Flagship smartphones are so darn expensive. When you buy them today and then a new model comes out next year, it feels like it is already obsolete. So people tend to buy midrange smartphones instead. But experience is not at par with the flagships. And then there are those “Lite” versions of the flagship. But it is usually smaller, have disappointing build quality and crappy experience. So alongside the announcement of the Huawei P9, the company’s 2016 flagship smartphone is the “Lite” version called the Huawei P9 Lite. Could this be a game changer for the midrange arena? Let’s find out.
Huawei P9 Lite:
- Octa Core HiSilicon Kirin 650 processor
- Mali T830 graphics
- 3GB RAM
- 16GB internal memory expandable via MicroSD up to 128GB
- 5 inch Full HD IPS LCD display (1920 x 1280 pixels)
- 13 megapixel rear facing camera with autofocus and LED flash, f/2.0 aperture
- 5 megapixel front facing camera, f/2.0 aperture
- Dual SIM, Dual Standby
- 4G/LTE, WiFi, Bluetooth, Fingerprint Scanner
- GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS
- 3,000 mAh battery
- Android 6.0 Marshmallow with EMUI 4.1
- Price: P12,490
- Status: Available at Huawei Concept Stores and retailers
HARDWARE AND PERFORMANCE
There is no denying that the Huawei P9 Lite looks a lot like its flagship sibling. It is very evident on the front, the back, button placements and even the fingerprint scanner. We have the Huawei P9 as well and since the P9 Lite is made with plastic, it is noticeably lighter. It does have chamfered edges and shiny lines but these are also plastic. We just find it very well made and it looks and feels like metal. It has a unibody design which means you cannot remove the back.
Audio quality coming out from the rear firing speakers is quite ok though when we put it on max volume, there are noticeable distortions. Plug in our third party earphones and audio is also good.
We are surprised that the Huawei P9 Lite has a the same screen and resolution as its flagship sibling. It has a 5-inch IPS LCD display with Full HD resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. It is really sharp, bright and icons do pop! Watching movies and videos is such a joy!
SOFTWARE AND PERFORMANCE
Huawei smartphones have a heavily skinned user interface called EMUI which is on top of Android 6.0 Marshmallow. Based on the people we know who owns Huawei smartphones, some do like the UI but some hate it. Most Chinese smartphone brands have skinned UI which some people hate especially if a user wants a pure Android experience. For us, we do love EMUI. It is simple, clean, very helpful and fast. Helpful in a way where we always get notifications of apps who drains much of the battery. More on that on our battery review.
When it comes to performance, it does note have the Kirin 955 chipset found on the flagship P9 but the midrange Kirin 650 chipset did very well on our stress tests. It handles some graphic intense games well and runs games like Clash Royale and Sky Force Reloaded smoothly with no lags and stutter.
Getting a midrange smartphone has some compromises to make the price of this device low. One of these compromises is the camera. Don’t get us wrong guys, it is a very capable camera but it does not have the Leica badge of awesomeness. Some features from the P9 not present here but the 13 megapixel rear facing camera takes very good photos both well lit and dim areas. The 5 megapixel camera performs great too. For a midrange smartphone, it takes better photos than the competition with the same price tag.
All necessary connectivity options comes in standard – WiFi, Bluetooth, LTE. If you do care a lot for your internet connection and uninterrupted calls, better get a Huawei phone. Huawei has mastered the art of excellence when it comes to connectivity. Connectivity (network calls and internet) was never interrupted even when inside an elevator which is amazing. LTE speeds on both Smart and Globe networks are also good. Calls are clear with no issues.
Both the P9 and P9 Lite have 3,000 mAh batteries. But the Huawei P9 Lite last a bit longer than the flagship. This is probably due to the lower power processor on the P9 Lite. We managed to get around 9 hours of heavy use before it turned red on us. Our battery tests include You Tube, watching movies online, I Want TV, Sky Force Reloaded, social media, camera, calls with WiFi and LTE turned on at auto brightness setting.
Using the Huawei P9 Lite feels like using the flagship Huawei P9. Huawei does not want their customers feel that they are using a midrange smartphone. They did a perfect combination of lowering the price with minimal compromises but maintains a great experience. For P12,490 the Huawei P9 Lite is the best midrange smartphone you can buy today. 🙂