Huawei launches new P9 flagship with dual Leica lens

LONDON - The Leica branding just got affordable - Huawei's latest flagship smartphone, the P9, aims to put a Leica camera in everyone's hands as the phone sports a dual-camera setup with Leica lenses.

The P9, which was officially launched in London on Wednesday (April 6), features two rear Leica Summarit lenses with an f/2.2 aperture and 27mm focal lens, with a 12-megapixel Sony sensor. It also comes with a 8-megapixel front-facing camera capable of auto-focus with a wide aperture of f/1.9.

Huawei claims the dual-camera setup lets in more than 270 per cent of light than the iPhone 6s, giving the P9 better low-light performance.

The P9 comes with Android's latest operating system, Marshmallow, with a 5.2 inch 1080p full-HD display and Huawei's own 2.5 Ghz Kirin 955 chip. It comes with a 3000mAh non-removeable battery and 32GB or 64GB of onboard storage, as well as a fingerprint sensor on the back of the phone.

Huawei also announced a bigger version of the P9, called the P9 Plus, with a larger 5.5inch screen and a 3400mAh battery.

The first wave of both phones will be launched in 29 countries in April 16. The availability for Singapore will be announced on a later date.

The P9 will cost €599 (S$922) for the 32GB model and €649 for the 64Gb, while the P9 Plus, which only comes in the 64Gb version, will cost €749.

Other features include dual-Sim card slots and expendable micro SD card storage, as well as a Press Touch function that opens up more app options depending on how much pressure one applies on the screen. It will also come with Type-C cable slot, which replaces the standard USB charging ports and allows for rapid charging.

The P9 will be available in six colours: titanium grey, silver, a glossy ceramic white, haze gold and rose gold. The P9 Plus will be available in four: ceramic white, quartz grey, haze gold and rose gold.

Mr Richard Yu, Huawei's chief executive for consumer business, said: "With the P9, working with Leica, we have challenged the norm of what was possible in lens technology - a game-changer for smartphone photography."

Also announced on Wednesday was the Huawei TalkBand B3, a wristband-like bracelet that connects to your smartphone and has functions like a watch and a fitness tracker.

Mr Oliver Kaltner, Leica's chief executive, said the the collaboration between the German photography firm and Huawei was very much in line with both of them being global brands.

"Our companies share the same vision when it comes to photography," said Mr Kaltner.

The collaboration does not stop at hardware. The P9 will come with Leica-centric software, such as the choice of three classic Leica film modes.

The P9's camera app also allows for full manual control while shooting, which means users will have full control over shutter speed, ISO, metering and white balance, amongst others.

This is the second time Leica has partnered with a smartphone company, the first being in 2014 with Panasonic's Lumix CM1 Android smartphone that came with a 20-megapixel, f/2.8 Leica lens.

But the CM1 had a limited launch in Singapore in 2015, and was not exactly targeted at the mass market. The P9, however, is aimed at being the smartphone of choice to replace other phones with excellent cameras like the iPhone 6s or the Samsung S7 at a time where consumers are placing a premium on their smartphone's camera.

This article was first published on April 6, 2016.
Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to for more stories.