Huawei has launched the P9 and P9 Plus in London today. The new models jointly replace last year's P8 and are the first products coming out of Huawei's collaboration with camera maker Leica. The most important difference between the standard P9 and the Plus model is screen size. The P9 comes with a 5.2-inch full HD display while the P9 Plus offers a larger 5.5-inch variant with the same resolution.

Both devices are powered by a Kirin 955 octa-core chipset and the P9 is available with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage or 4GB RAM and 64GB of internal memory. The P9 Plus comes with 4GB RAM and a choice between 64 or 128GB of storage. Energy is supplied by a 3000mAh battery in the P9 and a 3,400mAh pack in the Plus model. Both models come with a USB-C connector, microSD slot and fingerprint reader, all wrapped up in an aluminum body that doesn't look too dissimilar to the P8's.

The new devices' most interesting component, the new dual-camera module, is common to both models as well. It has been designed in collaboration with Leica although the German company is apparently not involved in the production process of neither lenses nor camera electronics.

After the LG G5 the new Huaweis are the second 2016 launch with dual cameras. However, while on the LG the secondary module essentially acts as a wide-angle extension, Huawei's approach is different. The main module comes with a 12MP sensor, F2.2 aperture and an equivalent focal length of 27mm. There is no OIS but the AF is laser-assisted. The secondary module also has a 12MP resolution but is monochrome. Huawei says it can capture 200% more light than the RGB sensor, overall making the P9 camera 100% more light-sensitive than conventional smartphone cameras by combining images from both camera modules. This should of course result in superior low light image quality but you can also simply use the monochrome camera to capture high-quality black-and-white images. 

As we've already seen on other dual-camera models in the past, the P9 and P9 Plus can also simulate a shallow depth-of-field. In addition the new models offer three Leica film modes, Standard, Vivid Colors and Smooth Colors. Apparently these are designed to 'meticulously reproduce the look of authentic Leica photographs' which sounds curious as the look of film photographs is arguably more dependent on film material than camera.

In any case we'll have to wait to get a review unit into our hands before we can judge the impact of Leica's involvement in the new smartphones' development. In Europe the P9 will be available before the end of April for €569 (US$645), for the P9 Plus you'll have to part with €699 (US$795). No information on availability in the US has been released yet.