Huawei, a global tech giant, is one of the most loved and renowned brands here in Nepal. They have been providing us with great smartphones at an affordable price. After the groundbreaking success of the Nova 2i, Huawei is back with another mid-tier smartphone- the Huawei Y9 2018. The phone, to be more accurate, is the lite version of the Huawei Nova 2i. So basically, you are getting all the goodness of the Nova 2i in a fresh body and a more competitive price tag. So is the Huawei Y9 2018 worth it? Should you spend Rs 25,900 and buy this smartphone? And is it the best smartphone in its price segment? Well, let us find out the answers to these questions in this full review.
A quick disclaimer! Before we get into the review I would like to mention that I have been using the Huawei Y9 2018 for almost a week now. Unlike other reviews, this one is going to be purely based on my experience and how the device held-up in the above mentioned time span. So, without wasting your time any further, let’s get started!
The Huawei Y9 2018 is a beast at handling multi-media contents! The large 5.93-inch Full HD+ (2160*1080) IPS near bezel-less display makes up for quite a multi-media experience. Lately, I have been binging on some old shows like How I met your Mother and New Girl. I also am catching up on the latest episodes of Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card (I know, Don’t judge). The Huawei Y9 2018 has been a perfect companion in this escapade! This is largely thanks to the vibrant colours and variable level of brightness that the display offers. That said, I do wish the Y9 2018 offered a bit louder set of speakers. The onboard mono speaker isn’t bad by any means, but a louder, bass-rich speaker would have taken the multi-media experience to a whole new level.
And speaking of a whole new level, the gaming performance of this phone is total bonkers! The near bezel-less display coupled with the Mali-T830 GPU and 3GB RAM made up for a surreal gaming performance. The new Game Suite is also a great inclusion to mute those pesky notifications that muddle the whole gaming experience. The phone was easily able to handle the classics like Asphalt 8 and Clash Royale. I also went a bit hardcore and played the mobile version of, the graphics intensive, PUBG. The phone was able to handle the game but only at the lowest settings. The good thing is that the game works and there was no hindrance in my session.
The Huawei Y9 2018 packs a total of 4 cameras, two on each side of the phone. That in simple terms means bokehlicious portraits and now even selfies. The Y9 2018 packs a combination of f/2.2 13MP and a 2MP sensor accompanied by an LED flash at the rear. The image quality from the shooter was amazing with great details, sharpness, and vibrancy. The 2MP secondary camera, along with software tweaks, does wonders to add a layer of bokeh to the photos. Unlike, the Nova 2i where the images had a bit of a rough edge while using the bokeh mode (during my testing, fixed later with a software update), the Y9 2018 didn’t face the same problem. Huawei has fixed the issue, and damn the pictures look bokehlicious!
The Y9 2018 also packs all the modes and features that I loved about the Nova 2i. Modes like the Pro-mode, Light painting, Moving picture, and Time Lapse are all here. I got some creative looking shots with the help of the pro-mode. Being a DSLR user, it is always great to have some level of tweak-ability on your smartphone.
A new feature that I loved using was the AR lens! What this feature does is that it makes use of Augmented Reality (AR) to add a fun overlay on your face, very reminiscent of Snapchat. Besides that, you can also change the background of your photo, in real time, which is a neat addition. Additional overlays and Backgrounds are downloadable from the Play store via the app Pitu. You can also add a background image from your own gallery if you so choose to do so. I personally love this feature! A great way to send a cute selfie to your significant other, especially for you ladies.
Speaking of selfies, the phone packs a dual-camera set up at the front combing a 16MP and a 2MP sensor. The front also comes equipped with a screen flash- handy in situations when there is less than ample lighting condition. Pictures taken from the selfie shooters were as good as those from the rear cameras, if not better. The shooters, even without the flash, was able to take some great selfies with a minimal amount of grain in low light. Besides the usual, the front shooters also came packed with a portrait mode which is good at taking those bokehlicious pictures we all love so much. Overall, the cameras on the Huawei Y9 2018 are phenomenal especially considering its price.
Like everyone else, my daily activities constitutes of scrolling through Facebook, checking my E-Mail and calendar, posting a few pictures to Instagram, and a lot of messaging & web surfing. The Huawei Y9 2018 was easily able to handle these task, no-brainer! I also didn’t notice any visible lags or stutters while doing so. This is largely thanks to the octa-core HiSilicon Kirin 659 processor the phone comes with. I also listen to a lot of music, use a billion apps and download a buttload of movies on a daily basis. The, already available, 32GB of internal storage and the support for micro-sd card helps keep the phone ready for more files.
Not only the internals but the externals of the phone is also very congenial. The all-metal design looks and feels very premium. Wielding the phone with no case on, I was not that scared of breaking it. I also love the different colour schemes the Y9 2018 has to offer. The gold variant, which I am currently using, looks great and not too godly for its own good. Even though I like the gold colour, my favourite is the new dark blue colour that the phone comes with. Get that colour if you do decide to buy the phone!
The battery life, on this phone, with my day-to-day usage also has been very good. The 4000mAh battery was able to get me 5-6 hours of on-screen time with my medium to heavy usage of the phone. With the power-efficient Kirin processor and optimized software, the battery life of the phone is commendable. The phone, however, packs an outdated USB Type 2.0 instead of the, now standard, USB Type-C which is quite a bummer. The Y9 2018 also lacks any fast charging capabilities making it a chore to charge the device up. That said, the day-to-day experience of using the phone was very good and I quite liked it.
The Y9 2018 runs EMUI 8.0 based on Android 8.0 Oreo. It is a sweet deal that the phone is offering Android Oreo out of the box. All Pun intended! The software experience on the phone has been very smooth. Everything is where it should be with the option for customizability. One thing though I would have loved to see in the UI is a bit more consistency with the app icons. Even though it’s not a big deal, I would have appreciated it if the icons were all round or all squircle. Just a small pet peeve!
That aside, EMUI 8.0 is packed to the boots with tons of handy features. Features like the HiBoard, App twin, the customizable navigation keys, split-screen multitasking, and quick switch came in handy at times. I also love the changing lock screen which gave me an interesting wallpaper to glance over. Another software function that I loved using was the Face Unlock. Though it uses the front camera and software to scan the face, the feature works very well. It works so well that it was even able to detect my face and unlock the phone in a pitch black room. I was totally amazed by this! As long as your eyes are facing the phone without your nose and mouth being covered, the phone will unlock.
A super convenient feature to have!
The phone also has a fingerprint scanner at the rear and it works superbly! I, however, haven’t made much use of it as I mainly use the Face Unlock. Although, it has come in handy in taking those quick selfies and using some gestures.
Verdict- Huawei Y9 2018: Nepal Reviews
Huawei is all about providing quality products at an affordable price and that shows in the Huawei Y9 2018. The phone takes a lot of cues from the Huawei Nova 2i, which is a good thing. It offers all the goodness of the Nova 2i, minus a gig of RAM, in a more modern body and at an affordable price. Some of the features that I can’t get enough of are the Face Unlock, AR capabilities, the near bezel-less design, the sleek build and, damn, those cameras. Everything about the Huawei Y9 2018 screams quality!
During the week’s time span that I used the phone, I was totally spellbound by it. Though there are some shortcoming like the lack of a USB Type-C port, it is a small price to pay for an otherwise amazing smartphone. For everything the Huawei Y9 2018 has to offer, it truly is the best smartphone under Rs 26,000, right now, here in Nepal.
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