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Review 6 min read 2 comments

Huawei P Smart 2019 hands-on review: a lot to offer for a little money

The Huawei P Smart 2019 marks the beginning of the new year for the world's second-largest smartphone manufacturer. In order to be a step ahead of the game, Huawei has unveiled a low-cost smartphone, which won't be flanked by new flagships or the first folding smartphone for at least for a month. However, the P Smart 2019 already has a lot to offer, as our first hands-on test has shown.

Huawei P Smart (2019) release date and price

Huawei has not revealed the exact price for the Huawei P Smart 2019 yet. However, it is expected to cost less than $300 (250 euro), putting it in the lower mid-range. The first P Smart had a similar recommended retail price. In the UK, the Huawei P Smart 2019 is expected to hit the shelves of multiple retailers around January 10 with a price tag of £149.

Functional design

The Huawei P Smart 2019 isn't necessarily a small smartphone , but it sits well in the hand. The plastic housing is functional and has nice rounded edges. The display is 6.21 inches and has a small dewdrop notch at the top, which houses the front camera. The loudspeaker is integrated into a small slot of the bezel, making it almost invisible. The bezels around the screen on the right, left and top are quite slim, but under the display the P Smart 2019 has a slightly wider "chin". The black version also looks a bit boring compared to the gradient called Aurora Blue.

We also have to note that the back of the Huawei P Smart 2019 is very prone to fingerprints smudges - the plastic surface gets dirty quickly. The smartphone has to be wiped quite often. Of course, if you use a cover, you won't have that issue and you will also be able to protect your device from damage.

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The Huawei P Smart 2019 has a practical plastic housing. / © AndroidPIT

The craftsmanship of the P Smart 2019 by Huawei is great - the only small complaint is that the holes for speaker output, micro-USB port and headphone jack are a little sharp-edged. The keys have crisp pressure points and do not wobble - which is usually a problem in this price range. The fingerprint sensor, which sits at the back of the P Smart 2019, is easy to use and has a matte surface. The fingerprint recognition works flawlessly and quickly.

A large display and a dewdrop notch

Huawei has given the P Smart 2019 a large display with a good resolution for the price range. 2,340 x 1,080 pixels at 6.21 inches, resulting in a density of 414 ppi - pretty decent. The TFT panel offers good brightness and natural colors, but it cannot compete with high-quality OLED displays in terms of contrast and dynamics.

What's noticeable and not very pleasant, is that around the notch and on the lower edge of the screen, the illumination of the Huawei P Smart 2019 display is not quite uniform. There are small shadows, which become obvious when the brightness is turned up. Of course, there's also a software solution to hide the notch, but that's a matter of taste.

Another thing to note, is that the screen of the P Smart 2019 comes with a well-adapted protective film that is difficult to remove. It is advisable to simply leave it on, as this protects the glass underneath from scratches. The film did not interfere with the test of the Huawei P Smart 2019.

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The P Smart 2019 display is quite large. / © AndroidPIT

Latest Android and EMUI

Android 9 Pie should be the standard for new smartphones by now and Huawei is doing their part. The P Smart 2019 not only comes with the latest Android version and security patch (November 2018) out of the box, but also Huawei's EMUI 9. The user interface still looks a little bit strange, but it offers a variety of functions and can easily be adapted to your own taste. If you miss the App Drawer and don't want to put all your applications on the Home screens, you can switch the view in the system settings.

By default, the Huawei P Smart 2019 is equipped with Android's virtual navigation bar with three buttons - Back, Home and Multitasking. Alternatively, you can use gesture controls or a freely positionable navigation dock in the form of a circle.

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The Micro-USB connection is outdated. / © AndroidPIT

Sufficient for everyday use

The new P model is powered by a Kirin processor from Hisilicon, a Huawei subsidiary. The Kirin 710 has eight cores and reaches a maximum clock speed of 2.2 GHz. However, there is no separate NPU like on the Kirin 980. The processor is supported by 3 GB of RAM.

The smartphone runs quite fast, but does not come close to the performance of more expensive and powerful smartphones. Complex games or high-resolution videos are not the focus here either. The Huawei P Smart 2019 takes care of the everyday tasks without any problems, even if apps sometimes need a few seconds before they start.

Photos, music, apps and other data are stored on the 64 GB internal memory. Those who need more can get by with a microSD card. The new memory card format, Nano Memory Card, is currently only used on high-end Huawei devices.

Dual camera

A dual camera was something rare just a few years ago. Nowadays, double snappers can be found in all price categories. P Smart 2019 has also jumped on the bandwagon. The resolution of the back sensors is 13 and 2 MP, while the front camera has an 8 MP sensor. The camera app, made popular by other Huawei smartphones, has a ton of features, including a pro mode. You can customize your portrait settings and a mode for a simulated open aperture. However, Huawei could have foregone the addition of "AI Camera" on the back, because it is not particularly smart.

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The Huawei P Smart has a dual camera / © AndroidPIT

Initial tests have shown the Huawei P Smart 2019 camera to be quite fast when focusing and releasing. However, the photos lose details quickly, especially in low light, and become blurred. Under better conditions, the results are more satisfactory. The front camera is sufficient for video calls and the occasional selfie, but does not meet any high demands.

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The lower the light, the worse the quality. / © AndroitPIT
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If the conditions are optimal, beautiful photos are still possible. / © AndroitPIT

Huawei P Smart 2019 with good battery life

As usual, the Huawei P Smart 2019 has a non-removable battery with a capacity of 3,400 mAh. The smartphone can thus manage a day away from the socket without any problems. However, there is no wireless charging or Quick Charge on the P Smart 2019.

Early Verdict

The first test of the Huawei P Smart 2019 left us wanting. For a little money, customers can get a smartphone that works without a hitch in everyday life - although it doesn't offer outstanding performance, it is mostly sufficient for common tasks. You just have to know what you want: an expensive all-rounder or a cheap smartphone that has no major weaknesses.

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