Huawei P9 Plus review: Size up

Size up

GSMArena team, 25 July 2016.

Unboxing the Huawei P9 Plus

The Huawei P9 Plus comes packed within a big and thoughtfully designed white box. Inside, you get to unpack the beautiful Huawei P9 Plus and its complimentary 18W wall plug for rapid charging, the USB Type-C cable, and a pair of in-ear headphones with a remote control.

The retail package - Huawei P9 Plus review
The retail package

Huawei P9 Plus 360-degree view

Physically, the Huawei P9 Plus isn't that much bigger than its P9 sibling. The Plus model spreads at 152.3 x 75.3 x 7 mm, which means the extra .3" screen estate bumped the height with 7mm and the width by 4mm.

The incredibly 7mm-thin profile of the Huawei P9 is still present here, but the bigger screen and beefier battery has added extra 18g for a total of 162g.

Design and build quality

Huawei P9 Plus is a beauty you can fall in love with in a heartbeat. But we are somewhat biased, as we already met with the P9 and we knew what we were getting with its Plus flavor. Still, you can't deny Huawei did a great job designing and manufacturing the P9 series.

The Huawei P9 Plus is available in two different layouts - brushed metal and ceramic. We saw the ceramic white model back in April and it felt great to the touch even though it looked a bit like plastic from a distance but you can really tell you're holding a more premium material once you have it in your hand.

Huawei P9 Plus - Huawei P9 Plus review Huawei P9 Plus - Huawei P9 Plus review Huawei P9 Plus - Huawei P9 Plus review
Huawei P9 Plus

The brushed metal unit we have here today for our review feels silky smooth due to its somewhat glossy polish, and it looks as gorgeous as any other modern flagship. The brushed pattern is subtle, but enough to boost its beauty, while the lightweight body and slim waistline help minimize the P9 Plus footprint.

The Huawei P9 Plus builds on top of the P9 with a bigger AMOLED screen, Press Touch sensors, and stereo speakers. The bigger body allowed for a beefier battery, too. Everything else is pretty much the same, starting off with the exterior and going deeper into every piece of electronics we can't see beneath the metal unibody.

Huawei P9 Plus review

We really appreciate the dual-camera glass accent - it highlights the premium Leica camera setup and doubles as the perfect hiding place for the top antenna. The other antenna sits behind another band on the back, but its paintjob matches the brushed metal quite nicely.

Huawei P9 Plus may be a 5.5" device, but it's far from what we'd specify as a phablet, hey, it's smaller than the 5.5" iPhone Plus model. The glossy polish on the P9 Plus doesn't help for a secure grip, but its square-ish shape provides more than enough grip when handled by one or two hands. The slim profile makes the P9 Plus barely noticeable in most pockets, which is much appreciated, too.

Handling the P9 Plus - Huawei P9 Plus review Handling the P9 Plus - Huawei P9 Plus review
Handling the P9 Plus

The P9 Plus is a smartphone of a solid build quality and premium design using high-end materials and processes and you can really tell just by holding it in hand.

The 2.5D glass trend continues, but we'd have really appreciated an adequate glass protection to keep the scratches away from the display and the camera.

Controls

The control set on the Huawei P9 Plus is identical to the P9. There is the earpiece, which doubles as a speaker, above the AMOLED display. The selfie camera with auto focus, a bunch of hidden sensors, and a notification LED are also around.

A look at the front - Huawei P9 Plus review the earpiece - Huawei P9 Plus review
A look at the front • the earpiece

There is nothing below the screen but the Huawei logo.

The SIM and microSD shared slot is on the left, while the right side of the P9 Plus houses the volume rocker and the Power/Lock key.

The left side - Huawei P9 Plus review the SIM tray - Huawei P9 Plus review the right side - Huawei P9 Plus review the power key - Huawei P9 Plus review
The left side • the SIM tray • the right side • the power key

The P9 Plus features an IR blaster on top, which paired with the appropriate app, could turn your phone into a universal remote. The secondary mic is also around.

The bottom of the P9 Plus is pretty crowded - here you can spot the audio jack, the primary mic, the USB Type-C port, and the primary loudspeaker's grille.

The top side - Huawei P9 Plus review the IR blaster - Huawei P9 Plus review the bottom - Huawei P9 Plus review the loudspeaker - Huawei P9 Plus review
The top side • the IR blaster • the bottom • the loudspeaker

The P9 Plus does a neat trick with its earpiece and loudspeaker. When you hold the phone horizontally, the two drivers output stereo sound, but in portrait mode the top speaker switches to treble while the bottom one plays bass (essentially, forming a two-way speaker setup). You can check the loudspeaker results for more details but it's enough to say that we are not big fans of the overly enhanced stereo output when listening to music.

And finally, the dual 12MP snappers and the Leica branding are on the back, stealing the spotlight from the always-on fingerprint sensor. We've always considered Huawei's interpretation of the fingerprint security feature to be the best. We really like the instantaneous recognition and unlock and the ability to use the sensor as a camera shutter or as a touchpad.

The back with the Leica camera and the fingerprint sensor - Huawei P9 Plus review The back with the Leica camera and the fingerprint sensor - Huawei P9 Plus review
The back with the Leica camera and the fingerprint sensor

Reader comments

  • Anonymous

Diamond pentile Oled is the worse to have for the display solutions. The blue pixels have potential to suffer burn-in higher than the red pixels and green pixels.

  • AnonD-670508

Huawei p9 plus I like smart phone I used all model smart Huawei This only very performance good .... But battery life camera quality 100% good 6 month I used this phone but not software ever phones 👈but P9 plus very good phone 😍😍 B...

  • Empireofmido

Which the best p9 plus or p10 Plz advice me because I want to buy one this month Thanks