Huawei’s flagship smartphone lineup, the P series, has, since the start been associated with the Chinese device maker’s attempts at redefining mobile photography. For years, it has done exactly that.
It prompted the move from the messy 2-megapixel front-facing cameras that dominated the high-end smartphone market to today’s diverse and very elaborate selfie shooters.
In recent years, since the P20 series dropped, its attempt at improving smartphone photography by doubling down on features like zoom and shooting at night have borne fruits with flagship device after flagship device in the series being rated highly by both ordinary users and reviewers alike.
That is for the upper end of the smartphone spectrum, though. On the budget front, what is Huawei doing?
That is where the Huawei Y7p, the newest budget Huawei device available in the Kenyan market, comes in, making a case for Huawei’s budget Y series lineup that has, recently, given us gems like the Huawei Y9 Prime 2019.
Like other devices in the Huawei Y series, the Y7p is a good balance between price and features – it costs just Kshs 18,499.
For that, one gets a triple camera setup at the back and a solo shooter on the front.
The triple cameras at the back of the device are as follows:
- 48-megapixel main camera
- 8-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera
- 2-megapixel depth camera
On the front is an 8-megapixel image sensor.
I have been taking the Huawei Y7p through its paces over the last one week and here are my quick observations:
- Packed in the punch-hole cutout on the upper left side of the 6.39-inch display, the front-facing camera does its best to capture selfies. It works best in sufficient lighting where the selfies pop.
- Beauty mode on the selfie camera is turned on by default. To avoid softer images, I turned it off at the earliest opportunity. For those that are fans of this feature, going into video mode, it is only available if one opts to capture HD video. Anything above that (Full HD), happens without any beauty effects.
- Video recording on the front-facing, capped at 1080p, 30fps, is important in these times of social distancing and working and schooling from home. Should one opt to use any of the options available to make video calls from the Huawei Y7p, that shouldn’t be a problem. For what it’s worth, it will be better than what most of us can get from our laptop webcams, anyway.
- From my little usage of the selfie camera, the results are just fine. When out and about, it manages to strike a good balance between the blue hues in the cloudless afternoon sky while also invariably adjust the light for the best exposure. At night, under warm indoor lighting conditions, the results are softer and go on a similar trajectory as one strays further from the light.
- Given that there is just a single sensor on the front, one doesn’t get a wide-angle option.
- The single punch-cutout and the decision to stick with thin bezels for that striking design that is pleasing to the eye to be achieved, means that we don’t get an LED flash on the front. Instead, as we have often seen in such arrangements, the whole display panel acts as the flash – lighting up when needed.
- It is the back cameras where all the touted camera prowess of the Huawei Y7p comes into full view. All the “modes” on the viewfinder can be called into action when using the back cameras.
- Directly, one can switch between the normal 1x and the wide-angle shots.
- They can also choose to use a variety of filters, revealed in a carousel at the top when a button, right after the AI button, is clicked.
- Talking about the AI… Turning it on, whether when using the back cameras, as I relied on it mostly for, or for selfies, results in images that are tuned for the exact objects and conditions that the device has detected and its on-device machine learning smarts been able to process. With the over 500 scenes the Y7p’s cameras are able to identify and adjust accordingly, this makes it a very friendly option for those, like yours truly, that aren’t professional photographers and don’t like playing around with the manual mode (the Pro mode can be found under the “More” button on the viewfinder) unless it is absolutely necessary.
- Images taken with the cameras came out looking good, at least to me, with the right amount of detail and sharpness.
- Switching to the ultra-wide-angle view resulted in not only a bigger field of view but also a fisheye-like effect which, gladly, doesn’t show up in the processed final results.
- Taking images in low-light is best done with the camera’s night mode feature turned on. That way, one is able to get some rather good results. I haven’t been able to play around with this for as much as I would’ve wanted thanks to the “stay at home” orders that are in place at night but should you have the time, Huawei is promising some decent results. That is because the Huawei Y7p uses AI stabilization and exposure times of up to 6 seconds to capture more details in low-light environments.
- Other features like HDR, panorama, slow-mo etc, can be turned on on-demand from the “More” button below. In my case, I mostly ended up needing the portrait and night modes, most of the time.
- Particularly appealing to me is the “Ultra snapshot” feature which, when enabled, lets users map the volume down button to respond in a certain way when double-pressed, even when the screen is turned off. For instance, double-pressing the volume down button can result in the camera app opening or, immediately taking a photo, as per the camera’s last set mode.
- Other features users can turn to include the ability to use audio controls to snap photos. If turned on, saying “cheese” will result in an image being taken. Or, one can opt to have the camera take photos as soon as any loud voices are detected. That can work if you’re trying to include in your selfie someone who’s at a safe distance in these social distancing times. When close enough, the device can be set to detect smiles and snap almost immediately. Using gestures, as we have done in the past (raise your palm for the 3-second countdown to start) also works.
- The selection may not be wide but if stickers are your cup of tea, the Huawei Y7p has a bunch of them. Just select “More” on the viewfinder and select “Stickers” in the following window to get started. You will be able to choose from a handful of stickers in several categories: food, weather, time etc.
- To complement the cameras, the Huawei Y7p arrives with Huawei’s Gallery application as the main way to view the photos and videos that one takes. The cool thing about this gallery app is not only that it organizes everything well to remove any urgent need for a third-party solution to do the same, it is also smart. It will identify almost 300 tags without requiring a network connection.
Note: the sample images used in this article have been resized and their resolutions reduced. This may have some effect on the quality as presented in this article.