Huawei P9 and P9 Plus tips and tricks

The Huawei P9 and its even bigger sibling the Huawei P9 Plus are seriously impressive devices, with lots of power and useful features. But are you making the most of them? These are our favorite Huawei P9 and P9 Plus tips and tricks.

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From clever cameras to smooth selfies, the P9 and P9 Plus are packed with features. / © ANDROIDPIT

Huawei P9


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Huawei P9 / P9 Plus tip: use the camera’s pro mode

The twin-camera setup in the P9 and P9 Plus is very clever – by providing one color sensor and one black and white sensor the camera can gather much more light and produce much more detailed images than a single-sensor camera can manage – but if you want to get really creative you should pop the camera into Pro mode. This enables you to change the focal points, adjust the shutter speed from lightning fast to glacially slow, change the white balance and set the ISO. It’s very like using a digital SLR, and you’ll find that controlling the ISO and shutter can banish the blur that sometimes affects shots in automatic mode.

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Pro Mode gives you complete control over shutter speeds, ISO and aperture. / © ANDROIDPIT

Huawei P9 / P9 Plus tip: get longer battery life

Big screens make big demands of big batteries, so if you’re finding that your P9 or P9 Plus isn’t making it through the day you’ll need to turn to the power saving modes. Huawei’s Smart battery mode tries to reduce battery consumption without obviously affecting performance, but if you’re lost in the woods, being chased by a maniac and really need your battery to last longer the ultra power saving mode throttles everything down for maximum longevity.

There’s another power saving option: ROG power saving. This cuts the screen resolution down to 720 x 1280, which Huawei says makes a big difference to how long your battery lasts.

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The P9 should last a typical working day, but if you need more longevity it has multiple power saving modes. / © ANDROIDPIT

Huawei P9 / P9 Plus tip: use wide aperture mode

Fancy some creamy bokeh? If you’re not a photographer you might not know the term, but you’ve seen it: it’s the effect you get with a good camera when the subject is pin-sharp but the immediate background is blurry. The P9 and P9 Plus’s camera does a pretty good impression of bokeh in its wide aperture mode. In the camera app, go into aperture mode, tap the thing you want to focus on and then set the aperture to somewhere between f/0.95 and f/16.

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If the screen’s a little bluish, you can adjust the color temperature. / © ANDROIDPIT

Huawei P9/P9 Plus tip: change the color temperature

One common criticism of the P9’s screen is that its color reproduction is a little on the blue side. You can change the color temperature in Settings: the Warm option makes the screen a little dimmer but its colors more accurate.

Huawei P9/P9 Plus tip: Kill All, apart from that one

We’re used to killing apps in the task switcher, but Huawei’s Emotion UI adds a useful feature: down-swipe on an app and when you hit the Kill All button, it kills everything but that app. That’s particularly useful if you’re needing all your device’s power for something demanding such as a game.

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You can take a screenshot by rapping your knuckles on the display. / © ANDROIDPIT

Huawei P9/P9 Plus tip: use Smart Assistance to change the interface

Huawei’s Smart Assistance is enormously clever. It enables you to change the interface to make it easier to use, so for example you can customize the navigation buttons or have a floating dock that gives you access to navigation when you need it. There’s a one-handed UI for one-handed operation, and there’s also a bunch of motion control options. You can use Draw to summon an app by drawing its first letter; Flip to mute incoming calls, or timers and alarms; Tilt to move icons and widgets; and Smart Screenshot to take a shot by bashing the screen with your knuckles.

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You don’t even need to touch your phone: you can answer or reject calls with voice control. / © ANDROIDPIT

Huawei P9/P9 Plus tip: control your phone by yelling at it

The P9 doesn’t just have motion control. It has voice control too. If you switch the features on you can answer or reject calls by saying “answer call” or “reject call” and you can wake up your device with your voice. You can customize the wake-up command, which is fun, and you can train the voice recognition so it’s better at understanding you.

Do you have any favourite features, tips or tricks that we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments.

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