Huawei P9 Lite has been ranked one of the best smartphones for 2016 – and this comes at a time when smartphones are becoming a bore. It is not surprising that Huawei P9 has been ranked one of the best smartphones given that her big sister, the Huawei P9, was voted the best European Consumer Smartphone in 2016-2017 season, yet Huawei P9 Lite is just but a slight water down of the Huawei P9.
Whereas the Huawei P9 boasts of features such as the dual lens for the back camera, a high end octa-core processor, all metal body, 4G RAM and minimum of 32GB in storage, the Huawei P9 Lite still offer these features with a few compromises here and there. For example there is a lowered octa core CPU from 2.5 GHz quad and 1.8 GHz quad to 2.0 GHz quad and 1.7 GHz quad, a 16GB storage with either 2 or 3GB RAM, a single camera shooter at the back of 13MP with a 2.0 f-stop and all plastic back. The cover has been however made premium through inclusion of an aluminum ring at the sides. Huawei P9 Lite is also slightly thicker and slightly heavier than the Huawei P9, but good news is this time round the screen resolution of 1080p true HD has not been compromised. The Huawei P8 Lite featured a watered down HD resolution of 720p.
Huawei P9 Lite has also maintained the same 300mAh battery in the Huawei P9, with many reviewers indicating that the phone can offer up to 2 days of battery life, but this I haven’t experienced given that the phone only gives me a maximum of 8 hours battery life. The battery problem with my handset could could be a peculiar battery problem unique to the handset – so I will assume the reviews from other users around the globe to be the standard.
Unboxing Huawei P9 Lite
Huawei P9 Lite box is a standard small sized box that doesn’t have a lot inside. The items in the box, other than the phone, include a polycarbonate glass protector, a pin for ejecting the SIM tray, a standard 1A charger, and USB cable with microUSB and USB 2.0 terminals.
The phone itself can either be black, white, or of gold variants. I have the black one and it looks pretty cool – not wow but cool. The first time you touch the device it feels light in hand, interesting and easy to play around with. Although it is 5.2 inches, all the corners of Huawei P9 Lite are easily reached with one hand, and if you are the type with thick fingers like me, you may find it hard to type text using two hands simultaneously – especially if you have gotten used to smartphones with screen sizes of 5.5 to 6.5 inches.
As already mentioned, the Huawei P9 Lite is slightly a watered down version of Huawei P9. It features a true HD IPS-LCD screen on a 146.8 x 72.6 x 7.5 mm body dimensions and of 5.2 inches, giving the phone a 424ppi. The 424ppi makes viewing images and HD videos on the device awesome, and fully enriching. Powering the display and the entire phone’s functionality is an octa-core HiSilicon Kirin 650 processor that has 2.0 GHz quad and 1.7 GHz quad speeds. The graphics on the other hand is accelerated by the Mali-T830MP2 GPU.
The beauty of Huawei P9 Lite is that it supports 4G LTE on both SIM1 and SIM2 slots – but as with any other dual SIM smartphone only one SIM card can provide data services at any given one time. If you are lucky you will have the 3GB RAM version but the 2GB version seems to be the standard.
Other hardware components include the 13MP rear camera that has 1/3″ sensor size, 1.12 µm pixel size, geo-tagging, touch focus, face detection, panorama, f/2.0, autofocus, LED flash and HDR features and a front 8MP camera that features a 2.0 f-stop, and here is where I mention the one thing I love about Huawei P9 Lite – the ability of the phone to use the 5.2 inches screen as flash in low light when taking selfies.
When many high end smartphones feature very poor LED front facing flash for their meagre 5MP front facing camera, Huawei P9 Lite smartly lights up the entire screen to illuminate your face for a perfect selfie experience.
Sensors in the Huawei P9 Lite include Fingerprint which I didn’t find that useful (at least as compared to Infinix Note 3 fingerprint sensor that I have also used), accelerometer, proximity, compass, GPS, and others.
Huawei P9 Lite is an Android device launched in April 2016, and just like any other high end android device launched around that time, the phone comes with Android 6.0 Marshmallow out of the box. Expectations are that the device will soon receive the Android 7.0 Nougat, but we can’t make any promises.
Although powered by Marshmallow, the user interacts with the Emotion UI, that a number of people have found useful but I personally found boring. If like me you detest the EMUI, you don’t have to worry as you can always download a number of launchers, including the Google launcher, from the Apps store.
Huawei P9 Lite functions pretty well. It is fast in response, has zero lag, never hangs, and pretty smooth. In the two months that I have had the device, I haven’t had to force restart it for any reason whatsoever, other than when I lose Internet connectivity and I have to refresh the phone to reset the signal reception. This however has nothing to the with the phone but everything to do with poor network strength as offered by Safaricom.
The cameras also function beautifully, only that I haven’t used both cameras as, being a professional photographer, I use the DSLR camera (actually a bridge camera that sits somewhere between compact and DSLR), and I am not a selfie lover. My wife who has Microsoft Lumia 640 and a selfie addict has constantly abandoned her phone and preferred the Huawei P9 Lite’s 8MP screen flash functions for her selfie addiction.
Price and Availability in Kenya
Huawei P9 Lite was launched in Kenya in June 2016 and has been available since then, for a price of of Kshs 29,000