Huawei’s exponential growth and rise to prominence in the mobile industry can be attributed to many factors. Their consistent innovation within the industry is arguably the most significant selling point, regularly churning out some of the best flagship phones of the year, such as the P30 Pro. Then there is the use of the Honor brand to deliver flagship phones at affordable prices, without diluting Huawei’s premium flagships.
The accumulation of all that is the relentless release cycle. Huawei release two flagships a year, then Honor, and the mid-end of the market feels like they release a phone every month.
Some people may criticise this approach, I have no strong feelings about it; however more choice for the consumer is always a good thing. At the very least it helps drive down prices.
With the announcement of the new Huawei P Smart Z this represents the third mid-range phone from the two companies in the past month, and the fifth in the past 6-ish, with the Honor 10 Lite coming out in November, and the Huawei P smart 2019 in December. Oh and then there was the Huawei Mate 20 lite and Honor 8X back in September.
So, what makes all these phones different? While technology progresses fast, it is not quite as quick as this release schedule. Fundamentally, they all use the same chipset, the Kirin 710 which is a competent octa-core CPU featuring four Cortex-A73 big cores operating at up to 2.2 GHz along with four Cortex-A53 little cores operating at up to 1.7 GHz. It is then partnered with the Mali G51 (4 core) IGP and supports up to 6 GiB of dual-channel LPDDR4 memory.
Memory and Storage
Each phone has slightly different memory variations, some with 3GB ram, many with 4GB. Then a variation of 64GB and 128GB storage. There are higher options, but these models don’t appear to be easily available in the UK market.
Looking at each option, the biggest variance between the models is the camera configuration and screen design. Over the course of the last few months, the cameras have been improved considerably, with the Huawei P30 lite achieving peak camera specs with its 48 MP, 8MP ultra-wide, and 2 MP depth sensor, a configuration you might expect on a £600 phone, not £329. At this point, I will also remind you that £400 will buy you the Pixel 3a with a single 12MP camera and a chipset that performs about the same.
With the cameras varying a little per model, next thing that changes slightly is the screen design; the Mate 20 Lite has a notch, this was then reduced down to a dewdrop which was used from most of the other phones until the latest P Smart Z which introduces a pop-up camera.
The actual display and dimensions of all the phones don’t vary much. I think Huawei R&D/Marketing has found that 6.15 through to 6.59 inch is the sweet spot for screen sizes, and the P Smart Z is the one that pushes that figure up a little, and the P30 Lite down a little.
In fact, my comparison of the Huawei P smart 2019 vs Honor 10 Lite showed almost no differences at all.
Battery and charging options also vary a little, most of the phones sit at around 3400mAh, and several options use the older microUSB standard. However, it looks like Huawei are slowing moving to USB-C for their mid-range options, with the P30 lite and P Smart Z both using it. The Huawei P Smart Z also comes with an impressive 4000mAh battery.
For me, the important bit. In terms of day to day performance, all these phones are going to perform about the same, but there is a £160 price difference between the cheapest and most expensive option.
The P30 Lite with its exceptional camera configuration has launched at £329.99, it doesn’t look like the best value phone, but if you factor in that fantastic camera, you could offset the price of this against buying a phone and point and shoot camera separately.
If you don’t need or can’t afford a phone with that camera spec, the P Smart 2019 is just £189. Alternatively, if that pop-up camera tickles your fancy, the Huawei P Smart Z should be around £250, it has a better camera config and battery than the P Smart 2019, so I would say it is just about worth the extra £60.
The Honor 10 Lite, which is almost the same as the P Smart 2019 can be had for an absolute bargain £169.99 and is the cheapest Kirin 710 option I can find.
Overall, all the phones are great with so many options you have granular control of price and specification which I think is great for the consumer, though I appreciate it can be a little confusing.
|Huawei P Smart Z||Huawei P30 Lite||Honor 20 Lite||Huawei P smart 2019|
|DIMENSIONS AND WEIGHT||163.5 x 77.3 x 8.8 mm, 196.8 grams||152.9 x 72.7 x 7.4 mm, 159 grams||154.8 x 73.6 x 8 mm, 164 grams||155.2 x 73.4 x 8 mm, 160g|
|DISPLAY||6.59 inches, 1080 x 2340p (Full HD+), 391 ppi, LTPS IPS LCD||6.15 inches, 1080 x 2312p (Full HD+), 415 ppi, IPS LCD||6.21 inches, 1080 x 2340p (Full HD+), 415 ppi, IPS LCD||6.21 inches, 1080 x 2340p (Full HD+), 415 ppi, IPS LCD|
|PROCESSOR||Huawei Hisilicon Kirin 710F, octa-core 2.2 GHz||Huawei Hisilicon Kirin 710, octa-core 2.2 GHz||Huawei Hisilicon Kirin 710, octa-core 2.2 GHz||Huawei Hisilicon Kirin 710, octa-core 2.2 GHz|
|MEMORY||4 GB RAM, 64 GB – micro SD slot||4 GB RAM, 128 GB – micro SD slot||4GB/128GB – micro SD slot||64 GB, 3 GB RAM, microSD|
|SOFTWARE||Android 9 Pie, EMUI||Android 9 Pie, EMUI||Android 9 Pie, EMUI||Android 9 Pie, EMUI|
|CONNECTIVITY||Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 5.0, GPS||Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS||Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS||Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS|
|CAMERA||Dual 16 + 2 MP f/1.8 and f/2.4||Triple 48 + 8 + 2 MP f/1.8 and f/2.2||Triple 24 + 8 + 2 MP f/1.8 and f/2.4 and f/2.4||13 M f/1,8 + 2MP depth sensor|
|16 MP f/2.0 front camera||32 MP f/2.0 front camera||32 MP f/2.0 front camera||8MP front|
|BATTERY||4000 mAh||3340 mAh, fast charging 18W||3400 mAh, fast charging 10W||3400 mAh|
|ADDITIONAL FEATURES||Hybrid Dual SIM slot||Hybrid Dual SIM slot||Hybrid Dual SIM slot||Hybrid Dual SIM|