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Huawei P smart camera review

A dual lens camera on a mid-price phone? How good can it be? We took the P Smart for a spin to find out.

Pros

  • Adjustable wide-aperture mode is a great feature
  • Lots of modes to choose from
  • Fast and easy-to-use interface

Cons

  • We’d have liked to see Auto-HDR
  • Low light performance could be a little better

Priced from £17 per month on a monthly contract, the Huawei P smart is a neat-looking smartphone with a rounded, shape that’s reminiscent of the iPhone 8 series, and a premium-looking, edge-to-edge screen.

It’s light, yet solid, and comes with a dual-lens camera, which is something that’s increasingly common on top-of-the-range phones but is still unusual on less pricey models.

Get up to speed with everything the P smart's got to offer with our one-stop guide.

Dual lens cameras usually consist of a “standard” wide-angle lens, coupled with a narrower zoom.

The P smart is no exception and teams a 13-megapixel main wide-angle lens with a two-megapixel sensor that helps to add a sense of depth to photos.

As with other wallet-friendly phones, the odd compromise is inevitable. But I’m pleased to say the Huawei P Smart’s camera manages to deliver very, very good results in almost all conditions.

The dual-lens, depth-of-field capability is useful and is something you’ll reach for often. It works well too, allowing us to capture some genuinely arresting portraits and still-life shots.

As with previous Huawei phones, there’s a well thought-out and very handy set of effects and camera features to get to grips with.

Not least among these is a “Modes” menu that can be accessed by swiping left and allows you to choose between panorama, time lapse, light painting and filters camera options. You can also download more directly from Huawei.

Sold on the P smart? We've rounded up some of the best deals on our comparison page.

There’s also a Live-Mode, where a short video is recorded every time you take a picture to quite literally bring your image to life. It’s very similar to the iPhone’s “Live Photos” and adds a very welcome new dimension to your snaps of moving people and other subjects that are in motion.

Huawei-P-smart-camera-modes Swipe left to access a camera toolbox with plenty of options.

Huawei-P-smart-camera-settings Swipe right for camera settings

This menu is also where you’ll find an HDR (High Dynamic Range) option. With HDR multiple exposures are combined, resulting in images in which both light and dark areas keep their detail.

In the case of the P smart, this has to be set manually every time you want to use it. That’s in contrast to some of the priciest premium phones, which you set to adjust automatically when the camera deems it necessary.

There’s also a Pro-Mode, which puts you in control of ISO (that’s the sensitivity of the sensor), exposure and shutter speed. But the good thing about the P smart is that you really don’t need to be an expert get good results.

One of the best features, and something I found myself playing with an awful lot, is the “Wide Aperture” option. This allows you to lower the depth-of-field of a photo, so the subject is in focus while gradually blurring the rest of the image.

This is great for close-ups and affords you the chance to get creative by editing the level of blur, as well as the exact point in the image you want to focus on.

Huawei-P-smart-camera-portrait-mode-enabled Wide-aperture, portrait mode and Live mode are easily accessible at the top of the screen

Picture quality

If you’re looking for a reasonably priced phone with a very good camera, the P smart does not disappoint.

It performs very, very well in bright light and standard light. The interface is fast, while the portrait and the wide-aperture modes are a delight to use.

And if you’re happy to play around with photo editing on apps like Google Photos, you’ll find you can get results that match, and even outstrip, the very best camera phones on the market.

Bright light and colour reproduction

Huawei-P-smart-camera-sample-park-path The P smart performs well when it comes to Dynamic Range, with good reproduction of the dark areas and plenty of colour details in lighter ones

Huawei-p-smart-camera-sample-country-house You may find that contrast is generally on the lower side. But that’s very easily remedied with some simple adjustment

Huawei-P-smart-camera-sample-flowers On a bright day and a colourful subject, colours are vibrant and true to life and details are well preserved

Huawei-P-samrt-camera-sample-toys

Super-bright subjects still pop in lower light

Close-ups and bokeh mode

This is hands-down one of the best features of this camera. It’s easy to use and the results are great. Especially if you do a bit of manual adjusting.

Standard mode Bokeh mode

Huawei-P-smart-camera-sample-board-game Great for close-ups and colour reproduction is spot-on

Huawei-P-smart-camera-sample-motorbike Natural, but not-too-bright, light is where P smart performs best. Lots of great detail here

Low-light

Results in low light are also way above average.

Huawei-P-smart-camera-sample-kettle

Huawei-P-smart-camera-sample-night-time-shot An atmospheric night shot, where the bokeh feature adds a great ‘arty’ sheen

Huawei-P-smart-camera-sample-action-shot The P Smart makes it easy to capture fast-action shots

Selfies

Huawei-P-smart-camera-sample-Luigi-selfie

The volume-down can be used as the shutter button, which helps a lot when taking selfies.

The overall result is pleasing and the Beauty Mode works well, by smoothing out wrinkles and blemishes.

Verdict

The P Smart competes with the best cameraphones out there. It’d be very, very hard to find a better camera at this price point.

Specifications

  • Main camera: 13MP + 2MP dual lens
  • Selfie camera: 8MP
  • Video: 1080 @ 30fps

So that's the P smart's camera. But what's the rest of the phone like? Read the uSwitch review.

Think you'd like to own the P smart? Take a look at some of the best deals on our comparison page.

Want a more premium Huawei handset? Take a look at our best Huawei Mate 10 Pro deals.

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