HUAWEI P8 Lite Hardware Review

HUAWEI P8 Lite Hardware Review

Sep 3, 2015

At this point, it seems fair to wholeheartedly include Huawei on the list of major Android OEMs, and as if to underscore that point, the China-based tech house has been coming to market with some nice Android smartphone hardware. One of its latest pieces, the P8 Lite hearkens to the strategy of being very price conscious, and we were eager to have a look.

We received the white unit to review (there’s also black and gold to pick from, the retail box has the device, charging materials and documentation); it’s a svelte object, packing a multi-touch 1280 x 720 HD screen on a 5.63 x 2.78 x 0.30 inch frame, and weighing in at 4.62 ounces. The white finish is accented by a chrome band which more or less separates the front from the back; the band houses the micro-USB and mics at the bottom, audio port at the top, and power button, volume rocker and sim slots and micro-sd slot on the one side.

The back feels textured, and the top piece on the front houses a subtle speaker grill, a 5 MP front-facing camera, which complements the primary 13 MP BSI camera on the back.

Under the hood, it isn’t shabby either. Out of the box, it comes with Android 4.4.4 OS. To run this , it sports a Snapdragon chip and Quad-core 1.5 GHz Cortex-A53 CPU. It comes with 16 GB of internal storage (expandable up to 128 GB via SD card) and 2 GB RAM and a sealed lithium ion 2200 mAh battery. Wi-fi (plus hotspot), Bluetooth LE, accelerometer, NFC, proximity sensor, compass, ambient light sensor? Check (x7).

Based on specs alone, it seems competitive, and we couldn’t wait to put it through the paces.

Off the bat, from the on button press, the device is pretty snappy. Huawei overlays its skin over Android, and it is a gentle implementation that doesn’t distract too much from the core OS. The screen does do well; it isn’t a vivid as some high-end flagships, but it actually does pretty well in practice.

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Google’s suite of mobile apps are front and center, and quite responsive; we rocked some heavy hitter games off the Play Store, and didn’t get any lag. The camera works well on conference calls, and the back one takes good snaps in the right lighting.

Call quality (via T-Mobile) was pretty good two. I used it over Bluetooth and without, and audio quality was better than anticipated; the audio and mic openings work well.

And then… we have the price. The $250 asking price is definitely one of the top features, making it a great no-contract mid-range offering.

Now, the aforementioned skin does take a bit of a shine off of Material Design, and the wi-fi direct capabilities are restricted to other Huawei devices.

In the end, the positives are clearly on the weightier side, and as an Android option, it holds its own.

Huawei Watch Gets US Release Date and Pricing

Huawei Watch Gets US Release Date and Pricing

Sep 2, 2015

Huawei has been on our radar of late (looking at you, P8 Lite); it’s Android Wear entry, the Huawei Watch, is now ready for the US Market.

Timeless Design

The Huawei Watch is inspired by classic, high-end wristwatch design and executed with the most sophisticated materials. In keeping with traditional wristwatch design, the Huawei Watch has a round face and body, standard lugs and a 42mm diameter. Improving on classic design, the physical crown is in the 2 o’clock position on the watch body, making it ergonomic and easy to use on either wrist.

Sophisticated Craftsmanship with Premium Materials

The craftsmanship of the Huawei Watch is evident in the materials chosen and the attention to detail throughout the manufacturing process. Both the scratch resistant, two-layer sapphire crystal and the 316L cold-forged stainless steel body construction are details usually found in premium and luxury watches.

Style and Personalization

Just as a classic wristwatch is a symbol of personal style, the Huawei Watch provides customization options to let individual style and personality come through. With six watch body and band combinations, consumers can choose the watch that’s right for them. The lug design makes it easy to swap standard 18mm bands for a classic, modern or eclectic new look. In addition, the Huawei Watch comes with a variety of watch faces that users can switch for different settings, moods or activities.

Rich Functionality

Running the latest version of Android Wear, the Huawei Watch offers the rich functionality consumers expect in a smartwatch. Features of the Huawei Watch include:

· 300 mAh battery offers up to two days of battery life with regular use, and fast charging offers 80 percent battery life in just 45 minutes, or 75 minutes for a full charge.

· Always-on watch face gives immediate access to the most important information a watch can provide – the time.

· Wi-Fi connectivity for instant notifications when the user’s phone isn’t in Bluetooth range.

· Bluetooth 4.1 LE enables users to pair directly to Bluetooth headsets and speakers to enjoy music on the go with or without a smartphone.

· 6-axis motion sensors automatically identify activity and provide accurate tracking.

· Enhanced heart rate monitor provided by one of the world’s most advanced heart-rate detecting sensor manufacturers delivers measurable health tracking.

· 1.4-inch AMOLED screen offers the highest resolution display of any Android Wear watch at 400 by 400 pixels with 286 pixels per inch.

The new piece can be pre-ordered today (on GetHuawei.com, Google Store, Amazon.com and BestBuy.com); general availability is set for September 17th. Prices will range from $349 to $799.

Huawei TalkBand Available in the US Starting This Month

Huawei TalkBand Available in the US Starting This Month

Nov 6, 2014

The Huawei Talkband, a fitness tracker with cross-platform connectivity and headset functionality, will be available for purchase this month.

Excerpts from the press release:

Huawei’s TalkBand B1, the world’s 1st fitness tracker with an integrated Bluetooth earpiece and the perfect hybrid talk and track companion for mobile devices, will be available beginning November 14 in the United States through GetHuawei.com, Newegg.com, Amazon.com, and Fry’s Electronics.

The TalkBand B1 is the perfect balance between work and play: A wireless activity tracker and Bluetooth headset in one, a hybrid that connects to your mobile device so you can talk and track activities effortlessly. The TalkBand B1 wirelessly tracks activity time and progress, including steps taken, miles covered and calories burned. It intelligently records the duration and quality of sleep, and has a smart alarm and nap functions to help improve rest.

With an embedded Bluetooth 4.1 wireless earpiece, the TalkBand B1 features fast pairing and enables up to seven hours of continuous calling. The TalkBand B1 is designed to support wireless calling on both Android 4.0+ and iOS 5.0+ compatible devices, and syncs effortlessly via NFC.

TalkBand B1 is made of hypo-allergenic, sweat-resistant and anti-UV materials to prevent aging and discoloration and features and includes a 1.4-inch flexible OLED display. The device has a fashionable bendable curve design that fits perfectly around the wrist, and the earpiece sits securely within the band and is easily removable when needed. With a 90 mAh battery, the TalkBand B1 lasts six days without the need to recharge, and takes only two hours to charge using the integrated USB connector. The TalkBand also comes with added security features that alert the wearer by vibrating if the TalkBand is more than 10 meters away from the synced smart device.

The TalkBand is due out on November 14th, and will cost $129.99

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[Source: Huawei Press Release]

Huawei Ascend Mate2 Now Available on Newegg

Huawei Ascend Mate2 Now Available on Newegg

Oct 14, 2014

Shortly after making its way to Fry’s, the Ascend Mate2 from Huawei is now available on Newegg. Per the official press release, it will be offered in black and white, and will retail for $300; Huawei is throwing in a free reverse charge cable too.

Excerpts from the official press release are here:

Consumers can now purchase the Huawei Ascend Mate2 4G LTE on Newegg, the leading electronics-focused e-retailer in North America. The device is offered online at http://www.newegg.com/store/Huawei-Device-USA-Inc in both black and white colors, and retails for $300.00 USD. There is no sales tax for customers outside of California, Indiana, New Jersey or Tennessee. Consumers who purchase the device also receive one reverse charge cable, free of charge.

Since its launch, the Ascend Mate2 has received critical acclaim for its powerful quad-core 1.6 GHz processor and a long-lasting 3900mAh lithium polymer battery that lets you enjoy a half-day of web surfing on a single charge. Featuring unique power-saving technology that improves performance by more than 30 percent versus other smartphones in its class, a single charge can let you: stream three movies in a row, surf the web for 12 hours, talk for 25 hours, or listen to 100 hours of music. The Ascend Mate2 is like a hybrid of bests: the best battery, the best screen, the best selfie experience – all rolled into one.

We had the privilege of reviewing the Ascend Mate2 a short while ago, and came away impressed by its design and overall utility.

Huawei Reveals New Gadgets at IFA 2014

Huawei Reveals New Gadgets at IFA 2014

Sep 8, 2014

We are not sure if its fair to still refer to Huawei as an up-and-coming Android OEM anymore; as our our review of the Ascend Mate2 indicates, it feels like the China-based manufacturer feels quite comfortable on the world stage.

Last week, at IFA, Huawei showed up and showed out, officially revealing a few new devices on the way.

First is the 6-inch, finger print-equipped Ascend Mate7. Excerpts from the press release:

Huawei today launched Ascend Mate7 at Internationale Funkausstellung Berlin (IFA) 2014, featuring a big 6-inch screen with FHD display for enhanced entertainment viewing, a slimmer 7.9mm body for increased comfort, a more powerful octa-core chipset for superior performance, and a longer-lasting 4100 mAh battery. With new single-touch fingerprint technology and EMUI 3.0, Ascend Mate7 dials up the mobile experience to make it easier for users to live life to the fullest. Ascend Mate7 is the latest big-screen smartphone from Huawei as it showcased its big ambitions as the number three smartphone vendor in the world.

Boasting octa-core architecture, Ascend Mate7 has an intelligent Huawei Kirin 925 processor made up of four large A15 1.8 GHz and four small A7 1.3 GHz chipsets which are activated in different configurations depending on the power needs of a specific app or function so the smartphone can be smarter with power management. Ascend Mate7 saves up to 50% of the battery by automatically using smaller A7 cores to power standard apps that consumers use at least 80% of the time, and kicking in the larger A15 during high-performance use such as gaming. The processor will also automatically activate additional cores when it detects that 85% to 95% of a single core’s processing capability is being used.

A rare find for smartphones of this size, Ascend Mate7 is made up of more than 95% metal and features an interior structure made of a strong aluminum alloy for superior heat reduction. At only 7.9mm slim and weighing 185g, it has an ergonomically curved back for easier operation with just one hand and an ultra-narrow 2.9mm bezel that delivers a compelling screen-to-body ratio of 83%. Ascend Mate7 comes in three chic colors, moonlight silver, obsidian black and amber gold.

Also unveiled was the Ascend G7. The following are excerpts from the official press release:

Ascend G7 is a handset that can elevate anyone’s style. At 7.6mm slim and weighing 165g, Ascend G7 is made using the world’s leading Nano Molding Technology (NMT) to create a premium metallic unibody design and sleek frame for a richer texture and smoother touch. The 5.5-inch 1280 x 720 HD display fits with ease and comfort into one hand while the defining 0.8mm thin line on the chassis between the front and rear of the handset reflects balance and elegance. Ascend G7 is available in classic metallic colors including moonlight silver, space gray, and horizon gold.

Ascend G7 runs on Qualcomm’s powerful quad-core 1.2 GHz processor and a robust 3000 mAh Li-Polymer battery. Featuring Huawei’s proprietary power-saving technology that provides three power saving modes – normal, smart, and ultra power saving – Ascend G7 enables 1.2 days of heavy usage and the ability to operate for an additional 24 hours on just 10% battery power. Huawei Ascend G7 is 4G LTE-enabled to make connectivity faster and more reliable than ever before. Movies can be downloaded in minutes and work files uploaded in seconds with speeds of up to 150 Mbps.

Revel in the high-quality photos captured with Huawei Ascend G7. With a 13MP rear-facing camera boasting a 28mm wide-angle BSI lens, and a 5MP front-facing camera with an 88-degree wide-angle lens, panoramic photo horizons can be broadened both vertically and horizontally. By double clicking the down volume button, a photo can be captured in only one second. Ascend G7 provides enhanced photo editing capabilities including manual focus to adjust photos that are out of focus, and independent light measurement features for photos taken in poor lighting. The impressive camera also offers facial-enhancement capabilities while filming in video mode.

[Source: Huawei Press Release]

Huawei Ascend Mate2 Now Available at Fry’s Online and In-store

Huawei Ascend Mate2 Now Available at Fry’s Online and In-store

Aug 29, 2014

Huawei has announced increased availability of its Ascend Mate2 4G LTE smartphone; now, it can be procured from Fry’s Electronics via the online portal and in physical stores.

This means that the device can be purchased at each of the 34 Fry’s stores in the US.

From the press release:

Consumers can now purchase the Huawei Ascend Mate2 4G LTE at all 34 Fry’s Electronics stores as well as on Frys.com in the United States. The device will be offered in both black and white colors, and will retail for $299 USD.

Since its launch, the Ascend Mate2 has received critical acclaim for its powerful quad-core 1.6 GHz processor and a long-lasting 3900mAh lithium polymer battery that lets you enjoy a half-day of web surfing on a single charge. Featuring unique power-saving technology that improves performance by more than 30 percent versus other smartphones in its class, a single charge can let you: stream three movies in a row, surf the web for 12 hours, talk for 25 hours, or listen to 100 hours of music.

With a large 6.1-inch, Corning® Gorilla® Glass 3 IPS screen, and lightning-fast LTE Cat4 connectivity, the Mate2 is perfect for non-stop entertainment. The 13-megapixel BSI rear-facing camera, features a 2.0 aperture, making it easy to take crystal clear, professional-quality photos. Turn the phone around and its 5-megapixel front-facing camera, offers both panoramic mode and Auto Face Enhancement, so you get a wider view to help you create amazingly selfies and groufies.

To learn more about the Ascend Mate2, visit GetHuawei.com.

We had an opportunity to review the Mate2 recently, and mostly liked it. As noted, the device will retail for $299.

Huawei Ascend Mate2 Hardware Review

Huawei Ascend Mate2 Hardware Review

Aug 5, 2014

If one has never bothered learning how to pronounce “Huawei” before, be warned: its Ascend Mate2 smartphone might have you looking it up.

The review unit we received is stark white (black is an option); with regards to in-hand size, it is on the phablet side of the spectrum at 6.3 x 3.3 x 0.37 inches. Huawei makes use of the bezel, too; thankfully it doesn’t overpower the device. The white is broken by silver-colored trim and insignia, most of which frames the device. The tough plastic material that makes up the frame is reasonably resistant to everyday dings, and the Gorilla Glass screen did not succumb to simple scratch attempts. Also in the box is paperwork, USB cable and AC charger.

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The front camera is nestled to the right and the rear camera sits in familiar territory centralized towards the top, with the flash/camera directly below, and speaker grills lower down towards the bottom. The left side is bereft of controls, while the right houses the volume rocker and the power button. The standard audio jack sits at the top to the right, while the micro-USB charging port is on the bottom. The 3900 mAh battery isn’t user replaceable, and the SD card receptacle — which allows for extra space up to 32GB — resides underneath the back cover. Under the hood, it incorporates the quad-core Qualcomm MSM8928 Quadcore 1.6GHz chip.

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It feels heavier than some devices of the same size, but not uncomfortably so, weighing in at a tad over 7 ounces. It feels fairly comfortable in hand, and simple touches like the aforementioned positioning of the power button increase usability in one-handed situations.

The actual screen size sans bezel is 6.1, so the screen begs to be used for content and such. While the 1280x720p screen is pretty vivid, I still couldn’t shake the feeling that it could be so much more. Hi-res games look good enough, but when compared to high end competitors, The Ascend Mate 2’s humble roots show.

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The rear camera? Well, it was a pleasant surprise. It works great in lighted situations, and even with dim lights, it works admirably. The bundled image software is easy enough to manipulate as well. The built-in speaker is surprisingly nice on its own, and when connected to speakers via wires or bluetooth, this 13MP unit does quite well. It does video at 30 fps/1080p; the front camera a 5MP piece.

Per software, after the stock Android 4.3 and access to the main Google suite, there isn’t a whole lot of extras… thankfully. Notably, the device has a few different ways to set up the home screen visually, which is a nice touch. Other sundries, like music player and gallery, are clean and easy to handle. I did like the profiles and themes, as they give a user a way further customize usage and appearance. All in all, the bloatware is kept under control, and Huawei’s Emotion UI doesn’t fall into the common trap of Android UIs trying to do too much.

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With regards to call quality; links are relatively seamless, and inbound and outbound audio is clean. It’s equipped to handle 4G data, but we did not test that portion. One area this device did show its stuff is the battery life. I thought it does well, both in action and while at rest. As an added bonus, the battery supports reverse charging, which is definitely useful in a pinch.

Purists might gripe about the lack of specifics like wireless charging and NFC, but frankly, at this price point, it’s tough to complain. All in all, it is an admirable package, and at the very least, lets folks know that the semblance of luxury can be had in a tidy, well-designed package.