Cheaper smartphones from Huawei follow each other in rapid tempo, but the Huawei P Smart is one to remember. The phone impresses with its beautiful design, a front-filling screen, and a nice double camera. And you only pay 259 euros for that. Time for a comprehensive review.
- Premium design
- Great screen
- Android 8
- Good cameras
- No USB-c
- Software peel still annoying
Huawei P Smart
- Price € 259, –
- Colors Black, blue, gold, rose gold
- OS Android 8.0 Oreo
- Screen 5.7 inch (2160×1080)
- Processor 2.4 GHz octa-core (HISilicon Kirin 659)
- RAM 3 or 4 GB
- Storage 32 or 64 GB (expandable with memory card)
- Battery 3,000 mAh
- Camera 16 + 2 megapixel (rear), 8 megapixel (front)
- Connectivity 4G (LTE), Bluetooth 4.2, WiFi, GPS
- Format 150.1 x 72.1 x 7.5 mm
- Weight 165 grams
- Other: Fingerprint scanner, micro-USB, headphone port, waterproof
Premium design with large screen
If you see the Huawei P Smart on the table, you would not say that it is cheaper to the middle-class phone. The aluminum design and large screen with narrow edges make the device seem much more expensive than it is, and that is a big compliment.
The housing (in black or gold) is perfectly finished and due to the rounded corners, the smartphone is nice to hold. Interestingly, Huawei has opted for a screen with an 18: 9 (or 2: 1) ratio, where the display is longer than a traditional 16: 9 screens. The screen edges at the top and bottom and sides are also narrower than usual, making the P Smart with its 5.7-inch screen almost the same size as the average 5.5-inch phone. So, you have more monitor in the same housing and it also provides a modern view.
It is a pity that Huawei provided the P Smart with an old-fashioned micro-USB port instead of the newer USB-c. Probably a cost-saving measure. Important features such as a 3.5 mm audio port and an NFC chip (for among others contactless payment) are fortunately present. The fingerprint scanner on the back of the device also deserves an honorable mention: it works fast and is almost always accurate.
Fast processor and dual-sim
The previously discussed 5.7-inch display uses an LCD panel with IPS technology for good viewing angles. The color reproduction is somewhat dull but good enough for a cheaper smartphone and the Full HD resolution offers sharp images. Because the screen is on the big side, it will be difficult for many people to operate the phone with one hand.
In terms of hardware, the Huawei P Smart leaves a good impression. The memory is 3GB big enough to switch between applications and the Kirin 659 processor is nice and fast. The chip, developed and produced by a subsidiary of Huawei, has eight cores (octa-core) and performs similarly to the middle-class processors of, for example, Qualcomm. The storage memory of the phone is 32GB, of which 24GB is available for use. If you do not have enough of this then you can put a micro SD card in the device for more memory. If you do not need an SD card, you can use a second SIM card so that you can be reached on two numbers at the same time.
More and more middle-class smartphones do not have one but two cameras on the back. Huawei already equipped its more expensive phones in the P and Mate series with two cameras and also opted for the P Smart. It has 13 and 2-megapixel cameras, where the first normal images shoot and the secondary sensor is used to create a sharpness/depth effect. That does the camera nice, but not as good as expensive smartphones from Huawei and Apple for example. Regular snapshots look good, with enough detail and great colors. The Full HD movies are a bit disappointing, but for WhatsApp, for example, the quality is more than enough.
Great is that the 8-megapixel front camera can also produce a sharpness/depth effect via a software trick and that works just above expectations. View the selfies below and judge for yourself.
Battery lasts a long time
What also appeals to us is the long endurance of the battery. The capacity is not surprisingly large at 3000 mAh but thanks to the energy-efficient processor, the smartphone keeps it up for a day without any problems. At the end of a long day, we often had 35 percent power left. Not enough for a second day, but to take out half a day if you do not have the opportunity to recharge the battery in the evening. A disappointing cut in part due to the micro-USB port is the lack of fast-charging support. Charging the P Smart battery lasts two hours and that is a long time, also compared to most cheaper smartphones.
The Huawei P Smart has a competitive edge on software. Because where many budget devices still appear with Android 7 Nougat, the P Smart runs from the box on the newer Android 8 Oreo. That should not be more than normal, but unfortunately still has to be noted as a plus. With the Huawei phone, you can immediately use the improvements and new features of Oreo, and you are better protected against vulnerabilities in the Android operating system.
The EMUI shell that Huawei has laid over the software appeals to us less. EMUI looks more old-fashioned and messy than the standard Android version and makes unnecessary changes in an attempt to improve the user experience. There is also a large number of apps and games from Huawei and third parties installed on the phone, though you can happily delete a part. It is important that Huawei has promised to provide the P Smart with “regular” security updates for two years, although it remains to be seen whether that promise is fulfilled.
The Huawei P Smart proves that you do not have to spend six hundred euros or more on a good smartphone. The 259-euro phone actually has everything the average user needs. From a sound design and smooth hardware to the latest software and a good battery life. And do not forget the front-filling screen, the fingerprint scanner, and the dual camera. The slow charging, the micro-USB port, and exaggerated EMUI software are small setbacks, but it is clear that the Huawei P Smart can count itself among the best budget smartphones of the moment.
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