Sony SmartWatch 3

Sony SmartWatch 3 review

UPDATED: Now with added steel, we revisit Sony's sporty Android Wear debutant


The Sony SmartWatch 3 may not be the hottest Android Wear device on paper, but with built-in GPS and a slick new all-metal design, it's one of the most complete smartwatches we've reviewed.
With the new stylish looking stainless steel version hitting the stores, we thought it only right that we updated our comprehensive SmartWatch 3 review….

Sony SmartWatch 3: Design and display

The Sony SmartWatch 3 isn't exactly breaking any new ground with its aesthetics.It takes its design cues from the rubber-strapped GPS running watch brigade and unsurprisingly looks more sporty than fashionable.The rubber strap, black or yellow as standard but with additional accessory straps available, features a nice adjustable clasp – allowing you to get a perfect fit – and you can simply pop the smartwatch module in and out to mix and match straps.


It's a comfortable, lightweight design if a little bland. It's a smartwatch that suits a pair of joggers and trainers more than it does your smartest chinos and loafers.
Essential reading: The world's best smartwatches
One thing that we did notice about that strap – it seemed to collect dust and grime like no watch we've ever seen before, as if it's some kind of fluff magnet. You'll see what we mean in the hands-on pics.
The stainless steel version adds a bit of style to the mix and people who like the weighty assurance of luxury metal watches won't be disappointed by the feel.
This version uses the traditional link system, so you can adjust it to get a comfortable fit. It's probably best to let a watch shop do this though, as it's not easy and you could damage the straps trying to get the pins out.
The display is a 1.6-inch, 320 x 320, LCD affair, which lags behind the AMOLED tech found on the latest Samsung and Asus smartwatches. And it's a deficiency that's really noticeable with the screen offering very little vibrancy, and appearing pale and faded.
Viewing angles also aren't great and, even with the brightness turned up full whack, you're not going to be blown away. Let's hope the next Sony SmartWatch follows the lead of the Xperia smartphone line by tapping into the tech giant's years of display heritage.

Sony SmartWatch 3: GPS tracking


The biggest selling point of the Sony SmartWatch 3 is that it packs in GPS connectivity. That's obviously a massive plus for anyone who wants to accurately track their runs without having to lug their smartphone around with them.
Since Google introduced GPS support for Android Wear in the platform's first big update, the major players in the run tracking app game have been slow to got their acts together. The RunKeeper app was recently updated to include GPS support for Android Wear devices though, and the other option for smartphone-free GPS tracking is Google's own MyTracks app.
Must download: Best Sony SmartWatch 3 apps
Using MyTracks, which is fairly basic, we found that the GPS tracking on the Sony SmartWatch 3 was actually impressive. We did a few runs with it strapped on and the distances tallied with our regular minutes per mile pace. We also compared it with the Adidas miCoach Smart Run running watch and found that, over a 10km run, the SmartWatch 3 was within 20m after the 10,000m run – a great result.

Sony SmartWatch 3: Hardware

The Sony SmartWatch 3 is not only the first Android Wear device to pack GPS skills, it's also got NFC and Wi-Fi connectivity built in – although there aren't yet any features taking advantage of this hardware yet. However, there's a good chance that future Android Wear updates will add functions that make use of this connectivity – Google Wallet would be nice – so the SW3 is fairly future proof.
The SmartWatch 3 has 4GB of storage space – pretty standard for an Android Wear smartwatch – and is powered by a quad-core 1.2GHz Arm A7 processor, which seems a bit like overkill in the early days of Android's newest ecosystem.
You won't find an app that makes the SmartWatch 3 stutter – although that's also the case with other Android Wear devices with much less powerful processors.
One thing the Sony SmartWatch 3 lacks, compared to some of its OS brethren, is an optical heart rate sensor but, given the inaccurate bpm info we've seen recorded from the likes of the Gear Live and the Moto 360, that's no great loss.

Sony SmartWatch 3: Android Wear features

When it comes to Android Wear smartwatches, there's very little differentiation in features, and the experience is fairly standard across the current spectrum. The beauty of Android Wear is that it's a vanilla experience – it's more or less the same on every device running Google's smartwatch OS.
For a full breakdown of Android Wear check out our comprehensive Android Wear guide.
As we've stated in previous Android Wear device reviews, such as the LG G Watch R and the Moto 360, the platform is very much still a work in progress.
At times the platform works a treat – glancing at your smartwatch to see that it's a boring text from your boss and not an important group WhatsApp message making your phone buzz, for example, is incredibly handy. As is getting updates on traffic delays to the location of your afternoon meeting.
At other times it's just infuriating and annoying; swiping through unwanted Google Now-style cards just to get a clean watch face, for example, or wishing you could scroll through recent notifications from a specific app.
Essential reading: LG G Watch R review
Music playback with a Bluetooth speaker or some Bluetooth headphones is a feature that is available on all Android Wear watches now, but it definitely feels the most useful on the Smartwatch 3 – there really is no need to take your smartphone out running anymore with Sony's latest wearable on your wrist.
We had no trouble pairing the SW3 to our Monster iSport running cans or our Cambridge Audio office speaker – although the music syncing options through Google Play music is still a basic setup (all or nothing, essentially). Again, that's an Android Wear issue though and not one specific to the SmartWatch 3.
The latest Android Wear update adds customisable watch faces to download with ease, so the amount of ones originally on offer with any device is kind of irrelevant now. It's 15 with the Sony, in case you were wondering though – each one as mundane as the last.
Our advice is to get yourself over to Google Play, quickfast, and download some more exciting options.

Sony SmartWatch 3: Battery life and extras

 Great news - there's a 420mAh battery inside the SmartWatch 3 – which is the biggest we've seen on an Android Wear smartwatch to date, and you should have no bother achieving the quoted life of two days.

It's also great that Sony's newest smartwatch charges via Micro USB as there's no need to carry around a separate charging accessory. With the stainless steel version, it is incredibly awkward to get the charger in though, as there's not much room to move at the back with the sealed strap.
The SW3 ups the ante when it comes to waterproofing. All the other Android Wear models, aside from the Asus ZenWatch (which can only manage an IP55 rating), are IP67 rated – meaning they can last 30 minutes in water at a depth of 1m. Sony's effort has an IP68 rating, so you can go double the depth for double the time without damage, which will hopefully enable swimming features in the future.

Tag Heuer Connected

Our comprehensive verdict on the most expensive Android Wear device to date
Months after declaring its intentions to join the smartwatch party, Tag Heuer finally pulled the covers off of its Android Wear debutant at an exclusive New York event.
Since then, the first Google smartwatch powered by Intel silicone has gone on sale, albeit in limited numbers, and is proving to be quite the commercial success – gold and diamond models (link to the story) are already being touted for next year.
Lord only knows how much those models will end up costing – the non-encrusted Tag Heuer Connected, on review here, retails at $1,500; which is around five times what the new Moto 360 costs and double what the next most expensive Android Wear model – the gold Huawei Watch – will set you back.
 Then again, good luck finding a Tag Heuer for less than the Connected's asking price. It's not a brand that comes cheap. However, after two years, you can have your Tag Heuer Connected exchanged for a mechanical watch.
You'll have to cough up the same price again for the replacement mechanical model, although Tag assures us it would have a retail price of the total outlay.
But is it worth the hefty original price tag? Read on to find out…

Tag Heuer Connected: Design and build 


Let's not beat around the bush, the Tag Heuer Connected is a ridiculously good-looking smartwatch. From afar it genuinely looks like a regular Tag Heuer watch - it's only when you get up close that you notice it's quite a bulky beast. 12.8mm is this smart Tag's waistline measurement, which is a fair bit chunkier than its round Android Wear rivals - the Huawei Watch is 11.3mm and the new Moto 360 is 11.4mm.
And it shows. It raises a fair bit off the wrist and is anything but female friendly. But that's not really an issue as far as I'm concerned. I like chunky, luxury watches and the Tag Heuer certainly fits that description.
It's so comfortable. So, so comfortable. Especially given I'd been wearing an Asus ZenWatch 2 (easily the most uncomfortable smartwatch so far) for a few weeks before getting my mitts on the Tag. The Connected is a million miles from that.
It's mega light, for a start - surprisingly so when you first slip it on. At 52g (for the case), it's 10% lighter than its lookalike the LG G Watch R. That's the result of the grade 2 titanium, which looks awesome by the way on the fine-brushed lugs; although the back plate is disappointingly constructed from plastic (although the swish logo engraving almost makes up for that).

The clasp is easily the best constructed we've seen on Android Wear so far although, like the top end, it does protrude from the wrist a fair bit.
I've been wearing the black variant but, at the launch event last month, I did see all the other colours in the flesh. The white one is particularly swanky. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed that the only strap options were vulcanised rubber ones. I'd have loved a stainless steel, or titanium band option.
Back to the plus points though and the black, carbide-coated titanium bezel (boasting anti-finger print tech) and raised numerals look awesome. The LG G Watch R did a decent job of adding this sort of style to the Android Wear line-up but closely comparing the Korean company's effort to the Tag reveals a huge leap in quality. The Tag Heuer Connected lettering on the bezel is engraved with silver lacquer. It just looks so slick.
The design is finished off with a crystal sapphire glass face. It's easily the first Android Wear watch that I've been most annoyed by fingerprints with. Not because it suffers in this area worse than its stablemates. Because it's the only smartwatch that I wanted to keep looking its best.

Tag Heuer Connected: Display

That was all a bit gushing right? However, it's not all brilliant from Tag. I could moan about the lack of GPS but I won't.
What I will quibble about though is the display. Sure, it's fine. It's more than fine actually - its transflective, so it holds up really well under bright lights; even when in the black screen low power state. And the 1.5-inch LCD display, with a 360 x 360 resolution is crisp enough at 240ppi.
But, if you're paying well over a thousand of your hard earned dollars or pounds, you'd want the best of the best. The Huawei Watch has a 400 x 400 display with a ppi count of 286; the highest on any Android Wear device to date. The cancelled LG Watch Urbane Second Edition proved that more was possible; it was on sale, albeit briefly, with a 480 x 480 panel at 348ppi.
I've been told repeatedly by Tag, Intel and Google that the screen is amazing, and that the trade-off for battery life was an important factor. But the fact remains: if you're buying the Tag Heuer Connected, you are not buying the best Android Wear display. Fact. And that's a damn shame.
Tag Heuer clearly didn't want a bright screen blaring out alerts from people's wrists. And it has got just that. Telling the time is a major focus for Tag's smartwatch, unsurprisingly, but we're definitely left hankering for a few more pixels.

Tag Heuer Connected: Time telling


Tag's custom watch faces are by far the best we've seen - with an incredible attention to detail that Tag fans, in particular, will love. There's shadows under the hands. Smooth skimming second hands. An ubiquitous array of dials. Traditional Tag colours. All present and correct and with more than a nod or two to existing popular Tag mechanical models (I particularly love the Chronograph face complete with face tapping stopwatch timer).
Usually we breeze through the digital watch face section in an Android Wear review, mentioning how many exclusive options are on offer and whether they are any good. After all, there are hundreds of options to choose from Google Play if you can't find one you like. It's not really an essential part of the Android Wear offering.
That's different on the Tag Heuer Connected though. The Swiss watchmaker clearly wanted its first digital dive to respect its traditional timepiece roots.
The live notification count, a small number that appears on the face when there's an update for you to read, is unobtrusive and helps to keep Android Wear in the background. Your smartwatch notifications are there if you want them but they won't jump in and ruin the traditional watch ambience.

Tag Heuer Connected: Android Wear

Like Motorola, Tag has done a decent job of adding widgets to its watch faces. However, the 'Themes' face option – which offers three unique dials on a set theme – needs some work. There's only three to choose from; the weather one didn't load any live data; and there's an annoying registration process you have to go through before you can even start to play around with them.I should write more about the features, about how you can get the same OS and, therefore, the same apps and so on for a tenth of the cost elsewhere. But I feel that's missing the point. You shouldn't be buying the Tag Heuer Connected with Android Wear as your primary concern.


Tag Heuer Connected: Hardware & battery 


As mentioned, Intel is on board, powering the Tag Heuer Connected with a dual-core 1.6GHz Intel Atom Z34XX CPU. It was the first Android Wear watch to arrive with Intel power (the Fossil Q Founder has followed it recently) and, after months of using Android Wear watches predominantly with Qualcomm processors, we just hoped we wouldn't see our first signs of smartwatch lag.
We needn't have worried though – Intel's hardware is more than up to the job. It's a seamless experience on the OS and app front and touchscreen responsiveness, gesture controls and voice directions all performed as they should.
Tag promised all-day battery life from the 410mAh battery and we can't argue with that. 26 hours was the longest stretch we had, with heavy-ish usage. Charging is quick, using a dock and there's a nice watch face animation giving a countdown of the charging time remaining when plugged into the mains.
Elsewhere, there's 4GB of storage on-board – standard for Android Wear devices – and the Tag Heuer Connected is IP67 rated.

Tag Heuer Connected: How it compares

It's difficult to compare the Tag Heuer Connected to any of the other Android Wear smartwatches. It's just a different beast entirely. Sure, it runs the same regular Android Wear that its more tech-minded rivals offer up but the feel of the device is just so different. We're not just talking build quality either. It just feels more 'watch' than 'smartwatch'. The notifications and so on are there, but they'll only really bother you if you decide to bypass the carefully designed watch faces. It's up to you to decide how deep you want to dive on the smartwatch side.
That also makes it difficult to compare it to the Apple Watch Edition – the luxury range from Cupertino. Because, while the materials and the construction of the top-end watchOS models are, without doubt, top quality, Apple's smartwatch is very much that: a smartwatch. Even with a 24-karat gold case and bezel, the luxury Apple Watches still very much allude to being a 'digital-assistant'. The Tag Heuer Connected, for some reason, doesn't.
I found myself comparing the Connected to my own mechanical Tag much more than I did to the likes of the Huawei Watch or the LG Watch Urbane. It's a lovely Tag watch first and foremost; the smartwatch features are a bonus. And this is from someone who has lived with, and very much come to rely on, the notifications an Android Wear watch offers over the last 18 months.


We don't expect Asus, LG and Lenovo to start suddenly using titanium in their devices - not everyone has got $1,500 to blow on a smartwatch. But we do expect them to pull their fingers out a bit when it comes to aesthetics, hardware and software.
Brands like Tag Heuer and Fossil are now gate-crashing the wearable tech party and it's no longer acceptable for a smartwatch to be a slimmed down smartphone in watch form. Wearables have to be wearable... it's simple. Traditional tech brands are going to have to deal with the fact they are now competing with companies that have fashion in their DNA.
That's not to say that there's not some nice looking smartwatches out there - LG and Motorola, in particular, are doing great things incorporating style into its wearables - but the arrival of the Tag Heuer Connected definitely signals a new dawn.
The smartwatch features are actually the weakest part of the whole Connected package and the main reason we aren't marking Tag's debut smartwatch higher. That's not really Tag Heuer's fault. Android Wear, and I'm very much a fan, is still a work in progress and is far from the polished, complete article. So while we'd definitely give the design top marks (quibbles about the display and lack of metal strap aside), we can't go any higher with the limitations of Android Wear dragging the Connected down somewhat.

Casio Smart Outdoor WSD-F10

The Casio WSD-F10 Outdoor Smartwatch truly represents the second coming of Android Wear. It ends the era of identikit faux dress watches with no real USP. It reminds us that Android Wear has so much more to offer than pings from our smartphone and badly timed Google Now pronouncements.
The Casio Outdoor Smartwatch is designed for those who love the great outdoors. It's a segment of people who would traditionally look to Suunto or Garmin – or perhaps Casio's non-smart but super-durable G-SHOCK brand – who the company now believes are better served by Android Wear.
With dedicated modes for hiking, fishing and biking, a bevvy of sensors, the ability to hook into apps and services and access a world of data – is the Casio the ultimate outdoors watch? Or does the impending Nixon The Mission leave it stranded on the north face? We found out.

Casio WSD-F10: Design

The app and tool buttons make it easier to access Casio's baked-in features
So there's no denying it. The Casio WSD-F10 is an incredibly large piece of smartwatch. Up there with the Garmin Fenix 3, the Casio's bulk is a result of the meticulous waterproofing and dust-protection.
It offers 50m water resistance designed to military standards – that's MIL-STD-810G, for the dust-proofing aficionados out there. It was the toughest smartwatch around, until the Nixon's The Mission trumped it at Baselworld 2016. With 100m of water resistance, the Nixon wins on the numbers, but both are pretty substantial.
While it's without doubt one of the bulkiest watches going, it's not as heavy as you might think. It weighs 92g with the bulky rubber strap, but we didn't notice it overly, even on our slender wrists.
It's certainly not for everyone, and perhaps too much to wear to the office every day despite the Android Wear features. But in outdoor watch terms, it even trumps the massive Fenix 3 (85g) and Suunto Traverse GPS (80g).
Now onto the screen. The display is the biggest battery drain of any smartwatch, which is a serious problem when you're out on the hills. To counter this, the Casio employs two screens, which can be switched between to conserve power.
The Casio is a big hunk of smartwatch
The main screen is a colour 1.32-inch LCD display with a resolution of 320×300 pixels. It's not exactly mind-blowing, and it's one of the dullest displays we've seen on a smartwatch, presumably to save power. It's also devilishly reflective, which isn't fantastic in direct sunlight, and that's a bit of an issue for an outdoor watch.
Head to the apps screen and choose Timepiece and you can toggle the screen into a monochrome mode. This low-power state will preserve battery, but locks out all extra functionality including the touchscreen. The sensors and apps are also off limits, so all you can do is check the time. If you're out on the hills it's probably the state you want to keep your watch in, before firing up the main OS to dip in and out of the WSD-F10's features.

Casio WSD-F10: Features

The built-in barometer will warn you of inclement weather
So what exactly can this Android Wear-toting hunk of smartwatch do? Well, by using Google's smartwatch OS it brings smartphone notifications and apps to your wrist, notifying you of any messages or calls – and offers you the ability to reply via voice or quick reply.
There's also Google Now information, which comes in the form of tips from Google's services to help you out. This includes offering relevant bus times or travel information from your commute, diary reminders and so on, by harvesting information from the likes of Gmail, Google Calendar and Maps.
This is the standard MO of Android Wear, and if you're particularly interested in those features check out our Android Wear review and guide to Android Wear, as these aspects are constant across Google-powered devices.
But the Casio WSD-F10 changes things slightly. It adds its own apps and services hardcoded into the watch and its own app for controlling the experience.
The main companion app is called Casio Moment Setter+ and this becomes your main point of contact once you've set up using the traditional Android Wear app. The Moment Setter+ enables you to customise the buttons on the right-hand side of the watch.
In the Activity app there are options to track fishing, trekking and cycling as dedicated sports, plus of course you can use any Android Wear app, be it for running, cycling or any sport. And as you come to realise, that's the real power of the Casio as an outdoors watch.

Stainless steel on the back is a nice touch
However, there's something that overshadows the entire ensemble: the lack of GPS. Yes, believe it or not, Casio opted not to add GPS to its outdoors smartwatch. That means that while you can enjoy live air pressure and weather data, it's missing the most obvious location data. All is not lost: you can piggy-back GPS from your smartphone, but that's problematic, too. If you're out on the hills the last thing you want is something draining your phone battery in case it's needed in an emergency.
The lack of GPS is clearly an attempt to save precious battery power. However, it's not a trade-off that has to be made. The Fenix 3 has a low power GPS option for walking, which offers 50 hours of tracking. It can be done. The fact that Casio hasn't included built-in GPS points to a lack of technical prowess (few brands can hold a candle to Garmin's power management) or that Android Wear is too power hungry. Either way, it's a serious omission – and one that's being rectified by Nixon, even though the results are yet to be seen.

Casio WSD-F10: Sensors, apps and tracking

So there's no GPS. Life must go on. And the Casio is filled with alternative sensors to bolster its outdoor prowess.
Positioned around the bezel are sensors to read air pressure, altitude, an accelerometer, gyrometer and a magnetometer to act as a compass.
It's an impressive list, but meaningless without harvesting the data. And Casio does that impressively though its Tool apps, and a handful of third party offerings.
Firstly, the Activity app. This provides tracking for the tri-sportage of fishing, cycling and trekking that make up the Casio's USPs. Turn on fishing mode and you'll get elapsed time, atmospheric pressure change over the last two hours and the current atmospheric reading, so you can track weather changes in real time.

The atmospheric sensors sit on the watch bezel
Trekking mode shows time, traveling speed and altitude remaining to your goal. And finally, cycling shows time and distance on the watch face.
The three modes are slightly limiting, and it's a little annoying that you can't choose the information you see. For example, it would be great if fishing mode could swipe right for tide times, but it doesn't.
You can, however, add some nifty alerts in the Casio Moment Setter+ app. In each mode you can set IFTTT style alerts: an alarm X hours before high tide in X city, show a map of your location every 30 minutes, a reminder to eat every time 500kcal is burned. There are scores of options to customise, and while there are shortcomings, it's great that Casio has made the sensors useful.
Each sensor can be viewed on its own via the Tool button (or app) on the Casio. When the Tool app fires up, you can swipe through each sensor in turn to get full screen readouts. What's more, not every option is turned on by default, but a quick trip to the Casio Moment Setter+ app can apply extra data like sunrise/sunset data and My Graph, which is Casio's own activity tracking app that shows steps, calories and workout times.
You can switch out of any tracking mode to cycle through these screens as you wish, just by heading back to the home screen and pressing the Tool button.
All in all, the array of sensors and supporting apps is a real boon for Casio. They've made them impressively relevant and useful for those out on the hills, especially via the customisable alerts. It's just a shame that GPS can't complete the ensemble.

Casio WSD-F10: Third party apps

While Casio's built-in apps are decent, the watch does provide you with some third-party options as well. This is just a handful of apps, though, and it's worth checking if your favourites can access the Casio's sensors.
The main third-party app worth highlighting is Viewranger. This requires a free sign up and you can track walks and hikes in better detail than with the built-in Casio app. While the app on the Casio will track open hikes and display distance, altitude and heading, you can also set up routes on the smartphone app and have the watch guide you, which is especially useful if you're trekking off the beaten path.
There are also apps from MyRadar and YAMAP pre-installed on the watch (you'll be fired off to Google Play to download the phone part).

Casio WSD-F10: Battery life

The magnetic charger sits above the sensors
The crucial aspect of this whole ensemble is battery life. Can you spend all day on the hills and still have the Casio tracking your every move? Well, it's a tight run thing. Casio has done everything in its power to eke the maximum battery life out of the Outdoor Smartwatch, and it's just about succeeded in making it usable.
As a basic smartwatch without using any of the power saving features, the Casio will last around a day and a half, which isn't that impressive given the size.
However, in the various tracking modes the watch shuts itself down, switching to the low power screen. This means you're looking at roughly 20 hours of tracking, although it's highly dependent on the type of activity and how often you interact with the watch. The 20 hour figure came from the fishing mode, but the increased data points from cycling will take that figure down substantially.
You will see even less stamina if using the live tracking in Viewranger, which shows your heading to GPS co-ordinates plotted within the app – again, this uses a handy low-power screen mode when not in use. This would take battery life down even further (again, dependent on how often you fire up the screen) and impact your phone's battery life too, tracking GPS. This, for many, will be a dealbreaker.
To sum up, the Casio's clever battery saving techniques save its blushes, but test it hard enough and you will find the limits. Use the built-in apps and they should see you right for a good day outdoors, but if you're going away for the weekend, pack the charger.


Casio WSD-F10: Price


The Casio and Fenix 3; somehow the Casio manages to outsize the Garmin
Now comes the second big problem. Not the $500 price tag, because in many ways that's worth it – the Garmin Fenix 3 will set you back the best part of $700. It's the availability of the Casio that is the big issue.
The company hasn't updated us since it confirmed that the Casio WSD-F10 won't be released outside the US or Japan. While we have heard reports that Germany is next on the list, that's not confirmed by our Casio sources.
What's more, while you can get it shipped overseas, a lot of the features are blocked. We had to sideload the Casio Moment Setter+ app which was awkward, and you still can't load tide times, for example, for non US or Japanese coastlines.


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Huawei P9 (3)

Huawei P9 – Battery and conclusion :

Huawei P9 – Battery

Smartphones' battery lives haven’t evolved at the same rate as their other qualities. To date most smartphones struggle to constantly last more than one to two days off a single charge. The Huawei P9 doesn’t change this trend, but it’s no worse than most competing handsets, including the Samsung Galaxy S7, LG G5 and HTC 10.
With regular use I usually got around one to one and a half day's use out of the phone’s non-removable Li-Ion 3400mAh battery. Regular use entailed taking and making a few calls, chatting on Hangouts throughout the day, sporadically checking my email and social media feeds, watching a couple of YouTube videos and intermittent music listening.

The phone also dealt fairly well with demanding tasks like video streaming and gaming. Watching Netflix over my lunch break with the screen on 60% brightness the P9 lost 12-15% of its charge, which is pretty standard for a 2016 flagship. Gaming took a bigger toll on the battery. Playing Riptide GP2 the phone lost 15-23% of its charge per hour, which is again normal.
The inclusion of fast charging support also makes it quick and easy to top up the phone’s battery. During my entire time using the P9 it never took more than an hour to fully charge, when connected to a powerful enough plug.

Should I buy the Huawei P9?

The P9 is the best Huawei phone to date. The Leica-branded camera may not fully deliver on Huawei’s claims, but it’s still as good, if not better than, most competing phone cameras.
The P9 doesn’t quite match competing handsets, such as the Galaxy S7, when it comes to its other hardware, but with a £449 starting price it’s over £100 cheaper than its key rivals. The phone’s nippy performance, robust build quality, and solid battery life mean it will meet most users’ needs.
Were it not for the reappearance of Huawei’s EMUI Android skin – which, apart from the LG G5’s UX 5.0, is probably the worst on the market – I’d happily recommend the P9 as a great choice for any smartphone buyer looking for a good deal.

                                                                                          Thank you for reading.

Huawei P9 (2)

Huawei P9 – Performance and softwar :

Huawei P9 – Software

Huawei’s insistence on loading its God-awful Emotion skin onto handsets has been a constant problem. I’ve never liked Android skins, as they generally add bloatware, make needless changes to Android’s now excellent user interface and delay how quickly devices can get upgraded to new versions of the OS.
Despite Huawei having actively worked to tone down EMUI, the skin is still guilty of at least two of these sins and is, in my mind, one of the worst available.
For starters, the OS reworks Android’s user interface to the point that it’s all but unrecognisable. Android’s app tray has disappeared, so all installed applications are now displayed on the phone’s home screens, the same way they are on iOS. Useful shortcuts, like the torchlight in Quick Settings, have also been inexplicable removed. This makes the UI feel alien to even the most seasoned Android user. Considering Android Marshmallow’s awesome Material Design, I can’t help but feel Huawei’s making changes for the sake of it.

Hats off to Huawei for reducing the amount of bloatware on EMUI in recent years, but there’s still more of it than I’d like. Out of the box the phone still runs duplicate Huawei apps that offer either equivalent, or inferior, services to Android’s native versions. Key offenders include the messaging, calendar, email and gallery apps. I’d really like Huawei to take a page out of the HTC 10’s book and stop loading duplicate apps onto its handsets.
It’s too early to say if my third issue with Android skins will repeat itself on the P9. To know we’ll have to wait and see how quickly it gets upgraded to the final version of Android N later this year – though given Huawei’s poor track record with software updates I don’t have high hopes.It’s easy enough to ditch EMUI using a launcher, such as the official Google Now launcher, but it’s still a faff, as the apps and useless features will still be there eating up storage and memory.

My real world impressions rang true when I put the P9 through Trusted's standard series of synthetic benchmark tests.
On AnTuTu, which offers a general measure of a phones’ performance, the P9 scored a respectable 98,008. This puts it well above the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810-powered Nexus 6P, but behind competing Snapdragon 820 handsets, such as the Samsung Galaxy S7. The Nexus 6P scored 50,030 while the Galaxy S7 scored 129,468 by comparison.
The P9’s Geekbench score was a little more interesting. The P9 ran in with respectable 1,750 single-core and 6,281 multi-core scores. The multi-core score is particularly impressive and puts the phone on a par with the Galaxy S7, which scored 6,307 on Geekbench and means the P9 should be great at multitasking.
Gaming performance is less promising. On the GPU-intensive 3DMark Sling Shot benchmark the P9 scored 966. This puts it below most 2016 flagships – the Galaxy S7 scored 2,129 on the same test.

Huawei P9 – Camera

The Huawei P9’s dual-lens Leica camera setup is without doubt its most interesting feature. During the P9’s launch Huawei made so many grandiose claims about the camera that my laptop keyboard all but melted as I manically tried to type them all down.
The big central point is that Leica helped create the camera hardware and software. For non-photography types, Leica is a powerhouse camera brand that has a strong track record of producing premium and ludicrously expensive snappers, and was the company that popularised 35mm film.
Specs-wise the camera rig is pretty impressive. Each of the cameras has a 12-megapixel Sony IMX286 sensor, an LED flash and hybrid autofocus. The only difference between the two is that one sensor is set to capture monochrome images, while the other captures the RGB (colour) spectrum.
Huawei claims the dual setup will help the camera pull off all manner of snazzy shot types and radically improve low-light performance – apparently the black-and-white sensor can capture as much as 300% more light than regular smartphone cameras.

According to Huawei the dual sensor also means the P9 is the first phone in the world that will be able to capture a “professional Bokeh effect”. That's the funky-looking aesthetic that a camera creates from heavily out-of-focus areas of the frame.
Ordinarily I’d have taken all these claims with a pretty big dose of salt – after all HTC made pretty much the exact set of claims when it unveiled its UltraPixel tech on the original One. But because of Leica’s hand in the P9 camera hardware and design I was a little more optimistic.
After a fortnight with the device I can confirm the P9 is capable of taking great photos that match, if not beat, those from the Samsung Galaxy S7 and iPhone 6S on quality. But getting the most out of the P9 can be tricky.
The auto setting works fine in regular light 90% of the time, but at times suffers from a few weird quirks. Pictures are all more than usable, but I noticed the camera has a tendency to add a subtle vignette effect. The camera also sometimes struggles with exposures in bright conditions, resulting in unbalanced images with slightly inaccurate, exaggerated contrast levels.
The weird anomalies likely stem from the dual-camera tech working a little too well and came as a slight surprise. Outside of the dual-lens tech, the P9’s cameras fall behind some competing top-end camera phones, like the Galaxy S7 and HTC 10, on two key areas – pixel size and aperture.

In auto mode photos can take on a reddish tinge

But they generally look really good
The P9 sensors have 1.25μm-size pixels and the lenses have a solid, but not best-in-class, f/2.2 aperture. As a rule of thumb a bigger μm and wider aperture (lower f-number) mean the camera sensor will be able to capture more light and perform better in darker situations. The Galaxy S7 has an f/1.7 aperture and captures 1.4µm pixels while the HTC 10 has an f/1.8 aperture and captures gigantic 1.55µm-sized “UltraPixels”.
I also had some issues with the colours. Reds in particular on occasion came out far too strong and ruined otherwise well-balanced shots when I was using the automatic mode.
Low-light performance is solid, but not the best I’ve seen on a smartphone. Images taken in dim conditions are good enough to share on social media. But the moment you even moderately blow them up on a large screen you’ll begin to notice noise and pixelation – though being fair this happens on pretty much every smartphone I test.
Luckily the majority of these issues can be fixed if you take advantage of the phone’s robust selection of shot modes and manual controls.
The P9 offers a range of 14 shooting modes. These include standard options, like High Dynamic Range and Panorama, as well as Huawei’s custom Light Painting, Beauty, Video, Bokeh and Monochrome options.
All the standard shot modes work a treat. The Panorama mode in particular is a highlight and among the best I’ve tested – unlike on competing handsets the mode is pretty stable and generally doesn’t end up with any overlapping or tears in photos.
Huawei’s Light Painting and Monochrome modes are also fun and make it easy for non-photographers to take artsy-ish shots in low light. The settings instruct the camera to continue shooting until the user manually tells it to stop. The resulting effect is an artistic photo showing moving light – like a long-exposure photo from a DSLR.
The Monochrome mode also performed far better than competing rivals. Black-and-white images close to universally had great contrast levels and a suitably noir feel.
Others are a little hit and miss. The Beauty mode remains a strange beast that doesn’t really have a place on the western market. It’s a feature that’s designed to make people in photos look prettier, but from what I’ve seen it does little more than increase people’s eye size and flatten their skin tone. Testing the mode on several of the Trusted team, the results were... interesting.

don't normally look like Gollum, honest.

 And Max definitley isn't this boyband-ish in real life

Nor is Joe this dead behind the eyes (except in meetings)
The Bokeh shot mode also isn’t as perfect as Huawei claims. It brings up a slider that lets you digitally adjust the sensor’s aperture. At anything but its lowest setting the mode is too extreme and will bring up blurry anomalies and inconsistencies. It's still the best I’ve seen on a smartphone, though, and it easily outperforms the versions I’ve tested on past Samsung and HTC phones. If you are careful and use it sparingly you can produce some nice macro shots.

Maxed out, the bokeh effect can really punish inaccurate focusing

But if used subtly it can be useful
Generally, though, I got better results using the phone’s Pro camera mode. The Pro mode is accessed by swiping up from a small on-screen bar at the bottom of the camera app’s UI. It offers manual control over key settings such as focus, ISO, shutter speed, exposure and white balance. Using it I created much better low-light shots and more realistic bokeh effects – though this requires more time and a little technical knowledge to take advantage of.

Black and white photos can look stunning
The front-facing 8-megapixel rear camera is also more than good enough for taking selfies and video calling. Though again I’d recommend giving the Beauty mode a miss.


                                                                                       to be to be continued....

Huawei P9

Huawei P9 review : 

Three months on since the Huawei P9 launched, I’ve been using the handset as my main phone day in and day out. It’s meant I’ve gotten a real feel for the good and bad parts of Huawei’s current flagship smartphone.
The camera is still the best part of the package, even if Huawei has been caught being rather misleading in just how good it is. I’ve taken photos that have rivalled the best handsets out there. I haven’t used the monochrome-only mode as often once the novelty wore off, but the added contrast and punch is certainly still welcome. I’ve also rarely ever had the patience to use the Pro shooting modes, but the regular Auto setting has served me well enough.
While the P9 survived Alastair’s initial drop test, it didn’t fare quite so favourably for me when dropped onto the hard tile surface of a swimming pool changing room. A chip across the chamfered bottom corner now acts as a reminder of my clumsiness. Aside from the cosmetic damage, the P9 was otherwise fine.
I’ve noticed some performance degradation over the past few months. Apps can be noticeably slower to load than when the P9 was fresh out of its box, which can be frustrating. Worse is when it happens with the Camera app as it’s resulted in some missed opportunities.
Huawei’s slightly intrusive power firewall also hasn’t seemed to help with performance issues nor with battery performance, either. I’m a heavy WhatsApp user throughout the day, as well as checking in on what’s happening with Twitter and Instagram probably more often than I should. I also stream music on Spotify during my commute. Under that usage scenario the P9 still does get me to the evening but it can cut it very fine.
Huawei’s EMUI Android customisation is still one of the phone’s biggest weaknesses, as such I’ve been using the Google Now launcher in its place. Even with an alternative launcher, you still can’t escape some of the more niggling aspects of Huawei’s UI, such as the notification pane and lockscreen. You get used to many of the P9’s oddities over time, but it’s still not ideal.
Three months on, the P9 remains Huawei’s best phone to date. It’s still a generally lovely smartphone and a good candidate for those not wanting to stretch to the higher flagship prices, but it is unfortunately still hampered by shoddy software.

What is the Huawei P9?

Since the arrival of the Nokia 808 PureView manufacturers have been battling ever harder to create the very finest phone camera. We've seen everything from mainstream adoption of optical image stabilisation to custom technologies like LG’s laser autofocus and HTC’s Ultrapixels – which reappeared on the new HTC 10.
The P9 is Huawei’s stab at the title and sees the firm team up with photography legend Leica to create what it’s calling “the ultimate camera-phone”.
It features a nifty dual-lens rear camera setup similar to the one Apple’s rumoured to be working on for its fabled iPhone 7, and there’s definitely some truth to Huawei's claim. But be warned, its custom imaging software shares some of proper Leica cameras' “eccentricities”. This, combined with ongoing issues with Huawei's EMUI Android skin, make the P9 a good, but not great, smartphone.

Check out our hands-on impressions of the Huawei P9

Huawei P9 – Design

2016 has been a great year for Android fans, and seen the release of some of the prettiest smartphones ever. Highlights have included the super-swish Samsung Galaxy S7, the awesomely metal HTC 10 and the modular LG G5.
The P9 stands alongside these stellar handsets on the design front and is the best-looking smartphone Huawei’s ever made. It has an undeniable iPhone 6S-ish feel, featuring a unibody metal chassis with flat sides. The metal, combined with the P9’s almost bezel-free display gives the phone a feel that's on par with any 2016 flagship I’ve tested.
Huawei’s also loaded the P9 with a decent portfolio of connectivity. At its bottom you’ll find a USB Type-C port, and along its long right-hand side you’ll find a Nano SIM and microSD card slot. The microSD will let you add a further 128GB of space to the phone’s inbuilt 32GB/64GB. But be warned, if you’re planning on taking advantage of the microSD, the P9 doesn’t support Android Marshmallow's Adoptable Storage feature.
Adoptable Storage lets you instruct your phone to treat SD card storage like native storage – meaning you can do things like install apps directly to the SD card. On past handsets, such as the HTC One A9, I’ve found the feature massively helpful, as it let me walk around with my entire music and games library downloaded with space to spare.There's a good reason why Huawei, and other phone makers including Samsung and LG, are turning Adoptable Storage off. Running Adoptable Storage means you can’t swap the SD card out without damaging/impacting the smartphone’s performance. Using a cheap SD card will also hamper the phone’s overall performance, so Huawei’s decision is understandable, albeit a little disappointing in my mind








Outside of this, Huawei’s loaded the P9 with a Level 4 fingerprint scanner on its back. Huawei claims the scanner is a marked step up from the Level 3 scanners seen on competing phones and will be noticeably faster and more accurate than competitors.
I didn’t notice much of a difference between it and competing fingerprint scanners like the ones seen on the Galaxy S7 or Nexus 5X. But this isn’t an issue and the scanner is still more than good enough. It's super-fast and the only times it failed to recognise my fingerprint was when I was using the phone in rain, or had dirty hands.
Huawei’s also made it so you can use the scanner to enact some basic commands. The controls are activated in the phone’s settings menu and let you do things like pull down the notification panel and scroll through photos by swiping on the scanner. The feature sounds minor, but I found myself using the scanner to check incoming alerts on a regular basis after only a couple of days with the P9.
Build quality is solid. Drop testing it on my wooden kitchen floor, the Huawei P9 survived crack- and chip-free. Though the body's metal does feel slightly more flimsy than the alloy used on the HTC 10, and can be prone to picking up dirt marks.
The phone’s also not as comfortable to hold as the Galaxy S7 or HTC 10. Its miniscule 7mm thickness, combined with its flat sides, can make it feel slightly slippery – which will be an issue for clumsy users who regularly drop their phones.

Huawei P9 – Display

To spec-heads the Huawei P9’s 5.2-inch display isn’t anything to write home about. The FHD 1080 x 1920 resolution puts it well behind competing smartphones such as the Galaxy S7, which generally have cornea-slicingly sharp QHD 2560 x 1440 resolutions. But being honest, with everyday use I didn’t have any serious complaints about the screen.There’s been a lot of debate about when the human eye stops being able to tell the difference between resolutions. Some people say it’s when we break the 300ppi (pixels per inch) density milestone, while others think we can spot the difference past 500 ppi. Whatever the truth of the matter, I found the P9’s 423ppi display more than sharp enough. Icons and text are universally sharp and pleasingly free of any signs of pixelation.

The use of LCD screen technology ensures blacks are nicely deep and colours have a good amount of pop, without looking over-saturated. The phone’s colour temperature setting also makes it quick and easy to adjust it to meet your personal preference.
White levels are slightly muddy compared to competing handsets, but are far from terrible, and viewing angles, while not the best I’ve seen, are suitably wide. All in all, the P9’s screen isn’t the best around – that title goes jointly to those on the Galaxy S7 and HTC 10 – but it’s more than fit for purpose. 99% of people will have no issue with it.

                                                                                      to be continued....