- Fantastic Battery Life
- Notchless Display
- Solid Build Quality
- Affordable Price Tag
- Underwhelming Camera
Just like how other brands have a mid-tier line up that tends to bring some of the goodness a flagship has, The Y Series is Huawei’s very own mid-tier smartphone lineup coming in at an interesting price tag. With that said, I have been using the Huawei Y9 Prime 2019 which is the successor to the previous Y9. There has been a huge jump in aesthetics and few other areas – but for RM 899, is it worth picking it up? Well, time for me to share my final verdict.
Design and Build Quality
The Huawei Y9 Prime 2019, (let’s just call it the Y9 Prime here on in this review.) follows the popular trends of 2019 – a notch less front, premium material overall and a motorized camera that gets tucked away when it’s inactive. The design isn’t anything spectacular but it’s heading in the right direction without a doubt. We received an all-black unit which looks stealthy and sexy in and out with some curves on the back and the edges. There is a bit of a camera bump on the back and a physical fingerprint sensor which is nice to see.
In terms of build quality, the phone feels extremely solid and robust. Even though it is a huge phone, it fits in nice and snug in one hand even as I hold it. As for the back of the device, the glass like material is indeed slippery and is a fingerprint magnet, I’d suggest you use the included TPU Case to protect your phone from drops and avoid slipping off the table or your hand.
The Y9 Prime has a notch less display on the front coming in at 6.59” inch FHD+ with a 391 ppi – which Huawei likes to call it the Ultra FullView Display. Theirs is not a single notch to be seen on the screen which is really nice to see as it offers an immersive viewing experience. With that said, the display has a warmer tone to it – which of course can be calibrated according to your liking in the display settings. Swiping the moving around does show that the display has a bit of a touch delay by a millisecond but it’s responsive which is a good thing.
During my time using the Y9 Prime, I watched a bunch of shows from Netflix like What If and Money Heist. Thanks to the humongous display, it felt really nice to watch. The colors were decent and pleasing to the eyes. As it’s an LCD display, the blacks produced by the display is acceptable and won’t ruin your viewing experience. The display does come with a pre-installed screen protector which is a nice touch but if you want to replace it with a tempered glass, the choice is yours.
Specification & Performance
The Huawei Y9 Prime has the following specification under the hood.
- Hisilicon Kirin 710F Processor (Octa Core)
- 4GB RAM | 128GB Internal with Expandable Memory
In order to see how the device holds up, we performed some benchmark using three tools – Antutu Benchmark, Geekbench and to verify what’s under the hood, we used CPU-Z. You can look at the scores below. Do take note that these scores vary according to day-to-day usage which tells a different story.
I have been using it for more than a week as my personal daily driver and this phone’s performance is a hit and a miss. Starting off with daily tasks, such as calling and messaging, it handled things like a charm with no lags or stutters which is good thing. Even using social applications were pretty on point and had no issue. Of all the apps that I used, the app that gave me problems on this phone was DahMakan and FoodPanda. For some odd reason, the moment the app gets launched, the phone starts stuttering and refuses to let me order my food. It’s funny as I write this, but I didn’t expect these two apps to give the phone the trouble. It was the same even after updating the apps from Play Store.
Now in order to put the GPU side of things to test, we played two games on the device – Asphalt 9 and Need for Speed: No Rivals. We set both the game’s graphics to the Highest to see how it handles. To my surprise the games were fine in terms of performance, just that the graphics wasn’t as great even on the highest settings. Now if you were expecting the display to give a nice refresh rate, like in games like PUBG, personally it’s best played in Medium.
Overall, an alright experience but just don’t use DahMakan on it. You are going to miss your Lunch or Dinner, depending whatever time you are ordering your food.
Battery Life & Charging
Inside this huge device, the phone houses a whopping 4000 mAh battery and just like with every HUAWEI device, the Y9 Prime doe’s justice with it’s astonishing battery life. So much so that I don’t have to worry about bringing a battery pack with me as I go out. On my first test, I charged the device till 100% the previous day and left it unplugged ever since starting the night. The phone gave me a Screen on Time of 5 hours 1 minute with 20%+ battery left at the end of the day with a 17 Hours 28 Minutes of active time unplugged from the Charger. The second test, I was able to get about 6 Hours and 26 Minutes of Screen on Time with an Active usage of 14 Hours unplugged from the charger. So, if battery life is your main concern, then the Y9 Prime has got you covered on that part.
As for charging with the included power brick, the device charges from 10% to 100% in . Do take note that the device does not come with a SuperCharge or a Fast Charging adapter.
The Y9 Prime has a Front Facing 16MP Sensor which is tucked away in this motorized mechanism. On the back, it packs a triple camera setup – with a Primary 16MP, Secondary 8MP Wide Angle and a 2MP Depth sensor which I still don’t understand why Huawei keeps adding it into every single mid-tier phone.
With someone who has a darker complexion, the Huawei Y9 Prime blows the exposure out of proportion that the colors look very washed out and loses the details. The way the exposure compensation work needs to be fixed and this is something only the software side of things can fix. In order to take a good picture, I have no choice but to tinker the settings. The details further away were soft and washed out but the subject (me) is acceptable. It does side more towards the cold tone, which is something to notice.
One good thing about the Front Facing camera is that, the moment the phone detects a free fall, it retracts the camera and shows a warning – pretty cool right there.
The Rear facing camera on the other hand takes pictures. That’s all I could say. Even under a bright lit environment, the 16MP Rear facing shooter takes alright pictures. If you were to pixel peep, that’s when we realized how much the picture suffers. The focused areas aren’t as sharp as it’s more softened. The details were missing as well. It’s always overexposed. I found myself toning the exposure down every time I took a picture. Indoors and low light shots lack a lot of details and the saturation kicks up and softens the rest of the image. Overall, the camera leaves a lot to be desired and it didn’t really meet up to my expectation.
Speaker and Security
The Y9 Prime has a downward firing speaker that sounds decent and nice to hear. At the maximum volume, the phone sound is audible and there’s a good amount of clarity which is nice to have. It may not be the best speakers to use especially when you watch shows on Netflix or Videos on YouTube but it’s acceptable. The fingerprint sensor located at the back is accessible and setting up is a piece of cake. The phone unlocks pretty quick and gets you going in no time.
UI & OS
The Y9 Prime runs Android 9 on top of their Custom UI – EMUI 9. The Emotion UI is an acquired taste and not everyone can get behind it as it has its own thing going on. The UI hasn’t changed much – generations after generation as it looks pretty much the same but Huawei claims to have improved the speed and reliability. Other than that, the UI is straightforward and easy to get around. You do have interesting features tucked under the hood such as Huawei Share, HiTouch, HiBoard and so much more.
Truth be told, the Huawei Y9 Prime 2019 is an interesting phone and for the price of RM 899 – it’s an aesthetically pleasing device. But the camera requires a lot of work in the software in order to take at least one good picture. This is without a doubt possible, as we have seen other Manufacturers who has patched the camera to make it shoot better just with a major update. I really expect Huawei to do the same here as well. At this price range, we do have other contender in the market that shoots much better picture with the camera and offer a pretty good deal as well. So, it’s up to you which one you’d like to get your hands on. Your call.