Huawei P9 Lite Review: A light, powerful and comfortable smartphone

The Huawei P9 Lite is one of the best devices from Huawei Mobile I have interacted with in recent times. It succeeds the P8 Lite as the mini version of Huawei’s 2016 flagship- the P9. Comparing it to the P8, Huawei made a couple of improvements which I will be telling you about in this review.

The device combines a dynamic design with breathtaking style. I have been using it for close to a month now and the device is really strong in performance at a very competitive price.

Design and Display


The Huawei P9 comes with the same design as it’s predecessor the P8 Lite, except for a few tweaks. I love the fact that Huawei decided to ditch the plastic body on the P8 Lite for a metallic finish on the P9 Lite. The finishing looks pretty cool.  The P9 Lite has a 5.2-inch display and is as slim as 7.5mm and 147g light with a 70% screen to body ratio.


The earpiece as expected is located at the top center and the front camera and proximity sensor located to the left. The notification light , on the other hand, sits at the top right with the Huawei logo right at the bottom center. Notifications lights are one of the things I have come to love on nearly all the devices I have reviewed on this website.

Read: User review: Huawei P9, Even the little things work 

On the left side, you have the SIM and SD card slot while the right side has the volume and power buttons. The earphone jack is placed at the top, slightly to the right while the charging port and speakers are placed at the bottom edge.  On the bottom edge is a microUSB port and speaker grilles.


The textured back of the P9 Lite features the back camera located at the top left with the LED flash. Below it is the fingerprint sensor and another Huawei logo at the bottom center.


Hardware, software, and performance

The Huawei P9 Lite is powered by a HiSilicon chipset, a Kirin 650 and 3GB RAM.  This is similar to the Kirin 955 in Huawei’s flagship, P9 though it comes with more modest resources. The 3GB RAM is also amazing, I mean most smartphones are now moving away from 2GB of RAM. It comes with a 16GB internal storage though I feel Huawei should have done better than this.

The P9 Lite is also running on Android 6.0 Marshmallow, which has been topped up with Huawei’s own Emotion UI, in its v4.1 iteration. The lock screen has so many interesting images on rotation- and every time you wake up the device, you are greeted by a different wallpaper. The fingerprint unlock will, however, take you straight to the home screen, so you may not see the wallpapers often.

The P9 Lite processor is octa-core, but it’s eight Cortex-A53 cores. The GPU, on the other hand, is still a Mali-T880 with a dual core setup.


The Huawei P9 Lite has a 13MP rear camera with a bright focus 2.0 lens. Swiping the camera UI brings up the mode selector, which has some not so often used options like Time-Lapse, but also some common ones like HDR.


The P9 lite also brings some manual controls for both still and video. You can adjust your shutter speed, ISO, exposure, white balance and metering mode.

I loved the more advanced automatic focus system Huawei gave to the P9 Lite-object tracking. With it, once you tap on something in the viewfinder, the P9 Lite will track its movement and make sure it stays in focus.  Check some of the photos I took with the P9 Lite below:



The 8MP front camera on the P9 Lite is also not bad. It has an f/2.0 aperture. The selfies, however, don’t come out as detailed as an 8MP camera resolution would suggest. Zooming at 100% there is so much noise. At a reduced magnification, however, the photos appear sharp and well, fairly rich in detail.


Other features on the camera include Panorama, beauty (for both main and selfie cameras), Good food, watermark, document scan, Light painting and all focus.  


The Huawei P9 Lite video camera can record 1080P videos at 30fps. A Pro mode for the video camera is also available, which allows you to adjust focus, exposure compensation, white balancing and also metering while doing a recording. You can also use digital image stabilization and focus tracking.

General Specifications

  • 5.2″ 1080p IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 423ppi
  • HiSilicon Kirin 650 chipset: octa-core CPU (4xCortex-A53 @ 2.0GHz + 4xCortex-A53 @ 1.7Hz), Mali-T830 MP2 GPU
  • 2GB or 3GB of RAM
  • 16GB of built-in storage
  • Android 6.0 Marshmallow, Huawei EMUI v4.1 overlay;
  • 13MP camera, f/2.0 aperture, 1/3″ sensor (Sony IMX 214, 1.12µm pixels), manual controls; 1080@30fps video recording
  • 8MP front camera, f/2.0 aperture; 1080p video recording
  • Fingerprint reader
  • 3,000mAh Li-Ion battery


The Huawei P9 Lite has a 3,000mAh non-removable battery, same as the flagship variant. Though most users have recently been complaining about non-removable batteries on phones.

The P9 Lite in my personal use after 10 hours of a long working day, still packed a whopping 40 percent battery capacity, beginning at 100 percent, this was really impressive. I spent close to a half an hour talk time and about another hour of gaming and watching videos and using messaging platforms like WhatsApp and SMS. Overall, the battery performance is quite good.

What I loved on the P9 Lite

  • The Full HD display: It has some good brightness and color reproduction
  • The camera is also good
  • The battery quality is impressive
  • The fact that I could use the fingerprint reader to take a selfie
  • It’s very slim and light, measuring just 7mm in thickness

What I didn’t like

  • The 16 GB internal storage. Huawei could have done better than that
  • The P9 does not support fast charging
  • The non-removable battery

Verdict and price

Overall, I loved the Huawei P9 Lite. The 5.2-inch display is very comfortable and really worked for me. At just 147 gram, the P9 Lite is also very light to carry around. The Full HD display also makes it look very good and enjoyable.

One of the things I always look out for in smartphones is the battery life and performance. The P9 Lite delivers just what one would want in a phone thanks to the efficient hardware and large battery. The camera is also great, featuring some great enhancements and features.

The P9 Lite is currently available for Kshs. 22,350.

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Nixon Kanali

Tech journalist based in Nairobi. I track and report on tech and African startups. Founder and Editor of TechTrends Media. Nixon is also the East African tech editor for Africa Business Communities. Send tips to

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