Recombu

Huawei P Smart camera review: Feature-packed affordable dual shooter

The Huawei P Smart is a mid-range smartphone hitting the UK in February, exclusive to Vodafone. One of the highlights is the dual lens rear camera, which comes packed with features including Huawei’s nifty Portrait mode. Here’s our full Huawei P Smart camera review, complete with photo and video samples.

Huawei is a bit of a machine when it comes to smartphone releases. We’re only just into 2018, with the dust barely settling on our Huawei Mate 10 Pro which launched at the end of last year. Yet the prolific Chinese manufacturer has already dropped a new handset, in the P Smart.

Check out our guide to the best budget cameraphones for more inspiration.

Huawei P Smart camera review: Specs

This mid-range mobile boasts a similar edge-to-edge display to the Mate 10 Pro, despite its reduced asking price. You also get a dual lens shooter on the back, although the camera specs aren’t as strong. That primary 13-megapixel lens is backed by a secondary 2-megapixel snapper, which adds a greater depth of field to your photos. It’s a similar setup to the camera tech of the Honor 7X and other mid-range smartphones with dual lens shooters.

Around the front of the Huawei P Smart is an 8-megapixel camera, for those mandatory selfies. There’s no LED flash, but you get a screen flash option for when lights are low.

Huawei P Smart camera review: Features

You get loads of bonus camera features packed into the P Smart, as you’d expect from Huawei. Some of these can be accessed from the main camera screen, with a quick tap of the icons.

One of our favourite modes is the Portrait feature. This really helps your subject to stand out, by blurring the background with a bokeh-style effect. You also get a built-in beauty mode, which can be deactivated or pumped up to max depending on how rough your subject looks. Wrinkles are masked and your skin is given extra shine, to make them look as fresh as a daisy.

Moving Picture is another worthy feature, which brings your photo gallery to life. Every time you snap a shot, a brief snippet of video is also captured. These can then be enjoyed when browsing your images, so you can see exactly what your hyperactive child/crazy cat was up to at the time. It’s not quite as fluidly presented as Apple’s Live Photos effort, but it’s good to have all the same.

If you swipe your finger right from the main camera app screen, you’ll uncover even more bonus camera modes. For instance, there’s a manual mode for both photo and video capture, which allows you to tweak all kinds of settings and get a very precise result. Definitely handy if you actually know what you’re doing.

You’ll also find various filters, an obligatory panorama mode, timelapse video and the ability to download even more features.

Huawei P Smart camera review: Photo quality

Although the P Smart rocks Huawei’s Emotion UI 8 software, there’s no smart scene detection feature. The camera can’t detect specific subject types (such as fauna, food and so on) and adjust the settings to suit.

All the same, that auto mode is quite dependable across a range of conditions. Although you have to manually select the HDR feature, standard auto does a pretty good job of producing usable shots even when the contrast levels are harsh. Our test photos were, for the most part, packed with detail. You get quite accurate colour reproduction, which particularly helps when snapping vibrant scenes.

Of course, the Huawei P Smart isn’t quite infallible. If you’re shooting a moving subject, you’ll need to time your snap just right and also make sure the lighting conditions are strong. Otherwise you’ll end up with a blurry photo.

Low light shots are also a bit of a challenge. You’ll need to make full use of that LED flash, or you’ll end up with muted colours and plenty of grain. Likewise, photos taken at night are often quite murky and unattractive.

The P Smart’s selfie camera takes perfectly fine shots of your beautiful visage, as long as lighting conditions are once again decent. That front-facer is particularly perturbed by strong contrast, with oversaturation a common problem outdoors. However, the wide-angle finish means you can get plenty of scenery in too, or a few heads when required. There’s also a screen flash feature for any low light pics, plus support for Portrait snaps – although you don’t get as much bokeh, as there’s only one lens.

Check out our photo samples gallery below for a few of our test snaps.

Huawei P Smart camera review: Video quality

Video can be shot at up to Full HD resolution, with the option of full manual controls for anyone who really knows what they’re doing. There’s sadly no option for 60 frames-per-second recording, for lifelike results. Neither is there the option to shoot at 4K resolution.

Still, we were happy with the home movies we shot with the Huawei P Smart. The lenses react well to sudden changes in focal distance and lighting, capturing plenty of detail along the way. Audio pickup isn’t too strong at a distance, but fine up-close.

That said, you’ll want to avoid moving and shooting at the same time. There’s next to no image stabilisation, so our footage when walking was a jerky mess.

Check out our Huawei P Smart video sample below.