Huawei's new P9 launches with a separate camera just for black and white photos

The latest from Huawei is finally here

Huawei's launched not one, but two, new handsets as it seeks to continue its assault on the high-end handset market: the Huawei P9 and Huawei P9 Plus.

The smaller, more palm-friendly P9 offers a 5.2-inch Full HD display and an all-metal design that's 6.95mm thin. Under the hood is the Huawei-produced Kirin 955 chipset, which promises to offer a large amount of grunt, as well as 3GB of RAM.

That same chipset is pushed into the P9 Plus, but the other key specs are upped to 4GB of RAM, a 5.5-inch Super AMOLED display and 64GB of storage, compared to the 32GB on the P9.

Two sensors are better than one

The main talking point of these phones is the new camera setup. While dual camera offerings are nothing new, there's brand new camera tech, with two 'Leica-certified' 12MP cameras on the back of the phone. One camera shoots in color, while the other is designed solely for black and white pictures.

According to Huawei, the B&W sensor adds 200% more light information and 50% more contrast to colour images when it's combined with the color sensor, compared to using just the regular snapper.

The setup also enables users to change which parts of the image are in sharp focus after they've taken a photo, and capture shallow depth of field effects. Both cameras offer laser autofocus too.

Huawei P9

Software-wise there's the expected Android 6 Marshmallow, but with the controversial Emotion UI 4.1 running over the top; controversial because of its more complex operation, as well as for doing away with the app drawer completely – although Huawei might not be alone in doing that in the near future.

On the back of both is a fingerprint scanner, in the same position as on other Huawei phones, and it's what Huawei calls Level 4 tech, compared to the Mate 8's Level 3 scanner.

There's USB-C for data transfer and charging, a 3000mAh battery in the P9 and a 3400mAh pack in the P9 Plus, and up to 128GB microSD support.

In terms of the Huawei P9's release date and pricing we're looking at April 16 in Europe and Asia for €599 (around £490 / $690 / AU$900), with the P9 Plus landing in May for the same territories.