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Available for purchase is Huawei’s new Y9 2019 smartphone which places itself right in the upper tier of budget class. Coming from Y9 2018 which was released back in April, Huawei has decided to succeed it with Y9 2019 within a span of few months which is surprising considering how Huawei rarely announces a new version of its devices during the same year. Speaking of Y series as a whole, these smartphones are generally tuned towards appealing more to the youth with their curved designs and also provide the best value for money in the budget category. As for the Y9 2019 specially, it follows a similar ethos as it brings forth all the modern 2018 tech in an affordable package. Luckily, we have the Huawei Y9 2019 with us and within this article we will share our detailed thoughts about the smartphone.
All new flagships released this year continue to carry innovative new features and latest hardware, as a result of which the price has evidently gone quite up. One repercussion from this process is that the budget smartphone class is what most consumers are now looking to buy. As the demand is there, brands like Huawei are continuing to come up with new budget devices that try to tick all the essentials. The manufacturer’s latest attempt comes as the Y9 2019. And over the course of a week we have taken the smartphone through its paces, for which, you can read our detailed insights right ahead.
Before we begin with our review, here are all the important specs of the Huawei Y9 2019.
Over the last couple of phones from Huawei we have seen quite similar designs. Be it the P20 lite, the mid-range Nova 3 or the new Y9 2019, they all feature glass designs with a Dual Camera system at the top right rear corner and also back facing fingerprint sensors. This standard design strategy is seeming to work for Huawei as it has become something synonymous for the brand. There are three color options available: Aurora Purple, Sapphire Blue and Midnight Black. For our unit, the color was Midnight Black. Having used Huawei’s other color finishes, the black is really toned down and particularly stealth but if you are looking for something unique we do recommend choosing from the other two finishes.
Inspecting the front, Y9 2019 is on the larger side of smartphones, even by today’s standards. It carries a 19.5:9 aspect ratio, 6.5 inch display that is an IPS LCD panel running at FHD+ (2340 x 1080) resolution. To maintain a higher body to screen ratio as well as to reduce bezels, there is a notch on the Y9 2019. Within which the dual front cameras, sensors as well as the earpiece are integrated. The display is quite crisp and the colors are quite sharp which we love. Thanks to the large size, viewing content on this phone is truly immersive. For brightness, however, we wish it had more as the panel had difficulties when being viewed in direct sunlight.
Connecting the display and the rear glass is this glossy plastic surround. This reminds us of the P20 Pro but the difference being that the P20 had this in stainless steel. Housed within this border, at the bottom is Y9 2019’s microUSB connector, main speaker and a headphone jack. Glad to see brands realizing that consumers looking to buy phones in the budget / mid-range category take the headphone jack as a strong consideration point. As for the speaker, it is one of the better ones we have heard. The base is present and the volume gets adequately loud. Lastly, coming to the microUSB connector, Huawei could have gone with a USB type-C port but again this is a mix bag. Users looking to buy phones in this budget already have microUSB chargers and cables so if Huawei went with a Type-C port, they would have to go out and buy new accessories which adds to the price. The microUSB decision is totally fine as type-C doesn’t really garner any major benefit for the Y9 2019. Completing the remaining sides, the volume rocker and power button are placed on the right whereas the SIM tray is on the left and the top is completely empty. The SIM tray is quite extensive as it comes with dedicated dual SIM slots (Nano-SIM) and a microSD card slot. The base storage is 64GB which is quite a jump up from 32GB but users can further expand that if they require. The back is made completely of glass and carries the dual camera system as well as the fingerprint sensor which is placed optimally. There are markings such as the Huawei logo and the AI camera text, all of which have been written vertically — another trademark of Huawei. We will be circle back to the camera system right ahead and discuss it in detail.
Internal hardware is just as crucial if not more when compared with the exterior. For Y9 2019, the main processing power comes from Huawei’s very own Hisilicon Kirin 710 processor which is paired with 4GB RAM. Seeing how Y9 2019 is competing to be a budget smartphone, the power is quite adequate. It handles games well and goes through daily tasks without a hitch. For comparison, we have attached few benchmark results we gained from the Y9 2019.
For Y series, the focus has been providing a great experience while remaining within a certain budget. Due to this, the camera systems have been the ones to take the most compromise to bring the overall cost down. But, with the Y9 2019, Huawei has tried to change that. Not only is there a rear dual lens camera setup but there are two cameras for the front as well which provide better bokeh capabilities. Starting from the back, there are two cameras present. The main sensor is a 16MP shooter with f / 2.0 whereas there is a 2MP accompanying lens with f / 2.4. The secondary lens is solely dedicated towards providing extra data so that a digital bokeh can be implemented. For us, the results with this, were average at best. We think if Huawei fitted a wide-angle or telephoto lens as the secondary, it would have been more logical.
Further, apart from the hardware, Y9 2019 comes with AI in its camera app. This means, when AI is switched on, the phone automatically detects what scene it is shooting and sets the settings accordingly. The result is an improved picture with more vivid colors as compared to when the AI is off. However, this processing breaks the natural coloring and while the photos look good, they don’t represent real colors. For reference, do check out our sample shots.
Tracing back to the front camera, as we said, it is again a dual module. However, this time, the main lens is a 13MP shooter with F/1.8 aperture. The secondary lens is 2MP, f/2.4. Again, the secondary module is there for better bokeh, portrait mode shooting. In our tests, the front camera system held up quite well! The photos were sharp, had good contrast and there were additional beauty features built into the app for better photos. We think the front camera is a more stronger offering on the Y9 2019 when compared to competitors.
Being a phone focused towards Asian and developing markets, Huawei Y9 2019 comes with Dual SIM support. Further, the SIM tray also has a dedicated microSD card slot in addition to the two nano SIM slots hence users wont have to choose between dual SIM functionality or expandable storage. Further, there is 4G LTE support, which of course is a standard on all smartphones these days. Missing from the device is wireless charging and NFC. Also, Huawei stuck with a microUSB slot on the Y9 2019 which is not a deal breaker as there is a dedicated headphone jack and USB Type-C wouldn’t have made sense to users who already are invested in microUSB.
For the whole duration we tested out the Y9 2019, one of the most striking things we noticed about the device was its battery life. The Y9 2019 comes with a massive 4,000 mAh battery which lasted 1.5 days under heavy usage. It is quite clear that Huawei wanted the Y9 2019 to be an endurance device and it has successfully done so. Without utilizing any power saving modes or even setting the brightness to a lower setting we were easily getting more than 7 hours of on-screen time. On top of having a large battery capacity, the software is optimized as well hence the amazing endurance times. If there was one thing for which we would recommend the Y9 2019 in this price bracket, it would be the battery!
Huawei has its own propietrary skin called EMUI which it ships on all its smartphones. For the Y9 2019, it is running EMUI 8.2 based on Android Oreo. The OS version is a big let down as not only the phone being launched after Android Pie has been in the market for months but the smartphone has 2019 in its name yet it runs Android from 2017. We think Y9 2019 could have benefited well from latest software especially considering the optimization benefits. Nonetheless, we expect Huawei to launch an update soon.
Speaking of the software itself, EMUI has always been one for offering high number of customization options along with great number of accessibility options such as navigation gesture support. For users who hate the notch trend, there is a built-in option letting users hide it from the settings menu. In terms of UI, the skin carries its own set of icons. The notification panel sports a black color with vivid blue accents, something we love! Rest, the philosophy has been integrating color and curves to the UI as most buttons are fixed in an oval shape whereas notification messages again appear in rounded rectangles. It is also important to mention that Y9 2019 does support face unlock, a big plus!
On top of features built-in, Huawei ships few standard apps through EMUI on Y9 2019 to further improve the software experience.
Default bundled Huawei Y9 2019 Apps and Features: