I have been using the Huawei Y6p for a week now. The device is available in offline shop shelves and e-commerce site Jumia for KES 15000. It is a great device for the most part, but that is not the who story because I have a couple of things I need to make clear before you go out and buy it.
You will notice that this is not the ordinary review we do here at Techweez where we examine all aspects and features of a device by lauding and critiquing them before wrapping things up with a summary of our assessment. Rather, I want to have a discussion with you guys about how you can get the best of the Y6p in case you are reluctant to make a decision.
THE SOFTWARE SITUATION
The device does not ship with Google services. This, I am sure, is a thing you are aware of, but is it really a deal-breaker?
Well, that depends on many things, and I want to make them as clear as possible.
Upon opening the device, you will see Huawei selling its home-made app store named AppGallery. This store is based on Huawei Mobile Services (HMS), which is akin to Google Services.
The HMS ecosystem implies that the Chinese corporation is building a system of apps and services that are entirely its own, which, if successful in the long run, would make it sell its devices with relying on the likes of Google. It is an uphill task – but Google did it over an extended period – so why can’t Huawei attempt to create a system that works for it?
The answer to that is a complicated one, and part of is that Huawei sells millions of phones outside China (the Chinese people use China products and services, and as known to many, Western services are banned). Any person who does not live in China has been swallowed into the Google ecosystem and there is no way you are going to change their mind. It is a challenging situation that has been made harder by the fact that people are slaves to what works for them, and they do not like change especially when it inconveniences them.
Fixing the inconveniences
It would be a mistake to assume Huawei does not understand its plight, and the bigger issue of convincing customers that they would enjoy the Y6p just fine without Google services.
Huawei dispels any doubts by making sure that customers have access to their essentials. Where that is not possible, it has deployed workarounds to make sure that no customer is left out.
With that in mind, let’s jump right into the few steps I took to make sure the Y6p worked for me.
Get your contacts
When setting up the Y6p, you will notice that there is no step that asks you to input your Google account. You are only tasked to enter your Huawei ID if you have one, or sign up (I did not do either).
At first, I was surprised because I wondered how else I was going to access my contacts. I got a few after setting up Telegram (not available in AppGallery, more of that in a minute).
So how do you get all contacts saved in your Gmail account?
Quite easy actually: just login into your Gmail using the stock email app by Huawei. The system will do the rest.
Downloading social media apps
All of us have an online presence and let’s be honest, we use our smartphones to socialize with friends, families, colleagues, and foes, mostly using social media apps.
The first app that most of us download is WhatsApp because, well, obviously.
If you go to AppGallery, you will not find it there. However. AppGallery works in wonderful ways: it collects the most requested apps and reaches out to their developers in the hope of convincing them to upload them to the store.
In this case, AppGallery will redirect you to the official WhatsApp website where you will download the file (apk). Installation should be straightforward after that.
Other such as Instagram will take you to the web version of the app, which is serviceable in my book unless you want a little more than that.
Other popular titles such as Facebook and Messenger are not here. However, Snapchat is in there, just so as you know.
Now, Aptoide (another reputable third-party store) came in handy when I needed additional apps. I got Facebook, Telegram, among many others, from here. It has a more robust set of apps – including Google apps – but the majority of them cannot run on the Y6p because they need a Google services framework.
Apps that did not run
Still, about the app situation, some of my essentials were, unfortunately, unable to run in the lovely Y6p. One of them is Eazzy Banking App – which I expected was not going to run.
Safaricom apps (the utility app, and the Home Fibre tool) did not run as well because Google Play services are obviously missing.
Now, I know this is a big deal, and I have tried to cut the device some slack, but the degree of my ability to let these shortcomings slide is substantial because I knew what I was getting into. To this end, not everyone will be happy with this situation unless they are ready to take a few steps mentioned above. People just want a device that just works – but still, listen to me…
The Huawei browser is a mixed bag that some of you may hate right out of the box. Worry not though, because you can replace it with something else like Opera Browser that works much better in my use cases. And yes, it is available at AppGallery.
Use Here Maps from AppGallery.
In this case, Uber comes in handy, but just use its web platform.
As I mentioned, I did not get to run Eazzy Banking app. My guess is that other finance apps will not work here. There is no safe way of downloading them (I ripped Eazzy Banking from another device), so you need to keep that in mind.
The Y6p is a relatively thick boy because it houses a large battery, 5000 mAh to be exact. The rest of the specifications are summarized below:
Huawei Y6p Specifications and Price in Kenya
|Display||Type||IPS LCD Dewdrop display|
|Resolution||1600 by 720|
|Platform||Operating System||Android 10 and EMUI 10.1|
|Chipset||Mediatek Helio P22 processor|
4 x Cortex-A53 2.0 GHz + 4 x Cortex-A53 1.5 GHz
|GPU||IMG GE8320 650 MHz|
|External||microSD, up to 512GB|
|Network||Technology||Dual 4G Volte|
|Camera||Main||13 MP (f/1.8 aperture), 5 MP (Wide Angle Lens f/2.2 aperture) and a 2 MP (f/2.4 aperture) lens.|
|Battery||Size||5000mAh with 10W charging | Micro-USB port|
|Colors||Emerald Green, Phantom Purple and Midnight Black.|
|Features||Rear Fingerprint reader + Face Unlock 2.0|
The screen is beautiful for the price and is immersive save for the small dew-drop interruption at the top.
Under the chassis is an octa-core CPU (MTK Helio P22), 3 GB of RAM, and 64 GB of internal storage.
Optics are served by a triple-cam setup with a 13 MP main sensor, a 5 MP wide-angle lens, and another 2 MP sensor. An 8 MP selfie sensor sits inside the notch.
The large cell I introduced above is charged using a micro-USB port.
The screen can be secured using a fingerprint sensor at the back, or Face Unlock. The sensor is fast and accurate – but I am not surprised because Huawei has always been excellent with making them.
On the whole, the entire package is crafted very well, and it reminds me of the Y7p that I really loved.
It does not feel like a 15K phone at all, and that is a good thing. Competitors in the same price range do not have this kind of build quality, and I am glad budget devices are receiving the same kind of attention as mid- to high-end releases.
There is not much I can add here besides reiterating that the Y6p is put together very well, and I like it.
This is where a lot of you are going to get very happy: the Y6p is an easy three-day battery champ, and can do even more if you are frugal with your use cases. I got four or more days from a 100% cell. And that was without charges in between.
Another thing I am glad about is its endurance. Whereas my primary device loses 20% of charge overnight, the Y6p barely lost a percentage or two. I mean, this is some interesting behaviour that is only seen in iPhones.
One thing to note though is that there are no Google services and their associated apps to drain battery here, and it would appear that HMS does an excellent job policing background activities.
Filling the juicer takes more than two hours, but that is expected considering the battery is so huge. The include charger supports 10W charging, which is not fast, but with this big a battery, who really cares?
For a KES 15000 phone, the Y6p runs quite well. I did not experience slowdowns at all, and EMUI 10.1 on top of Android 10 is a good combo that does not need massive resources to keep operations on the toe.
MTK Helio P22 is also used among many devices from this price segment. It is a popular chip that gets the work done for the price.
Also, 3 GB of RAM, while less than what users get in the likes of the Camon 15, is sufficient to keep your apps in memory to speed up multi-tasking. The internal storage is also roomy at 64 GB for your files and apps.
The SIM slot can take two SIMs and a micro-SD card.
I have never had issues with EMUI. It is fast. It is also equipped with a ton of features: you can run dual apps, dark mode is in tow, and navigation can entirely be completed with gestures. The gestures, which Huawei started doing a few years ago, have been honed and feel fast and natural.
Huawei also packs a ton of useful apps, including a recorder and FM radio, to mention a few. None of these apps are intrusive, and never push ads to your lock-screen or notification menu.
Gallery (sample images)
Make sure you shoot your images in plenty of light. You will love the results. In low-light, quality deteriorates significantly.
It might appear that using a modern Huawei device is a challenge, and to some extent, it is. However, users can learn to live without Google services because there is a high chance they will have access to their most used apps – or access them from a web platform (such as Instagram). However, some apps, such as banking products most likely need GMS, and that is a bummer if you rely on them so much.
Huawei is engaging popular developers to avail their titles in AppGallery, so we feel the future of the store is assured, although it might take a long time. Maybe the entire fiasco will change if the relationship between the company and the US improves – and all these squabbles that affect the ordinary customer will be a thing of the past.
On the hardware side, there is no device that comes close to the Y6p by sheer build quality. The software is fast too, and the battery takes forever to exhaust. To me, that is a recipe for a good budget device, don’t you think?