Huawei P9, P9 Plus arrive to take on the iPhone with dual-lens camera system

New smartphones from Huawei use deal with Leica to challenge flagship rivals.

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Huawei is gunning for the likes of Samsung with the P9 and P9 Plus smartphones.

Image: Huawei

Huawei has unveiled its P9 and P9 Plus flagship smartphones, touting the handsets' dual-lens camera system as a key selling point.

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The metal-bodied P9 is a 5.3-inch device with 5.2-inch full HD screen, with 423PPI - more than the eye can identify, said Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei's consumer business group.

Other screen specs include 96 percent colour saturation and 500nits brightness. The device runs EMUI, a version of Android Marshmallow, and has a 3000mAh battery -- which Huawei says is twice the capacity of the iPhone 6S. Support for fast charging means 10 minutes of power will deliver five hours talk time. Huawei is promising 12 hours of HD video playback or 8 hours of 4G browsing - and more than one day of heavy usage between charges.

Read a hands-on with the Huawei P9 on ZDNet sister site, CNET.

Indeed in running through the specs, Huawei had the iPhone and Samsung Galaxy S7 in its sights, noting the P9 is a, slightly, thinner device than both at 6.95mm - and unlike those rivals the camera sensor doesn't stick out of the back.

"We have no camera bump at all - it's absolutely flush," said Yu.

Huawei is putting lots of emphasis on the camera, developed as part of a partnership with iconic photography brand Leica

CEO of Leica, Oliver Kaltner, said the Huawei P9 is the starting point of a long-term collaboration between the two companies.

It's a dual lens camera system with a 12MP camera sensor, one RGB sensor and one monochrome sensor, as combining the two means better quality images in low light conditions. Full manual control in 'Professional mode' allows users to control shutter speed, exposure and more.

Other features include fingerprint sensor and the Kirin 955 2.5GHz octocore processor, as well as a Dual SIM and micro SD storage.

According to analysts Garter, Huawei is the third largest smartphone maker in the world, with an eight percent market share in the fourth quarter of last year, during which period it sold around 32 million smartphones. Among the top five smartphone makers, only Huawei and Samsung managed to increase sales to end users during that period.

The handsets will be available from April 16 in China, Europe and the Middle East.

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