The first bezel-less smartphone from Huawei without a notch definitely deserves our attention! And suddenly it’s not even a flagship, but quite affordable Huawei P smart Z. Let’s get to know it better.
Our video about Huawei P smart Z
If you do not want to read the text – watch the video!
In general, the P smart series breaks a clear structure of the model lines of Huawei smartphones a little. Everything seemed to be simple. At the very bottom of the “food chain” was the Y budget line, which the manufacturer releases specifically for young people. Mate line – those are business flagships, powerful and expensive (although there are also “light” variations). At the very top of the hierarchy is the P-series.
And until a certain moment everything went smoothly – there were only large and small flagships and simplified models that imitated them with Lite in the name, made for the mass market and providing a significant share of sales. But suddenly a new element appeared in the form of P smart smartphones. Trendy “cool” phones for the general public for a small price.
The original P smart was released at the beginning of 2018 and it was the first smartphone of the company with a new 18:9 screen – in general, a confident mid-ranger, which was very popular. A little more than six months later, the main hit of the line appeared – P smart. The device made of glass and metal looked like a real flagship, had balanced characteristics, but was relatively inexpensive. The only significant drawback of the smartphone was only the lack of an NFC module. What the manufacturer fixed in the new P smart 2019.
And here is the presentation of the innovative Huawei P smart Z, the main feature of which is a large screen, which occupies 84% of the front part, without any notches and with a pop-up selfie camera in the upper part of the case. Let’s see what else this smartphone has to offer.
Huawei P smart Z review specifications
|NETWORK||Technology||GSM / HSPA / LTE|
|Status||Available. Released 2019, June|
|BODY||Dimensions||163.5 x 77.3 x 8.8 mm (6.44 x 3.04 x 0.35 in)|
|Weight||196.8 g (6.95 oz)|
|SIM||Single SIM (Nano-SIM) or Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by)|
|DISPLAY||Type||LTPS IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors|
|Size||6.59 inches, 106.6 cm2 (~84.3% screen-to-body ratio)|
|Resolution||1080 x 2340 pixels, 19.5:9 ratio (~391 ppi density)|
|PLATFORM||OS||Android 9.0 (Pie); EMUI 9|
|Chipset||Hisilicon Kirin 710F (12 nm)|
|CPU||Octa-core (4×2.2 GHz Cortex-A73 & 4×1.7 GHz Cortex-A53)|
|MEMORY||Card slot||microSD, up to 1 TB|
|Internal||64 GB, 4 GB RAM|
|MAIN CAMERA||Dual||16 MP, f/1.8, PDAF
2 MP, f/2.4, depth sensor
|Features||LED flash, HDR, panorama|
|SELFIE CAMERA||Single||Motorized pop-up 16 MP, f/2.0|
|Active noise cancellation with dedicated mic|
|COMMS||WLAN||Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, hotspot|
|Bluetooth||5.0, A2DP, LE|
|GPS||Yes, with A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS|
|NFC||Yes (market/region dependent)|
|USB||2.0, Type-C 1.0 reversible connector|
|FEATURES||Sensors||Fingerprint (rear-mounted), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass|
|BATTERY||Non-removable Li-Po 4000 mAh battery|
|MISC||Colors||Emerald Green, Midnight Black, Sapphire Blue|
|Price||About 280 EUR|
Positioning and price
This smartphone is aimed at a wide range of buyers. First of all, it should appeal to those consumers who don’t need extra elements on the phone’s screen at all, but like thin bezels. And for those who just want to buy a smartphone right now for relatively little money (and who doesn’t?), the phone seems to be the perfect option.
Of course, the main goal of P smart Z is to rival Xiaomi Mi 9T, which is very similar to our hero. In general, there are not very many mid-budget smartphones with pop-up cameras in our market (in fact, there is nothing more in the middle price category, ASUS ZenFone 6 and Samsung Galaxy A80 are much more expensive), so the battle for the hearts of buyers of such devices will take place between two Chinese “fighters”. And yes, VIVO brand smartphones are coming, but so far they are not on sale yet.
The official cost of Huawei P smart Z is about $300 at the start of sales, which means (knowing Huawei’s tactics) that a little later the price is likely to drop.
What’s in the box
In a simple white box lies the smartphone itself, a USB Type-C cable (!), a simple 2A charger, an even simpler wired headset in the format of old classic earbuds (not EarPods), a SIM card eject tool and a weighty volume of supporting documentation – an instruction manual has all languages of the world. You also get a warranty card.
Huawei didn’t put a cover, it’s a pity, but a film is glued on the glass right from the factory. In general, nothing special, an ordinary kit.
Materials, design, build quality
On the one hand, Huawei P smart Z is a classic smartphone, although it has several features that help it stand out. But first of all, let me tell you about the materials. Unfortunately, there is no metal here. The frame is plastic, but it’s sturdy, with a high-quality shiny metallic coating. It looks good. Of course, on the back there’s glass.
Naturally, the main feature of the Huawei P smart Z is a large screen and fairly thin frames around it, except for the bottom. Although the lower part is not very thick, by eye it even seems thinner than the flagship Huawei P30 Pro (or exactly the same). And indeed, in front our hero suddenly looks somewhat more modern than the manufacturer’s top-end smartphone, although flat glass without rounding at the edges gives it middle class vibe. When you turn on the screen, the difference in picture quality is striking; after all, it is far from the flagship, but about that – later.
At the back we see an unusual design with a color separation of the cover slightly below the fingerprint scanner – very similar to what is used in the Google Pixel line. In fact, the color of the upper and lower parts is the same. It’s just that the direction of the reflecting layer is different and at different angles the top looks darker or lighter than the bottom one. In any case, a clear separation is always visible, especially in the version with the emerald green case, as in my test and in the color of the popular blue-blue “Aurora”. But in the black version the separation is noticeably smaller.
Despite the fact that the frame around the perimeter is plastic, the smartphone’s build quality is flawless. No creaks, no bends.
In front is the screen, between the main body and the display there is an insert made of black plastic. Above the screen in this frame we have a speaker, it is slightly above it. In the lower frame on the right are light and proximity sensors. There’s no LED indicator.
The left side is completely empty. On the right is the power button and volume key.
On the bottom end – a delight for retrograde – is a 3.5 mm audio jack. And also: a microphone, a USB-C port (the admiration continues) as well as 5 holes of the main speaker.
Above is a second microphone, a combined slot for 2 Nano SIM or 1 SIM + microSD and a retractable front camera body.
At the back is a slightly protruding camera unit with two eyes, below is a single flash and a vertical AI CAMERA inscription. The round fingerprint scanner is quite recessed and has a frame around the perimeter. At the very bottom, there is the vertical logo of the company on the left and almost imperceptible small inscriptions on the right, which are engraved on the glass, and can be read only from a certain angle.
Huawei P smart Z is quite large, even larger than P30 Pro, as it is slightly longer and wider. I won’t be surprised if at the moment this is the manufacturer’s largest smartphone (there is also Y9 Prime 2019 – a full copy of P smart Z, but with an ultra-wide sensor). It all leaves a mark on its ergonomic qualities. Holding a smartphone with one hand is difficult even for me.
But at the same time, the device lies comfortably in the hand due to the rounded back cover and streamlined shapes. Buttons are also in the zone of convenient accessibility. The scanner may seem a bit far if you don’t have long fingers.
To my surprise, the smartphone is not too slippery. It all thanks to plastic around the perimeter of the body. The rear glass panel adheres well to the palm of the hand, thanks to the absence of an oleophobic coating on it. As a result of this, it gets covered with prints that are not very easily wiped off. Is there an oleophobic front – I won’t say, since there was a screen protector right out of the box.
Huawei P Smart Z uses an LTPS-matrix (actually a kind of IPS with reduced power consumption) with a huge diagonal of 6.59″. It’s almost a tablet! And I remember how relatively recently a smartphone with a 4″ screen was being called gigantic. But times have changed and now an almost 7-inch phone does not surprise anyone.
In general, there are almost no complaints about the screen. Only the default color temperature is excessively cold. But this point is easily fixed in the settings, where you can choose natural or bright colors and adjust the temperature manually. It is also possible to reduce the screen resolution to improve power consumption. There is a night mode.
The viewing angles are excellent, the colors do not invert and do not fade, everything is as it should be with IPS. The brightness range is wide, the minimum level is comfortable. But the maximum could be a little higher. On a summer sunny street, the screen brightness is not enough for comfortable work.
Huawei P Smart Z screen is good, but it is not the best display on the market. In principle, it is fully consistent with its price category, possibly with a small bonus.
We are talking about performance, and that means Kirin 710. We are familiar with it from several dozens of smartphones.
It turns out that Kirin 710F is the same 710 and from the point of view of the main architecture, nothing has changed, it’s the same set of cores. Here the work with memory has been improved and the internal interaction between components has been accelerated. Basically, all these modifications were implemented for better compatibility with the updated GPU Turbo 3.0 graphics acceleration technology. Theoretically, games should start faster and work with a higher FPS after the corresponding update arrives on the device.
In practice, the games run okay. For example, PUBG runs on the recommended average settings. You can enjoy almost any heavy games with no problems.
Otherwise, the performance of the “new” chip is the same as that of the “old” one. Synthetic tests did not reveal any noticeable increase. So in terms of net power, we have the same P smart+ or P smart 2019 or several dozens of Huawei (Honor) smartphones on a similar platform. At the same time, our hero has the option to turn on the performance mode in which test results increase by about 8-10%.
In principle, I have nothing against the 710th, except that it is already morally and physically obsolete. No, in practice, it still works fine. This is a solid average level of performance, which ensures fast functioning of the shell and smooth operation of the interface without critical lags. And at the same time, the smartphone gets slightly heated when running heavier stuff.
The smartphone has “only” 2 modules of the main camera. The main one is 16 megapixels, f 1.8, it is assisted by a 2-megapixel depth sensor with f/2.4.
For its price tag, Huawei P Smart Z shows excellent results, which is unexpected. The camera tries not to lose details in the shadows, perfectly blurs the background, even without switching to portrait mode. In addition, it decently makes photos at dusk and in the dark, especially if you switch to a special night mode.
Of course, it could not do so without the support of artificial intelligence, which defines scenes and slightly twists the colors, but just a little. But if you don’t like this, then AI help can be disabled right on the camera’s main screen.
In portrait mode, the contours of the object are cut more or less decent, and it exists here not just for show.
What I did not really like about Huawei P Smart Z is its video capabilities. Starting with the fact that there is no support for 4K, which is strange in 2019. But even in Full HD, the quality is not impressive, especially if you move the phone at least a little – there is no stabilization, and even slow and smooth movements make the camera constantly refocus, which makes the video image twitch. So it’s better to shoot with a still camera. Perhaps this will be improved in future updates.
The front camera is noticeably buzzing… or even beeping when activated, and it infuriates me a little. But in normal surroundings it is almost inaudible.
The module itself is not bad – 16 megapixels, f/2.0. It makes great selfies, supports portrait mode and shows good results. The beatification mode is here and it does not turn you into an anime freak. The selfie camera is not perfect, but, again, taking into account the price, this is a very, very good result on all fronts.
Energy-saving chipset plus 4000 mAh battery. This combination shows excellent results. Actually, with my usage model, which is quite intense (4-5 hours of active screen per day, mainly social networks, instant messengers, mail, browsing, watching several YouTube videos, phone calls, a little camera and a couple of hours of music via Bluetooth headphones ), without games, the smartphone lived for 2 days with almost 7 hours of backlight and still more than 20% of the charge remained. In general, everything is very good with battery life.
But the charging speed of the smartphone from the bundled adapter did not impress me, unfortunately:
- 00:00 – 10%
- 00:10 – 19%
- 00:20 – 28%
- 00:30 – 37%
- 00:40 – 46%
- 00:50 – 56%
- 01:00 – 65%
- 01:10 – 74%
- 01:20 – 84%
- 01:30 – 91%
- 01:40 – 97%
- 01:48 – 100%
Everything is decent with this moment. And very much so. The main speaker is loud and the frequency range is not bad. The earpiece speaker is excellent. There is a 3.5 mm headphone jack and support for Huawei Histen proprietary music enhancement. Unfortunately, this technology only works with wired connection and is not available for Bluetooth audio.
In the heyday of TWS, it’s sad, it’s time for the manufacturer to correct this omission. Perhaps the feature will become available in the EMUI 9.1 update. But for now, you have to use third-party equalizers for wireless headphones.
I do not want to repeat myself, just look at the table at the very beginning of the review to make sure that everything is fine with the smartphone at this point. A complete set for a modern user. There is dual-band Wi-Fi, the current version of Bluetooth, accurate fast GPS. It is possible to make contactless payments using the NFC module.
Huawei P smart Z lacks face recognition we’ve all grown accustomed to. On the one hand, it is strange and a little sad that the smartphone has lost this trendy function. On the other hand, I understand that recognition would work slowly because of the pop-up camera.
By the way, from the smartphones we reviewed, Galaxy A80 also has no face detection. But in ASUS Zenfone 6 it is present, as well as in Xiaomi Mi 9T. But apparently, Huawei decided not to give the user a chance to get a negative experience and the function was simply removed.
As for the scanner at the back – everything is traditionally excellent here, as with all Huawei smartphones – the sensor is lightning fast and accurate.
Firmware and software
In principle, nothing unusual in this regard – the same old-good EMUI 9.0. Among the features of P smart Z firmware, one can note the presence of a party mode for synchronizing music playback on several devices. There is also an FM radio! But in general, everything works quickly and reliably, there is support for themes, gesture control, there are a lot of functions for manual and automatic optimization of the system and improved performance and energy saving of the smartphone.
We have already talked countless times about the EMUI shell, both in reviews of Huawei and Honor smartphones, and in separate materials. Read reviews of P20 Pro and P30 Pro, as well as our other related articles.
In general, Huawei P smart Z is an excellent smartphone, balanced on all fronts. First of all, it stands out thanks to its design, a large high-quality screen without notches and its pop-up selfie camera. Its performance is average, but it is enough for all typical tasks, consuming content and playing games. A good battery makes it possible to use the phone for long periods of time.
This is an honest smartphone, which is worth every penny, which is now a rarity. An excellent choice for those users who need a beautiful, unusual, and at the same time solid device for every day.
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