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Huawei P9 is official: 'We're reinventing smartphone photography'

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huawei p9
The Huawei P9

Huawei has unveiled its 2015 flagship P9 and P9+, claiming they have the most “advanced cameras” ever seen on a smartphone.

The P9 is Huawei’s hero device for the year and targets the top end premium market, putting it in competition with the Samsung Galaxy S7 and LG G5. This gives it some pretty big boots to fill.

The Samsung Galaxy S7 is one of a select few handsets to achieve Trusted’s hallowed 10/10 review score, and is the best Android handset currently available.

We haven’t finished our final review of the G5 yet, but from what we’ve seen one of the most interesting phones to date. It comes loaded with a nifty modular system that lets you add new functions to the phone using special peripherals LG calls “Friends”.

Huawei 15

Huawei’s taken a more basic approach with the P9 and P+ and is betting on Leica camera tech to entice buyers. Both phones feature 12-megapixel rear cameras with colour and monochrome Leica lenses.

The two camera sensors can be used in isolation or simultaneously. Huawei claims using the two sensors concurrently will radically improve the P9 and P9+’s low light performance. Huawei didn't offer any technical reason why this is the case though.

Yu also claims the dual sensor means the P9 and P9+ are the first phones in the world that will be able to capture a “professional Bokeh effect”. That's the funky looking aesthetic that a camera creates from out-of-focus points of light.

Huawei consumer business group CEO Richard Yu claim the camera is the most advanced ever featured on a smartphone.

Today we’re taking the smartphone camera experience to the next level, we’re reinventing smartphone photography. ” he said during a launch event attended by TrustedReviews.

Huawei also made a big deal about the phone’s “invisible edge”. Which basically means the metal phone has an outright miniscule bezel around its screen.

Outside of their cameras the phones’ hardware is pretty much par for the course for a 2016 flagship smartphone, The P9 comes loaded with a 5.2-inch full HD screen and runs using Huawei’s Kirin 955 chipset alongside 3GB of RAM. The use of the Kirin chip is no bad thing.

Past Kirin Huawei handsets, like the Mate 8, have absolutely blitzed our performance benchmarks, and outside of a few software bugs, are wonderfully fast.

Backing this up the P9 will have a sizable 3,000mAh battery and 32GB of internal storage – though you can upgrade its space using the phone’s microSD slot.

Related: Best Android Smartphones 2016

The P9+ has a larger 5.5-inch full HD screen, 4GB of RAM, 3,400mAh battery and more robust 64GB of internal storage, but is otherwise pretty much identical to its smaller sibling.

The only potential issue with the phones is their use of Huawei’s Emotion UI. Emotion UI is a custom skin that sits above the phones’ main Android Marshmallow operating system. In past reviews it’s been a serious drain on Huawei phones’ overall appeal, thanks to its insistence on adding bloatware most westerners don't need and bizarre UI changes, like the removal of the Android app tray.

The Huawei P9 will be available in a 32GB version for 599 euros, and 64GB (with 4GB RAM) for 649 euros. The Huawei P9+, meanwhile, costs 749 euros.

Video: Trusted Explains – Buying a new smartphone

Interested in the P9 or P9+, or think Huawei’s swung a miss? Let us know in the comments section below.

ElectricSheep

April 6, 2016, 4:02 pm

To get any kind of Bokeh looking effects on a sensor that small I can only assume that they will have one camera take a out of focus shot and the other in focus, then superimposed the two images.

Dead Words

April 6, 2016, 4:24 pm

The two cameras used in combination improve low-light capabilities because one of those cameras is a true monochrome sensor...meaning it lacks the filter (Bayer I think it's called) that adds color but ABSORBS light. A true monochrome sensor should get noticeably brighter pictures. Whether or not it truly improves the quality of color pictures depends entirely on the software behind it. Use can also use the monochrome lens to take true black/white photos, unlike every other smartphone which takes a color picture and de-saturates it.

toboev

April 6, 2016, 4:26 pm

"...colour and monochrome Leica lenses"
I think we know what you mean!

toboev

April 6, 2016, 4:31 pm

I think both cameras take in focus pictures, but due to their phycial offset there is an element of paralax which enables software to accurately pick out the principal subject and also to deduce distance information throughout the field. This enables it to process an image keeping the principal subject in focus and add blur, varying with distance, over the remainder of the field, so it should be a good facsimile of shallow depth of field. But it will be interesting to see how well it deals with out of focus highlights, which will be key to getting a good "bokeh".

Previous attampts at this trick have looked pretty bad usually because the principal subject is poorly delineated, and the blur effects are therefore inaccurately disposed around the subject. Also the degree of blur has been hit-and-miss, with no regard to how far/much out of focus they should be.

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