With the likes of the Huawei View 20 and P20 Pro gaining such a large exposure in the mobile phone industry, it’s very easy to forget that the Chinese manufacturer also makes phones on the cheaper end of the scale.
The new budget handset, the Huawei P Smart 2019 is an upgrade from last year’s handset, and although we didn’t get to see one, research has told me that its had a substantial hardware upgrade as well as some design changes to make it fall in line with Huawei’s current range offerings.
The whole phone is bigger, making way for a nicer 6.3″ screen which uses LCD IPS technology. It’s sharp and has some great viewing angles yet somewhat lacks accurate colour reproduction compared to flagship handsets. It’s running a resolution of 2340 x 1080 with a 19.5:9 aspect ratio. The pixel density, sitting at 415ppi is lower than last year’s model. Probably due to the bigger screen size. The screen size is only heightened by the fact that Huawei have opted for a raindrop styled notch, which is very small and actually looks quite smart on the handset. Overall though, I would say it’s a pretty decent screen for a sub-£200 smartphone.
The rear of the phone comes in several designs. We’ve been sent the black version, which is admittedly the most boring unfortunately, but you can get it in turquoise and their Aurora Blue which is their iconic gradient colour scheme which is easily the best selection. The IO is where you would expect it to be down the left hand side, with the power button underneath the volume rocker. Although the rear is shiny, it still offers a decent amount of grip for one handed use. A fingerprint sensor, which is accurate and unlocks the phone in well under a second after pressing is easy to reach as well.
Inside is a Kirin 710 octa-core processor has four cores clocked at 2.2 GHz Cortex-A73 & four 1.7 GHz Cortex-A53s. Alongside this is 3GB RAM and a 64GB storage capacity. A big improvement in terms of processor power over last year’s handset, although we’ve lost a gig of RAM along the way. There is an option to have 32GB of storage if you wanted to cut costs. A Geekbench 4 benchmark threw back a score of 1344 on a single core and 5436 on a multicore. Flipping through my social media apps, and playing the odd game here and there I noticed no kind of slow down or hinderance in performance. It actually ran very smooth for a budget handset. Sure there was the odd slowdown, but nothing that made me want to ward someone off from buying this phone.
The Huawei P Smart 2019 is running their very own latest EMEI skin for Android Pie, which uses everything you can expect from Android Pie like the full gesture control. However if you fail to get on with the iOS inspired operating system, you can revert back to a more recognisable Android aesthetic. There’s a 3,400mAh battery inside too which got me through a full day’s use, and I work in social media as my main career, so you can imagine how often I’m on my phone throughout the day. They provide a 10w charger too for some very nice charging speeds.
On the back is a dual-camera setup. The first is a 13 megapixel camera with a secondary 2 megapixel camera which is solely responsible for depth perception and producing those nice bokeh shots on portraits. And it does an alright job for a budget camera. The whole thing is wrapped up in an AI camera package, which means it does its best to pick what type of scene you are snapping. Whether it’s a portrait, food, landscape, or others, the camera will do its best to process the photographs as well as possible. For the most part, photographs are great for social media use and to send to your Mum and Dad on Whatsapp. But unfortunately does lose out on quality when compared to something like the P20 Pro, which is Huawei’s flagship. If video is a priority though, look elsewhere as the max settings you can choose is 1080p at 60fps and there is no image stabilisation. The selfie cam which snaps 8 megapixel photos is good enough again for social media use, and can actually pick out some decent detail if in the right lighting. Low-light photography also suffers somewhat from noise.
So, should you buy a Huawei P Smart 2019 edition? Yes and no. I know it’s conflicting but hear me out. The Huawei P is in essence, exactly the same phone as the Honor 10 Lite, which is also owned overal by Huawei. The prices are exactly the same, but you get a 24m megapixel selfie camera on the Honor 10 Lite and a free case. It’s a small difference, but one that if selfies are important to you, could make a substantial difference. OVerall though, the Huawei P Smart 2019 is a fantastic budget smartphone. For more information, head over to the Vodafone website, who were kind enough to loan us a model to review.