It was love at first sight with the HUAWEI Y9 Prime 2019. I saw a smartphone with a clear display that had no notch or cut-out of any kind. Totally unobstructed. I dislike notches and punch holes. I dislike anything that obstructs the display. So, you can understand when I say that the Y9 Prime 2019 drew me to itself like a moth to a flame.
I had to get my hands on it and experience it for myself. Which was exactly what I did and fiddled with it a bit, and then took some photos just for your delight. Enjoy our HUAWEI Y9 Prime 2019 hands-on review below.
As you can tell from the name, the Y9 Prime 2019 is a 2019 release. May 2019, to be specific. So, it is not one of the newest phones on the block. But it is one of the few smartphones available in the market with a motorized pop-up front camera. Yes; with no notch or punch hole, the front camera is hidden away in a motorized mechanism at the top of the phone.
And it works smoothly. As a matter of fact, there is a special agent James Bond feel to it as the camera slides out for use and back in after use.
The unobstructed display is heavenly. It is clear, bright and sharp. And it is good to see a display that is truly full screen. May the notch and the punch hole die quick deaths in the world of smartphones. And the congregation say, Amen.
HUAWEI Y9 Prime 2019 hands-on review: Quick Specs
- 6.59-inch, 1080 x 2340 pixels, IPS LCD
- Android 10 + EMUI 10; upgraded from Android 9 + EMUI 9
- Hisilicon Kirin 710F chipset clocked at 2.2 GHz
- 4 GB RAM
- 64 GB / 128 GB internal storage
- 16 MP + 8 MP + 2 MP camera with LED flash
- 16 MP motorized pop-up selfie camera
- Rear-mounted fingerprint scanner
- 4000 mAh battery, with standard charging.
- Colours: Emerald Green, Midnight Black, Sapphire Blue.
Having looked at the specs, how is the phone itself in the hand?
HUAWEI Y9 Prime 2019 hands-on review and first impressions
The Huawei Y9 prime 2019 not only looks really elegant; it is also well-built and feels quite premium. It has a comfortable heft (it weights 196.8 g). Not too heavy; not too light. It feels just right.
The pop-up selfie camera and full screen display are the key attractions of this device. The pop-up mechanism is motorized and works smoothly. It is automatically activated whenever you switch to the front camera.And it retracts whenever you exit.
In terms of performance, Huawei Y9 Pro pills it off nicely. For all everyday tasks, it powered through like a champ. The Kirin processor is no slouch and there is 4 GB of RAM for running and switching between apps.
This variant I played with has 128 GB of storage, which is more than enough for most smartphone users. If you need more storage space, you can pop in a memory card.
Of course this phone supports 4G LTE networks, so you don’t have to deal with 3G speeds for mobile Internet connectivity.
At the back is a triple camera layout, with LED flash. And close by is a fingerprint scanner.
HUAWEI Y9 Prime 2019 hands-on review: Software
Huawei Y9 Prime 2019 ran Android 9 Pie with EMUI 9 out of the box at launch. However, in January 2020, Android 10 (with EMUI 10) was rolled out for it, bringing it up to date at the time. Whether it will get Android 11 remains to be seen.
With Android 10 in it, the Y9 Prime 2019 does not feel like it has been ;left in the past. Most Android smartphones released in 2020 are still running Android 10 till date.
So, what we have here is fairly up-to-date software. There are no issues with app installations and access to Google Play Store and apps. This was one of the last Huawei models to escape the US government ban, so it runs the licensed Android operating system and has Google Mobile Services and apps.
Is HUAWEI Y9 Prime 2019 a good phone?
From what I have experienced of the Y9 Prime 2019, I would say this is a good smartphone. Setting it apart is the unobstructed full screen and the motorised pop-up front camera.
The fact that it has had its software updates is another plus. Maybe it will get another update to bump it up to Android 11. Maybe not.
Is a smartphone with Kirin 710, 4 GB RAM and 128 GB storage memory worth $260? That is about ₦100,000. It is debatable. The Nokia 5.4 is in the same class and costs around $200 or ₦84,000. See our Nokia 5.4 review.
But the motorised mechanism for the pop-up is an understandable extra cost, so if you want that feature, it is fair that you be ready to pay for it.
You won’t find a lot of smartphones with a pop-up front camera generally. In the price bracket of the Y9 Prime 2019, your options are even fewer. They include Huawei 9a, Realme X, Huawei Enjoy 10 Plus, Honor 9X, and BLU Bold N1.