I’ve been reading good things about Huawei (pronounced “Wah-Way”), a Chinese high tech company largely unknown in the US but very popular in Asia and Europe. Huawei also has a sub-brand, Honor, a line of budget phones sold primarily online from its own sites as well as from third-party retailers such as Amazon and Best Buy. Huawei is the world’s second largest smartphone maker, behind Samsung and ahead of Apple.
In 2017 Huawei started selling its flagship phone, the Mate 9, in the US as an unlocked phone for around $600. Honor also introduced the Honor 7x, a $199 budget phone. Both the Mate 9 and the Honor 7x have received very good reviews. Nine months after the Mate 9 was launched, Juan Bagnell, Senior Editor at Pocketnow, said the Mate 9 was still the most used phone in his collection, and XDA Developers named the Honor 7X the best budget smartphone of 2017. However, in spite of great reviews, the general public never heard about the phones because they weren’t offered by the major carriers – AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon.
Things may be about to change because it has been reported that Huawei has decided to make a serious effort to become established in the US. It is rumored that in 2018 AT&T and Verizon may offer Huawei’s latest flagship phone, the Mate 10 Pro. There are also reports that Huawei is lining up a $100 million advertising campaign for its US launch of the Mate 10 Pro. If the two largest US carriers offer Huawei phones, and if Huawei’s new phones are as good as those already released, Huawei could become a major contender in the US market and threaten the dominance of Apple and Samsung.
EDIT: According to a January 9, 2018 article on C\NET: “On Monday, news emerged that AT&T pulled out of a deal to sell the Huawei Mate 10 Pro, and The Information reported the deal had been a victim of congressional pressure. Now, on Tuesday, as Huawei touted the Mate 10 Pro at the CES tech show in Las Vegas, Android Police reported similar pressure on Verizon.” Apple phones are manufactured in China, as well as some Samsung phones. If the Chinese government is intent on using smartphones to spy on us, they could bug any of those phones before they’re shipped to the U.S. I also wonder if there might have been some pressure on the carriers from Apple and/or Samsung. People will still be able to purchase Honor and Huawei phones in the U. S., but the phones will have to be purchased through the companies’ online stores or from retailers such as Amazon, BestBuy, Microsoft, NewEgg, and B&H.
I’m always curious about Android phones other than Samsung and I wanted to see what all the “Huawei Hype” was about. I purchased a Mate 9 from Best Buy and started using it as my daily driver. Much to my surprise, I preferred the Mate 9 to my Samsung Note 8. I’m going to turn 79 this year and both my vision and hearing are feeling their age. The Mate 9’s display, a 16:9 LCD screen with 1080p resolution, was easier on my eyes and the speaker seemed louder. I could have lowered the resolution on my Note 8 and increased the size of the icons and text, but it didn’t seem to make much sense to “dumb down” Samsung’s flagship smartphone. Also, I found that I wasn’t using some of the features on the Note 8, such as the S-pen. I decided to sell my Note 8 and keep the Mate 9.
So far, I’m very happy with my choice of the Mate 9. It’s easy for me to hold, the screen is large and bright, and the sound is loud enough for me to hear. It seems just as fast and smooth as my Note 8, and it charges faster and a charge lasts longer. I think it’s an ideal phone for us older folks. I have only one minor complaint, and it’s one I have with other major smartphone companies; the lack of prompt software updates. My Mate 9 is still running Android 7 (Nougat) and the security updates are not current. I spoke with Huawei tech support and was told that new software has been released but the updates are pushed in batches and it might take a couple of months for the new software to be pushed to my phone.