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Huawei has established a reputation for building beautiful smartphones across all paypoints, most notably with flagship models like the newly announced Mate 40 series and midrange through devices like the P40 Lite.

Measuring in at an easy to grip 73.2 x 157.4 x 7.75 mm and tipping the smartphone scales at a very pocketable 163 g, the Huawei P Smart S continues this tradition of good looking design matched with one-handed usable practicality.

It boasts a 6.3″ OLED FHD+ (2400 x 1080) display that features some great looking colours, viewing angles and detail. Helping to enable the Chinese manufacturer to keep the nearly all-screen design is an underscreen fingerprint reader that works a treat.

Powering the Android 10 (EMUI 10.1) operating smartpone is Huawei’s own Kirin 710F octa-core processor, sporting a quad-core Cortex-A73 clocked at 2.2 GHz and quad-core Cortex-A53 running at 1.7 GHz. This processor is paired with a Mali G51-MP4 and 4 GB of RAM plus 128 GB worth of onboard storage. This helps keeps things smooth while navigating the OS, multitasking, opening as well as closing apps and mobile games.

It should be noted that while the hardware is top tier unlike the Huawei Nova 5T we also reviewed this Android-running smartphone does not offer support for Google services like the Play Store or Google Drive as well as Google apps such as Google Maps. While Huawei’s AppGallery is growing in terms of its app offerings daily, you still will find some notable acceptions you might be used to from previous Android devices or if you switch from an iPhone. Workarounds like Huawei’s pre-installed Phone Clone tool and the ability to sideloaded apps (for the technically inclined) does help but is definitely not ideal.

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Shooters can apply

On the back of this smartphone resides a capable midrange shooter that incorporates a 48 MP (f/1.8 aperture) lens, an 8 MP Ultra Wide Angle Lens (f/2.4 aperture), and a 2 MP (f/2.4 aperture) lens. The shelfie shooter is a 16 MP (f/2.0 aperture) lens that takes lovely shelfies for those who love taking them.

To capture as many shots as your heart desires, the smartphone packs a relatively large 4000 mAh battery, delivering all day battery life.

Unlike seemingly every other new smartphone, audiophiles will be happy to know that a 3.5 mm audio jack is still part of the P Smart S’s feature package, as is fast charging, and a stunning backplate design that is a real fingerprint magnet (especially while using a clear protector) but definately looks and feels premium at this pricerange.

Final word

The recommended retail price of the Huawei P Smart S is around R5000, although you can get it a little cheaper from some local retailers. It represents a lot of value and good-looking design for the money, but people heavily into Google’s services should perhaps look elsewhere as the workarounds will definately prove to be a hassle.