Huawei's Y9 Prime smartphone

Huawei Y9 Prime Smartphone REVIEW

August 23, 2019
3 mins read
Huawei Y9 Prime REVIEW


Huawei Y9 Prime REVIEW



In his Huawei’s Y9 Prime review, PAT PILCHER finds plenty of bang for not much buck in this low-budget smartphone.

Huawei’s Y9 Prime smartphone

Hot on the heels of Huawei’s hugely popular P30 Pro comes the Huawei Y9 Prime.

The Y9 Prime is a mid-range smartphone. And it’s target market is those of us who want a decent (yet affordable) phone – one with as many bells and whistles as possible.

For budget buyers, the Y9 Prime comes in at a pocket pleasing $420. Which isn’t too shabby, considering that you get 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage.

The unit for this Huawei Y9 Prime review is in a finish that Huawei names Sapphire Blue. It’s a striking and visually pleasing design; with rounded edges that give it an organic feel. It’s also a comfy fit in-hand with extended use.

Huawei Y9 Prime review
Huawei’s Y9 Prime smartphone

As pricing is a third of the P30 Pro, there are bound to be some short cuts. And one that isn’t obvious is its plastic rear. Which has a two-tone reflective coating. Yet at a glance, you’d think the Y9 is of the same glass as its more costly upmarket siblings.

The Huawei Y9 Prime measures just 8.8mm at its thickest point and weighs about 196.8g. This makes one-handed operation doable. And significantly helps with its pocket-ability. The only design downside I noticed is its back – which is as much of a fingerprint magnet as the screen.

The Big Selling Point

Most phones have at least one selling point, and Huawei’s Y9 Prime is no exception. Its superpower comes in the form of a 6.59-inch display. Which has barely any bezel and no holepunch/notch for a front camera. So, just how does Huawei work this magic?

The secret takes the form of a motorised pop-up front camera. When not in use, it stays tucked away inside the phone. Fire up the camera app and choose the front camera and the front camera module slides up out of the Y9’s body.

A built-in accelerometer also means if you accidentally drop your phone while the camera is extended, it retracts before the phone hits the ground.

Huawei Y9 Prime review
Huawei’s Y9 Prime smartphone

The display uses an IPS FHD+ panel and sports a 19.5:9 aspect ratio. While gorilla glass or something similar is pretty much the norm with phones nowadays, Huawei bizarrely decided to forego it with the Huawei Y9 Prime. Because of this, a good external phone case is a must-have here. But the display does do a decent job: colours are vivid, and it’s also bright enough to give you a tan, if you spend too much time on Facebook.

But What About its Cameras?

Being a Huawei device, the cameras are always going to be a point of interest. To this end, the Huawei Y9 Prime has three shooters on its rear. These consists of a 16MP camera with an f/1.8 aperture, an 8MP ultrawide lens and a 2MP depth sensor. The front pop up camera has a 16MP sensor.

Given the affordable price of the Y9, I wasn’t expecting magic from its cameras. In normal daylight shooting conditions, it did a passable job. But with low light, pixel noise and image processing were noticeable.

Huawei Y9 Prime review
Huawei’s Y9 Prime smartphone

Under the hood, the it packs a surprising amount of power, considering its affordable sticker price. Powered by a Kirin 710F chipset, it boasts an octa-core CPU clocking in at 2.2GHz. Throwing pixels around its display is a Mali-G51 MP4 GPU.

Add to this the 4GB of RAM (which is great for those running multiple apps or who have lots of browser tabs open) and 128GB storage (which is ideal for those with big media collections). Which you can increase up to 512GB using a microSD card. All told, the Y9’s specs are not too shabby at all.

The show runs on Android 9.0 Pie and uses Huawei’s EMUI 9 skin. While EMUI has detractors historically, successive iterations refined incrementally to the point where EMUI 9 feels useful and not too garish. Gamers will also like that GPU Turbo 3.0 is baked-in and enhances gaming performance too.

Huawei Y9 Prime review – summary

Not so long ago, a “budget phone” usually means a creaky and underpowered piece of Tupperware that looks and feels like it is pulled from a bargain bin. Huawei’s Y9 Prime is not only eye-pleasing with a huge amount of screen, but is also proof that you can still get solid value for money when it comes to smartphones.

The P30 Pro may offer a far superior camera setup. But it’s also much more expensive than the Y9 Prime. For a very reasonable $399, plus the Y9’s all-screen design, I found during my Huawei Y9 Prime review that its pop-up shooter and its decent spec also offer plenty of bang for a budget buyer’s buck.

Pat has been talking about tech on TV, radio and print for over 20 years, having served time as a TV tech guy and currently penning reviews for Witchdoctor. He loves nothing more than rolling his sleeves up and playing with shiny gadgets.

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