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Huawei Y9 2019 review: Competition for midrange players

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Last week we told you about the launch of the Huawei Y9 2019, a new addition into the Y Series.

If you are familiar with the Huawei Y7, the Huawei Y9 2019 is not something new for you. Like the Y7, this one packs industry’s top features like a bezel-less display with an overall 82.8% screen to body ratio, quad cameras, an FHD+ screen, etc. All these come for a price of just Ksh. 24,990 (approximately $250).

So, is this phone as good as it really looks or there’s something off about it?

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Let’s find out in our Huawei Y9 2019 review.

Huawei Y9 2019 Full Specifications

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Network Connectivity

  • 2G: GSM, GPRS, EDGE 900 / 1800 MHz
  • 3G: UMTS, WCDMA, HSDPA 850 / 900 / 2100 MHz
  • 4G: LTE bands 1(2300) / 3(1800) / 5(850) / 40(2300) / 41(2500)
  • SIM Type: Dual-SIM, Nano-SIM
  • Bluetooth: v4.2
  • WiFi: Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, hotspot
  • GPS: Yes
  • USB: microUSB v2.0

Design and Display

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  • Dimensions: 162.4 x 77.1 x 8.1 mm
  • Weight: 173g
  • Display: 6.5-inch, 1080 x 2340 pixels, 19:9 aspect ratio, IPS display
  • Sensors: Fingerprint, Ambient light, Accelerometer, Proximity
  • Build: Plastic
  • Colours: Sapphire Blue and Midnight Black

Hardware and Software

  • Processor Type: 64-bit Octa-core 2.2 GHz Cortex-A53
  • Processor Name: Kirin 710
  • Graphics Processor: Mali-G51 MP4 GPU
  • OS: Android 8.1 Oreo with EMUI 8.2
  • RAM: 4 GB
  • Internal Storage: 64GB
  • External Storage: microSD, up to 256GB


  • Rear Camera: 16MP + 2MP dual rear cameras, auto-focus, LED flash
  • Video recording: 1080 @ 30fps
  • Front-facing Camera: 13MP+ 2MP dual front camera with flash


  • Music Support: MP3/WAV/eAAC+ player
  • Audio:
  • Loudspeaker: Mono
  • Video Support: MP4/MPEG4 player
  • FM Radio: Yes

Design: What’s on the outside?

Straight out of the box, the Y9 2019 certainly doesn’t look and feel like a mid-range smartphone.

I don’t have a complaint about Y9’s design. It looks sleek and stylish with the huge 6.5-inch screen wrapped around it. The back panel on our model is Sapphire Blue with a shiny texture with a plastic metallic like build, and its design gives it a premium touch. The back houses 2 camera lenses, the flash, along with the fingerprint scanner and “Huawei” etched at the bottom. On the front, you’ll see 2 more cameras and the earpiece on the notch.


Everything looks good and in place and it’s so impressive that the Huawei guys were so generous to pack the phone with a free screen protector-already fit on the screen, you don’t have to worry about purchasing that.

 I did use the plastic transparent cover provided in the box because the back panel is a grease and fingerprint magnet for those with sweaty palms, wasn’t so impressed by this. But, the phone is comfortable to hold, looks good on the hands and slips into pockets very well.

According to smartphone trends it seems like the “less bezels” trend seems to catching on with Huawei phones as well. This day’s most smartphones don’t come with hardware keys any longer, thereby making the screens bigger for media consumption, and it’s a good thing especially for those into phones for productivity and entertainment.

The phone is running Android 8.1 Oreo under Huawei’s own EMUI 8.2. – that’s the standard Huawei-made software made to make the entire Huawei family of phones unique in this ever-changing industry of Androids.
The dimensions of Huawei Y9 (2019) are 162.4 x 77.1 mm x 8 mm in size and it weighs just 173 grams.

The display

The Huawei Y9 2019 has a 6.5-inch Full View FHD+ 3D curved design display @ 1080 x 2340 pixels with a notch on top. This translates into 396 ppi density with an overall 82.8% screen to body ratio. The notch houses the two selfie cameras and other sensors and right on top of it is the earpiece.

You might think that the viewing experience is excellent. You’re not wrong. Although I’m not really one for playing games on the phone, the Y9 2019 will make me change my thoughts on that. However, I do spend my time reading a lot and the big screen and the Full HD+ resolution was quite the welcoming experience.

That’s not all though. The phone also boasts of being the first to be TÜV Rheinland Certified to ensure a gentle visual experience. With TÜV Rheinland, users can now stay up as long as they want because this mode will filter out harsh blue frequencies and reduce blue light damage, as well as give their eyes comfort in low light to provide extra comfort with Huawei Reading. Basically, this is when you can set the screen settings to avoid visual fatigue. If you do a lot of reading on your phone like me, I’m pretty sure you’ll find this feature helpful.

Other than that, the viewing angles, color accuracy and contrast of the display are good and it also provides ample brightness for you even under sunlight.

The camera

Let’s be frank with each other. What you all really want to know about is the camera, right?  I was quite curious about this as well.

There are a pair of dual cameras on the Huawei Y9 (2019) a 13MP + 2MP at the front and a 16MP + 2MP on the rear positioned vertically on the upper left corner. The 2 MP shooter is for background blur and Portrait Mode effects in both instances. In layman’s language, users are getting 4 cameras in total, 2 at the front and 2 at the back.
The Y9 2019 camera app itself is packed with a variety of features and modes. The camera app comes with different modes such as light painting, panorama, AR lens (Snapchat filters aren’t handy now), time-lapse, etc. If you’re picky about settings, the camera has a pro mode too.

What we know for a fact is that Huawei is taking their camera game pretty seriously, even with the budget/mid-range phones. The Y9 camera serves well for the average user. Plus, if you enjoy trying out different shots with various modes and features, you can certainly up your creativity game with the Huawei Y9 2019 Smartphone.

Taking pictures with a mobile phone is an essential part of our daily life. To get a perfect picture we need some skills as well as an excellent camera phone. Huawei Y9 2019 features both front dual camera and rear dual camera for hardware level Bokeh effect. Most of the phones with a single camera creates Bokeh effect only with software, while Huawei improves the technology with numerous research and accumulated knowledge.

The primary camera helps to focus while the secondary camera adjusts the distance to simulate DSLR performance, creating pictures with clearer layers and sharper edges. And with the help of AI optimization, you can take professional pictures easily, anytime anywhere in all conditions;

HDR mode:






AI mode: 

The Huawei Y9 2019 integrates AI machine learning algorithm which improves with use and creates 22 different category labels including Portrait, Blue Sky, Snow, Ancient Building, Fireworks, Greenery, Cat, Dog, Text, Food, and Car. With intelligent image identification technology, AI photography helps to select the optimized background and adjusts all the parameters after analyzing the scene (up to 500+ scenarios), so your pictures always look the best.

The phone also features AI stabilization and Night Mode to create 6 seconds long exposure, to capture all the details and adjust the brightness in the low-light environment; Photography is also the art of light, and appropriate lighting can add aesthetic effects to the picture. Y9 2019 integrates AI 3D lighting to create different effects such as soft lighting, stage lighting, butterfly lighting and split lighting; and with the beautifying algorithm, you can produce studio-quality portraits in seconds.

Although, I noticed that the AI mode doesn’t enable the zoom feature when taking pictures.


Getting on to the security aspect, the Huawei Y9 2019 ships with 2 extra security features apart from the normal security code. The fingerprint sensor and the Face ID. The fingerprint sensor is snappy on use but I have used it only a few times because I got used to using the facial unlock. Although, I was a bit skeptical about the Face ID.

Surprisingly, this feature performs pretty well and is fast. It took me less than three seconds to unlock my phone. Also I could choose which apps needed such kind of security, especially confidential photos or work documents and emails. When wearing my glasses or not my phone managed to recognize me easily; but when it’s dark, it may not recognize you sometimes, but other times, it’s swift.

Audio & Call Quality

Speakers are on the lower portion and are decently loud. But the fact that they get covered most of the times while playing games ruins the fun, I had to be careful to avoid covering them while using the phone when music is playing. Other than that, call quality and network coverage are good.

Battery and performance

I must say that I am satisfied with the massive 4000mAh battery, it makes the need for fast charging quite minimal. The big battery handles my daily usage quite well. I can comfortably get through a day’s work that includes mostly surfing or working on social media, listening to music, a bit of reading and gaming, and of course, capturing moments for the gram.

The Y9 2019 is equipped with the latest Kirin 710 octa-core CPU, which has tremendous improvement on gaming performance. Huawei’s unique GPU Turbo technology is also supported by Y9 2019. GPU Turbo re-architects how graphics are being processed at a system level. With hardware-software integrated solution, GPU performance is improved dramatically- enabling greater graphics fidelity and gaming performance while improving efficiency. By supporting GPU Turbo, Huawei Y9 2019’s GPU efficiency has doubled and its basic performance increased by 1.3x, providing consistent and reliable gaming experiences for endless fun.

The Uninterrupted Gaming Mode 2.0  on the phone helps to stop all the interruptions during the game time; it can filter unimportant notifications while incoming calls and text messages will only be shown as silent notifications so you can focus on your game. The phone also provides a Zero Interruptions Mode for serious gamers which temporarily turns off the voice call functions of both SIM cards, only keeping data connection available

I’d say almost every graphics intensive game performs without a glitch. Plus, I I’ve also multitasked on the phone quite often. So far, the Y9 2019’s Kirin 710 processor and 4GB RAM have worked smooth for me. But in the long run, this is also when the battery drains a little faster too.

At light usage, like for social media, clicking pictures and the like, users get a life of nearly two days on a single charge. I know the inclusion of fast charging support is necessary in this day and age, but I think the addition of a battery this large in capacity is a very balanced effort by Huawei.

As a high-quality entry-level phone, HUAWEI Y9 2019 is a must for all the gamers. The Kirin 710 chip works together with Huawei’s unique GPU Turbo technology, allowing smooth and high-quality gaming performance. The Game Suite can keep you focus on your games; and Karaoke mode, Party mode and Histen 5.0 bring users more wonderful entertainment.

The One-click Transfer is something else I liked on the phone. Huawei Phone Clone is an app that allows users to copy and transfer information from one device to another conveniently. The application is compatible with almost all Android devices including copying and transferring contact list, data, videos, audios, pictures, SMS, documents and third-party applications as well as messages contained in WeChat and SMS. For iPhones, the app can copy and transfer pictures, videos, contact list and event schedules (text messages and third-party apps are currently not supported)


The Huawei Y9 2019 features Party Mode for playing the same track synchronously on a number of interconnected phones under the same WLAN, to create the live-band effect and bigger volume. It also supports 5.1/7.1 surround sound, so the device can be used as a speaker in the 5.1/7.1 surround sound system.

The phone also adopts Histen 5.0 technology to simulate surround sound effect, and with enhanced bass and optimized headphone performance for both live-streaming and gaming, you can enjoy immersive sound effect for movies or music.

Y9 2019 features the latest Karaoke Mode which can realize real-time headphone sound feedback, while the feature is also optimized for various karaoke, video and live-streaming apps.


Firstly, The Huawei Y9 2019 is an affordable Smartphone for the young generation of gamers and photographers.

The build of the body and design makes the phone feel a like a flagship phone. But it also means that the phone can get quite slippery and have fingerprint markings on hot days. I didn’t pay too much attention to this initially, but I found myself preferring to have the transparent casing on it. So you might want to get a case for your phone if you plan on getting one.

The camera, for the most part works perfect, especially when considering the price range and the features it offers. Although there’s room for improvement in the low light photography department. This sometimes takes a toll on the Face ID feature too when there’s not enough light around the face.

Summing up, the things I have liked on this device are the display, design, and the most certainly the Battery life.

Should you buy the Huawei Y9 2019?

If you ask me, getting this phone is a good decision. I would say that if storage and gaming performance is a concern for you, the device pretty much lives up to your expectations.

Remember that it is still a budget/mid-range smartphone. It’s not looking to offer everything you would expect out of a flagship phone. But it sure packs more features at a cheap price. With that, the Y9 2019 does itself justice if you’re keen on getting a new smartphone that works smoothly. You might want to check this out.

The Huawei Y9 2019 is currently priced at Ksh. 24,990 and can be purchased at Huawei retail outlets, Telkom shops and on Jumia Kenya.

What are your thoughts on the recently launched Huawei Y9 2019? Will you be getting one? Do let us know.

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Feritter Owich
Feritter Owich
I am the mobile editor here. I cover apps, smartphones and anything else related to consumer electronics. Reach me at [email protected]

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