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
- Best Huawei providers
- 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 which 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, developers musk create their apps specifically for the format, which limits the variety of apps consumers can access.
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 generation, previous generation, mid-range and budget. Something for everyone, basically.
- P50 series – This is currently Huawei's flagship line-up, competing directly with the best phones from Apple and Samsung. The models include the normal P50, P50 Pro, and P50 Pocket.
- P40 series – This was Huawei's flagship series of phones back in 2020 but has been superseded by the 950 series. The models include the usual P40, P40 Pro, and P40 Pro+.
- Mate and Nova series – These are Huawei's mid-range series of models, costing £200-£400. The popular models currently available are the Mate 40 and Nova 9.
- 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, and P Smart 2021.
- 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, Y7 2019, Y8s 2020, and Y8p 2020.
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 P50 series phones
- P50 – This is the base model of the P50 series with 5G support. It comes with the high-end Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor, 8GB RAM, 256GB storage, a strong battery (4,100maH), and a high-end rear camera (50 MP wide lens, a 12MP ultrawide lens and an 13MP telephoto lens).
- P50 Pro – This is a better version of the P50, costing £200 more at a £1099 list price. It has a better battery (4,360 mAh), a faster 120Hz refresh rate, a quad-camera array (compared to three on the P50), and a slightly bigger build.
- P50 Pocket – For a list price of £1,100, you get a foldable version of the P50.
- 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
- Mate 40 – The Huawei Mate 40 offers great specs, including the Kirin 9000E ARM-based chipset, 8GB RAM, 256GB memory, a triple rear camera system (50MP wide, 16MP ultra-wide, and 8MP telephoto), and fast wireless charging.
- Nova 9 –This mid-priced smartphone offers 8GB RAM and 256GB storage, a quad rear camera system (50MP wide, 8MP ultra-wide, 2MP depth, and 2MP macro), 32MP front camera, 4300 mAh battery, and the Qualcomm SM7325 Snapdragon 778G chipset. It offers great value for a relatively low cost.
- P Smart 2020 Dual SIM –This low-priced smartphone runs Android 9.0 and has the Kirin 710 chipset, 4GB RAM/128GB storage, a 13MP rear camera/8MP front camera, and a 3,400 mAh battery.
- P Smart 2021 Dual SIM – The same storage as the one above, but an updated operating system (Android 10), a far superior camera (48MP rear/8MP front), an updated Kirin 710A chipset, and a much bigger 5000 mAh battery.
- 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
- Y9 2019 – The Y9 2019 features a 4000mAh battery and 13MP rear camera/16MP front camera. It comes with the base-level Kirin 710 processor and is available in single SIM or Dual SIM versions.
- Y8s 2020 – For around £130, the Y8s offers a 4,000 mAh battery, a 48MP rear camera/8MP front camera, 4GB RAM/128GB storage, and the Kirin 710 processor.
- Y8p 2020 –For around £200 to buy the handset outright, it features a better 6GB RAM, a stronger processor (Kirin 710F), and a sharper 16MP front camera.
- 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 9 is a good alternative to the P50. It also carries on down the range with similar offerings to Huawei, but utilizes the Android operating system
Huawei P40 series phones
Huawei Mate and Nova series phones
Huawei P Smart series phones
Huawei Y series phones
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.
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 P50 Pro – 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 the number of apps available, implying Samsung is likely the better choice.
Can I buy refurbished Huawei phones?
Yes. Several providers and retail outlets offer refurbished Huawei models.
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