Huawei's latest attempt to break into the US market comes by way of the Honor smartphone brand, specifically the Honor 5X. David thought it was pretty good for $200, and now you're mere days away from coming to your own conclusion. The Honor 5X goes on sale January 31st (Sunday) for $200.
When a custom ROM pops up for a device that already has support, it's like watching another politician join an election. You have two options before you, which way do you go? Are you a pragmatist, ideologically driven, or someone who just wants to tinker around?
But when a phone has been neglected for years, the ROM feels more like a savior. For the Huawei Ascend Mate 2, CyanogenMod has stepped into that role.
Google has been pushing the Nexus 5X and 6P with frequent sales since they came out, and it looks like there's another promo coming into effect for Valentine's Day. The Nexus 5X on eBay yesterday was only the beginning. You can get $50 off a gold Nexus 6P or a Nexus 5X, but you might not see both discounts at all retailers. It's actually a bit of a mess.
I'll admit: we're kind of behind on our review of the Huawei Mate 8. Pretty much everyone's published one at this point, and so instead of trying to play catch-up and rushing, I had a different idea. Specifically, I want to know what you want to know about the Huawei Mate 8, especially if it's not something you've seen covered elsewhere. As long as it doesn't involve physically taking it apart. Or a battery life benchmark test (because I despise them).
The Huawei Mate 8, when it goes on sale, will be top dog in Huawei's current smartphone lineup. It features the latest Kirin processor, many LTE bands, a striking 1080p IPS LCD display, and a giant 4000mAh battery.
Let me be unambiguous: the Huawei Mate 8 is a good phone. I actually like a lot about it. But when I updated to the latest beta software (and yes, that deserves highlighting, obviously) this morning, I was greeted with a rather unpleasant new prompt in the default launcher settings area. Check this out.
Turns out this message appears when you attempt to change any of the default apps away from the stock EMUI options. That includes the launcher, as above, the gallery, dialer, SMS app, camera, music, browser, and email.
Once more, let me be completely clear when I say this message is basically horseshit.
The Huawei Honor 5X is a paradox for Android enthusiasts right out of the box. It costs just $199. But it runs Android 5.1. It has a surprisingly decent camera. But it doesn't support band 12 LTE on T-Mobile. The 1080p IPS display is very bright and may well be class-leading at this price point. But the Honor 5X doesn't have NFC. Its fingerprint reader pretty much lets it stand alone in the market for sub-$200 devices. But so does Huawei's software layer, and not in a good way. It has a microSD card slot. But it's only available with 16GB of storage, and no Marshmallow means no adoptable SD cards.
The Huawei Honor 5X's sales pitch isn't complicated, and it doesn't have to be: $199 gets you a metal-body smartphone with a fingeprint scanner, LTE, and a 5.5" 1080p display. There's no uninstallable 3rd party bloat (Twitter, Facebook, FaceTune, and Shazam can all be removed), and while it does run Android 5.1.1 with Huawei's lamentable custom UI layer, the price really does make this easier to ignore.
Is the Honor 5X the perfect smartphone for the Android enthusiast on a budget? Probably not, if I'm honest, unless you're willing to hold out for the possibility that a robust custom ROM community emerges after the handset's launch.
We've had a chance to spend some significant time with the Huawei Mate 8 in the last 24 hours, and so I felt an intial impressions post was warranted. The "space gray" (yes, really) 32GB unit I've been using is technically preproduction per Huawei's own disclaimer, though the software feels largely finished and the phone physically feels ready for sale.
The Mate 8, by the way, is not a phone you'll be seeing in America. Huawei has taken a pretty careful approach in regard to its US device launches, and its most expensive handsets generally never make it here through any official channels.
Huawei has only released a few phones in the US market, and the new Mate 8 isn't among them. Instead, we'll get the mid-range Honor 5X. No, it doesn't have anything to do with the LG-build Nexus 5X. The Honor 5X has somewhat more modest specs than that other 5X, but the price is lower too at just $199.
We had a few minutes with the new Huawei MediaPad M2 10.0 after Huawei's CES press conference this morning, and here's the rundown on the upcoming slate. This isn't Huawei's first tablet, but it may well be their first particularly respectable one. While it does appear it will ship with Android 5.1.1 - everyone sigh collectively - the tablet itself feels like a reasonably nice piece of hardware.
In its most basic form, the M2 comes with a modest 16GB of storage and 2GB of RAM, which is what we played with today. But 3GB/64GB models will also be sold, plus LTE variants, and ones with Huawei's Surface-esque stylus accessory, the M-Pen.