- No Google Services
It is so clear by now to any tech enthusiast that Huawei smartphones aren’t exactly the hotcakes right now. This might be the case in China but users around the world are finding it hard to go for these devices and Huawei Y9a can’t help but fall in that category.
So you can imagine the scepticism that we had when we received this device for review. But after spending about more than a week with it, I will have to say that Huawei is punching beyond its current setback.
It is so evident that the Huawei Y9a is an effort by the Chinese firm to bring in Mate 30-Esque features down to the mid-price segment. But what is there to like or hate with this smartphone?
HUAWEI Y9A SPECS:
- 6.63 LCD display, 1080 x 2400 pixels
- Helio G80 processor
- 8GB RAM, 128GB storage
- Android 10, EMUI 10, No Google services
- 4300mAh, 40W charging
- USB Type-C port, headphone jack
What We Liked
This might very well be the best attribute of the smartphone so far. The Y9a has been designed to bring in that look from P and Mate series with a plain yet clean and elegant finish. The feature that stands out the most is the circular camera module at the back that we first saw from the Mate 30 lineup.
The “space silver” unit we received looked quite good since it gives out that purple and light blue gradient even from a distance. What I particularly liked was the back cover that subtly curves at its edges giving it that premium look. However, you are brought back to disappointment once you realise that the cover is plastic and not glass.
Turning the power button into the fingerprint scanner is also one that adds a really nice touch since you do not have to reach to the back or strain with an in-display reader.
The screen is big and bright enough and the fact that there is no notch makes the field of view even better. This is complemented even further by the display’s resolution as you can barely spot any pixels.
Obviously, you do not get the high-end refresh rates but watching videos and scrolling through apps was a good experience with this phone. We would have wished for the display to be curved but it does not kill to have a flat one either.
For a phone that outputs such a high resolution, I was surprised or rather pleased to have the battery last for almost a whole day of light work. This is all thanks to the 4300 mAh that you can also barely notice in terms of the phone’s weight.
Luckily, Huawei also equips you with power-saving modes in case you are travelling and cannot find anywhere to juice up the phone. The fact that it also fills up to 100% in less than an hour thanks to the 40W Supercharge support makes it even better.
What’s Not To Like
The rear camera setup consists of four lenses; 64MP main camera, 8MP ultrawide lens, 2MP macro lens and 2MP depth sensor.
Honestly, I was a little disappointed with the photography capabilities when it comes to this device. That is mostly because of the high expectations that we had on the camera producing high dynamic images whether it’s outdoors or indoors.
That is not to say that the cameras are awful but rather too normal for a device of its price. The beauty effects that show up when using the 16MP pop-up selfie camera may please some but were annoying for me.
NO GOOGLE SERVICES
We would be wrong if we criticised the current EMUI 10 that the Huawei Y9a runs on with Android 10 as the base. It is quite easy to navigate and it’s quite evident that the developers have made a lot of changes to improve the interface from what it was previously. In fact, having a thrid-part launcher like Nova makes the experience just good enough.
But what is impossible to ignore is the lack of Google services that keeps haunting the lastest Huawei devices including this one. Setting the phone with your everyday apps is a nightmare since you have to search for the APK files or use the Huawei Phone Clone app that doesn’t work as well sometimes.
The fact that I have to use the browser to access a number of Google apps like YouTube is disturbing, and if you’re switching from a proper Android phone to this one, forget all your WhatsApp backups. However, other social media apps like Twitter, Facebook and streaming apps work quite well once you install their latest versions.
It’s pretty certain that the determining factor for anyone that wants this device is the efficiency it offers even without Google services. Huawei has clearly done a good job bringing some compelling features that would make you forget that you cannot access your regular Google services.
This reality does kick once in a while but anyone that does not mind this predicament would live happily with the Huawei Y9a. Nevertheless, many would still find a way to question the KES 30,999 price tag.