We’re stepping on it at Huawei’s. The Chinese manufacturer, backed by its subsidiary Honor, is constantly flooding the market for entry-level and mid-range smartphones. As a result, the P Smart plays neck and neck with other cousin models such as the Honor 7X or the Huawei P8 Lite 2017. This does not prevent him from having arguments, quite the contrary.
Huawei is making the P Smart a fashionable product. Since the arrival of the LG G6 and then the Galaxy S8, the trend is towards 18:9 screens, the famous elongated format. Never mind! Everybody benefits, even the mid-range. As with the Honor 7X or the View 10, the result is rather convincing since the slab occupies nearly 76% of the front face, leaving a little room for the firm to flock its logo on the lower edge.
The Chinese manufacturer offers an affordable alternative to taste the 18:9. The result is a 5.6-inch LCD screen with Full HD+ resolution (2160 x 1080p, or 424 ppi) that has a slight tendency to turn blue. One will regret the positioning (for right-handed people) of the volume keys on the right-hand edge and their positioning so high. The device gives a good feeling of robustness, even if tapping on the back makes small clicks on the APN. Strange.
Several colours are available: black, blue/black and white/gold. For our test, we received the smartphone in its black dress, which is not to displease us since it blends quite well into the decor. The device is all-purpose. The other models will appeal more to those who want to stand out from the classic colours. The blue model is also successful. As proof, some operators have broken down.
Metal back, glass back, it’s all a matter of taste. The feel of the P Smart is similar to that of theiPhone 6S in anodised aluminium, which makes sense since it is the same material. Despite its larger dimensions (150.1 x 72.1 x 7.5 mm), the smartphone never slips out of your hands, which is important on a 5.6-inch model where you sometimes have to extend your thumb to reach the top of the screen. Fingerprints, however, appear from the first moments of use. The 165 grams are well distributed, which gives an impression of lightness. It weighs a little more than the Huawei P Lite 2017 (145 gr), but as much as the Honor 7X.
The resemblance to the apple device extends to the eyes. While the front edges are less (18:9 effect), on the back, there is the double PDA protruding on the left corner and antennas that shear the aircraft. The biometric sensor responds quickly and falls perfectly under the index finger. However, there is no option to activate shortcuts via the latter, as on the Mate 10 Pro. You’ll have to make do with smart shortcuts in the phone settings.
Upon purchase, you’ll be delighted to learn that the P Smart has the latest version of Android (Oreo, 8.0) as well as the latest version of EMUI 8.0, Huawei’s homemade overlay. The set is complete, with lots of settings (including a tool to free up disk space). The device comes with 32 GB (only 22 usable) expandable via a micro SD card, which will take the place of the second SIM card slot. It’s not much and investing in a card seems almost obligatory as long as you store your music locally.
The camera has the sacrosanct jack plug positioned on the bottom edge, next to the micro-USB jack and the mono speaker. A pair of headphones is available, but we preferred to use our Sony MDR-A1 (editor’s favorite). The sound quality should be sufficient for nomadic journeys. Note that a slight murmur appears when the volume goes up a notch. Nothing transcendent on this side, then.
Kirin 659 (8 cores clocked at 2.36 GHz), 3 GB RAM, a dual 13 mpx APN and 2 mpx… the P Smart’s data sheet reminds us that it is an entry-level smartphone. During the parameterization, and by juggling between the tables in the main menu, a low latency was felt. The available RAM will be sufficient for everyday use, but you may experience some slowdowns if you open too many tabs or applications simultaneously.
Unfortunately, we have encountered problems with traditional benchmark tools. AnTuTu was rowing too much to provide a score, and we had the same with 3D Mark. We have extracted only the capture below. Gaming enthusiasts, please pass on your way. Only titles that are not greedy will offer a good performance. Video playback poses no problems, except for the famous black stripes problem inherent in the 18:9 format.
With a 3000 mAh battery, one could expect a robust autonomy. The P Smart takes care of keeping a good day with advanced usage (an alarm clock at 7 o’clock, music on the road, and lots of social networking). He could probably stay awake for another half-day if he wasn’t under so much stress. On standby for three days, the battery seemed to have trouble melting, a good point! Note that the unit recovers 35% in 30 minutes of charging.
The double APN does not work miracles, but like in music, it does what is necessary. Generally speaking, the shots will be correct, especially if you take advantage of the natural light. The grain settles in as soon as the luminosity decreases. An expected problem since it is encountered on most smartphones in this price range. The second sensor applies a rather convincing bokeh effect, as long as you don’t zoom in too much on the subject because the grain appears very quickly. Same with the front camera.
The three pictures above were taken in broad daylight (digital zoom on the last two).
It’s hard to say whether the Huawei P Smart is a good choice. It is available at the recommended retail price of 259 euros, while the Honor 9 Lite is priced at 229 euros and appears to be its exact copy, from a technical point of view. It’s still a smartphone that’s right for its price, with a design that’s pleasing to the eye and can troubleshoot in pictures. A good smartphone that will suit people who are not demanding, but who want to be up to date on software and screen.