iPhone 6s Plus vs Huawei P9 Plus: A New Force Awakens

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Plus size models are all the rage, and no, we’re not talking about the catwalk, we’re talking about BIG smartphones, the ones that often get called phablets, with a display from about 5.6in or bigger. Samsung started the trend waaaay back with the Galaxy Note and when the bigger form factor took off like crazy, particularly in Asia, every other manufacturer since has at least had a dabble in the big phone category. It took Apple a while to come round to the idea of bulking out the iPhone at all, let alone producing a phablet option, but eventually, with the iPhone 6 series, Apple released the iPhone 6 Plus, and it’s a handset the firm revived for another generation with the iPhone 6s Plus as well.

Not one to be left out, Huawei is still pushing its rise to prominence with compelling new releases in the Android space, and its latest flagship, the Huawei P9, also has a “Plus” model with a similar spec and a larger display.

Earlier we took a look at how the smaller Huawei P9 compared to the smaller iPhone 6s. Now we want to look at how the two “Plus” models compare.  

“Usually the conversation in the smartphone market revolves around Samsung and Apple, but Huawei’s strong showing for both the quarter and the year speak to how much it has grown as an international brand,” said Melissa Chau, Senior Research Manager with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker.

But could the P9 Plus really give Apple a run for it’s money? Here’s how the two phones stack up.

iPhone 6s Plus vs Huawei P9 Plus: Specs

Here’s the specs for the iPhone 6s Plus:

  • Display: 5.5in Retina HD display with 1920×1080 resolution at 401ppi, 3D Touch enabled
  • Dimensions: 158.2mm  x 77.9 mm x 7.3 mm
  • Weight: 192 grams
  • Storage: 16, 64, or 128GB
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Processors: A9 chip with 64-bit architecture and M9 motion coprocessor
  • Front camera: 5 MP
  • Rear camera: 12 MP
  • Battery: 2750 mAh
  • Colors: Silver, Space Grey, Gold, or Rose Gold

And here’s the specs for the Huawei P9 Plus:

  • Display: 5.5in display with a 1920×1080 resolution at 401ppi
  • Dimensions: 152.3mm  x 75.3 mm x 6.98 mm
  • Weight: 162 grams
  • Storage: 64, plus support for microSD cards up to 128GB
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Processors: Kirin 955 2.5GHz 64-bit ARM-based processor
  • Front camera: 8 MP with laser auto focus
  • Rear camera: Dual 12 MP with laser auto focus
  • Battery: 3400 mAh
  • Colors: Quartz Gray

The really interesting thing is Huawei only offers the P9 Plus in one storage option: 64GB. Normally I’d say that’s a misstep, especially considering the iPhone 6s Plus comes in three storage sizes: 16, 64, and 128 GB. However, given that the 16GB model is entirely too small to hold most of the date we carry around, that’s a non-starter. It’s nice that Apple offers 128GB on their Plus, but given that the P9 Plus supports microSD cards up to 128, the 64GB P9 Plus is a very compelling option.

Another nice thing about the P9 Plus is the RAM. It’s packed with 4GB of RAM. Compare that to  the iPhone 6s Plus’s 2GB of RAM and Apple looks a bit stingy. As for processors, the P9 features Huawei’s new Kirin 64-bit processor. However, from early reports the Kirin is nowhere new as powerful as the A9 chipset found in the iPhone 6s Plus. Apple is just too good at in-house chip development and optimizing its silicon for its software.

iPhone 6s Plus vs Huawei P9 Plus: Design & Build

Both phones are made with a unibody aluminum enclosure and both look pretty damn beautiful in their own right. I think the winner here, however, is the iPhone, since it comes in four color options and the P9 Plus only comes in one. As for the major design differences, the fingerprint sensor on the P9 Plus is on the back on the phone while the Touch ID on the iPhone 6s Plus is located in the home button on the front of the phone.  

However, when it comes to thinness, the P9 Plus wins. Its 6.98mm thin where the iPhone 6s Plus is 7.3mm thin. The P9 is also lighter at 162 grams versus the iPhone 6s Plus’s 192 grams.

iPhone 6s Plus vs Huawei P9 Plus: Display and Battery

Each phone actually has very similar display. Both phones offer a 5.5in display with 1920×1080 resolution at 401ppi. There is, however, a big difference in additional display technology. The killer display tech on the iPhone 6s Plus is its 3d Touch pressure-sensitive display, something the P9 Plus lacks entirely.

As for battery, the P9 wins, with its 3400 mAh pack. That’s compared to the iPhone 6s Plus’s 2750 mAh battery. But as I noted with the smaller version of both phones—just as with RAM and processors—how long a phone’s battery lasts has as much to do with the size of the pack as it does with how well the software works to conserve power. That being said, early reports are the P9 Plus’s battery can last as long as a day and a half under normal use.

iPhone 6s Plus vs Huawei P9 Plus: Cameras

Here is where Apple could learn a thing or two. The iPhone 6s Plus offers a 12MP rear camera with image optical stabilization and a 5MP front camera. Is that decent? Sure. But the camera tech pales in comparison to that found on the P9 Plus. There you get DUAL rear 12MP cameras. The two-camera system means the snaps you take will look like they were taken with a DSLR camera. The front camera is also better at 8MP.

But Huawei doesn’t stop there: both the front and rear camera feature laser autofocus technology that makes autofocusing faster and more accurate than ever before.

iPhone 6s Plus vs Huawei P9 Plus: Verdict

The P9 Plus is a great Android phone—and in some respects (the cameras, storage, and RAM) it’s better than the iPhone. That being said, it’s not great ENOUGH to compel people to switch from the iPhone. But if you aren’t an iOS or Android diehard and just want a smartphone with some of the best tech, the choice is harder. Overall, I think the iPhone is still the better of the phones due to its software and design. However, if you want the best camera capabilities, the P9 Plus is the clear choice.

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