While Huawei continues to gain market share in the ultra-high-end segment, it is also continuing to position itself on more accessible slices. Proof by example with this new edition of the P Smart, which tackles the Honor 8X, Honor 10 Lite and Xiaomi Mi 8 Litehead-on.
After the end of the year with the release of the excellent Mate 20 Pro, Huawei starts 2019 with an entry-level smartphone. Nothing to be happy about? Quite the contrary. Already quite convincing in its 2018 iteration, the Huawei P Smart version 2019 perfects a well-functioning formula, and updates a number of components to stay in the loop.
The Huawei P Smart (2019) is available since January 2nd for 249€.
This generational leap is characterized by a number of features, the most visible of which are a notched display and a glossy coating that is strongly reminiscent of the latest Honor smartphones.
The Huawei P Smart (2019) is :
- A 6.21-inch IPS LCD screen with 2340 x 1080p resolution at a 19.5:9 ratio (415 dpi) that occupies approximately 80% of the front surface area.
- A Kirin 710 SoC: Eight 2.2GHz cores and Mali-G51 GPUs
- 3 GB RAM
- 64 GB internal storage (expandable)
- 2 nano SIM ports
- 3400 mAh battery
- 13 megapixel f/1.8 and 2 megapixel backside cameras
- 8-megapixel front camera
- Fingerprint sensor
Unlike the vast majority of smartphones at the end of 2018, the Huawei P Smart (2019) continues to stick to the microUSBport, but has the good idea to do the same with its jack plug for the delight of audiophiles.
In the box, there is the bare minimum: a pair of earphones that we will more readily describe as a simple hands-free kit, a 5V / 2A charger and a microUSB cable.
The display of the device is already covered with protective film. We would have liked to have found an additional silicone shell to protect the device, which is, we will talk about it again, extremely sensitive to fingerprints.
Overall, the Huawei P Smart (2019) is a nice item. There are no obvious design flaws, and you can admire the attractive back colour – here in its Aurora Blue finish.
The Huawei P Smart 2019 is almost identical to the design of the Honor 10 Lite. Pierre Crochart for Clubic
Yet the smartphone suffers from an impression of fragility. The fault lies with a weight of only 160 g, which puts the P Smart 2019 in the featherweight category. A feeling reinforced by the materials used by Huawei to design this phone: mostly plastic.
On the other hand, we can only welcome the general design of the device. With its rounded shape, especially its rounded back, the P Smart 2019 fits perfectly in the hand, and its slight stoutness becomes one of its strengths in that the grip is perfect. Nice save.
The Huawei P Smart 2019 has pleasant curves that improve its grip. Pierre Crochart for Clubic
Otherwise, the Huawei P Smart 2019 isn’t quite the brand’s most original smartphone. The most knowledgeable among you will have noticed that the telephone seems to be a , a true copy of the Honor 10 Lite. We don’t blame him: the P Smart’s ambitions lie elsewhere than in its design, which, incidentally, shines particularly brightly in the Aurora Blue version that was supplied to us.
The only downside to this pretty color gradient is that no oleophobic treatment seems to have been applied to the back of the smartphone. In other words, the back of the device strongly retains fingerprints. The most maniacal will therefore think of walking around with a small microfibre cloth in their pocket, and will obviously avoid grabbing the P Smart after eating chips with their bare hands.
The reverse side of the medal: the back coating particularly retains fingerprints. Pierre Crochart for Clubic
The left side of the smartphone is completely buttonless. On the right is the ignition and volume knob located at the perfect height for thumb operation (for right-handed people). The top of the device houses the SIM card drawer (either two SIM cards or one SIM card + MicroSD card can be inserted). As for the bass slice, the microUSB charging port, the loudspeaker grille which – let’s say it straight away – is not really a great success, and the Jack plug which delivers a sound of just the right power.
Huawei is missing out on USB-C with its P Smart 2019. Pierre Crochart for Clubic
Finally note the small originality of this P Smart which is to place the notification diode in the chin of the device.
While the Huawei P Smart does not include OLED (logical, given its price), it does include one of the best screens you can find at this price. This IPS type panel displays a classic 2340 x 1080 pixels, but has a resolution of 415 ppi.
The result is a clear display in all circumstances. There is no situation in which you can make a pixel appear too big, even if you stick your retinas on the slab (which, again, we will not recommend). Calibration is also exemplary, and no adjustments will be necessary to obtain accurate colors.
The screen of the P Smart 2019 is a real pleasant surprise. Pierre Crochart for Clubic
With a maximum brightness of 376 cd/m2, the P Smart doesn’t necessarily hit the top of the basket, but has proved to be flawless in these grey Parisian times. What’s more, the device has the good taste of seeing its minimum brightness drop relatively low; ideal for those who have the annoying tendency to scrolling frantically on their smartphone after dark.
Of course, the display also features an eye comfort mode that adjusts its temperature after dark.
Finally, in terms of ease of use, the large FullView screen, as Huawei calls it, is fully satisfactory. Without being too big, it allows you to enjoy your films, series and video games to perfection. Navigation is also made easier thanks to a few well-felt gestures that you are now starting to get used to. So a simple swipe from the right or left side of the screen will make a backspace. Handy if your hands are too small to reach the button at the top left of the screen.
The display of the P Smart 2019 is bright and very well defined. Pierre Crochart for Clubic
Already present on the Honor 8X, and more recently on the Huawei P Smart+, Huawei’s entry-level SoC is joining the Mate 20 Lite. We don’t have much to go on at Kirin 710. If there were to be any problems, it would rather be at the level of the only 3 GB of RAM that comes with the chip, and which sometimes derail the phone a bit in case of too much use. I have noticed that the Google keyboard sometimes takes 1 or 2 seconds to appear. Nothing very annoying as the general fluidity of the smartphone is correct.
Homemade test point under AnTuTu or Geekbench for this Huawei P Smart 2019 however, yours truly was the victim of a recurring bug on the two smartphones that Huawei sent us. A concern we had already noticed on the Honor 8X, and which purely and simply prevents us from installing the above-mentioned benchmark applications. With all due respect, here are the figures that our confreres of FrAndroid were kind enough to let us use.
Under AnTuTu, the P Smart scored 130,237 points, placing it just behind the Huawei Mate 20 Lite and the Honor 8X, both equipped with a gigabyte of extra RAM, which scored around 140,000 points on the same test.
Figures, which are not necessarily representative of actual usage of Huawei’s latest smartphone. So let’s just say that if your smartphone use is limited to social networking, reading your favorite websites or watching a few series and videos on YouTube, the Huawei P Smart 2019 will meet yourneeds very favorably.
On PUBG Mobile, the P Smart allows you to play comfortably in low quality. Pierre Crochart for Clubic
The smartphone is also perfectly capable of launching any video game on the Play Store. On the other hand, some concessions will have to be made on the graphic quality of certain stocks. PUBG Mobile, for example, was offered to me in medium quality at its first launch. But frequent drops in display frequency forced me to play the whole thing down again in order to be more comfortable. Fortnite is not compatible with the Huawei P Smart 2019 at the moment.
Fortnite, on the other hand, is not supported by the P Smart 2019. Pierre Crochart for Clubic
With its 3400 mAh battery, the Huawei P Smart 2019 does not necessarily rank among the best-equipped smartphones of the moment – the Xiaomi Redmi Note 6, for example, climbs to 4000 mAh. However, Huawei’s entry-level smartphone has a long range, thanks in particular to the exemplary management of energy consumption by the Kirin 710, engraved in 12 nm.
The Huawei P Smart 2019 will easily make it through the day and a half.
So in normal use, i.e. alternating social networks, video games, online videos and a lot of reading, the Huawei P Smart 2019 remained vigorous for a big day and a half for a total screen display time of almost 7 hours. Here again, there is a very slight decrease compared to an Honor 8X, which was on first-name terms for two full days of use with its 3750 mAh battery.
It’s a nice score, though, and it’s coupled with a rather close load on the smartphone. It has a 10 W fast charge which allows it to regain about 50% of autonomy in 45 minutes. It will take just over two hours to fully charge using the supplied AC adapter. We’re far from the 70% tuned in 30 minutes on the Huawei Mate 20 Pro, certainly, but we’re 700€ apart between the two devices.
Photography according to Huawei, you either like it or you don’t. While the brand’s most expensive models have undoubtedly found their audience with the P20 Pro and Mate 20 Pro in succession, the brand’s more affordable smartphones often suffer from an overflow of artificial intelligence that over-interprets the clichés and thus distorts them. The Huawei P Smart 2019 is no exception to the rule, and is barely passable in photography.
The IA mode (right) greatly distorts photographs by exaggerating their digital processing. Pierre Crochart for Clubic
Equipped with two rear sensors allowing it to create rather nice bokeh , the P Smart unfortunately relies too much on its IA mode for image processing. We thus find ourselves with shots that are saturated to the extreme, and where the level of sharpness would have been pushed to its paroxysm. The rendering is then unnatural, and we prefer to disable this mode to enjoy more acceptable photographs, even if they remain poorly defined.
The portrait mode is rather successful and offers rather soft results. Pierre Crochart for Clubic
The front camera with its 8 megapixels produces a more pleasing picture. Let’s just say that a few avid self-portraits with friends after a drink or two, or a few vain excesses when leaving the hairdresser’s thanks to a rather successful Portrait mode, will be more than enough. At least as long as you don’t dig too deep into the beautification and beauty options that would make you look like a Sims.
In video, the P Smart 2019 is capable of filming in 1080p at up to 60 frames per second, but it lacks proper optical stabilisation. However, it does offer H.264 or H.265 video recording, which is always good for saving space on internal storage or the SD card.
You can tell if you’ve read our test to its conclusion: there’s not much to reproach this P Smart cuvée 2019. It’s an entry-level phone, with the aesthetic compromises that presuppose, but with all the technology under the hood to make it suitable for the vast majority of everyday uses.
The smartphone is fast, autonomous and very pleasant to use. No application is likely to put it on the kneecaps, and it even runs the latest games if you give it a few cuts in graphics. He’s just about to be sanctioned for his 3 GB of RAM alone, which sometimes causes him to run out of steam in the odds.
At 250€, the P Smart 2019 is a high-performance product that knows both its strong and weak points: which are essentially to be found in photography, which is still handicapped by an overabundance of embellishing effects and exaggerated treatment of the shots. With this smartphone, Huawei proves that it doesn’t forget to add accessible and convincing references to its catalogue. A success that allows the manufacturer to start the year 2019 in the best possible way.
+ Very pleasant round design
+ A superbly defined screen
+ Convincing performance
+ Very solid autonomy
– Overall impression of fragility
– The sputtering loudspeaker
– No USB-C