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Huawei Y6 Pro 2019 Review - Major Upgrade!

Huawei Nova 5T
Huawei recently announced the Y6 Pro 2019. It is the follow-up to the successful Y6 2018 last year.
Huawei Y6 Pro 2019 Review - Major Upgrade!
Huawei Y6 Pro 2019 review

Coming from the Y6 2018, Huawei Y6 Pro 2019 sports a brand new design, bigger screen, and better overall specs and features!
 A new contender?
A new contender?

At just PHP 6,990, it is a smartphone with upgraded tiny dewdrop for more screen real estate, 12nm based chipset for better speed and power efficiency, ample 3GB RAM/32GB storage, 13MP with faster f/1.8 aperture size, 8MP f/2.0 selfie camera with softlight LED flash, low light ready face unlock, 700MHz 4G LTE, and the latest Android 9.0 Pie OS with EMUI 9.0 skin.

By the looks of it, it could be a new budget contender.

Here's our full review!

Unboxing/Accessories

Unboxed!
Unboxed!

The package includes a the phone itself, 5V/2A USB wall charger, USB-A to micro USB data/charging cable, SIM ejector tool, and a pre-installed plastic screen protector.

Sadly, it doesn't have an earphones and a case included in the box.

Build Quality/Design

Glass-like back design
Glass-like back design

Like other phones at this price point, Huawei Y6 Pro 2019 is mostly made out of plastic. The 3D glass-like back is made out of plastic and the frame is also plastic. In front, it has a 2.5D curved glass design with a pre-installed screen protector. There's no word if it has built-in glass protection.
Top
Bottom
Bottom
Left
Left
Right
Right

Design-wise, the 2019 edition of the Y6 Pro rocks! The back design is minimalist yet elegant looking due to curves and glossy finish. You will see the protruding single camera at the back with neat looking texts that says that it has a 13MP f/1.8 PDAF camera.

Clever and neat looking design!

To date, it is the most affordable phone with a dewdrop notch. The dewdrop notch is Huawei's own interpretation of the waterdrop and halo notch from OPPO and Vivo, respectively.

The result? It has more screen real estate compared with most budget smartphones. The side and top bezels are very slim. Only the chin bezel is big enough to house the Huawei logo. Only OPPO A3s has a slightly smaller chin bezel.

But overall, this still has one of the highest screen-body-ratio for the price yet. It has an 87 percent of screen-to-body ratio.

In addition, Huawei did a very clever job of hiding the earpiece and LED notification above the dewdrop notch. Moreover, we also noticed that it has a hidden softlight LED flash the top right bezel.

The handset has a 6.09-inch display, but it is just as small as most 5.5-inch phones. It measures at just 156.28 x 73.5 x 8 mm. In comparison, the iPhone 8 Plus with 5.5-inch screen measures at 158.4 x 78.1 x 7.5 mm.

On the top, you will find the 3.5mm headphone slot and the first microphone. Below, you will see another mic together with the micro USB port and speaker grills. On the left, there are 3 slots for your two nano SIM cards and one microSD card.

The usual power button and volume keys are located at the right side of the device.

This is also the only phone with over 6-inch screen that I type even with one hand. It even has pretty good grip. It also feels good to hold. The back is just a bit prone to fingerprint smudges and hairline scratches.

Display Quality

Big screen
Big screen

Like what we mentioned earlier, Y6 Pro 2019 sports a 6.09-inch screen to let you view things on a bigger screen. It also has a tall 19:9 screen aspect ratio with HD+ 1520 x 720 resolution at 276 ppi.

Big bright screen!

Obviously, it isn't as sharp as 1080p panels. But for the price, a phone with 720p resolution is acceptable.

Besides, it has good color reproduction with pretty punchy colors. It is a a balanced looking IPS display. It even has decent contrast and blacks.

Just do not expect have better contrast and saturation versus AMOLED screens.

Viewing angles are also good since it is an IPS panel. Brightness is also quite strong. It can provide decent sunlight legibility. In comparison, its max brightness is way brighter than the OPPO A3s.

It also has an option where you can adjust the color temperature to warm or cold. Like other Huawei phones, it has an eye comfort mode to lessen the blue light when you are using the screen in the dark.

This screen of this phone also has 10 points of touch in total.

Audio Quality

Huawei Y6 Pro 2019 has a single speaker at the bottom of the phone and it is not an ordinary speaker. It is probably the fullest and loudest sounding speaker I've tested at this price point. It highlights the SuperSound by Huawei  also known as the Histen 5.0 tech.

Best overall audio quality for the price!

Its output is even louder than some flagship phones. It isn't just as refined.

It is full sounding, but there's a bit of grain and distortion on max loudness. But, the important thing is it has great mids and clear vocals.

Y6 Pro 2019's speaker is arguably the best at this price point.


It even has the Party Mode where you can sync music playback across phones on the same WiFi network. It is designed to provide surround sound effect.

For wired headphones, the output that came out of this handset is incredible. It made both my Baseus Encok H07 and KZ ZSN shine! It delivered clean sounding lows, mids, and highs. The output it delivered is a bit V-shaped with emphasis to lows (strong bass response) and mids. But, surprisingly mids are still clean.

It added a bit of soundstage too. 50 percent of loudness is more than enough to drive most IEMs. It can go really loud as well.

The auto EQ by Huawei Histen is the only auto EQ that I can trust. Yes, it is even better than Dolby Atmos to my ears. Swear!

Huawei Y6 Pro 2019 also works pretty well with my LDAC ready 1MORE Triple Driver BT In-Ear Headphones E1001BT.

But by the way, it has a built-in FM Radio antenna. No need to plug your headphones to listen to radio.

This phone also have two microphones. There's one on top and there's one below. Voice for calls are alright. The earpspeaker is quite loud. Recordings are also slightly above average.

Battery

Battery usage
Battery usage

Last year, Huawei showed that they can make a phone with strong battery life even if the battery capacity is a bit small. This year, we got an even better battery experience with the Huawei Y6 Pro 2019.

Stellar for a phone with small battery capacity!

Y6 Pro 2019 only has 3,020mAh of battery. It is small for a phone with big over 6-inch display.

BUT, actual battery usage is AMAZING! It clocked 5 hours and 54 minutes of screen on time. Our actual battery usage is from 11AM to 12 midnight.

100 to 50 percent - The display is always on at 50 percent brightness with 4G LTE + WiFi hotspot mode.

50 to 2 percent - The display is always on with WiFi on and YouTube playing at 50 percent loudness.

Basically, its actual battery performance can compete with 4,000mAh phones. No joke!

Charging time is a bit slow though. It doesn't have support for fast charging. Charging time is around 3 hours and 15 minutes.

Camera

13MP f/1.8 PDAF camera
13MP f/1.8 PDAF camera

Coming from the Y6 2018, Y6 Pro still has a 13MP camera. But, it now has an upgraded f/1.8 aperture versus the f/2.2 last year. It could make this phone a better low light shooter as it has a wider opening to let light in.


Aside from the usual Beauty, Panorama, and HDR mode, Huawei has added one useful feature in its camera app, the Pro mode. However, Huawei removed the built-in filters.
Pro mode
Pro mode

In the Pro mode, you can adjust the ISO (100 to 3200), S (1/4000 to 8s), EV (-4 to +4), AF (AF-S, AFC, MF), and AWB (presets and 2000K to 8000K).

Since it has PDAF, autofocus speed is quite impressive for a budget smartphone. The tap to focus function works up approximately 2.5 inches near the subject in a well lit scenario. Photo shooting and saving time is less than a second.

Impressive cameras for the price!

The camera quality impressive for the price. It shoots images with plenty of details in daylight. Colors are have decent amount of punch. It can still be considered as close to natural and not oversaturated. Its HDR can really bring a lot of details in some against the light shots.

Indoor shots in well-lit scenes are great as well with crisp details and less noise. Dynamic range won't suffer as well. In dim scenes, quality of shots will degrade, but it will still be usable.

It has no portrait mode by default for bokeh shots. The background blur can only be achieved in close-up shots.

It will have less colors and more grain than shots with better lighting conditions, and that's just normal.

In low light, images will suffer from softness. It will have less colors and more grain than shots with better lighting conditions, and that's just normal. For the price, this is still a decent low light shooter. The f/1.8 aperture size helped a little.


Try to use the Pro mode with tripod or use the flash for low light shots.

It has one of the better back cameras at this price point.

Rear Camera Samples

Daylight 1
Daylight 1
HDR
HDR
 Close-up
Close-up
Moving subject
Moving subject
Well-lit indoor close-up
Well-lit indoor close-up
Close-up dim
Close-up dim
Low light 1
Low light 1
Low light 2
Low light 2
Low light 3
Low light 3
Pro mode (ISO 100, 1s)
Pro mode (ISO 100, 1s)
Pro mode EV -4 (ISO 100, 1s)
Pro mode EV -4 (ISO 100, 1s)

This phone has an 8MP f/2.0 front facing camera. It has the usual face beauty mode. It has no portrait mode though. 
Selfie camera UI
Selfie camera UI

But, it has a tap to focus feature and pretty fast shooting and saving speed. Overall picture quality is quite great as well. Daylight shots are mostly sharp with natural looking colors. The face beauty mode could make selfies look a bit too beautified though.

In low light, shots will have grain and loss of detail. Fortunately, it has the screen flash and the hidden dedicated softlight LED flash. Use that for your selfies in low light.

It is dubbed as the Selfie Toning Flash 2.0.

Selfie Camera Samples

Daylight selfie
Daylight selfie
Indoor selfie 1
Indoor selfie 2
Indoor selfie 2
Indoor selfie 3
Indoor selfie 3
Low light selfie
Low light selfie with flash
Low light selfie with flash

For videos, Y6 Pro 2019 can shoot up to 1080p at the back and in front. The back camera has fast autofocus and can take shots with plenty of details and decent colors for the price. Dynamic range is a bit lacking as well. Do not expect it do perform well in low light. Since it has no OIS or even EIS, stabilization needs improvement as well,

For selfie videos, I like the performance a bit better. It is a decent daylight video shooter with crop. Stabilization has less shake than the main camera video.

Both back and front videos are in 3GP format.

Video Samples


Performance

AnTuTu and Geekbench scores
AnTuTu and Geekbench scores

Huawei Y6 Pro 2019 runs with the 12nm 2.0GHz 64-bit MT6761 quad-core processor with PowerVR GE8300. The phone is also coupled with 3GB RAM and 32GB of expandable storage.
PCMark and GFXBench results
PCMark and GFXBench results

It is fast enough for opening social media apps like Facebook and Instagram. But, we noticed few slowdowns when navigating through its UI. It is a nitpick for the price though.


Compared with the OPPO A3s and J4+, Y6 Pro 2019 has bigger 3GB RAM for better multitasking. It also has the bigger 32GB storage to let you store more files.

Huawei also added the EROFS technology that is designed to optimize the ROM.

Gaming experience is also just fine. The performance of its chip is near the level of Snapdragon 450. It can run NBA 2K19 at medium settings, PUBG Mobile at low settings, and Mobile Legends: Bang Bang at high settings.

Thermal management is also quite good. By default, temperature is at 30 degrees. While on games with 4G LTE or WiFi hotspot mode, the max temperature we recorded is 38 degrees.

The UI

EMUI 9.0 skin
EMUI 9.0 skin

Another highlight of this phone is its OS. It is one of the most affordable that runs with Android 9.0 OS out of the box. It is even paired with the best skin of Huawei yet, the EMUI 9.0 skin.
Phone Manager and Digital Balance

EMUI 9.0 has a cleaner look than its predecessor, EMUI 8.0. It has more updated icons and it is more integrated to Google than ever. We just noticed that it is a toned-down version of EMUI 9.0 versus the EMUI 9.0 found on the Mate 20 Pro.

It comes with few bloats, but most of them are uninstallable to free space.

It doesn't have the dark mode settings and the smart screen resolution mode. Since the screen is IPS, it doesn't have the always on display feature as well. 

But it still has home screen style display option where you can select the app drawer or default (no app drawer) mode. It also has the easy to use iPhone-like gestures with no Android keys.

I also like that it still has the Phone Manager to help you manually optimize the performance of your phone.

Huawei also added the Digital Balance feature in the settings that records your usage time of every app on your phone to help you track your app usage behavior.

It also has the customizable Huawei designed themes. 

Other features

Like other Huawei devices, the Y6 Pro has solid connectivity options. GSM signal is stable, WiFi signal is strong, GPS just works, and it has the 700MHz 4G LTE connectivity. Its 4G LTE connectivity is stronger than most budget phones at this price point.

Sadly, it doesn't have a fingerprint scanner. But, it has a face unlock mode. The face unlock mode is fast and it works even in low light. It also has the usual 6-digit pin to further protect your phone.

It doesn't come with a gyroscope for VR and AR apps.

Pros - Dewdrop notch design, big screen, capable performance, bigger RAM and ROM than popular competing phones, STRONG battery performance, loud and clear audio, built-in FM Radio antenna, Android Pie out of the box, low price tag

Cons - No fingerprint scanner, no portrait mode, no gyroscope, slow charging time

Huawei Y6 Pro 2019 Specs

Display: 6.09-inch 2.5D curved IPS screen w/ HD+ 1520 x 720 resolution at 276 ppi
CPU: 2.0GHz 64-bit Helio A22 quad-core processor
GPU: PowerVR GE8300
RAM: 3GB
ROM: 32GB expandable via microSD card slot up to 512GB (dedicated)
Back Camera: 13MP f/1.8 w/ PDAF and LED flash
Selfie Camera: 8MP f/2.0 w/ selfie toning flash
Battery: 3,020mAh
OS: Android 9.0 Pie w/ EMUI 9.0
Connectivity: WiFi, 700MHz 4G LTE, Bluetooth, FM Radio, GPS, GLONASS, dual SIM (nano)
Sensors: Accelerometer, light, proximity, sound
Others: Face unlock, loudspeaker, Colors: midnight black, sapphire blue
Dimensions: 156.28 x 73.5 x 8 mm
Weight: 150 g
Price: PHP 6,990

Verdict

Huawei Y6 Pro 2019 is a clear step-up coming from its predecessor, the Huawei Y6 2018. Moreover, it can give a lot of similarly priced competing phones a run for their money.

At PHP 6,990 it is one of the most affordable with a great looking dewdrop notch and a near full screen design. It also has capable performance, powerful audio, stellar battery life, good cameras, and Android Pie OS right off the bat.

It should be a great start-up Android smartphones for budget-conscious consumers.

Build/Design - 4.25
Display - 4.25
Audio - 4.5
Battery - 4.5
Camera - 4
Performance - 4.5
Average - 4.33/5
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