The Huawei Y6s was announced in late February as the latest budget smartphone entrant from the Chinese tech giant to the Kenyan market. The smartphone company had recently launched the mid-range Huawei Nova 5T earlier this year.
Soon after the announcement, the Huawei Y6s went on a pre-order period that looped consumers into some good preorder incentives which included a Ksh 1000 gift hamper if they committed in those two weeks.
Starting this week, the Huawei Y6s is now available in Huawei’s official retail stores countrywide and online for Ksh 13,999.
Before we get right into the review, here’s what’s inside the box:
- The phone itself
- A pre-installed screen protector
- A 5W power brick
- A micro-USB charging cable
- A sim ejector tool
- User Guide
The Huawei Y6s comes in an interesting design which some of you will like. The back features a two-tone design that combines a glossy top half and matte bottom half. Colour variants include Orchid Blue and Starry Black.
The back hosts the rear 13MP camera with a LED flash and a rear fingerprint sensor while the Huawei logo sits at the bottom. Face Unlock is also available that works in lowlight scenes by increasing the screen brightness which can be annoying at times when you wake up in the middle of the night to catch up on Twitter – I know I’m not the only one.
The phone is super light and comfortable to use on one hand. The buttons are well placed for easy access.
The matte bottom makes the phone less slippery and prevents fingerprint smudges. You can definitely use this phone without a case.
The phone is dual Sim with support for Dual 4G VoLTE.
There’s a headphone jack at the top and a secondary microphone.
The bottom features the MicroUSB charging port, dual grilles on both sides but the right one is the actual location of the speaker. There’s also Huawei’s SuperSound that not only offers Built-in FM Radio, Histen 5.0 but also Party mode – features that make the Huawei Y6s a perfect multimedia companion.
The camera module isn’t protruding from the rest of the body so no wobbling when place on top of a table. Is the tradeoff worth it – we’ll find out below.
Coming to the front is a 6.09″ LCD dewdrop display that comes at a resolution of 720 by 1560 pixels.
The screen gives the phone an almost bezel-less design on the phone except for the bottom chin.
The display stays sharp with decent contrast for binging multimedia content either YouTube or Netflix especially indoors. It gets tricky outdoors as bright sunlight can make it harder to read articles or watch videos outside.
The top bezel above the notch that hosts the selfie camera is the earpiece grill that also houses a notification LED light and other sensors including a proximity sensor and ambient sensor.
Software, Performance and Battery
The Huawei Y6s runs Android 9 Pie with EMUI 9.1, which is an upgrade from EMUI 9 that runs on the Huawei Y6 Prime 2019 – its predecessor. It would have been welcome to include EMUI 10 or Android 10 – it’s unclear if the device will be getting this major upgrade.
Anyway, the software experience was relatively fast as the UI is much leaner with minimal and less annoying bloatware. The phone has support for Google Apps by default so no worries there – you get preinstalled Google apps such as the Google Play Store, Google Drive, Google Sheets, Google Docs, Google Duo, Google App, Google Photos, Google Sheets and Google Slides.
AppGallery, Huawei’s alternative to the Google Play Store is also available if you want to check out their app offerings. Most popular apps both local and international are available from the likes of TikTok, Showmax, Likee, Daily Nation, Musixmatch, Deezer, CNN, MXPlayer Pro, InShot, Jumia, Kilimall, Jiji, Alibaba, Aliexpress, mySafaricom app, NTSA Self Service app, TrueCaller, MyTelkom, Holy Bible, Quran, Microsoft Office, WPS, Camscanner, NHIF, Fertility Tracker apps, Coronavirus Tracker apps, ZohoMail, Oxford dictionary among other apps.
Missing apps include ones from Facebook although Huawei is still working to bring them. Google apps are obviously lacking in the AppGallery.
To recap, the phone comes with Google apps and services so you can access apps like Instagram, Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp, and YouTube.
The general performance is quite commendable as Huawei upgraded the internals so the Huawei Y6s now rocks 3GB of RAM, 64GB of internal storage expandable to 512GB via an external MicroSD card and is powered by a MediaTek Helio P35 processor coupled with PowerVR GE8320 GPU.
Light tasks fly through such as scrolling social media, taking photos, streaming or listening to music or watching multimedia content.
The phone handles itself pretty well.
When you get into the heavy stuff such as gaming or constantly multitasking, performance takes a hit. Some apps reopen when you go back to them, RAM-intense apps such as Asphalt 9 experience some lag during gameplay. Huawei has an AppAssistant app that tries to counter these issues through Game Acceleration that improves performance by optimizing the phone’s settings. However, battery life will be affected.
Speaking of battery life, the phone delivered even though it packs a relatively small battery capped at 3020mAh. I was getting screen-on-time ranging from:
- 6 hours on really busy days
- 16 hours on less hectic days
- 8 and a half hours on mixed-use.
Expect decent battery life performance with this phone.
Let’s talk about the elephant in the room. The Cameras. The Huawei Y6s features a 13MP f/1.8 main rear camera and an 8MP selfie camera. The rear camera has an LED flash while the front-facing one increases the screen brightness to take low light shots.
Modes to play around with include HDR, Panorama, Beauty, Video and Pro.
Photos shot in good daylight turn out decent. The sensor is large so you get natural bokeh in some photos.
[Click to expand and swipe for more]
Here are some shots from the rear camera
You’ll notice that some shots come out with washed-out colours. You can use editing apps like Adobe Lightroom to add some colour and make the shots more dramatic.
Here are some low light shots:
Outdoors on lowlight, the shots will come out grainy
Here are some selfies:
So far, the Huawei Y6s holds its own. Selfies will be smoothened as Beauty mode kicks in by default. Skin tones are also retained in some shots. During the day, the Huawei Y6s can take decent photos for social media sharing but if you’re into having evening or nights out, you’ll have to skip the phone.
It would have been great to include more modes for photography or more camera lenses to give the phone an upper advantage over other phones in this price range. It, however, still does the job for a budget phone.
Should You Buy It?
The Huawei Y6s got minor improvements especially internals that outperform other phones in the same category. It’s not a perfect phone but the upgraded design and lightness of the phone are welcome.
If you’re coming from older and cheaper Huawei devices such as the Huawei Y5 Prime 2018, Huawei Y5 Lite, Huawei Y5 Prime 2019, Huawei Y6 Prime 2019, Huawei Y7 Prime 2018, and Huawei Y7 Prime 2019, the Huawei Y6s is a worthy upgrade as you’re getting more RAM and storage options, faster processor, better design.
A few camera upgrades to the phone would have made the Huawei Y6s the top pick for consumers who wanted a more versatile camera phone.
- Good design
- Decent performance
- Better RAM and storage configuration for the price
- Reliable battery life
- Dual 4G VoLTE
- Photography department could do better
Where to Buy
The Huawei Y6s is available on Huawei’s official retail stores countrywide and online for Ksh 13, 999.
|Nairobi Airtel Sarit centre westlands store|
|Nairobi African Retail Traders Moi Avenue Store A and B|
|Nairobi Makarim Hilton Arcade store|
|Nairobi Dixons Kenyatta Avenue Store|
|Nairobi Tricom Ronald Ngala store|
|Nairobi Photohive Moi venue store|
|Nairobi Smart Hub|
|Nairobi Dixons Tom mboya|
|3C Hub Moi Avenue|
|Trends Moi Avenue(Ropem)|
|One to One Samrat|
|Mambo Communication kitui|
|Airtel partner shop|
|Thika Orchards Communications|
|Phone Matt LTD Thika|
|Pesa Point Thika|
|Mersons Communications thika|
|Bemotech communications next to safaricom shop|
|Magical mobiles along Uganda road|
|Anand Rupa mall|
|Fone Fun Kisii|
|Mombasa||K tech solutions|
|Nyeri Decent one|
|Airtel brighter brands|
|3C Hub Nakuru|
The Huawei Y6s delivers on performance and looks and does a commendable job on the camera department although more effort could’ve gone into photography with a few upgrades.