August 3, 2019
Huawei typically does not launch a lot of smartphones in a year, at least not at the kind of pace brands like Xiaomi, Samsung or Realme do. The company has so far launched the Huawei P30 series and Y9 (2019) in India. On Thursday, Huawei added the Y9 Prime 2019 to its portfolio of phones in India. In order to compete against newer phones like the Realme X (Review), Oppo K3 and Galaxy A50 (Review), Huawei needed a phone with some trendy features like a pop-up camera and triple rear cameras, both of which come with the Y9 Prime 2019.
The Huawei Y9 Prime 2019 is priced at Rs 15,990 in India. It comes in a single 4GB + 128GB storage configuration and will be available on Amazon India from August 7. Huawei also plans to sell the Y9 Prime 2019 via retail stores across and with the help of Micromax after the two brands recently announced a partnership.
On the sidelines of the launch event, I spent a brief amount of time with the Y9 Prime 2019 and here are my initial impressions.
The moment you hold the Y9 Prime, you can feel its size and weight despite the company’s claim that the phone is compact and slim. The handset measures 163.5×77.3×8.8mm and weighs 196.8 grams, which makes it a bit thicker and heavier than say the Realme X. But it seems reasonable when you consider the fact that the Y9 Prime 2019 offers a bigger battery and a large display.
The Y9 Prime offers a 3D panel on the back which is plastic. It doesn’t feel too premium when you hold it and feel the rear panel, but the phone makes up for it by offering a unique dual tone finish on the back that reminds one of the Pixel phones. That being said, it doesn’t look as pronounced or distinct on the Y9 Prime 2019. The phone is offered in Emerald Green and Sapphire Blue colours. The green colour model that I checked out offers two shades that’s divided just below the fingerprint sensor. Indoors under average lighting, the two shades were hard to distinguish, and I feel the renders did more justice than the actual product.
The curved panel makes the phone easy to grip and the glossy panel will attract a few smudges along the way. The rear-mounted fingerprint sensor is well placed and easy to reach. The right side of the frame has the power button and volume keys, which are again well placed. The Y9 Prime 2019 also offers a Type-C port on the bottom, 3.5mm headphone jack and a single bottom firing speaker.
Coming to the display, the Y9 Prime offers an edge-to-edge screen with slim bezels on the top and sides. Apart from a chin, there is nothing else that will distract you while viewing the screen. There is no notch or hole-punch cutout since the selfie camera has moved to a pop-up mechanism.
The Huawei Y9 Prime offers a 6.59-inch FHD+ LCD Full View display with 91 per cent screen to body ratio and 391 ppi. The display looks bright enough indoors, but I was only able to check it out under poor indoor lighting. Colours reproduction is decent, but you won’t find it as saturated or deep as you would on AMOLED displays on the Realme X or Galaxy A50. In my limited time with the device, I could not test how the display handles media content and games.
Huawei is calling the Y9 Prime 2019 the “Pop Up King” which seems a bit too much. There have been a few pop-up camera phones that have already launched in India in the segment, so Huawei is kind of playing catch up right now. The pop-up mechanism takes about 1 second to rise up, which is pretty quick but not the fastest we have seen. The pop-up camera on the Realme X, for example, rises in about 0.7 seconds.
The Y9 Prime 2019 is powered by a 2.2Ghz octa-core Kirin 710F chipset paired with 4GB of RAM. The Kirin 710F is similar to the regular Kirin 710, but it may offer slightly better power efficiency. It would have been nice to see a 6GB or 8GB RAM option as well, but Huawei has just kept it to 4GB and it will be interesting to see if that’s enough for daily usage. Unfortunately, we can only find that out after spending more time with the device.
The triple camera setup on the Y9 Prime 2019 is an upgrade over the dual cameras on the Y9 (2019). In addition to a 16-megapixel main camera and 2-megapixel depth sensor, the Y9 Prime 2019 also gets an 8-megapixel ultra wide-angle camera that will allow you to capture a larger area for capturing a bigger subject like say a monument, building or a large group of people. The main camera supports AI scene detection and is also equipped with a 6P lens to help capture brighter photos. The front camera is a 16-megapixel selfie sensor that comes with AI scene detection as well.
Lastly, the Y9 Prime 2019 houses a 4,000mAH battery, which should be good enough to last a full day and then some depending on the usage. However, we couldn’t test the battery performance in our limited time with the device. Sadly, the Y9 Prime 2019 does not support fast charging, which is disappointing considering phones like the Realme X, Realme 3 Pro, Oppo K3 and Vivo Z1 Pro offer fast charging at similar or lower prices.
Based on a brief interaction with the Y9 Prime 2019, the phone looks like a pretty solid update to the Y9 (2019) from earlier this year. It looks like a 2019 smartphone with a notchless display, pop-up selfie camera and triple rear cameras. It has also a large battery to back it up and what seems to be a decent mid-range processor for its price. Whether or not the company has implemented these features well is something we can only know for sure after spending more time with the phone. For now, the Y9 Prime 2019 seems to fit in well with the Realme X, Oppo K3 and Galaxy A50 under Rs 20,000.