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Huawei Y9 2019 Review

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Huawei is continuously building up its portfolio in the midrange department. Today, we’re taking a look at the Huawei Y9 2019 to see how it fares against other smartphones in its category.

The market’s qualifications and demands on smartphones have changed over the years. As technologies become more advanced, people are demanding more from their devices.

Other than making calls, sending texts, and browsing the web, users are now spending more time in taking a bunch of pictures and playing games on their smartphones. This is why brands like Huawei are trying to come up with products that can support all of those needs, at any price range.

Here in our Huawei Y9 2019 review, we’ll see if the company was able to cater to people’s requirements on a sub Php13,000 device. Let’s start!

Huawei Y9 2019 Specs

  • Android 8.1 Oreo, EMUI 8.2
  • Dual SIM, Dual Standby
  • 6.5-inch FHD+ IPS display, 2340 x 1080 pixel resolution, ~396ppi
  • 2.2Ghz Kirin 710 octa-core processor
  • 4GB/6GB RAM
  • Mali-G51 MP4, GPU Turbo Technology
  • 64GB/128GB internal storage, expandable via microSD up to 400GB
  • 13-megapixel + 2-megapixel dual front camera
  • 16-megapixel + 2-megapixel dual rear cameras, PDAF, LED flash
  • Fingerprint scanner, Face unlock
  • HSPA+, 4G LTE
  • WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS
  • microUSB 2.0
  • Dimensions: 162.4 x 77.1 x 8.1mm
  • Weight: 173g
  • Colors: Aurora Purple, Midnight Black, Blue Swarovski
  • 4,000mAh non-removable battery

Design and Build Quality

Although having good components is still the top priority of most people, who wouldn’t want to carry around a beautiful piece of hardware? Thankfully, Huawei still got the design department locked in on the Y9 2019.

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The Huawei Y9 2019 has a shiny back panel. It does look like glass, although it feels more like plastic. It sure looks really premium, although it’s prone to hairline scratches just like most plastic devices.

If you’re planning on owning one, I suggest that you throw in the included clear case on the box. It protects the handset, while still flaunting its gorgeous design.

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However, it makes the Huawei Y9 2019 bulkier than it already is. This thing has a gigantic 6.5-inch screen, and while that’s great for media consumption and productivity, this results to an enormous height of 162.4mm and a width of 77.1mm. It sure is large in the hands, but it feels surprisingly lightweight at 173g.

On the top of the screen, we have a notch. It’s not too large like what the iPhone XS has, nor too small like a dewdrop one like what we saw on the Mate 20. It’s only spacious enough to house its dual front-facing camera.

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The left side has the hybrid dual SIM tray, while on the left we have the lock/power button with a volume controls on top of it. The buttons don’t feel as clicky as I would like, but it does the job.

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There’s only a noise-canceling microphone on top, while on the bottom we have the primary one, together with the headphone jack, loudspeaker, and a disappointing micro USB port. A type-C implementation could have been more appropriate for 2019, but it’s probably sacrificed to keep the costs down.

The back of the Huawei Y9 2019 is fairly clean. We have the dual camera set up on the far left. They sit on a horizontal island with unnoticeable camera bump. The LED flash is sitting below it with the AI camera stamp.

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There’s the fingerprint scanner on the middle, a long empty space, and the Huawei logo on the bottom left. Placing the fingerprint scanner a little lower could make it more easily reachable by people with smaller hands. But if you’re planning on owning a smartphone this huge, you should already know what to expect.

Display Quality

As stated earlier, the Huawei Y9 2019 sports a large 6.5-inch FHD+ IPS screen, with a resolution of 2340 x 1080 pixels, amounting to ~396 pixels-per-inch.

Its enormous screen is definitely one of its best features. Because if display size isn’t a top priority, then you should just go with other similarly spec-ed devices that has a smaller screen and more compact design.

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The Huawei Y9 2019’s Full HD+ resolution is also enough to fill the big screen without sacrificing sharpness. Having a screen this large is great for binge-watching videos and provides more space for on-screen controls on games. Plus, the notch doesn’t block the view as the frame only maxes out below it.

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The screen color settings are automatically set to Vivid as it offers a well-balanced and pretty accurate tone. It makes the colors pop — an extra boost that an IPS display like this needs.

Screen brightness is also a non-issue. It can beam enough backlight that makes it bearable to use outdoors.

Hardware and Performance

The Huawei Y9 2019 delivered an impressive and reliable performance during my time with it. But before going any further, let’s get the specs out of the way first.

It comes with a 2.2GHz Kirin 710 octa-core processor, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of expandable storage, and a Mali-G51 MP4 graphics with GPU Turbo technology.

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Accomplishing day-to-day tasks and minor workloads are really seamless on the Huawei Y9 2019. Social media apps like Facebook and Instagram, browsing the web on Google Chrome, and taking pictures ran flawlessly.

Also, thanks to its 4GB of RAM, switching between apps are really fast and smooth. You can go back from a previously opened app from where you left off in an instant.

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The gaming performance is actually good. Not the best, but acceptable for a midrange device. PUBG Mobile was playable at medium settings. The graphics quality is not that great, but at least it provides smooth frame rates.  That’s the same sentiments that we have when playing NBA 2K19.

Playing extensively may cause the device to heat up, but there’s nothing too alarming about it.

Related

Security

The Huawei Y9 2019 has both a fingerprint scanner and facial recognition as security biometric features. Both of which are really common inclusions in smartphones today.

As stated earlier, I wish the fingerprint scanner was placed a little lower to make it easily reachable. But that doesn’t distract the fact that it works really well. It can easily unlock the device accurately at lightning speed.

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You can register up to five different prints, but the index fingers in your left and right hands would suffice.

The face unlock feature only uses its 13-megapixel front-facing camera. It lacks the complex sensors that other higher-end devices have. But despite that, it still worked incredibly well.

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Huawei Y9 2019 can detect your face correctly, almost as fast as the fingerprint scanner can. It even knows who you are even without your eyeglasses on. In addition, for as long as there’s enough screen backlight shining on your face — it can work in a pitch black environment.

As an extra level of protection, the face unlock won’t work if your eyes are shut.

Moreover, the Huawei Y9 2019 also has other security and privacy protection features on the software level. There’s the App lock and File Safe to help you protect any sensitive files and other media.

Sound Quality

The audio department is one of the most overlooked parts on smartphones, even the high-end ones. And the Huawei Y9 2019 is clearly one of them.

Not that it’s entirely bad, but it could have been better. The bottom-firing loudspeaker offers loud volume when listening to music, but struggles to deliver the vocals when watching videos.

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The audio coming out from it sounds a little muffled and distorted at max volumes. But if you set your expectations right, it does deliver audible output.

You can plug in a pair of earphones if you want a more quality listening experience on the Huawei Y9 2019. Partnered with the Huawei Histen sound effects, it can throw decent audio through the pair of cans. However, the volume is still a bit lacking, especially for the daily commute.

Using a pair of in-ear headphones shall help to block outside noise, thus virtually increasing the hearable sound.

Software and User Interface

We’ve reviewed a lot of Huawei smartphones in the recent months. While they do have tons of differences, there’s one common denominator between them — the user interface (UI).

The Huawei Y9 2019 runs on a slightly older Android 8.1 Oreo with EMUI 8.2 interface on top. It would have been nicer to see Android 9 Pie running on this handset, like what the Mate 20 series have. But hopefully, that arrives soon via a software update, considering that the Nova 3i and Nova 3 already got it.

But the thing is, you can’t really see the difference, thanks to the thick skin that EMUI provides.

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The lock screen provides a full view of your wallpaper as the time, date, and step counter are situated in the far left at the bottom. All of your apps are then completely laid out on the home screen. You can then opt to use n app drawer in the settings menu.

Swiping to the far left gives you access to the search bar, Huawei’s SmartCare feature, Fitness data, and current news.

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We have the shortcut buttons and notifications tab on the top. Although I wish they were at the bottom as they’re kind of hard to reach single-handedly, especially for a device this large.

Thankfully, there’s the one-handed feature. You can swipe through the navigation buttons to make the entire interface suitable for one-handed use. There are also different motion controls like Flip to Mute, Raise to Answer, and Three-Finger screenshot.

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There’s also the Swiftkey keyboard that’s been tailored for Huawei devices, which is really easy to type on. You can also opt to make the keys smaller, as well as all of the texts in the interface, in the settings menu.

Overall, I have no complaints with the current interface of the Huawei Y9 2019. Let’s just hope that the company seeds the Android 9 Pie and EMUI 9 update very soon.

Camera

Huawei currently makes some of the killer camera phones in the market today. We both tested out the P20 Pro and the Mate 20 Pro‘s shooting capabilities, and we’re nothing short of impressed. Actually, as of writing, both devices are on the top spot of DxOMark’s mobile photography list.

While we definitely can’t expect the Huawei Y9 2019 to match the prowess that those higher-end devices have, we still expect it to be a cut above the rest in this price segment.

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The Huawei Y9 2019 is equipped with a quad-camera setup. We have a 13-megapixel + 2-megapixel combo on the front and a 16-megapixel + 2-megapixel duo on the back. And based on my time with it, all four of them delivered great performance.

The 16-megapixel primary shooter can capture images with stunning detail, a lthough zooming in a little exposes a few grains and noises that are caused by software tricks. This is actually common on smartphone cameras.

On the upside, the colors are more than acceptable and the dynamic range is surprisingly okay. Also, thanks to the power of artificial intelligence, it can also take Instagram-worthy indoor and low-light photos.

As expected, the output from its front-facing camera looks a bit softer. But it still looks better than most devices that we’ve tested.

The pictures are bright and well-lit, even the ones shot in low-light shooting scenarios. However, there are times where the device struggles with colors, resulting in pale skin tone and unsaturated images.

You can also enable its Face Beauty mode. Unlike Vivo and OPPO‘s offerings, AI doesn’t apply automatically on this feature, so you’d be tuning it by yourself from Level 0 to 10. I noticed that anything above Level 5 is starting to look too artificial, but anything lower is acceptable.

Of course, there’s also the AR Lens tab, which houses all of your face filters, background changers, and other novelties. This is perfect for sending special video messages to friends, families, or for that special someone.

Lastly, the extra 2-megapixel depth sensors did their job really well. Partnered with its intelligent software, it can effectively isolate the subject from the background, creating a believable depth-of-field effect.

Huawei Y9 2019 can even decide which is which, even on an image with a complicated background. You can check out how the straw in the Coffee Bean photo below is isolated from tons of colors on the glass display. Although you can still see some overlaps in the edges, this technology really came a long way.

Clearly, despite already having tons of top-notch essentials, the Huawei Y9 2019 still didn’t disappoint in the camera department.

Connectivity

The Kirin 710 might be a capable chipset in terms of performance, but it comes with slightly outdated connectivity features as it only comes with WiFi 802.11 b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.2.

On the upside, they were still able to work reliably. The Huawei Y9 2019’s WiFi was able to connect seamlessly in our home network, with no random drop connection. Its Bluetooth 4.2 antenna also worked well with my wireless earphones and speakers.

The call quality is also great, thanks to the dual microphones and loud earpiece. I also didn’t notice any problems while internet browsing over 4G LTE.

Battery

The Huawei Y9 2019 is rigged with a 4,000mAh battery. This capacity looked really large and special a few years ago, but it has started to become a norm in devices at this price category.

It delivered a good, but expected performance. It can easily last an entire day of usual activities like casual web browsing, listening to music, and taking pictures with still a few juice left.

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PCMark’s battery stress test gave it a screen-on time of 10hrs of 19mins. That outshined similarly-priced devices like the Xiaomi Mi 8 Lite and the Cherry Mobile Flare S7 Plus.

Verdict

Huawei clearly built the Y9 2019 for the power-users. People who are heavy into playing games, consuming media, and a whole lot more. Heck, you wouldn’t be carrying a device this huge if you really don’t need it.

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Huawei Y9 2019’s large 6.5-inch FHD+ display makes watching movies immersive. And partnered with its capable Kirin 710 processor, GPU Turbo Technology, and a large 4,000mAh battery, this device is perfect for long gaming sessions.

Other than being an entertainment and productivity smartphone, this one is also a great camera phone. In addition, Huawei Y9 2019’s quad-camera setup can really take great pictures and selfies.

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Although it’s enormous, the company did its best to make the Huawei Y9 2019 looking chic and sleek. The edges and corners are curved, so it still sits nicely in the hands. Plus, its paint job really made it look premium.

However, I wish it came with more dated wireless antennas. Also, Huawei’s EMUI interface could be less overwhelming and lighter.

But overall, the Huawei Y9 2019 really delivered. It’s a device meant for millennials who are looking for a smartphone that’s great for gaming, media consumption, and taking pictures that doesn’t break the bank. And clearly, it lived up to our expectations.

Pricing and Availability of the Huawei Y9 2019

The Huawei Y9 2019 has an official retail price of Php12,990. It’s available through Huawei stores, kiosks, and other gadget shops nationwide. You can also get it online over at Huawei’s official stores in Lazada and Shopee

Pros

  • Chic design
  • Large display
  • Capable performance
  • Good cameras
  • Reliable battery

Cons

  • Outdated Android and EMUI version
  • Outdated wireless antennas

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