Huawei Y9 2019 Review: Stunning Budget Mid-ranger

by John Nieves  November 23, 2018

We review Huawei’s Y9 2019!

Huawei’s had a big year in 2018, and they’re capping it off with the release of their refreshed lower mid-range offering, the Y9 2019. The new phone dangles the promise of quad-cameras, powerful mid-range processor and modern styling at a price that’s hard to ignore.

What is it?

It’s the latest refresh of Huawei’s lower mid-range Y9 smartphone. Like we mentioned in our original unboxing, the Y9 was refreshed twice this year – first was in March for the delayed 2018 model, and this month for the 2019 model.

The phone looks as premium as the Nova 3i.

That it does. The Y9 2019 comes in a variety of colors, including Aurora Purple and the Sapphire Blue variant that we’re reviewing. Huawei has injected the same premium design that they’ve been employing in their mid-range phones in the Y9 2019, and the phone looks amazing as a result.

There are a few material changes to the Y9 2019 compared to the Nova 3i though, most notably the material used on the rear of the phone. While the frame of the device is metal (more specifically, aluminum) Huawei says that the rear is made from plastic.

That’s a bit of a bummer, but honestly, you wouldn’t really guess the phone’s rear is made of plastic when you see it in person the first time – that’s how well made it is. It is more prone to scratches and other damage because it is plastic though, so you’d want to keep that back cover on at all times to keep the rear pristine.

We like the fact that the dual rear camera on the rear sits almost flush with the body, which minimizes any chance of scratching the glass on the dual snappers. The fingerprint scanner is accurate and easy to reach.

The controls of the phone are on the right side, while the dual-SIM and microSD card tray are on the right. The bottom of the device holds the micro USB port, flanked by a single speaker grille and the 3.5mm jack.

Overall the phone feels ergonomic and isn’t a pain to use. Our only complaint is that it’s a tad light, which may be the result of the device’s rear being made out of plastic.

The display looks nice.

It is, and that notch isn’t too big either. The display is a 6.5-inch, 19.5:9 aspect ratio full HD+ display (1080 x 2340 resolution), with a smaller than usual notch on the front. The notch carries two cameras – a primary 16-megapixel f/2.0 aperture selfie cam and a 2-megapixel f/2.4 secondary depth sensor.

As for the display itself, it looks good, is easy to read under the sun and has accurate color reproduction. The phone comes with a pre-installed plastic screen protector.

What kind of hardware runs the phone?

The Y9 2019 comes equipped with Huawei’s own, homegrown Kirin 710 octa-core processor, paired with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of expandable storage.

The Kirin 710 chipset has proven to be a reliable, efficient processor on the previous phones we’ve reviewed running it. It’s not a screamer, but it is capable of running games smoothly IF you tone down graphics a tad.

Do those quad cameras deliver?

They do. Like we mentioned earlier, the Y9 2019 has four cameras: two in the front and two in the back. Huawei basically tossed in secondary sensors for the front and rear of the phone for enhanced software bokeh.

The rear cameras are composed of a 13-megapixel f/1.8 snapper and 2-megapixel f/2.4 rear sensor with PDAF. The lower aperture of the rear camera means that it should be able to perform better in low light.

And it does, somewhat. Images taken with the phone in less than ideal conditions are good, though it’s not going to match the performance of more expensive phones. Colors are vibrant, and there’s plenty of detail to be had.

Like Huawei’s recent offerings the Y9 2019 has AI-enhanced shooting capabilities, which basically means the phone has scene recognition that adjusts contrast, exposure, and saturation depending on what you’re shooting. Unlike their other phones, you’ll have to turn it on yourself and it isn’t on by default.

One surprising feature that’s on the Y9 2019 is the AI-stabilized night shooting mode that’s on Huawei’s more expensive smartphones. That means you can shoot in more challenging low-light environs compared to other phones without it, though don’t expect results like what we’ve seen on more expensive phones with it.

As far as selfies go, you’ll be enjoying enhanced bokeh effects thanks to the secondary camera, though the phone is a little aggressive when it comes to beautifying your face.

How’s the rest of the phone?

Pretty good. The Y9 2019 runs Huawei’s EMUI 8.2, running on top of Android 8.1. We’ve encountered Huawei’s new UI in a few phones previously, and it doesn’t slow down the experience too much in our testing.

Audio produced by the speaker grille is good, though you’ll probably be better served with wired headphones if you value audio quality.

The fingerprint scanner is fast and accurate. If you don’t want that you can also go with facial recognition, though obviously, that’s not as secure as the biometric option.

How’s the battery?

Loooooong. With a 4000mAh battery and Kirin 710’s relatively power efficient nature, PCMark’s battery benchmark puts the Y9 2019 at 11 hours and 32 minutes with their standard battery drain test. That translates to around a day’s worth of usable battery life with heavy use, with plenty left over.

The only thing we don’t like about the phone is the fact that it doesn’t have fast charging thanks to the lack of a USB Type-C connector.

Should you buy it?

Absolutely. Huawei’s recent forays into mid-range phones this year have undeniably been pretty value-packed, and the Y9 2019 is no exception. This beautiful smartphone packs quite a bit of punch, and its quad cameras deliver the goods. Its AI-enhanced night mode makes taking photos in low light a little less daunting, and all-in-all the Y9 2019 is an excellent mid-range phone to consider.

Huawei Y9 2019 specs

  • Kirin 710 octa-core processor
  • Mali-G51 MP4 GPU
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 6.5-inch, 19.5:9 aspect ratio full HD+ display (1080 x 2340 resolution)
  • 13-megapixel f/1.8 and 2-megapixel f/2.4 rear cameras with PDAF, LED Flash
  • 16-megapixel f/2.0 and 2-megapixel f/2.4 front cameras
  • 64GB of expandable storage
  • Dual SIM
  • 3G, LTE
  • WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, A-GPS, fingerprint scanner
  • 4000mAh battery
  • Android 8.1, EMUI 8.2
  • Php 12,990

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