Huawei and its new P9: is it ready to compete in the league of the best smartphones?

After a spectacular 2015 and climbing to first place in sales in China and third worldwide in the first quarter of 2016 (with an increase of almost 60% in sales in this period), Huawei seems ready to go even higher. in this 2016.

The main argument of the Chinese company is called Huawei P9, which gathers enough of the strategies that have allowed the company to achieve leadership in its native country and threaten the top sales positions worldwide. In Xataka we analyze in a new One to One whether Huawei is ready to compete with the best in the smartphone market.

Brand increasingly known (and recognized) and a very high level of design

More powerful, with more size or battery, but always well designed and with maximum attention to detail, finish and the use of good materials. This is how Huawei terminals have been for several years, even outside the theoretical high-end.

Whether it is a G series or the P series, Huawei smartphones are now a reference in design. The Huawei P9 has demonstrated it again for materials, thickness and weight, also including values ​​such as the microSD slot, although for now missing something of extra value that would include the inclusion of water resistance.

In Huawei terminals already completed an excellent 2015. There we have the P8 and P8 Lite, for months at the top of the sales lists of reference sites such as Amazon, thanks mainly to very attractive prices for what they offer. And last but not least, having created the Nexus 6P, one of the best smartphones in recent years, has validated its recognition by a very demanding sector within consumers.

Its growth strategy has used a second brand, Honor, with which to compete both in its local market and in countries where Huawei was not yet recognized at a high level. And the play went well.

Important sponsorships, outstanding investments in marketing and above all a definitive commitment to innovation, as evidenced by its leadership in patents registered within the sector, place the Huawei brand around a quite positive and safe perception.

The success of the P8 and P8 Lite in sales coupled with significant sponsorships, strong investment in marketing and recognition by the Nexus 6P have made Huawei no longer an unknown but one of the market references

The great challenge of the Huawei P9 will be to face a very competitive market where the new terminal no longer has as much price advantage. The starting price of the new P9 is 599 euros, below the high-end of other manufacturers but without the difference of previous years. It will also be necessary to pay attention to the policy of discounts and price reductions after its departure, and how much value it has given to the P series terminals in previous years.

Own processors and the EMUI layer: lime and sand

A peculiarity of Huawei smartphones is that the manufacturer designs and runs its own processors. Only Apple and Samsung can say the same at this level of the market, which already gives us an idea of ​​Huawei's aspirations. Having its own processors allows Huawei to adjust part of its characteristics in a way that only the designer of the chip itself can do.

Designing its own processors gives Huawei an advantage that it nevertheless loses due to the high customization of its EMUI layer.

After a few years where the Kirin chips were clearly below the competition's solutions, with this new Huawei P9 we have noticed an overall improvement in just the areas where the most distance was: graphic performance and efficiency. They still seem to us a little below SoC like the A9, Exynos or the high-end Qualcomm, but it is no longer a differentiating element. And at the bottom it is a clear advantage not to depend on Mediatek or the basic Qualcomm SoCs.

Another point with room for improvement at the performance level is in the battery. We are not talking about capacity, where Huawei has managed to earn a good reputation with its phablets, but we do know that in the last Huawei P9, the absence of Qualcomm's fast charging has detracted from this section of our analysis.

Where it is surely still a little behind the competition, or at least where it was a couple of years ago, is in the customization layer on pure Android.

At EMUI, the layer of Huawei terminals, there are positive aspects, but in general we believe that reducing this customization would help it in certain markets not so close to China. The same goes for Android updates, which always have more travel in light layers than in powerful modifications. The P8, for example, has not yet officially received the update to Android 6.0.

The camera and the future of the alliance with Leica

A sign of distinction of the best smartphones on the market is in the camera. Here Huawei has really taken it seriously or at least has started to do it with Leica and a dual sensor system that seems to be a constant from now on in the high-end. Both Apple and Samsung are lurking according to industry rumors.

There is a lot of debate about the collaboration between Huawei and Leica. What we have clear is that Leica certifies, that is, gives its approval, both to the lenses and to the final image, but in no case is it responsible for the manufacture of any component of the camera. If Huawei wants to advance in this field of its smartphones and that not everything is in a simple announcement, that collaboration should move towards greater integration and involvement of Leica.

In results, as you can see in our complete analysis of the Huawei P9, we have been quite satisfied, especially with regard to the black and white photos that we take exclusively with one of the sensors that this camera includes. They are two 12 megapixels in total. Maintaining a good level, this double sensor is an added value that must be considered.

And now it's your turn to comment. Has Huawei already reached the top of the market with its P9? What is missing? What are your positive points?

Huawei P9 - Smartphone (5.2 ", 4G, 3 GB of RAM, 32 GB, 12 MP), gray color

Today in amazon for € 198

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