About Huawei mobile phone deals
In this guide
- What are Huawei phones?
- What models of Huawei phones are available?
- Huawei smartphone features
- Huawei 5G phones
- Providers of Huawei handsets
- Alternatives to Huawei
- Frequently asked questions
Founded in 1987, Huawei has become one of the biggest telecommunications and technology companies in China. Its phones have been around in the UK for nearly a decade now, while the brand itself has become mired in various controversies.
No doubt you will have become aware of the hoo-har surrounding its 5G infrastructure technology in the UK. Added to that, Google, which owns the Android platform, abandoned Huawei in 2019, forcing it to build and adopt its own operating system – Harmony OS. So with all that in mind, is it really a good idea to buy a Huawei phone right now?
What are Huawei phones?
Among other things, Huawei (pronounced w'way, in case you're interested), makes smartphones. In fact, it makes some of the best smartphones money can buy, but unlike Apple and Samsung who also compete at the top end, Huawei phones tend to give you comparable technology for less money.
At the top-end it can be said that Huawei phones are every bit the equal of top iPhone and Samsung Galaxy handsets. You can save money, basically. But whether you think that is worth it or not really comes down to the operating system. Since Google's withdrawal of Android from the manufacturer, Huawei has had to build its own – Harmony OS. And while it is based on the same core programming as Android, apps must be specifically made for the format.
The upshot is that Huawei phones carry a smaller range of apps than those from either any Android phone, or an iOS phone from Apple. The most important stuff is present and correct, but you might want to check in advance you can still use your favourites if switching to a Huawei phone.
What models of Huawei phones are available?
Huawei smartphones can be broken up into four discrete product lines, divided roughly along lines of newest gerneration, previous generation, mid-range and budget. Something for everyone, basically.
- P40 series – This is currently Huawei's flagship line-up, competing directly with the best phones from Apple and Samsung. The range includes the P40 5G, P40 Lite, P40 Lite 5G and P40 Pro 5G
- P30 series – This was Huawei's flagship series of phones back in 2019, since superseded by the P40 range in 2020. The range includes the P30, P30 Lite, P30 Lite 2020 Dual SIM, P30 Pro and P30 Pro 2020
- Mate and Nova series – These are Huawei's mid-range series of models, costing £200-£400. The popular models currently available are the Mate 20X 5G and Nova 5T Dual SIM
- P Smart series – Is a Huawei budget-end phone series, with handsets costing less that £200. Amazingly, these phones still offer a lot of bang for their buck. Current models include the P Smart, P Smart 2019 Dual SIM, and P Smart 2020 Dual SIM
- Y series – Is Huawei's budget-end series of phones. Most of the range cost less than £100 to buy outright and have features more basic than you might find in costlier handsets. Current models in the Y series include the Y5P, Y6 2019 Dual SIM, Y6s, Y6s 2020, and Y7 2019
Huawei smartphone features
Each series outlined in the section above contains several handsets, some very distinct from one another, others with very little to choose between them. Here's a summary of the general strengths and features that differentiate each model. Note that this list does not include every model of Huawei phone, but instead covers those that are commonly available from UK providers at the time of writing.
Huawei P40 series phones
- P40 5G – The base model in the P40 series. The handset itself costs around £600 and is notable for its fantastic battery life, exceptional camera and powerful chipset
- P40 Lite – Is a chopped-down version of the P40 and the most affordable in the P40 line-up. At around £300 it features many of the same great features of the P40, including exceptional photography provided by its four rear cameras
- P40 Lite 5G – A slightly more expensive version of the P40 Lite with the addition of 5G connectivity
- P40 Pro 5G – Is the most fully-featured handset in Huawei's current line-up, but also the most expensive. It features 5G connectivity, a superb camera, an excellent curved display and a very, very long battery life
Huawei P30 series phones
- P30 – Is the base model in 2019's P30 series line-up. It has been superseded by the P40 series, but as a result can be picked up for less money. It is notable for its excellent camera, appealing design aesthetics and powerful processor, which enables a fast, smooth user experience
- P30 Lite – The chopped-down version of the P30 from 2019. It is less fully-featured than the P30 proper, but still offers many of its best assets including a stellar camera and fast processor. It is the cheapest handset in the P30 range
- P30 Lite 2020 Dual SIM – As above, but updated for 2020 with a second SIM slot. Dual SIM phones are useful for people who want to have a work phone number and a personal phone number separately, but have them come through to the same phone
- P30 Pro – Has a larger display, is more waterproof, has an extra rear camera, more RAM and so on. If it's a basic specification of the P30, the P30 Pro has an upgraded version. It is, of course, more expensive, though
- P30 Pro 2020 – Is an updated version of the 2019 P30 Pro, but is an Android phone, as opposed to Harmony OS. The newer P40s are all Harmony OS, and as such can't compete with this old/new version of the P30 Pro. The 2020 edition also has more RAM
Huawei Mate and Nova series phones
- Mate 20X – A lower-mid-range handset that will set you back about £250 if bought on its own. It is notable for its huge screen, fast performance and extremely long battery life, which is doubly impressive considering the scale of that enormous 7.2 inch screen
- Nova 5T Dual SIM – A 2019 mid-budget smartphone model selling for £200-£300 if bought on its own, the Nova 5T offers dual SIM support, quad camera, large display and is by all counts excellent value for money
Huawei P Smart series phones
- P Smart 2019 Dual SIM – Still runs Android 9, unlike many of the newer models, which run Harmony OS. That's a good thing. The P Smart 2019 is attractively priced at about £150 and features and attractive design and plenty of storage
- P Smart 2020 Dual SIM – Same as above but features double the storage (128GB), far superior cameras, a longer battery life and more RAM. Quite the upgrade, in fact
Huawei Y series phones
- Y5P – This budget handset can be bought outright for less than £100. It has a 5.45 inch display, 2GB of RAM, and a decent battery life. You won't find a lot of high-end features on this or any other Y series phone, but for the price, you do get a lot
- Y6 (2019( Dual SIM – There aren't many phones that offer this much for a handset costing about £100. You get a great screen, good speakers and facial recognition – a feature previously unheard of in a phone at this price point
- Y6s – Another in the Y series that comes in at about £100 to buy the handset outright. It is notable for the fact that it has a tunable FM radio, a large display and a decent amount of storage at this price point
- Y6s 2020 – The 2020 'update' of the Y6s adds a little more RAM (3GB rather than 2GB), but that's about your lot
- Y7 2019 – Slightly more pricey, at £120 to buy the handset outright, it features a long battery life, 6.26 inch screen and a 13MP camera
Providers of Huawei handsets
Various Huawei handsets are currently available from the following providers.
Alternative phone brands
If you've decided the Harmony OS found on most Huawei phones is too niche and too much trouble, or you've simply changed your mind on your chosen brand, here are some other brands we recommend checking out.
- Apple – What's not been said about the iPhone? Like Huawei phones with their Harmony OS, with Apple you're tying yourself into a specific app and content ecosystem – iOS. Unlike Harmony OS, though, you can get just about any app on it. iPhones are of course tremendous
- Samsung – Samsung's Galaxy range of Android phones are a little more expensive than Huawei at the top end, but boy they are truly great phones. Feature-packed, great screens, fast, reliable and easy to use
- Sony – A top end, Sony Xperia phones will cost you similar money to the flagship Huawei phones. We're not all that enamoured with Sony phones here at Cable.co.uk, mainly because we feel there are better options for the money. However, those of you who are brand loyal may consider the name more important than other considerations
- OnePlus – Is a Chinese manufacturer whose aim is to offer you top-specced handsets for less money. To that end, the OnePlus 8 Pro is similarly priced to the P40. It also carries on down the range with similar offerings to Huawei, but utilising the Android operating system
Frequently asked questions
Who is Huawei?
Founded in 1987, Huawei is a Chinese telecoms and technology company that has been producing smartphones for the UK market for nearly a decade. It offers high-end features at less than high-end prices and can be a good choice if you're looking to be frugal.
Are Huawei phones any good?
Yes. The handsets are generally excellent. However, you should be aware that since Google withdrew its support in 2019, new Huawei phones no longer run the Android operating system, severely hampering the range of apps available. Though apps only require developers to make 'small tweaks' to them, the Huawei market outside of China is small enough that a lot don't bother.
Which is the best Huawei phone?
Right now, that's the P40 Pro 5G – Huawei's flagship model. It is a truly excellent phone, hampered only by its attachment to Huawei's unique Harmony OS operating system.
Are Huawei phones better than Samsung phones?
At the top end, they are roughly matched. Huawei's flagship models are slightly cheaper than Samsung's, but you won't be running Android, you'll be running Harmony OS, Huawei's unique operating system. This hampers to number of apps available which means, on balance, provided you din't mind spending a little more, Samsung is going to be the better choice.
Can I buy refurbished Huawei phones?
Yes. Several providers and retail outlets offer refurbished Huawei models.
Want to learn more about mobile?
Our mobile guides contain a wealth of information on just about every aspect of current mobile packages.