For the past two weeks I have been fighting with my new Smartphone. My HTC One was over two years old and so I was "eligible" for an upgrade, I visited a store just off Oxford Street hopeful that I might pick up the latest HTC One.
The first problem was that they didn't have any in store, if I came back in two days I could have one. "They are very popular you know," I was told by the girl who was born after I started working in the mobile industry. I was also going to have to pay something up front, something I have never done. As a mobile network I would say that EE is overstocked as she then tried to sell me on an iPhone with a pitch that even Phones-4-You would have found aggressive at it's peek.
I looked at the Huawei P9 on the stand all shinny and new and unlike any of the others in I could have it for the same monthly tariff I was on and NO money up front. The Sales Assistant then gave me another sales pitch telling me that this phone had the BEST camera as it was a Leica and I would not be disappointed if I went for this model.
I thought that what could be that different between the Huawei and the HTC they were both running the latest Android software and the last few months I've been using it on the old handset. It came with twice the capacity in terms of memory and whilst it was not using Qualcomm's chips it much of an impairment was it going to be day to day? So I said yes I'll take one for the next two years.
The box I was handed spoke of higher quality that the one my last phone turned up in. The slimline handset looked good as a SIM card was inserted. But a few things seemed to be missing in the box, not protective case or film for the screen but hey I can buy those online. I had to dash for a meeting and so didn't have time to unbox everything and so left the shop.
After my meeting I turned on the Huawei and the UI was something of a surprised in looked liked a device from 2012. The icons of Apps that I reinstalled from the Google Store were displaying retro logo, were they also outdated in terms of functionality? I attempted to look through the menu to find a transfer tool that would allow me to copy over some/all of my personal data from the HTC alas no joy! This was something that I had on my Nokia before 3G surely the engineers at Huawei realised that consumers expected some assistance moving to a new handset. It takes a long time to rekey all the things that are important and it's hard to remember passwords that you've not had to use for two years plus.
Back home and with time and space to complete looking at what was in the box and more surprises! The first thing that strikes me is that the cable in order to fit in the small package is half the length of what I used to and rather than a microUSB it is the new Micro Fitting. the distance from the power socket to my desk is further than the cable so until I can but a 2M replacement the phone lies on the floor whilst it charges!
Next we have the headset it looks like something I would pick up a Petrol Station for under £5 to replace a lost one no something I'd associate with a Premium Handset.
The Huawei P9 is so new that third parties are yet to produce any accessories and so finding a decent case is proving an issue the first two bought on line have been returned because the didn't look like it did on line.
The first weekend of "testing" the Huawei was an education. Standing at the Tube station I logged on to the Virgin Media Hotspot and thought that I was set for the day. But unlike my HTC the Huawei does not scan and login in as we pull into each station rather you have to manual scan, select and connect or just scan. This process becomes a test between the train driver and myself as to speed to move on.
Having taken a few snaps with the "BEST Camera" on the market I grab a coffee and start to edit them using my favourite Apps and after 10 minutes I become aware that when Winter comes I'm not going to need gloves as the phone is now "warm" I don't want to see how soon it becomes hot! This weekend I tested out the panoramic function and it failed to stitch the image cleaning five times out of five regardless of speed at which I pan the camera. With the HTC I have about five failures in two years and I take a lot of photos. The next issue with the Leica enabled Huawei is that the angle of view is less than that of the HTC and so I now have to stand back to get the same view I've become used to. Then I posted the edited pictures on to Flickr and Instagram to see the difference between phones old and new. The Huawei does not record itself as a P9 on Flickr rather it is a "HUAWEI EVA-L09" so much for Brand Management helping to grow sales.
How much memory does your phone have? Well despite claims I have less free space on my P9 than I had on my HTC, yet it's supposed to have twice the capacity and I have installed less Apps and the phone has no bloatware installed by my Mobile Network.
What can I say that is positive about the P9 well the battery is excellent on the basis that I am getting two days use between charges. BUT that is because the user experience is so poor that I am using it less than I did my HTC.
What have I discovered from the whole sorry experience? The idiots that review new handsets are not journalists, they conduct a few simple tests rather than actively use handset and then sell the device or returning it to the PR company they are sitting in front of. The margins within Consumer contracts are so slim that Mobile Networks no longer have any interest in Customer Service and so if you make a mistake with your handset choice you have to live with a lemon for two years. Huawei are a VERY long way from being able to compete with Sony let alone Apple, HTC and Samsung when it comes to PREMIUM handsets. Google does not give much assistance to Handset manufacturers and care even less about consistent user experience.
I am still looking for a 2M cable, quality leather case and headset to use with the P9, if you have any recommendations then please leave a comment. If you are in the market for a new handset give Huawei a few years to improve before picking one up.