Several times a year, one of the members of the editorial staff embarks on a unique experience linked to the themes covered on the Presse-citron site. This “Experience” content is totally subjective since a member of the team takes off his journalist cap to share a user opinion.
The beginnings of experience
This is not my first experience of great change. For example, I abandoned the Playstation universe for that of Xbox after 10 years of loyalty.
I didn’t want to replace my Apple products on a whim. For more than ten years, I have regularly tested Huawei products. And if today the brand is experiencing dark times, it was close to becoming the world number one.
Throughout the year, I continue to test Huawei products: PCs, tablets, smartphones, watches, headphones, you name it. And if I am sometimes disappointed, I remain most of the time impressed by the know-how of this brand.
Despite US restrictions preventing it from integrating Google services into its smartphones and tablets, Huawei still produces excellent products. The manufacturers have also diversified by offering monitors, for example, the goal being to offer a complete ecosystem where each product communicates with the other.
Since the Huawei ecosystem is now complete, I decided to replace my Apple ecosystem with the Chinese one.
To carry out this experiment, I therefore replaced each daily tech object stamped Apple, by its equivalent at Huawei. Here is the list of replacements made:
- Huawei P50 Pro (P50 Pocket for 1 month) instead of iPhone 13 Pro
Huawei P50 Pro at the best price Base price: €1,199
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Huawei Freebuds Pro at the best price Base price: €199
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- Huawei Watch 3 instead of the Apple Watch Series 7
Huawei Watch GT3 at the best price Base price: €219
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Huawei MatePad 11 6/64 GB at the best price Base price: €399
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- A 28.2” Huawei MateView monitor (no Apple monitor before)
Huawei Mateview 28.2″ 4K+ at the best price Base price: €599
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When I write “replace” it is not the exact truth. For obvious reasons of professional habits, I have always kept my usual backup devices. Apple products were therefore never far away, in case I found myself stuck for certain tasks in my daily work.
What I liked least
Frankly, I expected a much more complicated experience than the one I had. There are actually two products that I haven’t completely used on a daily basis: the smartphone and the tablet.
Not that these two devices are bad, quite the contrary. Technically very good, these are the only two devices in my experience which, in the past, included Google services. In their absence, I therefore had to make do with HarmonyOS, Huawei services, the famous App Gallery and all the manufacturer’s in-house apps.
I often had to face blocking situations in my daily tasks.
If the smartphone and the tablet communicated perfectly with each other, I often had to face blocking situations in my daily tasks. Sometimes an app was missing, sometimes it was unavailable, sometimes syncing with Google services didn’t work. However, for years now I have been using the tools of the American.
For example, I had to redouble my inventiveness to gain access to my Gmail account, the one where I repatriate all my e-mails, personal and professional. In these situations I therefore had to get my hands on my Apple devices.
Updates must be done manually
The smartphone is probably the least easy Huawei device to understand for an untrained user. Although Huawei has simplified the search for applications with Petal Search (searches for apps in the App Gallery but also a slew of alternative stores as well as Apk files on the web), we are far from a smooth experience.
Moreover, even if most applications are found using this method, some do not work because they are American and/or dependent on Google services. In the best case, updates have to be done manually. We must therefore for each of them perform the manipulation, which, when using about fifty applications regularly, proves very quickly time-consuming.
For the tablet experience, we can still get by, in particular by using the web versions of certain services. But on a smartphone, the experience is absolutely not ergonomic. Anyway, the software experience on tablet and smartphone, if it improves over time, is still far from doing the trick.
What I loved
Products of course. If Huawei almost became number 1 in smartphones, it was not by chance. The Chinese giant has been able to refine its recipe over the years, until it tickles Apple and Samsung, leaders until now undisputed.
Technically, the P50 Pro is probably the best smartphone I have ever tested This year. From its particularly elegant design to its magnificent screen and record battery life, it has it all. Above all, its camera developed with Leica is still one of the best on the market, if not the best.
This know-how, Huawei has distilled it on the other product categories: the Freebuds Pro are among the best wireless headphones with market ANC. They easily hold a candle to Apple’s AirPods Pro.
Its PCs are also of excellent quality. If I’m a MacBook regular, I didn’t shy away from my pleasure in using the Matebook, especially since Windows 11 (Huawei obtained a derogation to continue to deliver its PCs with Microsoft’s OS) has gained in simplicity and ergonomics.
Apart from Apple and Samsung, no other brand can boast of having such an interconnection between all its devices.
I appreciated all the more that Huawei provided me with an MateView monitor in 3:2 aspect ratio on which I was able to connect my Matebook. Like most of the brand’s products, the MateView has those little extras that make all the difference.
I am thinking for example of the touch bar under the screen which allows you to configure the display. I am also thinking of the Huawei Share function placed on the base of the monitor and which allows content to be shared in a flash from a smartphone of the brand.
Even the connected watch has proven to be very comfortable on a daily basis. Apart from payment, I have not encountered any obstacles in my daily use. I haven’t missed my Apple Watch much except during my workouts on Apple Fitness+. Logic.
At last, I will highlight the care taken by Huawei in its ecosystem. Today, apart from Apple and (recently) Samsung, no other brand can boast of having such an interconnection between all its devices.
Assessment and opinion after 3 months
After three months of experience, my assessment is rather mixed. If I was seduced by the quality of Huawei products, the software limitations on the smartphone and the tablet caused me too many worries on a daily basis. Enough for me to have to use my iPhone and iPad occasionally.
On the other hand, the PC, the headphones, the watch and the monitor thrilled me. And if using Windows on a daily basis didn’t limit my tasks so much (I use too many specific software on Macs), I could easily replace my MacBook Pro with a Matebook.
The Huawei ecosystem is arguably one of the brand’s greatest strengths. Too bad we can’t fully exploit it, the fault of American restrictions and therefore the impossibility of using Google services on smartphones and tablets.
For the time being, I would therefore not permanently replace all my equipment with that of Huawei. But if the Chinese continues to invest in the development of its services and in its App Gallery, then why not consider it one day? I’m not closed to the idea, but it will take time for the brand to really establish itself as an alternative to Apple and Samsung.
In the meantime, I’m going back to my Pommé universe. Before trying another experiment…