The Huawei P smart launches in February 2018. Huawei were kind enough to give us a pre-launch handset so we could take it for a quick test drive.
 
So here it is, in the flesh (and in the Carphone Warehouse HQ canteen): the Huawei P smart:
 
Huawei P smart unboxed

SMART DESIGN


The P smart is Huawei’s latest mid-range phone. The first surprise is the metal body, an increasingly rare feature even on premium handsets. The aluminium back gives the P smart a solidly-built feel. Gently curved sides and the phone’s light weight make it very comfortable to hold.
 
Although the screen is 5.65-inches, it's not as wide as you might expect. Huawei have given it plenty of height instead. There’s lots of space for viewing photos and videos, but the phone is still manageable one-handed. The power and volume buttons are easily reached, as is the fingerprint sensor on the back.
 
Huawei P smart in hand

The SIM and memory card tray pops out easily using the tool included in the box. The P smart will accept a memory card of up to 256GB. But its built-in memory is an impressive 32GB, double what you’d typically see on similar phones. So you might not need the extra storage space at all.
 
Now let’s power it up and have a quick look at the software.
 

SMART SOFTWARE


Huawei P smart screenSetup doesn’t take long and lets you configure pretty much everything from wi-fi to location services to the fingerprint sensor. The screen is clear and bright with vibrant colours, as Huawei’s choice of wallpaper shows.
 
The P smart runs Android but Huawei have customised it with their EMUI interface. This will feel familiar and friendly both to people switching from iPhone and those coming from a Samsung or Sony. All your apps are arranged between multiple home screens and a dock. Swiping between screens is fast and easy.
 
Our test handset came with popular apps such as Facebook and Instagram pre-installed. There's also the usual suite of Google Apps such as Maps, Photos and Docs, a Huawei Health app, and an assortment of handy tools for phone backups and more.
 
Everything feels quick and snappy, really showing off the P smart’s octa-core performance.
 

DOUBLE SMART CAMERA SYSTEM


To finish off our unboxing, we tried out the P smart’s main camera. This is a dual camera unit with a 13MP sensor and a 2MP sensor. The two combine to allow a variety of photo effects including portraits with soft focus backgrounds.

Huawei have a range of great presets that can be activated with a swipe and a tap, including a light trail mode, HDR and panorama. There are also pro photo and video modes if you want to manually change aperture, white balance and the rest.
 
P smart dual camera
 
Unfortunately the view from HQ wasn’t very inspiring today, but the P smart still performed well in spite of poor light, grey skies and shaky photographer hands. The below shots haven’t been altered except to crop and resize them to fit our blog. The second shot was taken with the P smart’s digital zoom set to maximum.
 
Photo of Dublin P smart
P smart zoomed Dublin photo

The next photos give a better idea of how accurately the P smart captures colour. They were taken in poor lighting and without any attempt to improve the image using the P smart’s presets. We just pointed and pressed the camera button.
 
P smart photo of jars
P smart Captain America powerbank phot

The P smart packs a surprising amount of punch for a phone in this price range, with a design, performance and camera that wouldn’t be out of place on a flagship phone. Prices start at €219.99 on prepay for first time connections. The P smart will be available soon.