The release of the Leica co-engineered P9 series had this nifty little device within its ranks, albeit carrying the P9 name, it doesn’t share the dual-optic design that Huawei and Leica put in the P9 and the P9 Plus. I’m sure you’re curious as to what you get if you’d choose to go with this budget friendlier version right? Let’s dive right in!
From the way that you get the phone from the box there is an air of elegance that Huawei wants you to feel; even though this is the basic version in the line, the feel is just a little bit more utilitarian than the P9 / Plus. You’d get, along with the phone (which already has a screen protector perfectly installed on the P9 Lite btw… nice move Huawei!), a clear case for the back, a standard charger (no quick charge on the Lite) and microUSB cable, a pair of earphones, and some paper – warranty and quick start guides for those new to the Android ecosystem.
The P9 Lite looks almost exactly like the P9 with the prime difference visible from the back where the main shooters are – the P9 Lite only has a single lens here… how different is the output you ask? While the short answer can be “significant”, real world testing can tell us something different, that while the P9 Lite doesn’t have the dedicated monochrome lens, it still can produce fantastic images. Head on past the break for side by side comparisons.
When compared head to head, the sensors from the P9 and the P9 Lite reads a scene similarly but outputs with discernible difference: let’s take this plant beside a wall shot as an example – first thing I noticed was the difference in their native focal lengths, both were set to capture a 6MP 16:9 aspect image and while both are similarly positioned, the P9 Plus is able to see a little bit more in terms of the environment of the photographic subject (wider field of view), both the EXIF states that the equivalent focal length is 27mm but clearly that isn’t quite accurate.
Then comes the very different color cast over the image, I checked the white balance and they were using the same preset so there really shouldn’t have been any differences in white which means the change is largely due to the monochromatic sensor. Looking at the 100% crops at the same location, one can definitely discern more detail over at the right, so much so that you can almost see an outline on the leaves when compared to the left.
In this next set of images we see naturally occurring blur coming from the P9 Lite against the Wide Aperture Mode blur that can be achieved with the P9 / Plus. It is important to note that in this test you can see that the aspect utilized by the P9 / Plus isn’t widescreen; a little bit like RAW, it requires all the pixel data from both sensors to work. This is one of the specialties that didn’t make it into the P9 Lite.
Overall in the camera department, there is more to the P9 / Plus, but what the P9 Lite is capable of isn’t bad at all.
Powered by an internally developed Kirin chip, the P9 Lite is no slouch with clock ratings up to 2GHz on four of its eight cores. Real world translation would be moderate to heavy gaming can be done on the device. It’s a tad unfortunate that USB OTG functions are not inherent with the P9 Lite… that makes it harder to translate titles into the device or any form of media without the aid of an actual computer. Apart from that though there isnt anything bad about the P9 Lite. It doesn’t have the flagship level specs that the P9 and P9 Plus carry within their frames but the Lite gives any user, all the options he/she might need in a mobile platform of today.