Thanks to Huawei for providing this device for review. Huawei is a Chinese multinational networking and telecommunications equipment and services company. They have an office in Trinidad and they are focused on smartphones and devices, communications technology and the smart country. My journey to collect the phone started in Cunupia. There was start and stop rain in Port of Spain. It was my second visit to Huawei’s office. After leaving Huawei, a walk around the corner took me to Pollo Tropical where I sat, setup the phone and gave it some charge from my battery pack. I then walked over to the Savannah to get some test camera shots.
Check out a previous blog post – Some Things to Consider When Purchasing a Smartphone. I am using this phone as my daily driver for the next two weeks to be able to write a review at the end. The review will look at camera, battery life, ease of use and build among other things. Part of my review process is to look at other reviews and also look at what customers are saying. Reviews and feedback are important. These feed into the development cycle and lead to future improvements. This first impressions is a precursor.
The first thing that stood out for me was the bright red and clean packaging. The other thing was the large screen. Something you might not expect for a mid range budget smartphone. The setup was typical. Huawei phones come with their own Emotion UI (EMUI). The software navigation buttons (bottom) was strange to me at first. I am used to hitting the physical home button to wake up my phone. I was happy to see the OTA FM radio app, something that I don’t see in the flagship phones. I was surprised to see support for dual SIMs. However, only one SIM supports 4G. One disappointment was seeing two speaker grills at the bottom but learning that it was not stereo speakers and sound only comes from the right grill. The camera takes decent shots.
My first impressions leave me thinking this is a really nice phone for the price and category. I will have more to say in my full review. My cousin was asking me about smartphones the other day and one of the things that I took away from that conversation was that customers should have the benefit of local warranty, support and repairs. This is something that Huawei provides. Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.
UPDATE : Videos uploaded to my YouTube channel
A Quick Look at the Huawei Y6 II
Emotion UI (EMUI) on Huawei Y6 II – Tips, Tricks and Useful Features
Device shots below
Update 15 NOV 2016 : I was told that it is not necessary to charge cycle the UPS periodically even though my intuition is telling me this could be healthy for the battery and is also an opportunity to test the UPS.
Also it was brought to my attention that since this model has no AVR it means that it goes to battery when there are voltage fluctuations which will wear the battery quicker. If AVR is needed go for a more advanced model with this feature.
APC by Schneider Electric, formerly known as American Power Conversion Corporation, is a manufacturer of uninterruptible power supplies, electronics peripherals and data center products (wikipedia). I was provided with this UPS through a local PR firm. It’s always nice when companies take the initiative like this. The letter stated
With the critical understanding you play as a communicator and the level of responsibility and challenges you assume on a daily basis, we are pleased to provide you with a UPS, which we hope serves as a valuable resource in protecting your devices and information.
The UPS comes with the battery disconnected. You are required to connect the battery before use. The instruction booklet is clear but feel free to ask the store for help in setting it up, explaining how it works and verifying that it works before leaving. Also ask for your warranty.
I looked at some of the customer reviews online. A lot of it was good. One person did want the power switch to also turn off the surge outlets. I agree this should be an option. Keep in mind this is the most basic model with no voltage regulation, no software (for auto shutdown for example) and no LED display. It is designed as a budget option. Another person didn’t like the annoying beep while on battery. This is ok for desktop computers and routers and modems and buys you a short period of time during power interruptions. I do associate quality with this brand.
During my review period power went once and I was able to get 15 mins to power my standing fan because it was HOT that day. Typical recharge time is 16 hours. Battery should last about 3 to 5 years. My recommendation would be if you have the money go for a model with more features and more juice. In doing research for this review I Googled for “APC Trinidad” and informaticstt.com was the first result. I contacted them and spoke to someone there. I was told that they are the distributor (and service center) for APC for the Caribbean region and that your requirements is a major factor in what UPS they recommend you buy. Their website has a nice list of resellers.
Here is a nice article – Recommendations for Prolonging the Life of Your UPS Battery and full product details can be found here. Share your thoughts and experiences with us in the comments below.
Update 5 NOV 2016 : I eventually got it replaced by the shop. It took longer than I expected. There was disagreement over the condition in which I returned it, they saying fairly new condition and I insisting very new condition. Also I was told that a manufacturing defect shows up in a few days which doesn’t make sense to me because your warranty is 3 months (not a few days) to cover manufacturing defects. No problems with the exchanged headphones so far. I didn’t ask but my view is that you should get a new warranty period if an exchange is provided.
Update 2 SEP 2016 : Feeling unlucky. Left side of the earbuds stopped working. It’s under warranty so let’s see what they do when I return it.
Audio-Technica is a Japanese company that manufactures professional audio equipment. They have won numerous industry awards over the years. They are one of the oldest names in the audio industry. I respect the brand because of the reviews of MKBHD and others. I purchased the ATH-ANC33iS noise cancelling earbuds on an impulse while passing through the mall. It was between that and a Sennheiser. This model is not the latest but you do pay less for older tech.
I later found out that there is a difference between noise cancelling and sound isolation and advantages and disadvantages of each. Noise cancelling reduces unwanted ambient sounds using circuitry and microphones to produce waves that cancel out the noise. Sound isolation on the other hand is soundproofing or blocking out the noise from reaching your ears.
The first few times I used it I was wowed when compared to the headphones I was using before. I used it in the noisy mall and it works. Eventually the wow factor faded and it became my normal. These earbuds have a black box (with a battery) attached to the chord that is a bit bothersome. Noise cancelling can be turned on and off with a switch. There is also a dial to adjust volume. The design style is simple and typical Audio-Technica. The chord is not the flat tangle free kind. The sound quality is very good and not affected at the loudest volumes and you get some good bass.
Reading some of the reviews online has me questioning the build quality but I have had no problems so far. The earbuds fit snugly in my ears and come with interchangeable ear pieces. There is a microphone and switch for accepting smartphone calls. It also comes with a 2-pin airline adapter. Battery life is stated as 60 hours which in my opinion is not enough. It is comfortable enough to be worn for long hours.
In summary I would say this is a good buy for the price and more so if you like the Audio-Technica brand. The trend is towards compact, water proof, rechargeable and bluetooth earbuds and that is something to consider when you are deciding. Thank you and please share your thoughts with us in the comments below.
I have been using the S7 as my daily driver for the past eight days and this has been my experience. There is a dual SIM model of the S7. My review unit did not have this option. If you are interested in this, ask before you buy and verify that it can work in your region. The SIM card tray is fragile and made me nervous that I might break it. Hopefully it would be a cheap and easily available replacement. I am seeing some good prices at the various shops. One popular local shop has the S7 for TT $5,100.
The screen is crisp and vibrant. The S7 and S6 have the same screen specs. The legibility and visibility of the screen under heavy sunlight holds up. The tapered and curved back sides make it easy to pick up and hold. Gorilla glass on the back and front protects from scratching. A new feature on the S7 is the always on display.
The call quality is good. The loud speaker quality is average and it was easy to block the speaker with my little finger when operating with one hand. I wonder if we would ever see Samsung ditch the physical front buttons to make way for stereo front facing speakers?
The camera on the S7 is a winner. All my test photos were taken in auto mode but there are different modes and features if you have the time or inclined to do so. The front facing camera uses an all white screen as flash. This is something new and useful. Video quality is clean, clear, crisp, sharp and colourful. Video audio suffers in windy conditions otherwise it is passable. The camera features fast auto-focus and OIS. If you are really into video it is worthwhile to invest in a video stabilizer gimbal and external audio. Here are two videos I created with the S7.
Battery life is good. You can expect to get a good day worth of usage with about 6 hours screen on time. I now own a battery pack and I would highly recommend one and not too much trouble to carry around. I will probably never see OTA TV and radio on a Samsung flagship but how about a dongle then? A more powerful phone, CPU and GPU means more heat. The S7 features a cooling system with a very thin thermal spreader. Some interesting stuff. Initially it was being touted as liquid cooling but I am reading that this is not the right term for this.
I read somewhere that Samsung Pay is coming to the region. This would be great news. Mobile payments and online payments is convenience we could do with. Touchwiz is the usual. Doesn’t bother me but I do read the complaints. One thing that I would like to see is the app draw remain sorted. This should be an easy option to add.
In summary I would say that this is a great smartphone and worth the price. If you are looking to upgrade or this is your first smartphone I think you won’t be disappointed. There is a ton of information out there. Do your research against what you are looking for and what you are willing to spend. My review is only intended as a guide and to give my views and experience. At the end of the day you get to decide. Most shops will allow you test out the phone on display. Make sure you ask about the warranty and what it covers and what service and repairs are available locally. Thank you and share your thoughts with us in the comments below.