Huawei P9 Initial Impressions - Understanding The Leica Lens System.

Huawei P9 Initial Impressions - Understanding The Leica Lens System.

               About three days back, Huawei triggered their mission to revamp the smartphone photography game here in India taking everything to the next level. The company launched their latest flagship device, the Huawei P9 - Formerly and Currently marketed as a Camera-centric device. The most seemingly defined attraction about this device is the arrangement of the two camera sensors placed side by side on the rear mount; the 1st lens takes care of the RGB lighting whereas the 2nd Lens focuses on the monochrome conditions. Then via their photo stitching technique, Huawei P9 manages to get one of the best shots that I've seen in person, period. I got a chance to play with this device before a day at the event while watching a few subtle shots produced in low lighting conditions left me in awe. The Dual Cameras are powered by the Leica Camera AG, One of the most known brands when it comes to photography. So with this setup and all of its software tweaks, Huawei has bundled a lot for a price of about Rs. 39,999. Would such a pricing hold up to an Indian Consumer's or an Avid Photographer's thoughts to replace or mimic the task of a Digital SLR? Let's find that out in my initial impressions of the Huawei P9

Huawei P9 Initial Impressions:

Huawei P9 Specs -
  • It comes with the new Kirin 955 chipset, which composes of 4 Cortex A72 cores clocked at 2.5GHz & 4 Cortex A53 cores clocked at 1.8GHz all under a 16 nm chipset, Possibly the most noticing factor of Kirin chipsets.
  • It houses the new Mali T880 GPU to fulfill your constant gaming desire coupled with 3GB RAM.
  • It has a 5.2 inch HD(1920x1080) IPS LCD display which gives a pixel density of 423ppi with 72.9% screen to body ratio.
  • It comes with 32GB of Internal storage in India; As the 64GB variant has been ditched. Whereas the external expansion is available up to 256GB via a microSD Memory card slot.
  • It's comprised of Dual 12 MP rear camera setup both of which have Leica lens, which we will talk below. Whereas the front camera is an 8MP shooter, which is capable of 1080p videos at 30fps.
  • It has a 3000mAh non-removable battery, One of the most disappointing factors of this device.
  • It weighs about 144gms and dimensions wise it goes like 145 x 70.9 x 7 mm.
  • It supports Dual Sim Connectivity, Bluetooth 4.2, WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac & dual-band WiFi, A-GPS & NFC connection.
  • The Huawei P9 also comes with a USB type-C connector & the usual Fingerprint, which have been termed as the new standard here in late 2016.
  • It runs on Emotion 4.1 UI built on top of Android 6.0 Marshmallow, and Soon it might be upgraded to Android Nougat, but there's no official word on that. Since its Huawei's, the most flagship device, Expect the update soon enough.
  • Lastly, the device is available in Prestige Gold, Titanium Grey, Mystic Silver color variations.
Huawei P9 Initial Impressions

Huawei P9 - Understanding The Leica Lens System.

             So initially talking about the specs we have a dual 12MP Leica lens setup at the rear side of the Huawei P9. Both Camera sensors have been equipped with PDAF & Dual tone LED Flash, whereas we have F/2.2 aperture available on both the lenses which helps in producing a picture with 1.25 µm pixel size. The Rear Camera is capable of 1080p HD video at both 60FPS & 30FPS, accompanying it is the 720p HD footage shot at 120FPS creating the so-called Slo-Mo video. Considering the camera specs itself, One will jump onto the conclusion of asking why 4K video recording is not possible? Well, I'm not a technical person to answer that, But the thing that strikes my mind is, Is there a need for 4K recording in India? Most probably you're going to record the video and playback it on your phone itself Since most PC's at your home won't be able to play back that format. Am I correct? Then to my guess 4K is just streamlined to spec sheet. Well, we're here to talk about the Photos, so let's begin.

Huawei P9 Initial Impressions The Leica Lens System.

            Luckily enough I got a chance to play with the device a day before at the event via a friend of mine. Looking at the shots clicked from the Huawei P9 immediately had me scrolling through his entire photo gallery. The photos snapped by him in the dark were crisp with absolute no noise, to be honest. Saturation levels were impressive, and the camera lens was doing a job when it came to exposure tweaking in low lighting conditions. I remember snapping a photo with Huawei P9 and Oneplus 3; Results were amazing Huawei P9 managed to beat the Oneplus 3 easily, Possibly the reason I was most impressed was the less noise production in the photos taken out of the Huawei P9. Huawei has done a major job in smartphone photography partnering with Leica, and This could be the next distinguishing factor in smartphones coming up in late 2016 as we've seen with the leaks of iPhone 7, recently announced Cool 1 (LeEco + Coolpad) where the dual rear camera setup has been implemented.

So why the Dual Lens setup at the Rear end?
             The two rear cameras perform the job of producing two different photos which are immediately stitched as soon as you take a picture. The 1st Lens takes care of the RGB Lights, whereas the 2nd Lens takes care of the Monochrome lighting, which is the reason why we can observe deeper blacks and considerably less noise. Then via software stitching, Huawei P9 manages to get a detailed, vivid shot and it feels as if the photo was refined in post production possibly via Photoshop since RAW format is available here. Just imagine the kind of pictures that could be created with a .raw format. The camera even supports three modes viz. Standard, Vivid Colors and Smooth Colors modes.

Huawei P9 Leica Lens System.

             The heart and soul of the Dual Lens setup is the hybrid autofocus technology which has been thoughtfully implemented. The Hybrid Autofocus system consists of three things: Laser assistance, Depth calculation & Contrast. The contrast part falls in the second sensor I suppose since the 2nd Leica lens focuses on monochrome shots. So this is how the technique to take much better shots has been thoughtfully engineered and its implementation is reflected via the mainstream media. Whereas there is a manual mode added in the default camera app to get the most needed shot to match your photography skills. Remember the dual camera setup on HTC One M8 that had a bokeh mode, the varying depth of field? Yes, that too has been added here.

The Leica Lens System.

Huawei P9 - Apart from the Camera.

              It has a 2.5D Glass display which is followed by the Aerospace class aluminum built. Design wise the phone feels pretty much like any other device out in the wild according to today's standards. The only concerning factor is the 3000mAh battery, which I can't say about yet. But I'm pretty sure it's not going to last long enough with the 2 Camera Len's consistently used, So it's skeptical. Rest everything seems fine, I can't say that much since I haven't played with the device more. Though it's highly likely that this device could flat out stand in first place when compared with camera centric devices such as Zenfone Zoom or even the Nokia Lumia 1020, & it would've had a tough time beating Nokia Mclaren if that thing was ever released. Mr. Peter Zhai, President of Huawei India, commented that they're bringing the VIP services in India which includes 1-year warranty, three months accidental damage warranty (Only Screen), free Pick up and Drop facility to know more click here


            He added, “Huawei is known for many firsts, We introduced the first ever Android smartphone of the world in India in 2011 & the launch of P9 is another feather in our cap. We are excited to give our valued customers the best smartphone photography experience by leveraging the unique capabilities of Leica, the leader in the world of imaging for more than 100 years. We feel photography is a critical element in user experience in a smartphone & Huawei P9 users can now capture images with unmatched clarity, richness, & authenticity, with a masterfully designed & powerful smartphone that looks, feels & performs exceptionally.”

             Although a thing that always bugs me about several Chinese brands is direct comparison with Apple Products, One Word - Why?. Chinese Brands - You're here to provide products at a pocket-friendly tag, Then why to compare Apple's older devices with your upcoming devices? Does that make any sense? Do you guys ever mention that you copy their design, Every move Apple makes is replicated in some way or the other? Just for your reference, Apple puts only 2GB of RAM on a Dual core/Quad core processor, and still their devices beat every other "4GB or 6GB" RAM Android Phone running an Octacore or a Decacore processor. The World doesn't run on Specifications, It runs on Optimizations. I'm not any Apple Fanboy, and Neither am I paid for posting any of this. But watching this Apple comparison in every other launch event bugs me big time, Don't you guys have confidence in your devices? This is possibly the same thing with every other Chinese Brand out there.

Huawei P9 Initial Impressions: Final Thoughts

Huawei P9 Initial Impressions

             The Huawei P9 seems like a solid device for the photo fanatic audience which prefers to carry a pocket size DSLR, In my opinion of two days of usage which is roughly 5-6 hours with the device. Road warriors won't prefer this device due to the 3000mAh battery. But for an average buyer, it would be a tough choice considering the price. Huawei P9 is priced at Rs. 39,999. It may sound obscure but Yes, the pricing seems fine according to me watching the performance of the camera. These guys are implementing instead of stating like other brands when it comes to Camera performance. I wouldn't hesitate a bit to recommend this device to an Avid Smartphone Photographer or a professional photographer. They would inevitably create heaven out of it with the RAW format available. The Huawei P9 is available exclusively on Flipkart and would be available offline as well in all retails stores soon enough. What are your thoughts about the new Huawei P9, Do you think the pricing is appropriate? Let me know in the comments below.
By: Pratik Patil.

Editor-in-Chief and Founder. A curious soul who strives to make a difference in the world and make the most of life.

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