Huawei P9 Plus is the new top of the range of extra large Chinese manufacturer: DNA is to P9 standards, but the ambition and the price are even bigger.

With P9 P9 and Lite, the Chinese Huawei has launched two of the most exciting smartphones of 2016, respectively, in the mid-range and high-end market. The circle closes with P9 Plus, extra large version, which takes her place in the top segment of the absolute range, proposing a price without compromise: 749 EUR.

Data sheet
Huawei P9 Lite equips an octa-core Kirin HISILICON processor 955 (with four Cortex-A72 cores at 2.5 GHz Cortex-A53 and the same 1.8 GHz), flanked by a Mali-T880 graphics card and a 4 GB of RAM. The built-in storage is 64 GB, expandable via microSD card.

The screen is a panel Super AMOLED 5.5-inch diagonal and a resolution of 1920 × 1080, for a density of about 400 ppi. Missing, therefore, support for Ultra HD resolutions, but in practice the difference is substantially unnoticeable.

The rear camera takes the same system already seen on P9 standards and developed in collaboration with Leica. There are two goals (27mm with aperture f / 2.2) and two 12 megapixel sensors, one color and the other in black and white, with pixels for the recognition of a phase autofocus. The dual-LED flash and video can be recorded up to the maximum 1080p with 30fps. The front camera, on the other hand, offers a traditional 8-megapixel sensor.

On the back of the phone is placed on the fingerprint sensor, very fast and accurate in recognizing the fingers and unlock the phone. In the background, however, it is the USB port in the new Type-C format.
The antennas and Connections package is complete and includes the obvious support for 4G networks, Wi-Fi 802.11 a / b / g / n / ac with dual-band, DLNA and WiFi Direct, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS and infrared port. The battery, finally, is a non-removable 3,400 mAh.
Design and construction
The design and build quality of Huawei P9 Plus are absolutely premium. The entire body is made of aluminum, with a very pleasant smooth finish to the touch. The side edges are rounded and coincide almost perfectly with the front panel in Gorilla Glass 4, also smoothed out: the overall effect is very elegant and highlights the great care with which Huawei has assembled his new top of the range.

The profile, then, is very thin: at only 7mm thick (and weighing 162g), this smartphone is very agile and manageable to be a 5.5-inch. Of course, the screen diagonal is quite wide, but the good containment of the frames, in particular the side, complete the design of a phone that overall it is pleasing to the eye that balanced in physical size.

Software and performance
Like the other devices of P9 family, even Huawei P9 Plus is based on Android 6.0 with Marshmallow EMUI 4.1 interface. The software, however, is enriched by the inclusion of some interesting features advanced. There is, for example, the functionality force touch, allowing you to access a number of options by simply pressing with medium intensity on the various app icons. Too bad that at the moment are only supported apps for Huawei, as Android has not yet officially introduced this feature.

There are also useful additional controls like swipe on system icons to reduce the screen (by increasing usability with one hand), double clicking on the volume button to launch the camera from the phone locked and take a picture right away, l ‘running app in double window or screenshot capture screen drawing with his knuckles. There’s even a feature that allows you to lower the screen resolution to 1280 × 720, in power-saving optical.

Huawei P9 Plus (4)

Overall, the software is simple and accessible, but at the same time provides some customization capabilities for the most demanding users. On the performance front, instead, it is a true top of the range. Huawei P9 Plus is able to perform virtually every task with the utmost speed and fluidity, to the point that it is questionable whether the chipsets of the current top of the range does not now go beyond the normal needs of the public mass market.

Experiences such as launching applications, multitasking (also heavy, given the 4 GB of RAM), Web browsing and general multimedia are all top-notch. Even 3D gaming is great, in spite of benchmarks that would seem to indicate a position on its own medium-high ranking (perhaps there is some small problem of compatibility between the software used, 3D Mark and AnTuTu, and this chipset).

To increase the pleasure of use are also involved the video and the audio front. The screen is detailed and offers a very pleasant color profile: blacks are the perfect ones of OLEDs, the colors are not too loads and also the white point is quite realistic. The sound coming out from the single speaker on the bottom of the device is powerful and rich bass, but the real gem lies in the fact that, in landscape position, also the earpiece is activated to reproduce the high tones, giving a sound sharpness very greater than the average.

Excellent also the reception, as well as the audio quality in the call. The autonomy front, however, is slightly more prickly. With normal use, Huawei P9 Plus is enough traquillamente door at the end of the day. If, instead, it uses its power by running particularly intensive tasks, the 3,400 mAh of the battery may be exhausted much more quickly, perhaps to indicate the presence of a powerful chip but not too economical in terms of consumption. The advice for those who want to avoid refills mid-afternoon, is to not go overboard with 3D games or the like.

camera
The camera, of course, is one of the main attractions of this smartphone. Unfortunately, we must say that the approach with dual lens and dual sensor, while delivering good results, does not seem able to give Huawei P9 Plus that extra something that would have been expected (also seen the use of a prestigious brand such as the Leica).

When shooting in good lighting conditions, color images are well detailed and pleasing from a chromatic point of view. Even the autofocus is quick and snappy (though not as much as that of the Galaxy S7, the current leader of the category). In low light, however, the benefits promised by the second sensor are struggling to be seen. The detail, in fact, degrade quite dramatically as soon as you go beyond ISO 400, as with all normal cameras of today’s high-end smartphones.
The only real advantage of the second objective is to be able to shoot images in black and white of an above-average level. The shots b / n in fact show a pleasantly wide dynamic range, with soft contrasts and a pleasing artistic effect. As, however, this detail can really count for end users remains to be seen.

What definitely will count, instead, the video quality is expressed by P9 Plus: good, but not excellent. Meanwhile, it lacks support for 1080p movies with a frame rate greater than 30fps. Absent also the optical stabilization, so the movies are more jerky and shaky than those recorded by many similarly priced smartphones. Overall, the videos are certainly not ugly and are perfectly usable in most contexts, but a phone that claims to represent the absolute top of (and aims at a price that reflects this ambition) range, it is legitimate to expect more.

Verdict
Huawei P9 Plus is an uncompromising top range: design, quality of materials, the power of the system and the set of features are very advanced and rival the best the market has to offer in 2016. The camera can still make some progress, especially in terms of movies, but still should not pose an insurmountable obstacle, except for video-makers the most hardened.

The price, however, does not make allowances: with 749 € required, you can buy all or most of the current high-end devices offered by competitors. The possible reasons for choosing P9 Plus rather than Galaxy S7 Edge or even iPhone 6S Plus there, but will probably be the same market to make it more palatable Huawei’s offer, of course, leveling the price of this smartphone from 600 EUR over the first months of sale.