Huawei P9 Plus review: Size up

Size up

GSMArena team, 25 July 2016.

A 5.5" 1080p AMOLED display

The Huawei P9 Plus not only brings a bigger 5.5" display to the series, but switches from IPS-NEO to AMOLED technology. The OLED screen must have been thinner allowing Huawei to install a pressure-sensitive layer beneath it while still maintaining the impressively thin profile of the P9.

The bigger screen shares the screen resolution with the original P9 - it's 1080p. This brings down the pixel density a bit to 401ppi.

Quite expectedly, upon a closer inspection, the Samsung-made AMOLED screen turned out to be made of the same fabric as the other Samsung's gems. A Diamond PenTile matrix revealed itself once we peeked under a microscope.

Huawei P9 Plus review

The screen achieved a respectable maximum brightness of 400 nits, which is close to what the current crop of AMOLEDs offer. There is no light bleeding in the blacks, while the contrast is as excellent and infinte as on any other OLED.

One can argue about the 1080p resolution spread across a 5.5" screen estate, but we sized up the Huawei P9 Plus next to the Galaxy S7 edge and the difference is barely visible with a naked eye. Unless you are planning to strap the device onto a VR setup and look at it from really close, you won't really be able to see any difference.

Display test 100% brightness
Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio
Huawei P9 Plus 0.00 400
Huawei P9 0.46 500 1094
Huawei P9 Lite 0.42 497 1192
Apple iPhone 6s Plus 0.43 590 1382
Huawei Mate 8 0.346 471 1361
OnePlus 3 0.00 433
Samsung Galaxy S7 edge 0.00 392
LeEco Le Max 2 0.30 426 1444
Xiaomi Mi 5 0.51 628 1227
Vivo Xplay5 Elite 0.05 358 7160

The P9 Plus aced our sunlight legibility test. It scores substantially higher (30%) than the P9, but also outshines the Meizu Pro 6. While the score is not as great as the Galaxy S7 edge, it's still among the excellent performers out there.

Sunlight contrast ratio

  • Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+
    4.615
  • Samsung Galaxy S7 edge
    4.439
  • OnePlus 3
    4.424
  • Samsung Galaxy S7
    4.376
  • HTC One A9
    4.274
  • Samsung Galaxy A3
    4.241
  • Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
    4.124
  • Samsung Galaxy Note5
    4.09
  • Huawei Nexus 6P
    4.019
  • Vivo Xplay5 Elite
    3.983
  • OnePlus X
    3.983
  • Oppo R7s
    3.964
  • Huawei P9 Plus
    3.956
  • Samsung Galaxy A7 (2016)
    3.918
  • Samsung Galaxy A5
    3.895
  • Samsung Galaxy J7 outdoor
    3.879
  • Samsung Galaxy J2 outdoor
    3.873
  • Samsung Galaxy A8
    3.859
  • Apple iPhone 6
    3.838
  • Samsung Galaxy A9 (2016)
    3.817
  • Motorola Moto X (2014)
    3.816
  • Samsung Galaxy J7 (2016) outdoor mode
    3.802
  • Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016)
    3.789
  • Apple iPhone 6s
    3.783
  • Meizu Pro 5
    3.781
  • Microsoft Lumia 650
    3.772
  • Samsung Galaxy J7 (2016)
    3.756
  • Oppo F1 Plus
    3.709
  • Vivo X5Pro
    3.706
  • Apple iPhone SE
    3.681
  • Samsung Galaxy A7
    3.679
  • Meizu PRO 6
    3.659
  • BlackBerry Priv
    3.645
  • Apple iPhone 6s Plus
    3.53
  • Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016) outdoor mode
    3.523
  • Samsung Galaxy J3 (2016)
    3.523
  • Acer Jade Primo
    3.521
  • Microsoft Lumia 950
    3.512
  • Oppo R7 Plus
    3.499
  • Samsung Galaxy J7
    3.422
  • Meizu MX5
    3.416
  • Oppo R7
    3.32
  • Xiaomi Mi 5
    3.24
  • Samsung Galaxy J2
    3.235
  • Sony Xperia X Performance
    3.234
  • Motorola Moto X Play
    3.222
  • Huawei P9
    3.195
  • Lenovo Vibe Shot
    3.113
  • Motorola Moto X Force
    3.105
  • LG Nexus 5X
    3.092
  • Huawei Mate S
    3.073
  • Microsoft Lumia 640 XL
    3.065
  • Apple iPhone 6 Plus
    3.023
  • Sony Xperia X
    2.989
  • Samsung Galaxy Note
    2.97
  • Huawei Mate 8
    2.949
  • LG G5
    2.905
  • HTC One S
    2.901
  • Sony Xperia Z5
    2.876
  • Microsoft Lumia 550
    2.851
  • Sony Xperia Z5 compact
    2.784
  • LG V10
    2.744
  • Xiaomi Redmi 3
    2.735
  • Sony Xperia M5
    2.69
  • Huawei P9 Lite
    2.679
  • Vivo V3Max
    2.659
  • Xiaomi Mi 4i
    2.641
  • Sony Xperia XA
    2.609
  • Xiaomi Mi 4c
    2.574
  • LeEco Le Max 2
    2.567
  • Microsoft Lumia 640
    2.563
  • Lenovo Moto G4
    2.544
  • Oppo F1
    2.528
  • Sony Xperia Z5 Premium
    2.525
  • Sony Xperia M4 Aqua
    2.503
  • Motorola Moto G
    2.477
  • Huawei G8
    2.471
  • Sony Xperia Z
    2.462
  • Huawei Honor 7
    2.406
  • Sony Xperia E5
    2.386
  • ZUK Z1 by Lenovo
    2.382
  • Samsung Galaxy J5 (2016)
    2.378
  • HTC 10
    2.378
  • HTC One E9+
    2.305
  • Alcatel One Touch Hero
    2.272
  • Lenovo Vibe K4 Note
    2.254
  • Sony Xperia C5 Ultra
    2.253
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 (MediaTek)
    2.249
  • Sony Xperia C4 Dual
    2.235
  • Motorola Moto G (2014)
    2.233
  • LG Nexus 5
    2.228
  • Huawei P8
    2.196
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 2
    2.166
  • OnePlus Two
    2.165
  • HTC One X
    2.158
  • LG Aka
    2.145
  • Archos 50 Diamond
    2.134
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note
    2.119
  • Acer Liquid X2
    2.084
  • Huawei P8lite
    2.078
  • Moto G 3rd gen max manual
    2.026
  • Xiaomi Mi Max
    1.996
  • Sony Xperia E4g
    1.972
  • OnePlus One
    1.961
  • Meizu m3 note
    1.923
  • BlackBerry Leap
    1.892
  • Meizu m2 note
    1.892
  • HTC Butterfly
    1.873
  • ZTE Nubia Z9 mini
    1.759
  • Sony Xperia U
    1.758
  • Asus Zenfone Selfie
    1.68
  • Motorola Moto E (2nd Gen)
    1.675
  • ZTE Nubia Z9
    1.659
  • Jolla Jolla
    1.605
  • Motorola Moto E
    1.545
  • Sony Xperia M
    1.473
  • Xiaomi Redmi 2
    1.311
  • Sony Xperia C
    1.283
  • Meizu MX
    1.221
  • Sony Xperia E
    1.215

As for colors and accuracy, things went from good to better for the Huawei P9 Plus. On the default mode the screen turned out with good color calibration with an average DeltaE of 5.4. The maximum deviation was at cyan, while the whites turned out a bit bluish. All other colors were fine.

When we turned on the Warm color mode, the average DeltaE dropped down to 3.9, which means you can consider the P9 Plus screen as of excellent color accuracy. This mode also fixed the white - the blue tint was gone.

Finally, if you like the punchy colors like on Samsung's AMOLEDs, don't worry - there is a dedicated Vivid mode. It boosts all base colors, and the red one in particular, so you can enjoy punchy colors when you don't need the color accuracy.

Battery life

The Huawei P9 Plus is powered by an ample 3,400 mAh battery, sealed as expected. The P9 Plus supports the so-called rapid charging with a 9V/2A charger, which fills 38% of the battery in 30 minutes and we can confirm this number.

We ran our battery test and the Huawei P9 Plus scored a 69h rating, which means you can count on the battery to last just few hours below 3 days if you do an hour each of calling, browsing the web and video playback a day. Such usage pattern may be somewhat artificial, but we've established it, so our battery results are comparable across devices.

Huawei P9 Plus review

The phone did very well on all three separate tests, but was only average when it comes to standby endurance. Standby battery life was gauged in the Performance mode, which does not put any limits on the hardware. The Standard mode will add a couple of hours to the rating, while the Ultra Power Saving will keep your phone alive for quite some time.

There is also the so-called ROG power-saving, which lowers the native resolution down to 720p and will give you more battery life when playing games.

The battery testing procedure is described in detail in case you're interested in the nitty-gritties. You can also check out our complete battery test table, where you can see how all of the smartphones we've tested will compare under your own typical use.

Connectivity

Regarding connectivity, the Huawei P9 Plus is properly equipped. Huawei is very proud, and rightfully so, of the Kirin 955's built-in radio support, which includes up to four 2G bands, four 3G bands, and eighteen 4G LTE bands.

Our variant (VIE-L09) comes with a single nano-SIM slot, but you can opt for the dual-SM flavor (VIE-L29) with a hybrid secondary nanoSIM/microSD slot. Its second card can only tap into 2G networks while the first gets the full cellular connectivity.

The P9 Plus supports dual-band 2.4/5.0GHz Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, with Wi-Fi Direct and hotspot capabilities. Bluetooth is v4.2, where interference issues with LTE networks should be fixed.

There's NFC on board and it is available on both single-SIM and dual-SIM models. In order to get it working on the dual-SIM VIE-L29 device - you have to be using only one SIM card, though. While the NFC option is missing from the dual-SIM Huawei P9, we appreciate that Huawei found a way to keep it on the dual-SIM P9 Plus.

The satellite tranceiver supports GPS, GLONASS, and Beidou, so there isn't a corner in the world where the smartphone won't be able to pinpoint your location.

There is no FM radio though.

A 3.5mm jack provides standard connectivity for wired headphones. There is the new USB Type-C connector for charging and wired connectivity. Mind you, it defaults to charge-only every single time you connect it to a PC, and you have to select manually from the notification shade that you want to do something else.

Finally, the Huawei P9 Plus has an IR blaster on top, which paired with the Huawei's Smart Controller app will turn the phone into a universal remote control for all of your home appliances.

Smart Controller app - Huawei P9 Plus review Smart Controller app - Huawei P9 Plus review Smart Controller app - Huawei P9 Plus review
Smart Controller app

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 ...

  • Empireofmido

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