Out with the old, in with the new: Huawei Y7 Prime 2019 vs Huawei Y7 Prime 2018

It’s almost a year to the time when Huawei released the Y7 Prime 2018 in the Kenyan market.

A lot has happened since April 2018. The Huawei Y7 Prime 2018 has since become challenge by worthy rivals. As such, naturally, a successor had to be in the works, right?

That’s the case since the Huawei Y7 Prime 2019, which is currently up for pre-order online and offline, is set to go on sale this week.

Of course, there have been several improvements and upgrades that will make it worth it to opt for Huawei’s latest Y-series smartphone.

Here are some of them:

Design

The biggest difference between the two devices is, of course, the design. The Huawei Y7 Prime 2019’s polished ceramic-like texture on the back, as I noted in my preview of the device, makes it easier to handle. While the same can be said of last year’s model, the 2019 model curves inwards on the sides a little bit to improve the handling. Given how shiny it is, depending on the colour option one goes with, that’s not as easy thing to do and it’s appreciated.

Talking about handling, the power button gets some perforations on the Y7 Prime 2019 to make it easier to find as well as to differentiate from the volume rocker. That’s not the case on the Y7 Prime 2018.

Then there are the other little things.

Like the placement of the endangered 3.5mm headphone jack. Whereas it is located on the bottom of the Huawei Y7 Prime 2018, it stays on the top – where most of us have always known it to be – on the Huawei Y7 Prime 2019. Its place at the bottom is taken over by the faux speaker setup. By contrast, the Y7 Prime from last year has a very clean top.

Display

While both devices go with a FullView display arrangement – the fancy term for screens that are slightly longer – this year’s model goes with a 19:9 aspect ratio (read: even longer) in place of the 18:9 achieved last year. The reason for this change is simple: there’s a notch.

Sure, the notch on the Huawei Y7 Prime 2019 tries to stay out of the way by taking as small a footprint as possible but it’s still there and its existence has to be factored in the whole display setup. Heck, it even affects the device’s design language. For instance, the earpiece gets pushed right above it and with a display area on both sides, forces the LED notification to be integrated in the said earpiece. The end result is something that I quite like and since I get to be able to hide the notch area using the software, I don’t have any complaints.

Camera

The most noticeable change, at least to the naked eye, is the change in alignment of the camera lenses. Sure, this is more about the design than what you’d expect us to highlight in a camera section but it’s there and can’t be ignored.

While the dual-camera setup on the back of the device remains, albeit in a re-aligned format (horizontal on the 2018 model and vertical this year), its feature set, at least from a hardware perspective, has barely changed. On the software front, there’s all the AI magic that we got to see in action on the Huawei Y9 2019 last year which is what really sets apart the two from their siblings from the past. More on that soon.

It is the front-facing camera, however, that steals all the attention. The selfie shooter has seen its pixel count doubled and, from the look of things, it tries. More on it soon.

Software

This is more obvious.

As budget smartphones, the best way to receive a software upgrade is to, unfortunately, upgrade the hardware.

The Huawei Y7 Prime 2019 doesn’t arrive with the latest version of Android, 9 Pie, but it comes with most of the software enhancements that have made it to Huawei devices since the Huawei Y7 Prime 2018 shipped. My favourite here are the gestures that allow one to do away with the standard navigation buttons while still being able to do the same things they are accustomed to. Then there are all the built-in Artificial Intelligence smarts (like the ones described in the camera section above) that kick in to determine how the device is used and tune it to maximise aspects like performance and endurance.

Performance

A better chipset and better software optimization than I experience on the Huawei Y7 Prime 2018 mean that my experience this year is the complete opposite of what I encountered last year. I wouldn’t say that everything flies but the device ain’t sluggish either.

Battery

The battery on the Huawei Y7 Prime 2019 is a bigger unit. Combine that with the aforementioned AI smarts and users can definitely expect to go for up to 2 days on a single charge. That’s a stark contrast to what was possible with last year’s model. These two short Twitter threads (1, 2) show how far apart the two devices are.

Colour

While the black and blue colour options that were available last year are also available this year, at least with a much better shine, it is the addition of the Almond Red colour option that takes the Y7 Prime 2019 to its competitor’s doors and positions itself favourably for consideration this Valentines. The gold colour option is also taking a back seat this year and isn’t available.

Price

Given the upgraded feature set, the Huawei Y7 Prime 2019 starts at a price of Kshs 1,000 more than the Huawei Y7 Prime 2018. The former is going for Kshs 17,999 while the latter started at Kshs 16,999 last year.

Specifications

 Huawei Y7 Prime 2019Huawei Y7 Prime 2018
Size and weight158.9 x 76.91 x 8.10mm, 168g158.3 x 76.7 x 7.8 mm, 155g
Display6.26-inch HD+ (19:9, 1520 x 720 pixels)5.99-inch HD+ (1440× 720 pixels)
ProcessorSnapdragon 450Snapdragon 430
Memory3GB RAM, 32GB onboard storage (expandable via microSD)Same
CameraMain camera: 13MP + 2MP
Selfie camera: 16MP
Main camera: 13MP + 2MP
Selfie camera: 8MP
Battery4,000mAh3,000mAh
Operating SystemAndroid 8.1, Oreo, with EMUI 8.2 layered on topAndroid 8.0, Oreo, with EMUI 8.0
Network3G, 4GSame
ConnectivityWi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.2, microUSBSame
OthersDual-SIMSame
Colour optionsAurora Blue, Midnight Black, Coral RedBlack, Gold, Blue
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Have something that you believe I need to have a look at? Hit me up: echenze [at] androidkenya.com