As I’ve mentioned in a few posts recently – I am in the process of dumping Apple. After more than a decade in their ecosystem the terrible thermals of the 2015 MacBook Pro were enough to make me leave for good. Once the computers were gone the utility and purpose of an iPhone lessened and so I have decided that it is the last of my Apple devices to be replaced.
With a whole host of alternatives I needed to narrow the field a little bit. It had to be Android (sorry Windows Phone and quirky things like Ubuntu Touch – I want a utility device primarily not just geeky fun), I wanted to ensure the camera was great and could record to external SD storage for videos on my channel and the screen size had to be similar to the 6S Plus.
An obvious couple of choices were the Google PixelPhone Pro that I was waiting to hear the specs for or the Note 7. Unfortunately, the Note 7 never got as far as the UK before they stopped selling the portable-bombs and the PixelPhone turned out to be a last-generation Nexus priced the same as an iPhone. Not amazing options really. I did consider the S7 but decided I wanted something with the potential for me to change the ROMs on and so that left very little to go with. In fact I could only find a single device that really matched my criteria – the Huawei P9 Plus.
Huawei P9 Plus
I bought my P9 Plus on eBay. It had a few hours of use and one very minor scratch on it but was otherwise as-new. I paid £375 but you can have a completely new and unlocked Huawei P9 Plus for £425. Quite impressive considering the £819 for a PixelPhone or 6S Plus with a decent amount of storage. First impressions were a nice quality box and a good-looking phone. I hadn’t even seen one of these, let alone held one, before it turned up.
The P9 Plus feels “quality” – it is easily on a par with an iPhone and I find the weight distribution slightly better leading to a more pleasurable experience in your hand.
As far as Android goes I’m not going to give a full run-down here. Suffice to say, having not used it much since 2011, it’s come on leaps and bounds and as a previously die-hard iOS fan there is nothing I am missing in Android. Everything “just works” and some things work a lot nicer here than they do on iOS. The fingerprint sensor – for example – is far superior to the one on the iPhone. Unlike iOS, which never recognised any of my fingerprints apart from at 3am when I didn’t even want to unlock the phone, the Huawei gets it every time and I can use the fingerprint sensor to swipe up and down panels in the OS as well (notifications, etc.). Very nice.
The big one for me though was camera. The Huawei P9 Plus boosts two separate cameras (why have one, when you can have two, right?) with shiny Leica branding. I am sure there are many technical reasons that they went with two, rather than just one really good, camera but it does seem to work. I’ve always held iPhones up as being “leading” when it comes to camera quality but the Huawei keeps up here. There are some scenarios such as low-light scenarios where the iPhone’s default settings create a better scene but the majority of the time saw the Huawei output brighter colours and better videos. With the LED lighting for my filming setup the iPhone definitely won but the Huawei offers more than enough settings to fix this with some small tweaks whereas I am unable to “fix” other images that the iPhone fails at.
Do it. That’s my conclusion. I’ve pocketed £125, I have a new shiny gadget and all my needs are met. This is probably one of the easiest swaps I’ve ever made. I’ve spent years wrestling quirks of iOS and it is liberating to be released from them. I’m trying not to review Android though and rather the Huawei. It’s a great device – it is speedy, the battery life is better than iOS, it looks great, balances well in my hands, is completely flat (unlike the iPhone 6S Plus) and works great for filming. The built-in speakers and microphone are, again, superior to those on the iPhone.
A lot of love goes to the Korean brands but we really shouldn’t forget Huawei. Their devices have come on leaps and bounds and whilst I wish they’d already released the latest Android and they would provide a stock ROM themselves I can’t blame them to much for doing what every other provider does. This is an excellent phone and I’m glad I made the switch.
Goodbye Apple, hello Huawei!