Despite all the blow they got from the US-China trade war, there’s no stopping Huawei from fighting to be on the top. And to capture more markets, the company is coming up with appealing budget-friendly releases, just like the Huawei Y9 Prime 2019.
One of the highlights of this midrange device is its pop-up selfie camera. Making it the cheapest smartphone to have this unique feature.
But here in Huawei Y9 Prime 2019 review, we shall see what other things this device has in store for us.
Huawei Y9 Prime 2019 Specs
- Android 9 Pie, EMUI 9.0
- Dual SIM, Dual Standby
- 6.59-inch FHD+ LCD display, 2340 x 1080 pixel resolution, ~391ppi
- Kirin 710F octa-core processor
- 4GB RAM
- Mali-G51 MP4 GPU
- 128GB internal storage, expandable via microSD up to 512GB
- 16-megapixel pop-up front camera
- 16-megapixel + 8-megapixel (ultra-wide) + 2-megapixel rear cameras, LED flash
- Rear-mounted fingerprint scanner
- HSPA+, 4G LTE
- WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band
- Bluetooth 5.0
- GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS
- FM Radio
- USB Type-C
- Dimensions: 163.5 x 77.3 x 8.8mm
- Weight: 198.8g
- Colors: Sapphire Blue, Emerald Green, Midnight Black
- 4,000mAh non-removable battery
Design and Build Quality
With its large display of 6.59-inches, the Huawei Y9 Prime 2019 is inevitably large. It almost has the same size as the Y9 2019, albeit slightly heavier at 198.8g (vs 173g). The weight is probably due to the motors required for its pop-up camera.
Speaking of which, the levitating mechanism looks really sleek and well-made. Huawei claims that it can withstand 15kg of pressure and go into 100,000 of durability tests.
But if you’re still worried, it has fall and downward pressure detection features that will instantly retract the camera in case of accidents.
In addition, it allowed the Huawei Y9 Prime 2019 to have an all-screen display. It has ultra-thin bezels, although the chin is a little thicker to make room for the IPS display controllers. Still, having a screen this large with less distraction is great to have.
Other than the hidden selfie camera, the overall design is identical to Huawei’s previous releases. The back panel is made with a glass-like plastic panel. Since it’s still plastic, it may be prone to hairline scratches, so you might want to slap in the clear case that comes with it.
Huawei also kept the curved corners and edges that makes it really comfortable to hold, despite its large footprint. It also has a unique “dividing line” design on the back. The top part is tinted in a lighter tone, with a darker shade from the middle-down. The unit that we have here is the emerald green — similar to the Mate 20 Pro. You can also get it in Midnight Black and Sapphire Blue.
On the top left, you can spot the 16-megapixel primary camera and the 2-megapixel depth-sensor placed in a single island. Outside it we have the 8-megapixel ultra-wide camera. Below all that is the dual-tone flash, with the fingerprint scanner mounted in the middle.
The left side is clean, while on the right there’s the volume controls and lock/power switch. The buttons are made with plastic, too, but they still feel tactile and provide an audible click sound in every press.
Up top, we have the said pop-up camera, a hybrid SIM tray, and noise-canceling microphone. The primary microphone is then found on the bottom, together with the headphone jack and loudspeakers.
Also, we finally have a USB Type-C port, an improvement over the microUSB implementation that Huawei kept on using in their midrange devices in the past.
As stated earlier, the Huawei Y9 Prime 2019 has a huge 6.59-inch LCD display, with a resolution of 2340 x 1080 pixels, and ~391ppi. The large screen real-estate provides plenty of room for productivity, social media browsing, and even for on-screen control when playing games.
The color quality is fine, but certainly not the best. Out of the box, the color mode is set to Vivid, which weirdly provides more accurate color than the Normal mode. Meanwhile, the screen resolution is set to “Smart”, which means that it switches between HD+ and FHD+ for better power efficiency.
The Huawei Y9 Prime 2019 also has decent backlighting that makes it usable outdoors. It can also be dark enough so you can comfortably use it at night.
Hardware and Performance
The Huawei Y9 Prime 2019 is powered by a Kirin 710F octa-core processor, a slightly modified version of the Kirin 710 chipset that Huawei has been using for in other midrange phones like the Nova 3i and P30 Lite. It also comes with 4GB of RAM, 128GB of expandable storage, and a Mali-G51 MP3 GPU.
Huawei Y9 Prime 2019 Benchmark scores
It delivers an identical performance in light tasks. Daily activities like social media browsing, taking pictures, and switching between apps was fine. However, it’s definitely not the smoothest and you can feel some occasional hitches.
The gaming experience on the Huawei Y9 Prime 2019 is okay, but not exemplary. We tested popular games from different genres like PUBG Mobile, NBA 2K20, Mobile Legends, and Asphalt 9. They all ran at playable frame rates, although you have to settle with the graphics settings set to low to medium.
It’s no surprise that the Huawei Y9 Prime 2019 uses a traditional rear-mounted fingerprint scanner instead of the more modern in-display one, due to price limitations. But, this compromise is actually acceptable since the traditional method feels faster and more reliable to use.
What’s missing here is the face unlock feature. But again, we take no offense by it as I don’t think anyone would use it anyway. The fact that the camera needs to pop up first before it can scan your face would take extra time.
Besides the biometrics, the Huawei Y9 Prime 2019 also have security and privacy protections in the software level. There’s the File Safe, App Lock, Google Play Protect, and Find My Device.
Software and User Interface
Just like their current releases, the Huawei Y9 Prime 2019 runs on Android 9 Pie with EMUI 9.0.1 interface. It’s still not the cleanest third-party UI out there, but it sure has features that complement the hardware.
The time, date, and step counter are in the bottom left, so the entire lock screen lets you appreciate your wallpaper unless you have an incoming notification.
The app drawer is disabled on default, which you can enable in the settings menu. Meanwhile, the control center and notifications tab look cluttered compared to the stock Android look.
Swiping on the far left you can see a special screen for local search, News tab, SMARTCARE, and more. There’s also the Digital Balance that lets you see your smartphone usage and activities, and tons of Smart assistance features.
The camera app on the Huawei Y9 Prime 2019 looks familiar. It also uses a special version of Swiftkey, instead of the Google keyboard that other brands are using. Still, it’s comfortable and easy to get used to.
Having a smartphone with triple camera setup, just like the Huawei Y9 Prime 2019, is nice to brag about. But just like most entry-level smartphones, it suffers from some of the limitations of having an affordable price tag.
The 16-megapixel primary camera takes good images at good-lighting, especially outdoors. However, the contrast is a bit lacking and the colors are not that punchy in some cases.
You can enable the AI scene detection to add color on your pictures, but it would overcompensate at times, making the image look too saturated. It also struggles to keep the details in low-light shots, and the focus is all over the place.
We’re also getting some identical results in its 8-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera. And since it has a lower resolution, the details in poor lighting condition are worse.
But if you have a good light source and nice subject, it does capture nice images. The wide field-of-view lets you squeeze tall buildings, group of people or an entire lunch table in a single frame.
Completing the trifecta is the 2-megapixel depth-sensor. The edge detection really makes for a believable DSLR-like effect. Good enough for most use cases.
Next stop, we have a 16-megapixel front-facing camera sitting on its pop-up mechanism. It’s not clear if it’s the same sensor used in the back. But, judging by the selfies that we were able to take, there’s a chance that it is.
The colors, contrast, and low-light performance are still not the best, but it sure is passable for a selfie camera. The portrait mode also works here, but since it lacks a depth sensor, it’s no surprise that the edge detection is poor.
Smartphones at this day and age already have great connectivity features. The Huawei Y9 Prime 2019 has all the antennas you’d need to stay connected, albeit not in their latest versions.
Its WiFi 802.11 b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.2 antennas worked well in our testing. Although it would have been nice to see dual-band WiFi and a newer Bluetooth 5.0 running on this thing.
On the upside, the wireless mobile data via 4G LTE was fast and reliable, for as long as your location has great coverage.
Probably one of the best features of the Huawei Y9 Prime 2019 is the longevity provided by its 4,000mAh battery. That’s a standard capacity for most smartphones these days, but it did deliver a better performance than the competition based on our testing.
We ran PCMark’s battery test. The app will emulate basic and heavy task on loop until the battery reaches 20%. We ran the test with the WiFi and Bluetooth off, and the screen brightness and battery set to 50%.
With that, we got a score of 14 hours and 46 minutes of screen-on time. In real-world use, this shall translate to an entire day of light to moderate use or at least 6 hours of continuous gaming.
The Huawei Y9 Prime 2019 is already a complete smartphone that offers even more than other midrange handsets.
It has a great battery life and a decent processor. Those two features should be enough to aid you in your daily, basic tasks — all of which you can do on its large, distraction-free display.
The camera quality might not be the best, but the ultra-wide shooter really does give you flexibility when you’re shooting complicated or larger subjects.
However, we still wish that it had better performance in gaming. And despite the chic-looking design, the bulky build makes it a bit tiresome to use for hours.
Still, the Huawei Y9 Prime 2019 is one of the most interesting smartphones in its category with its unique looks and great battery life. But if the best possible performance for the price is what you’re after, there are definitely other alternatives out there.
Huawei Y9 Prime 2019 pricing and availability in the Philippines
The Huawei Y9 Prime 2019 is now available in tons of Huawei stores, kiosks, and multi-brand shops across the Philippines with a retail price of Php12,990.
- All-screen display
- Pop-up camera design
- Long battery display
- Flexible cameras
- Bulky design
- Underwhelming gaming performance