Huawei and its sister brand Honor have new Android handset ranges lined up. This means they have full confidence that the ban on US supplies of smartphone technology to Huawei, announced by US president Donald Trump in May, has fallen away completely. Both Android owner Google and Huawei appear to be operating on the assumption that it is now business as usual.
That’s especially good news for Honor, which has only recently started targeting the South African market with its low-cost, high-end design and technology.
The Honor 10 Lite, launched here in April, offers a premium-looking device at a mid-range price. For less than R4,600, it includes one of the most advanced front cameras – what manufacturers like to call the selfie camera – on the market. It packs in no less than 24 Megapixels – more than most rear cameras – and uses artificial intelligence to recognise what is in a scene and optimise the image based on its content.
That is aside from a rear 13MP f/1.8 lens with phase detection autofocus and 2MP depth sensor, and a large 6.21-inch dewdrop display with 2340×1080 resolution. Huawei and Honor pioneered dewdrop display technology.
It does offer lower storage and memory capacity than equivalent Huawei phones but, at a quarter of the price, that’s to be expected. The strategy behind the range is to offer both Huawei’s cutting-edge technology and youth-inspired design to a more budget-conscious segment of the market.
“Honor is a brand aiming to meet the needs of the young generation,” says Raymond Liu, managing director of Honor South Africa. “Honor is also a young organisation, which makes it easier to connect with the youth. By prioritising the opinions of users and taking them into consideration when creating new products, users are offered a personalised experience at a great value.”
The handsets come in gradient colours, which seem to shift shades as they are held up to the light at different angles.
“Honor is always providing trendy collections to its users, by embedding aesthetics into its design principles, bringing more elegance and joy to their daily life,” says Liu.
He does not confirm that Google and Huawei have both moved beyond the ban, but points out that the US announcement allows American companies to sell to Huawei.
“It is very positive and we look forward to the developments as they unfold in due course,” he says. “As a company, we have made substantial contributions to the development and growth of Android around the world. As one of Android’s key global partners, we have worked closely with their open-source platform to develop an ecosystem that has benefited both users and the industry.
“We will continue to build a safe and sustainable software ecosystem, in order to provide the best experience for all users globally. Our devices will continue running on Google’s Android OS, while users can continue using Google services, such as Google Play and Gmail, along with required updates.”
Liu says the brand is on track to claiming the number 4 spot in the smartphone segments in which it operates in South Africa, namely the mid-range phone market. The US ban briefly derailed its plans, but Honor has resumed its course.
“Although the tough external environment brought us some challenges, we managed business continuity, and we will bring more products to the market soon, including high-end and budget-friendly phones.”
The Honor 10 is available from all Vodacom Stores, Cell C and The Foschini Group, starting from R249 per month on contract. The brand has also launched the Honor 8X, Honor 8S and Honor 8A here. Now, it is gearing up for the Honor 9X series, due to land in South Africa in October – loaded with the latest version of the Android operating system.
Meanwhile, the Honor 20 Pro, which camera benchmarking firm DxOMark has rated as the second best phone camera phone on market after the Huawei P30 Pro, has been launched in China, at half the price of big brand phones with lesser camera specs. In its first two weeks on the market, it sold a million units.
“We have some gorgeous products coming,” says Liu. “It will be worth the wait.”
- Arthur Goldstuck is founder of World Wide Worx and editor-in-chief of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram on @art2gee
Gadget is giving away an Honor 10 Lite handset in Sky Blue gradient shade. To stand a chance of winning the device, follow us on Twitter on @GadgetZA, and answer a simple question about Honor in a “Retweet with comment”/Quote Tweet.
New Year, New Safety: Win a Nokia with Namola Plus
In 2020, South Africans can stay connected to emergency services with Namola Plus. Gadget is giving away two Nokia 5.1 smartphones with a Namola Plus subscription.
Whether your home gets broken into or you get involved in a car accident, life happens. Now the Namola app is here to keep South Africans safer and connected to emergency services when they need it.
The fastest way to request emergency assistance is via the Namola app. It uses a phone’s GPS location to notify the closest responders about who and where the user is. It also uses a combination of local law enforcement and community safety initiatives, so they can come to the user’s aid as fast as possible.
Namola is free but it does offer a paid subscription called Namola Plus. If offers armed response and private emergency medical services (EMS), even when you don’t subscribe to these services outside of Namola. This means Namola can send armed response if you need it, faster than other response services. The private EMS is also available to Namola Plus users, even if they’re not on medical aid. Namola Plus costs R49 per month.
Here are some tips on how to stay safe this year:
- Tag along the perfect wingman – (Virtually) bring your loved ones along when you drive, ensuring they are with you every step of the way via the Namola Family Safety and Tracking features that allow you to share your location or, with permission, track your nearest while they’re on the move.
- Know what’s out there – rather look at the roads you intend to travel with Google Maps before you take them. This helps you to avoid nasty traffic surprises, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the areas. One can use the Nokia 5.1’s Google Assistant function that provides you with your own personal assistant without having to say OK Google. This makes it convenient to ask “what’s the traffic like to work?” or “how long will it take to get to a petrol station?” without having to tap the screen.
- Don’t hesitate if you feel unsafe – Namola is available to help keep you safe. That’s why you should always request help, even if you’re not 100% sure you need it yet. Namola can also be requested for other people, so if you see someone in danger, open the Namola app to request help. It could save that person’s life.
To stand a chance to win one of two Nokia 5.1 phones, and a 6-month subscription to Namola Plus to the value of R3,099, sign up for Gadget’s Newsletter here, and follow this link to the competition that will be supplied in the newsletter every day this week. For more information on the terms of the competition, read here.
Charged Power keeps gadgets going (and you can win a set)
From torches to smart devices, Charged Power is keeping gadgets powered this holiday season, even when the plugs are off. Three sets of their products are up for grabs.
From wet coal to power station sabotage at Eskom, South Africa’s power utility has been turning the consumer’s lights off at odd times. It’s especially inconvenient when torch batteries and power banks are going flat. Enter Charged Power. The combo between its high-capacity power banks and USB rechargeable AA and AAA batteries make it very convenient to keep the lights on even when the lights are out.
The powerbanks are branded CHJGD, with two ranges, namely high capacity units called Premium Magnum Opus, and the lighter Ultra Compact units, all in a small form-factor. The power banks range from 21000mAh with Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 support – meaning fast charging of compatible smartphones – to 5000mAh power banks that can charge most phones a couple of times.
CHJGD Premium Magnum Opus includes two types of high-performance powerbanks, one with 21000mAh capacity and the other with 10000mAh. Both support Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0, which allows smartphones using the Qualcomm Quick Charge chip to be charged up to 80% in 35 minutes, compared to regular chargers getting to 20% in that time. The powerbanks feature LCD screens that show how much battery they have left as a percentage, and LED lights that act as torches. Dual USB ports allow two devices to be charged at the same time, and the units include overheating protection.
The CHJGD Ultra Compact range come in a much smaller form factor that’s much lighter. They come in 10000mAh and 5000mAh variants, and feature cool designs like airplane boarding passes, traditional South African patterns, and Ferrari imagery. They also feature fast charging at 2.1A, and a four-LED battery indicator. USB cables are included for micro USB devices, as well as an adapter for newer iPhone and iPad devices. They also feature short-circuit and high temperature protection.
For battery powered devices, Charged Power offers the Infinite Power range of AA and AAA USB-rechargeable batteries. These can be used in torches, toys, and remote controls, among many other gadgets. They make use of Micro-USB ports directly on the batteries to recharge, meaning no proprietary chargers are needed for these batteries. They can be recharged up to 500 times, making them some of the most affordable batteries in the long run.
They come in AA and AAA variants, which are 1000 mAh and 450 mAh respectively per battery. The batteries also feature a soft button, which indicate charge level. From flat, they take around 5,5 hours to charge. They last depending on the device in which they are used. Remotes may last for months, while toys that draw a lot of power may last a few days.
The best part is the batteries can be used with the power banks, meaning if there’s no power for a while, torch batteries can remain charged.
To bring the power to the people, Charged Power has provided Gadget with 3 bundles of power banks and USB-rechargeable batteries. The bundles include Infinite Power batteries, one AA and one AAA set, and a 10000mAh power bank from the Premium Magnum Opus range or Ultra Compact range.
To stand a chance of winning this set, follow us on Twitter on @GadgetZA, follow Charged Power on @ChargedPower, and answer a simple question about the names of the power banks and USB-rechargeable batteries.