*Before reading the review, you can watch a video that I've attached (screen recording) just to show you a quick demo of the customized UI, along with two screenshots of the home screen and basic device details*.
So I purchased this phone on 11 September 2020. Today is 16 February 2022. I'm writing this review after 1.5 years of regular usage and experience:-
Body: I believe the back of the body is made of glass. It is very slippery so I purchased a bumper back cover for protection and better grip. It sure does look elegant without the cover, but this phone is better off with a good back cover for grip and confidence while handling. It has a USB Type-C port, single speaker, headphone hole, mic, and noise cancellation mic.
Fingerprint scanner: The fingerprint scanner is situated at a very convenient place - incorporated into the power button at the side. The screen unlocks very quickly with this scanner.
Display: It has a nice 6.6-inch display, which is the perfect size for a smartphone - not too big, but not too small either. Not AMOLED, but still good quality IPS display. Good PPI which lets the smaller text still look sharp. 60 Hz refresh rate is fine. Brightness is adequate outdoors. One thing I truly admire about the Y9s is that it has a pop-up selfie camera that rises and sets under the top left of the body, so that means there is no punch-hole or drop-notch camera on the display, which allows the entire display space to be utilized!! It is quite rare in the smartphone market these days. This feature alone made me decide to keep this phone for the long term.
Price: Preferably, you would want to purchase this phone as an upgrade, by exchanging it with your older phone if it has inferior specs. This will help you lower the cost. The selling price at the time was 19,990 rupees, but I got it as an upgrade with the exchange value of 5,400 rupees, which brought down the final cost to 14,590 rupees, which is very acceptable for a phone with these features and brand value.
RAM: 6 GB of memory is more than enough for multitasking on a smartphone.
Storage: It comes with UFS 2.1, a newer format. 128 GB of storage space is enough for an entire library of audiobooks, hundreds of mp3 songs, and plenty of apps. Moreover, I still didn't need a microSD card!
CPU: The Y9s comes with Huawei's own HiSilicon Kirin 710F (12 nm Octa-core). All apps open and load quickly, and they perform very well. The UI is smooth. I play some minor games like Chess, mahjong, etc, but I can't say anything about "heavy" gaming on smartphones, because genres like RPG, Action, and Racing are more appropriate and best enjoyed on desktop machines - one which I use for playing them on.
Battery: For a 12nm CPU, 4000 mAH battery is fine. I recharge it on an average of once in two days (From 100% to 5-10%) of moderate usage.
User Interface and customizations: EMUI is a wonderful base environment. It is extremely stable with no bugs. Customization according to personal taste is possible. I enabled dark mode from Settings because I prefer black background as it is relaxing for the eyes. I enabled gesture navigations because it frees up the space at the bottom which is always utilized by the navigation bar. Moreover, it is easier to "go back" by swiping from the left/right of the screen, than to reach down using the thumb all the time. I also enabled full-screen display globally as it frees up additional space by hiding the status bar (You can pull it down by swiping down from the top edge of the screen), leaving you to enjoy the entire 6.6-inch screen. I used Themes Manager (by Deishelon Lab) for a light orange accent and applied Gabriella font (.ttf). The default home screen is basically good, but removing the app search bar and a-z scroll bar is not possible, so I use Apex Launcher as it allows minimal app drawer and much more flexibility, and customizations like applying additional icon-packs for the home screen and app drawer.
OS: Android, of course, what else is there? Lol. I received it with Android 9 and EMUI 9. It is updatable up to Android 10 and EMUI 10. Apps open quickly. The OS is very stable. Navigation is fast. No bugs. I personally really wish it receives further upgrades, but unfortunately, I'm afraid this model has reached its end-of-life in terms of upgrades because as we all know, the US government doesn't want Huawei to succeed on US turf, so that has forced Huawei to become fully self-reliant and develop its own ecosystems like HarmonyOS for its newer models. But that doesn't mean apps won't work on this model, - they will work flawlessly. At least it receives regular security updates, which is nice. Moreover, since the Y9s was released in 2019, just a year before the US blocked Huawei from working with Google, the Y9s comes fully loaded with Google Services.
App markets: As I mentioned earlier, the Y9s was released in 2019, just a year before the US blocked Huawei from working with Google, so the Y9s comes fully loaded with Google Services. All apps on the Play Store are supported, can be downloaded, and can be updated. The Y9s even comes with its own App Gallery. You can even download third-party app stores, like I have installed the open-source Aurora Store for getting certain apps that are not available in India, like Tik Tok. You can use any VPN to access it.
Camera: The main camera is 48 mp. The native Camera app takes good pictures. The Colours are balanced. The video module has a stabilizer so recording video while walking is reasonably smooth. You can, of course, use the Open Camera app if you prefer less processed shots. I really like the 16 mp front camera because it has a motorized pop-up mechanism, so it doesn't interfere with the screen and only comes out when it's needed.
Finally, calling services: Call quality is good. Supports dual VoLTE. The Y9s has Huawei's own dialer and contacts app, so it can record all calls automatically, and without announcing it to the other side.
Verdict: So after 1.5 years of regular usage, I can confidently say that I'm fully satisfied with the Huawei Y9s. And I'm also confident that the Huawei Y9s will serve me in the long term.