Huawei P Smart Review: Camera

By 08:33 Wed, 18 Aug 2021 Comments


A dual capturing camera on the back, portrait selfies at the front

Huawei P Smart has a 13MP main capturing camera with f/2.2 lens on the back, accompanied by a 2MP sensor for depth information, and a single Light Emitting Diode (LED) flash. An 8MP sensor sits behind f/2.0 lens at the front.


Portrait mode with and without beautify is available for both snappers, while the variable aperture mode works only for the rear camera.

The capturing camera interface is familiar as we have already seen it on the P10 and Mate 10 series. The options are hidden in menus you can bring up by swiping left or correct from the classy screen (assuming you hrecent the capturing camera in portrait mode). This may be confusing at first, but you quickly acquire used to it. The main menu houses all the available shooting modes - Photo, HDR, Panorama, Pro, Beauty, Light Painting, among others. There is also an advanced settings menu, summoned by a swipe from the top.

The Huawei capturing camera app offers a Manual (Pro) mode, which manual focus, shutter speed (up to 8s), ISO, and a few other options. The Pro capturing camera interface is very easy to use.







Camera UI • Modes • Settings • Pro mode • Variable aperture mode

Image quality

The 13MP samples we snapped during the day came out with moderate resolved detail, a bit soft, and with washed colors on most of the scenes. The dynamic range is about average. The noise levels are reasonably low, but they spike a lot in skies and shadowy spots. The samples are fine for the class, but not among the best we've seen.









Huawei P Smart 13MP capturing camera samples

While the dynamic range is nothing impressive it did turn out to be wider than what you'd expect from the class. If you prefer punchier, contrast-heavy colors than what you are getting with the regular samples, you can utilize the manual HDR mode. While the HDR effects itself is rather limited, you will acquire better colors.




HDR off • HDR on

The low-light images are nothing special on the Huawei P Smart. They are noisy and soft but will do for occasional snaps to show something to your buddies on the social networks. The colors are once again dull.





Huawei P Smart 13MP low-light samples

You can acquire two different types of high-quality low-light samples on the P Smart, just like with any other recent Huawei smartphone. If you have a tripod, that is.

You can either utilize the Light Painting mode, where the Smart takes a picture with default settings and then captures only the moving lights imitating a professional looking long-exposure shot of say, streaks of car lights speeding along the road.

Or utilize the Pro (manual) mode to tweak all settings by yourself using some long shutter speeds (up to 8s) and acquire a colorful and detailed low-light image.




Huawei P Smart 8MP Light Painting - Car Trails • Manual mode with 5s shutter at ISO 50

You can check out the Huawei P Smart in our photo compare tool for more pixel-peeping action.





Huawei P Smart vs. Honor 7X vs. Sony Xperia L2 in our photo compare tool

Panorama

The panorama mode is one of the better implementations, switching automatically between portrait and landscape. When shooting in portrait, panoramic images turn out just over 3,000 pixels tall and the sample below is about 20MP. Stitching is good, exposure is even, dynamic range is good, but the captured detail is barely average.



Huawei P Smart panorama

Portrait

The Portrait Mode is available on both the main and selfie snappers. It combines the Variable Aperture with Beautification and should offer Portrait shots with simultaneously enhanced faces and bokeh background effects.

The recognition isn't perfect, and you can see traces of the background or some chopped details from the person. This mode isn't as professional grade as on the flagships, but we expected a bit more. Still, those would do for the social networks. Probably.





Portrait samples

Variable aperture

Wide aperture, as Huawei call it, utilizes the depth information from the second 2MP camera. It lets you simulate the background defocusing wide apertures would give you and you can adjust the effect to simulate between f/0.95 and f/16.

As with most such implementations, the effect is far from perfect and the shots don't exactly hrecent up to pixel scrutiny. Other Huawei phones do a better job of isolating the subject form the background. With the P Smart however, the effect is more trigger-excited than it should be and eats some parts of the subject.






F/1.0 • F/1.0 • F/4.0 • F/4.0

Selfies

The selfie capturing camera on the Huawei P Smart has an 8MP sensor behind f/2.0 lens. It also comes with portrait shooting mode albeit the lack of an assistive cam.

The regular samples turned out fine, detailed and with pleasing colors, but not as sharp as we'd like them to be. The noise levels are a bit higher, too, but at least the colors are accurate to life unlike the samples we got from the back snapper. We've seen better, but we've seen a lot worse, so the Smart samples are above the average in quality.






Huawei P Smart 8MP selfies

The Portrait Mode simulates bokeh alright, while it can also applies beautification effects on your face. The algorithm does a mostly fine job at recognizing your face and blurring the background, better than the supposedly high-quality portrait shots we got from the main shooter. Obviously, Huawei did better with the software simulation rather than using actual info from a second capturing camera as is the case with the rear camera.






Huawei P Smart 8MP portrait selfie shots

Video camera

The Huawei P Smart can record 1080p videos at 30fps. There's no 1080p @ 60fps or 4K recording. The clips are recorded in MP4 files with a bitrate of 17Mbps. Audio is captured at a fine 192Kbps (48kHz) rate, in stereo of course.

The video quality doesn't quite live up to our expectations. The image isn't as sharp as some competing phones in this class, nor is the resolved detail high enough. The dynamic range is rather wide as seen on the still images, though. The noise is kept low though, and the colors and contrast are very good.

As usual, we've provided an unedited sample straight out of the capturing camera for you to download - 1080@30fps (11s, 24MB).

Be sure to head over to our video compare tool to check where the Huawei P Smart stands against the Honor 7X and the Xperia L2's 1080p videos. You can choose other cameras if you like.





Huawei P Smart vs. Honor 7X vs. Xperia L2 in our 1080p video compare tool


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