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Eye to eye with the dual-camera Huawei P9 and P9 Plus (pictures)

We take a close-up look at Huawei's P9 smartphone which features not one, but two cameras on the back.

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Andrew Hoyle
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1 of 16 Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Say hello to Huawei's latest flagship phone, the P9. This 5.3-inch Android Marshmallow phone comes with all the high-end kit you'd expect from a top-end device, including a slim, metal chassis, a full HD (1,920x1,080-pixel) resolution and an octa-core chip.

It's round the back that this phone gets more interesting...

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2 of 16 Andrew Hoyle/CNET

See that, right at the top? Not one, but two camera lenses. That's not a manufacturing error, it packs two cameras for good reason. Huawei reckons that the two lenses can take in much more light than one alone, which should really help with your low-light shots.

One of the cameras has a sensor that only shoots in black and white. Not only does this allow it to take more natural-looking monochrome photos, by pairing it with the colour sensor, the phone is able to use the contrast detail from the black and white lens, with the colour information of the other in order to produce better-looking shots all round.

At least that's the theory.

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3 of 16 Andrew Hoyle/CNET

We've seen dual lenses on phone cameras before, but for different reasons. I'm looking forward to seeing what sort of shots I can get from this phone.

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I'm particularly excited about the involvement of Leica, an extremely well respected name in the field of photography. While Huawei says Leica has provided no hardware for the camera, it has certified the materials and the production processes used.

If Leica has been happy to put its name on this phone, I'm expecting good things.

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Leica has had its say in the camera software, too. It seems easy to navigate, with a quick slide in from the left bringing up a panel of different camera modes.

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It's where you'll find the dedicated monochrome mode -- not to be confused with the black and white filter on the standard camera. I took some test shots in my hands-on time and they did look pretty good when viewed on the phone's screen.

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It wouldn't be a Huawei phone without a "beauty" mode which turns your face into a distorted alien. Beauty indeed.

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It's running the latest Android Marshmallow software, with Huawei's EMUI interface slapped over the top. The software skin removes the app tray -- a feature I'm not keen on. You'll also find a variety of themes to customise the look.

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Yep, there's no app tray. Instead, your apps are scattered among the multiple home screens. I'm not keen on this, as I find it gets cluttered.

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The chassis is all metal. Inside it's packing a potentially potent octa-core chip.

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On the bottom edge you'll find a USB-C port, along with the speaker and the 3.5mm headphone jack.

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The P9 launches alongside a bigger brother, the P9 Plus. It shares many of the same internal specs, including the processor and the camera, but has a larger 5.5-inch screen.

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It has a larger battery too, and 4GB, rather than 3GB of RAM. Storage is doubled, from 32GB on the P9 to 64GB on the P9 Plus.

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Both phones have expandable storage, supporting microSD cards up to 128GB in size.

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The big boy also has the Leica name slapped on it. I love Leica.

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The cameras are both 12 megapixels in resolution and work the same on the P9 Plus as they do on the standard P9. Expect image results to be the same between the two models.

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