Huawei P9 has two Leica cameras, laser focus, stereo speakers

Pretty and powerful. Photo: Huawei

Pretty and powerful. Photo: Huawei

As smartphone makers really start stepping up their camera game, Huawei is reinventing it.

The Chinese company’s new P9 series boasts two Leica cameras, laser autofocus, a 5.2-inch display, and an attractive aluminum unibody design.

Huawei has long been recognized as a budget smartphone maker, focusing its efforts on China and other emerging markets with affordable handsets. But in recent years, the company has been making more premium devices that are capable of competing with high-end rivals.

The P9 and P9 Plus are its best efforts to date.

Like other flagship Androids for 2016, they ship with slim and pretty form factors made out of premium materials. They pack impressive specifications and innovative features, and they’re thinner than the iPhone 6s at just 6.95mm.

The biggest and best selling-points here are the cameras. Certified by Leica, they’re both 12-megapixel sensors that sit flush with the P9’s body, but one is a monochrome module that does without the RGB light filtering in its sibling to absorb more photons.

Huawei says this enables P9 owners to capture brighter, richer photos with “unimaginable sharpness, color and clarity.” The cameras also make for better photos in low light, while the laser autofocus helps you bid goodbye to blur when shooting moving subjects.

Huawei has even brought the Leica experience to the P9’s camera app, with a special user interface, fonts, and a traditional camera shutter sound.

The P9 series also boasts an advanced 3D fingerprint scanner, stereo speakers with virtual surround sound, an 8-megapixel front-facing camera, USB-C connectivity, an infrared blaster for controlling your TV, and the octa-core Kirin 955 chipset.

Despite packing a 5.2-inch 1080p display, the P9 has a smaller footprint than the iPhone 6s and its 4.7-inch screen. It also offers 3GB of RAM, up to 32GB of storage in Europe and up to 64GB of storage in China, and a 3,000mAh battery.

The P9 Plus has a larger 5.5-inch display (also 1080p), 4GB of RAM, up to 64GB of storage in Europe and up to 128GB of storage in China, and a 3,400mAh battery.

The reason for the storage difference between markets is that the European model will come with a microSD card slot, allowing users to add more space as they see fit. However, the Chinese model will swap that microSD card slot for a second SIM card slot instead.

The P9 will be available by the end of this month, while the P9 Plus will go on sale in May. In the U.K., prices will start at £499 for the smaller model and rise to £549 for the larger model.

Huawei won’t confirm whether it will be bringing the P9 and P9 Plus to the U.S. yet, but it did promise that it will bring a flagship device to the U.S. this year.