Released last year, Huawei’s entry to mid-ranger smartphone, the Y9s is the newest addition to the Y line. Following the Y9 Prime launched late last year, it also sports a pop-up camera and a full view display. Falling just below the P15k mark, it promises flagship quality without breaking the bank. Let’s see if it’s worth putting our money on.

It Pops

Perhaps the largest selling piece of the Y9s is its pop-up camera because what’s there not to love? Hiding the front camera means you get all the screen without a notch or hole in sight so you get a 6.59 inches of obstruction-free, full-screen glory.

The 16 MP elevating front camera isn’t just a cool to show off to your friends to, it’s also pretty durable. Take selfies all day because Huawei guarantees that the phone can pop up and retract 100,000 times without issue. It can also hold a force of about 15 kg from the front side (please don’t try this at home) so don’t worry about any accidental hits. And if you’re like me and tend to drop your phone a lot, its built-in smart drop protection detects a falling phone so if your hand accidentally slips when the front camera is up, it automatically retracts it to prevent damage. Yes, I did try this at home (over a bed!)—it really works.  

Now, let’s talk rear cameras. The Y9s flaunts a triple camera set-up that comprises of a main 48 MP shooter, 8MP ultra-wide angle lens, and a 2 MP depth-sensing lens. Additionally, the main camera is a 6 Plastic (6P) lens which gives better image quality.

It does struggle a little bit with auto-focusing and blurring the background when it comes to non-human subjects but overall, it takes stunning portraits with great detail. Color replication is also bright and vibrant.

For video, it can shoot up to 1080p at 60fps and 16x slow-motion at 480 fps. Its electronic image stabilization (EIS) that also ensures that your memories are smooth and stable in every frame. The EIS feature only supports 720p video, though.

Sample Shots:

Yes, I know. All I take photos of are food.

All screen

The Y9s features a whopping 91% screen to body ratio and hides a micro-seam earpiece and ambient light sensor to ensure thin bezels and more screen. There’s no in-screen scanner here, though. Instead, Huawei’s put in the same side scanner like it did on the Nova 5T that I’ve come to appreciate. This frees up the back as well, so you get a full gorgeous, polished glass back. I particularly like the breathing crystal colorway, too. It goes from a deep lilac to aqua to a light sky blue and reflects light from different directions. Let me just say that I will never grow tired of the holographic white that has become sort of a trend recently and will forever wax poetic about its beautiful color-shifting tones as you tilt the phone from side to side. For those who want something more toned-down, there’s also a Midnight Black colorway available.

However, I’ve noticed that it tends to slip and slide quite often—especially when placed on fabric or a slightly angled surface. Best to use the protective clear jelly case that it comes with to reduce accidental drops.

High Powered

The Y9s is not all aesthetics, though. Gamers are in for a treat as it is powered by the Kirin 710F that is said to deliver 75% better single core performance and doubles the power efficiency and delivers 1.3 times higher performance in GPU than the old Kirin 659 chipset. It also supports GPU Turbo 3.0 that optimizes mobile games for better image quality and lowers power consumption. This is paired to 6GB of RAM + 128 GB of ROM that is expandable up to 512 GB via microSD.  

In a particularly heated round of Call of Duty (COD), the phone did heat up a bit—nothing too uncomfortable—but cools down as soon as you slow down. It didn’t lag or slow one bit though and the notch-less full screen made playing on it an absolute treat.

Out of the box, the Y9s runs on EMUI 9.1 based on Android 9 Pie and comes pre-installed with a couple of third-party apps like Agoda, Booking.com, Netflix, and Camera 360. It also comes with a ‘Ride Mode’ app and setting that locks out your apps and displays a blank screen with only the current time and a large phone icon. It also disables bluetooth and headset and automatically answers calls with voice or SMS, depending on your settings.

Sound comes from a single, bottom-firing speaker. It’s fine at mid-volume and is loud enough to fill a room but nothing to get excited about. There’s also still a 3.5 mm headphone jack here (yay).

Battery-wise, It packs in a 4,000 mAh battery that can easily last an entire workday or to be exact, a good 12 hours (based on PC Mark’s battery life test). It also comes with USB type-C but not a fast charger. Charging takes around 2 or so hours for a full charge.

Our Opinion

The Huawei Y9s is a balanced phone that gives solid specs at a very attainable price. Delivering camera and processing power that can be found on higher-end models, it offers great value for gamers, content creators, and photography enthusiasts alike—retailing at P13,990.


Full Specs

Display: 6.59” LCD FHD+ Full View screen, 2340 x 1080 resolution

SIM: Dual nano

Operating system: EMUI 9.1.0, based on Android 9 Pie

Processor: Kirin 710F

GPU: Mali-G51

Memory: 6GB RAM

Storage: 128GB internal, expandable up to 512GB via microSD

Cameras: Rear – 48MP (f/1.8 aperture) + 8MP ultra wide (f/2.4 aperture) + 2MP (f/2.4 aperture), Autofocus, dual LED Flash; Front – 16MP motorized pop-up

Connectivity: & I/O ports: Wi-Fi 2.4/5 GHz 802.11 b/g/n, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, hotspot; 4G/4G+; Bluetooth 4.2, A2DP, LE; NFC; A-GPS, GLONASS, Beidou, GALILEO, BDS; FM Radio; USB type-C; side-mounted fingerprint sensor; 3.5 mm audio jack

Battery: Non-removable 4,000mAh, 10W charging

Dimensions & weight:  163.1mm  x 77.2 mm x 8.8 mm , 206g

Color: Breathing Crystal, Midnight Black

Price: P13,990

Huawei Y9s Full Review: the 'flagship' Entry-Level
Build Quality 9
Form Factor 9
Ease of Use 9
Performance 9
Value for Money9
9Overall Score

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