Monday, April 03, 2017

Review: Huawei P9 Plus

This is a review of my primary Smartphone that I've been using for the last 6 months.

The Huawei P9 Plus

But first

Digitec Service Moan
I realise this moan will almost dominate the review and in fact is nothing to do with Huawei but I can't help myself.

The reason I had to buy a new Smartphone is that my Google Nexus 5X failed for the second time and my retailer, via their service provider failed to repair the phone.

In fact the Service Provider not only refused to repair the phone but sent me a charge for inspection, claiming the phone was not under warranty repair.  Digitec and their Service arm took over 8 weeks to not repair the phone and part of the issue was a mis-configured Digitec email server prevented important emails reaching me (and all other customers)  Even though I helpfully diagnosed this to Digitec,   Digitec stood firm and refused to replace this Nexus 5X as a gratis gesture which was not even 9 months old.

So I had to buy another phone and the Huawei P9 Plus was on 'Swiss Special Offer' one day so I took the plunge.

All the Good Stuff
of the Huawei P9 Plus

+ In 6 months reliable
+ Very fast charging  of the 3400mAh battery
+ Nano Sim
+ Micro SD Card Slot
+ Fast rear mounted fingerprint reader, very convenient and not confused with the rear camera lens
+ Special Dual Lens camera, not made by Leica but with their input, that does produce superior Photography especially in low light

+ Good Huawei camera application with Manual Pro mode allowing ISO, Speed, White Balance etc  adjustment
+ 8 core CPU, I mean it's crackers right!
+ 5.5" Screen with 1080 x 1920 pixels (400 dpi)
+ 3.5 GB Memory
+ Weight 162 grams
+ 64GB of Memory

Upgrading Android ---

I bought this phone after reading from Huawei that Android 7 could be expected soon after purchase.  In fact this is a joke.

In November 2016 I heard of the Android 7 Nougat beta programme thanks to my G+ forum subscription.  I immediately applied.  But try as I might I was not accepted.  And in late February 2017 I reached breaking point and manually upgraded, because after pressing the 'Check Upgrades Button' for over 3 months, I was totally sick of waiting.   My Upgrade is documented here

I'm really quite disappointed with Huawei for not providing an upgrade in a reasonable time-frame. In fact my backup phone  (another Nexus 5X can now have Android 8 O installed, hmm)

The Upgrade Game
I've publicly commented earlier and will do so again that Android and Apple are both playing dirty.

Android vendors delay or refuse to ever provide Android upgrades, thus pushing users to buy the latest gen product with the latest Android.

Meanwhile Apple drip feeds users Hardware features slowly, claiming the usual twoddle like 'not robust to implement yet' so users need to replace their phone yearly to get new hardware features.

What do you really need?

If we analyse the Smartphone industry today it moves further and further away from need to niche marketing.  I declare that the reasons to replace your currently working phone which probably is more powerful than you need, with an even more powerful phone are looking pretty thin.

2017 camera technology is not significantly advanced over 2016

Speed is increased, but so what

High End phones already have advanced 4G SIM capability delivering upto 100Mbits/sec download; limited usually by the Carrier not the phone.  And 802.11ac networking of upto 300 Mbits/second again; more usually limited by the speed of your home Internet connection.

Screen resolution is now so ridiculously high that many phones have more pixels than your desktop workstation screen.

So: the sad reasons you might upgrade

- You fall for the marketing
- Your friends upgrade and make fun of your old phone
- You are clumsy or careless and keep breaking your phone

Back to Huawei
The only real criticisms I have of the phone is 

  • It's a little large to fit into my running belt for my daily training 
  • It is not water resistant
  • Use of the SD card to store applications and data is not intuitive

I really love the Camera, so much so that this year at the Geneva Motor show it proved to be my only camera.  You can check the full photo reel here and see why I think the photography is excellent.

With my experience of Huawei's lousy Android upgrade record I'd think twice about fully recommending this phone, but the Camera is truly excellent, so now that the P10 is out, and given my above comments on what phone you really need, then if and only if you need a new phone, and find the P9 Plus at discount, it is worth considering.

P9 Plus Android 7.0 upgrade
P9 Plus Android XDA Developers