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Huawei Y9s Unboxing and First Impressions

Huawei's first phone of the decade in the Philippines is the successor of the Y9 Prime 2019, the PHP 13,990 (PHP 12,990 new SRP) Y9s.
Huawei Y9s Unboxing and First Impressions
Huawei Y9s

Coming from the Y9 Prime 2019, it still has the same all-screen design with pop-up cameras, but the Y9s brings slightly improved build, design, specs, and cameras.

Having said that, it could be the 2020 mid-ranger for those who are looking for a camera phone in style.

Without any further ado, let's check it out.


Everything inside the box

The unboxing experience is very similar to most Huawei phones. First, you will be greeted by a white box with the design of the phone printed along with its model name.

Inside the box, you will immediately see the beautiful Huawei Y9s. Underneath the phone is a smaller box containing a flexible silicon phone case, paper documents, and SIM ejector tool.

Below it is the 5V/2A 10W USB-C wall charger, USB-A to USB-C charging cable, and the earphones with 3.5mm jack and microphone.

Going back to the phone, we noticed that there's a pre-installed screen protector and that's nice!

Build Quality/Design

Stunning Breathing Crystal gradient design
Stunning Breathing Crystal gradient design

As mentioned, the Y9s has an improved and more premium build. Unlike other mid-rangers, Y9s uses a glass construction at the back, not glasstic.

However, since there is no mention of glass protection and it has a glossy finish, expect it to be prone to fingerprint smudges.

The frame of the phone is like plastic, but with a metallic finish. The screen has a layer 

As expected, it didn't come with an IP rating for water and dust resistance. So, you have to be careful not to drop it on water.

Thankfully, it has a FREE case and screen protector to lessen our worries.
Hybrid tray
Hybrid tray

Design-wise, it is similar to the high-end P30 at the back in Midnight Black or Breathing Crystal gradient to choose from. It feels premium and easy to hold, thanks to its 3D arching design.

Premium P30-like gradient design, comfortable grip!

You'll see the vertically aligned triple-camera setup with an LED flash underneath at the upper-right side of its backplate.
Big 6.59-inch display
Big 6.59-inch display

Upfront, it is all-screen with minimal bezels. Huawei said that it has 91 percent of screen-to-body ratio for a more immersive viewing experience.

Only the chin bezel is a little bit thick. The earspeaker is neatly hidden on the top bezel.

The body of the device is a bit big for one-handed operation. It measures at 163.1 x 77.2 mm. But, it is considered as slim for a phone with a 4,000mAh big battery at 8.8 mm.

On top, you'll find the motorized pop-up camera module. Huawei revealed that it has been tested by 100,000 times to ensure durability.

It also has a fall detection feature. When your phone falls with the pop-up camera mode on, it will automatically retract to minimize the damage. We tried it and it works.

Other things that you'll see on top are the hybrid dual SIM tray and a microphone.

Below, I'm glad to report that it still has a 3.5mm headphone jack slot. It has another mic along with the USB-C port and speaker grille at the bottom as well.
Left and right
Left and right

There's nothing at left and you will find the power key/fingerprint reader/Google Assistant key with the volume rocker at right.

Overall, it is a phone with above-average construction and superb design for the price. It is just a bit hefty at 206 grams.

Initial findings

Crisp and nearly bezel-less display
Crisp and nearly bezel-less display

1. I like that it has a big screen, but it is still not too big as a phone. It is an IPS panel with cool colors and strong enough brightness. The resolution at FHD+ is quite sharp as well.
Respectable benchmark score
Respectable benchmark score

2. The chipset is similar to the Huawei Y9 Prime 2019, the 12nm Kirin 710F octa-core processor.

Respectable speed!

But since it has GPU Turbo 3.0 ready Mali-G51 MP4 graphics and a larger 6GB RAM, actual usage and gaming feel smoother than its predecessor.

There's 128GB of expandable storage with faster EROFS super file compression technology for faster transmission speed and save storage space.

It resulted in a pretty high AnTuTu benchmark score of almost 200K.

The battery at 4,000mAh is large and it has a reversible USB-C port for faster file transfers. Charging time is rated at just 10W though. That's faster than Apple's stock 5W charger, but the new standard at this price point for Android phones is 15 to 18W.

3. It runs with EMUI 9.1 skin based on Android Pie OS. It is so much better than the previous generation Huawei Android skins with cleaner icons and very easy to use gesture navigations. What's missing is the dark skin.

In case you are wondering, this device is not affected by the China-US trade war which resulted in preventing Huawei from using Google by default. So yes, it has Google Play.
Triple-cam with pop-up cam
Triple-cam with pop-up cam

4. For cameras, we like that it now has an upgraded 48MP f/1.8 primary shooter coming from the 16MP of Y9 Prime. It allowed us to take images with less noise and a greater amount of details. To make it more versatile, Huawei added an 8MP 120-degree secondary camera for ultra-wide shots and a 2MP f/2.4 depth sensor for the bokeh effect.

Thanks to the pixel binning tech of its 48MP sensor, it captures low light images with respectable clarity and colors. But you can always use the Night mode for even better shots in the dark.

Like other higher-end Huawei models, it has a robust camera UI. It even has the Light painting mode with the silky water feature.

On the pop-up camera module, you'll see the 16MP f/2.2 shooter with AI scene recognition, face beauty, and different bokeh effects. It is also one of the few in its class with a Night mode for selfies.

For videos, Huawei highlights that it has up to 1080p 60fps, EIS anti-shake video recording, and slow-mo at 480fps.

5. To make its back design look cleaner, Huawei placed the fingerprint reader on the right side of the device. As expected, you'll need to get familiar with it first. But it is fast and accurate when you get used to it.

This device is complete with WiFi, 700MHz 4G LTE, Bluetooth 4.2, and most the essential sensors to make your smartphone experience great.

Huawei Y9s Specs

Display: 6.59-inch 2.5D curved TFT LCD (LTPS) screen w/ FHD+ 2340 x 1080 resolution at 391 ppi
CPU: 2.2GHz 12nm Kirin 710F octa-core processor
GPU: Mali-G51 MP4 w/ GPU Turbo 3.0
ROM: 128GB expandable via microSD card slot up to 512GB
Back Camera: 48MP f/1.8 w/ PDAF + 8MP f/2.4 120-degree ultra-wide-angle lens + 2MP f/2.4 + LED flash
Selfie Camera: 16MP f/2.2
Battery: 4,000mAh w/ 10W fast charging
OS: Android 9.0 Pie w/ EMUI 9.1
Connectivity: WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, 700MHz 4G LTE, Bluetooth 4.2, BLE, FM Radio, OTG, GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, dual SIM
Sensors: Accelerometer, light, orientation, proximity, gyroscope, sound, magnetic
Others: Fingerprint sensor, USB-C, Colors: midnight black, breathing crystal
Dimensions: 163.1 x 77.2 x 8.8 mm
Weight: 206 g
Price: PHP 13,990 (PHP 12,990 new SRP)

As of the moment

Based on what we initially saw and experienced, the Huawei Y9s could be great for those who are looking for a phone with more premium design, respectable performance, strong battery life, and powerful cameras for less.

In terms of processing speed, it is in the middle of the pack. But I would have still liked it better if it is equipped with the newer-gen 7nm Kirin 810 SoC.

But so far, we find the Huawei Y9s as an interesting mid-ranger priced under PHP 14K.

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