Huawei P Smart

£229 inc VAT from fave.co/2pF3ZWy

Android Advisor - - Con­tents -

Huawei tra­di­tion­ally goes for mid-to-high-end smart­phones and leaves the more bud­get ver­sions to its sub-brand Honor. With the P Smart, though, it’s now well into bud­get ter­ri­tory.

It has an 18:9 screen, a de­cent pro­ces­sor and dual rear cam­eras, plus the lat­est ver­sion of An­droid along with Huawei’s new EMUI 8.0 soft­ware.

De­sign

In 2017, 18:9 screens were the new fash­ion, but now it’s clear that you can have one even if your bud­get won’t stretch to even a mid-range phone such as

the Honor 7X. Check the spec­i­fi­ca­tions ( page 57) and you’ll note that the P Smart is pretty much just a slightly smaller, lower-spec ver­sion of the 7X.

Start­ing with the screen, it’s 5.65 inches across, with a 2160x1080 res­o­lu­tion. That gives it a de­cent pixel den­sity of 428ppi, which means every­thing looks nice and sharp. Colours, con­trast and bright­ness are all de­cent, too.

In the usual Huawei tra­di­tion, there’s a fac­to­ryap­plied screen pro­tec­tor to keep the dis­play scratch-free, but there’s no case in the box. In­stead, you get some ba­sic head­phones along with a USB mains charger. There’s a stan­dard head­phone socket on the bot­tom edge along with a mono speaker and a Mi­cro-USB port.

The tall screen leaves no room for a finger­print sen­sor, so that’s on the back. With many phones tak­ing

this ap­proach, it’s be­com­ing the norm and it’s easy to adapt: your fin­ger falls nat­u­rally on the sen­sor when you pick up the phone.

Un­like the ex­tremely sim­i­lar Honor 9 Lite, the Huawei P Smart is a sin­gle-SIM phone rather than dual-SIM, but it still has the slot for a mi­croSD card to bol­ster the 32GB of on-board stor­age.

RAM is the same at 3GB and the pro­ces­sor is also iden­ti­cal: the Kirin 659. That chip is also used in the Honor 7X, so per­for­mance is – as you might ex­pect – largely the same.

This means it’s no speed de­mon: ex­pect to wait four- to five sec­onds for the cam­era app to load and for there to be a de­lay when switch­ing be­tween apps. Once an app is run­ning, how­ever, per­for­mance is gen­er­ally fine and you won’t no­tice any lag or

slug­gish­ness. It’s the same for games: the P Smart will hap­pily run games such as Poké­mon GO smoothly with no jerk­i­ness. You’ll never see high frame rates from bench­marks such as GFXBench’s Man­hat­tan test, but that doesn’t mean it can’t run most games at an ac­cept­able speed.

In terms of con­nec­tiv­ity, you get GPS, Blue­tooth 4.2, 802.11n Wi-Fi (just 2.4GHz sin­gle-band), and NFC. Un­sur­pris­ingly at this price, there’s no wa­ter re­sis­tance.

Cam­eras

The dual-cam­era setup is much like Honor’s: you get a 13Mp main shooter with a se­condary 2Mp cam­era whose only func­tion is to sup­ply depth in­for­ma­tion: it’s not for tak­ing pho­tos.

It does mean that you can take por­trait pho­tos with blurred back­grounds, as well as a ‘wide aper­ture’ ef­fect, which does the same thing when you take land­scape pic­tures.

Around the front there’s a sin­gle 8Mp cam­era: you don’t get the se­condary front cam­era as you do on the Honor 9 Lite. So you can’t take depthef­fect self­ies on the P Smart. There is a Por­trait mode when us­ing the front cam­era, but us­ing it makes no no­tice­able dif­fer­ence.

Video ca­pa­bil­i­ties are some­what lim­ited com­pared to more ex­pen­sive phones. The max­i­mum res­o­lu­tion is 1080p at 30fps and there’s no sta­bi­liza­tion to speak of.

It can track ob­jects, but that’s about the only ex­tra video fea­ture you’ll find. Oddly, there’s a Pro Video

mode that al­lows you to fo­cus man­u­ally, choose the white bal­ance and change ex­po­sure set­tings. We can’t imag­ine many own­ers us­ing any of these op­tions, though it’s al­ways nice to have more con­trol.

There’s no slow mo­tion, but you can se­lect light paint­ing (great for fire­works) and time-lapse. HDR is, sadly, also a ded­i­cated mode and won’t be en­abled au­to­mat­i­cally for pho­tos.

In any case, the cam­eras aren’t won­der­ful. Self­ies are per­fectly ac­cept­able, as are some shots from the rear cam­era in good light. How­ever, zoom in on some pho­tos and you’ll be dis­ap­pointed at the lack of sharp­ness. This photo looks fine when zoomed out,

but the tree and build­ing are ac­tu­ally quite blurry (see fol­low­ing im­age).

At night, the cam­era does a de­cent job of keep­ing noise at bay: the sky is inky black. How­ever, the lack of de­tail in the build­ing means there is plenty of noise re­duc­tion go­ing on.

An­noy­ingly, the depth ef­fect doesn’t work on ev­ery shot you at­tempt. Out of five at­tempts, the P Smart only suc­cess­fully blurred the back­ground on one: the oth­ers had no bokeh at all.

Soft­ware

It’s good to see An­droid 8.0 Oreo, and we also hap­pen to like Huawei’s EMUI 8 over­lay. It won’t be to ev­ery­one’s tastes as it de­faults to an iOS-style home screen. Hunt around in the set­tings though, and you’ll find the op­tion to en­able the app drawer, so you don’t have to keep all your apps across sev­eral home screens. EMUI adds quite a few use­ful fea­tures, too. You can en­able ges­tures such as dou­ble touch to turn the screen on or off and dou­ble-press vol­ume down to launch the cam­era app. Then you can wave (or just hold up your palm) to au­to­mat­i­cally take a photo. It also op­ti­mizes mem­ory use in var­i­ous ways to keep An­droid run­ning as smoothly as pos­si­ble and of­fers lots of bat­tery-sav­ing op­tions.

The Google As­sis­tant is just a swipe away from the first home screen and you get a fan­tas­tic photo on the lock screen which changes each time you wake the phone. The wider screen lends it­self to split screen and you can use this to run two com­pat­i­ble apps side by side in land­scape mode.

App twin is a fea­ture we’ve seen on Huawei and Honor phones, and the P Smart gets it, al­beit only for Face­book. It means you can sign into two dif­fer­ent ac­counts on the phone at the same time.

Bat­tery life

The 3,000mAh bat­tery is fairly stan­dard for a large­screen phone such as this. Huawei doesn’t quote any us­age fig­ures, but we found the P Smart would last a full day with nor­mal use. You’ll cer­tainly be charg­ing it ev­ery night, but un­less you’re us­ing GPS heav­ily or

play­ing a lot of in­ten­sive games, you shouldn’t need to carry a power bank around with you for any top-ups.

Ver­dict

With a de­cent 18:9 screen, the P Smart is a fine An­droid phone that should ap­peal to any­one look­ing for a cheap con­tract phone. How­ever, the fact it’s so sim­i­lar to the Honor 9 Lite (which costs £30 less when bought SIM-free) makes it hard to rec­om­mend, es­pe­cially as the Honor has a cou­ple of ex­tra fea­tures – dual SIM and a sec­ond front cam­era – which the Huawei lacks. Jim Martin

Spec­i­fi­ca­tions

• 5.65in (2160x1080, 367ppi) IPS LCD ca­pac­i­tive dis­play

• An­droid 8.0 Oreo • HiSil­i­con Kirin 659 pro­ces­sor • Octa-core 4x 2.36GHz Cor­tex-A53 and 4x 1.7GHz

Cor­tex-A53 CPU • Mali-T830 GPU • 3/ 4GB RAM • 32/64GB stor­age, mi­croSD up to 256GB • Finger­print scan­ner • Dual rear-fac­ing cam­eras: 13- and 2Mp, aut­o­fo­cus,

LED flash • 8Mp front-fac­ing cam­era: f/2.0 • 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi • Blue­tooth 4.2 • A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS • Mi­cro-USB 2.0 Type-C • 150.1x72.1x7.5mm • 165g

Finger­print scan­ner

Geek­bench 4

JetStream

Dual cam­era setup

Stan­dard shot

Night shot

Images look blurry when you zoom in

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