded, edges of the screen. It’s one of the subtle (but expensive) things that makes a smartphone look more “premium” at first sight.

The white material underneath the glass has a nice texture to it. It makes the material feel richer and not plastic-looking. The speaker grill design is comparable to what Huawei has used before on its higher-end phones, and so are the front camera and sensor.


The Huawei P9 is very thin – just a hair thinner than an iPhone 6s (P9 dimensions are 145x71x7mm, the iPhone 6S: 138x67x7.1mm), although for practical purposes, they are comparable. Unlike other Huawei handsets, the sides of the P9 are curved, which makes it nicer to hold in the hand. Again, this is a sign of good (and more costly) industrial design that requires tighter parts and fitting. On the right side, you will find the Volume Rocker and the Power button. On the left side, there’s a metal tray for the nano-SIM and the microSD card (128GB max).


The back is brushed metal, with a few prominent features. First, you can see a small recessed square: that’s the fingerprint sensor. Above it, there’s the camera module, sensors, and the dual-LED flash. You will notice that the P9’s camera is flush with the back, which is a rarity these days since most camera modules protrude.

The metal body can sometimes pick up a bit of dirt from being in the pocket, and isn’t as easy to clean up as a glass design, but it’s less prone to crack, and I typically wipe with a bit of alcohol to give it a brand new look.

The Huawei P9’s chassis doesn’t feel as “organic” in the hand as the HTC 10 or the LG G5, but it does feel much thinner (7mm) than either of those, so there’s something for everyone. It is also very light, in case you like to slip it in a dress shirt pocket.


The camera modules are under a 2.5D glass layer, just like the front. Somewhere in there, there may be an antenna as well, since glass would let the signal go through. On the right side of the camera module, you can see the Leica branding, a partnership that Huawei has been promoting very strongly. More on that later.

At the bottom, there’s a distinct line that seems made of plastic. It is another antenna. This kind of design was invented by HTC, then popularized by Apple, and used by many phone OEMs because metal blocks radio signals. Huawei has opted for a USB-C connector on this phone.

Fingerprint sensor ‘Level 4’


The Huawei P9 fingerprint sensor is very efficient and ranks among the best sensors out there. I didn’t have a lot of false-negative as long as my fingers are dry and clean. Huawei points out that it has a “Level 4” fingerprint sensor, and many people wonder what that means. Each “level” represent the ability to detect an additional set of unique features, thus making the reading more accurate.

Level 1 and 2 fingerprint sensors can detect basic fingerprint features, such as the general orientation of the fingerprint ridges and singular points. Level 2 is about detecting Ridge ends and Ridge bifurcation. Level 3 adds enough resolution to see skin pores and other details on the ridge themselves. Level 4 can detect the depth of edges, making the fingerprint somewhat 3D and harder to fake.

Learn more: How do Fingerprint Scanners Work?

Filed in Cellphones >Reviews. Read more about Huawei, Huawei P9 and Huawei Reviews.

424 PPI
~$470 - Amazon
12 MP
F2.2 Aperture F-Stop
144 g
3000 mAh
No Wireless Charg.
Launched in
Kirin 955 + MicroSD
Storage (GB)
Huawei P9 Review
Score: 9/10
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