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How AI drives Huawei Nova 5T

The new Huawei Nova 5T smartphone uses various AI techniques to capture photos that are claimed to produce better photos than SLR cameras, in some conditions.

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The Huawei Nova 5T incorporates a quad-camera array on the rear, comprising a 48MP HD lens, 16MP wide-angle lens, 2MP macro lens, 2MP bokeh lens and 32 MP selfie Superstar lens, with AI technology and advanced beautification algorithms. This means that, among other, it balances exposure under all lighting conditions and in scenarios ranging from vast landscapes to close-ups.

Early adaptations of beautification algorithm technology resulted in every image being treated with the same adjustments, often resulting in the image appearing obviously fake, or applying an extremely pale skin tone to the subject. The current AI beautification algorithms on the Huawei Nova 5T, however, contour a specific face shape based on individual features. By operating with the Kirin 980 chipset’s dual NPUs, the AI system is able to tailor the beautification influence on the image, avoiding a caked-on appearance and accentuating the user’s characteristics.

Another drawback of many smartphone cameras is that the contrast between the brightest and darkest areas can prove difficult for even a professional SLR camera to capture effectively. However, with the 5T, multi-frame synthesis is deployed for backlit scenes that snaps a number of images in one shot.  The system then merges the best parts of each shot to form one final photo, in which the dynamic range is effectively widened, and image contrast, sharpness, and quality are substantially enhanced. This ensures images with ultra-clarity definition and enhanced sharpness and detail, down to the finest of hair strands.

The embedded technology combines AI-fuelled image semantic segmentation and partition optimisation technology via the lenses. The handset’s AI-powered cameras also lay the groundwork for optimal video shooting effectiveness, with settings such as AI Image Stabilisation (AIS), Auto Exposure Lock (AEL), and Auto Focus Lock (AFL) technologies working together. It comes equipped with an automatic video editing feature that is suitable for novices and brings simplicity to the video editing process. The camera has the ability to recognise recurring subjects in videos, thus saving the user the hassle of sorting through clips, by creating edited subject-based videos.

AI also assists in applying auto-beautification for the subjects in video clips. Developing this technology required substantial trial and error, including testing on approximately 60,000 models before the beautification effects were fine-tuned. Over the course of this process, Huawei developers took into account factors such as brightness contrast, inactive blur, saturation, as well as advanced photography composition principles.

The Huawei Nova 5T’s Kirin 980 chipset is equipped with dual NPU computing, resulting in the ability to cipher advanced algorithms. This AI-powered colour results in the camera capturing and keeping the colour of a subject in a video, while applying a greyscale background to the image, and thus giving it the appearance of leaping off the screen.

This smartphone comes pre-installed with all Google apps and Google Play Store.

The Huawei Nova 5T comes in two colour schemes – Crush Blue and Midsummer Purple. The smartphone is available on contract from the following service providers:

  • Vodacom – R599 Smart XS+ Plan
  • MTN – R599 MFMXS Plan
  • Telkom – R599 FREEME 1GB Plan
  • CELL C – R619 Pinnacle 2G Plan

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Huawei P40 Pro gets best camera score

Independent camera benchmarking company DxOMark has given the Huawei P40 Pro its highest rating yet. Read about what makes it better than the competition.

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The Huawei P40 Pro is the manufacturer’s latest high-end smartphone. It features the Kirin 990 5G chipset, a 6.58-inch Full-HD+ OLED display with rounded edges, and dual front camera. Huawei tends to use the P-series models to showcase the company’s latest mobile camera technologies, and its P-series flagship device for 2020 is no different. 

DxOMark provided the following summary of the camera’s latest features and what they mean for the device’s performance: 

Main camera 

The primary camera comes with a very large 1/1.28″ 50MP Quad-Bayer sensor that produces 12MP image output. As with other devices with similar sensors, it uses pixel binning to increase dynamic range and low-light capabilities. The lens features an f/1.9 aperture and nominal 23mm-equivalent focal length, however, Huawei crops the field of view to a more conventional 27mm. This decision was presumably made in order to design a thinner camera unit, but it should also help with reducing such artifacts as corner softness and distortion. Optical image stabilization, which can be challenging to implement on such large image sensors, is on board as well. 

Ultra-wide camera 

Like with the Mate 30 Pro, Huawei implements a large and high-resolution image sensor (40MP 1/1.54″) in its ultra-wide camera, which combined with a fast f/1.8 lens, should make for excellent low-light image quality. The downside of such a large sensor in the ultra-wide is lens design. It’s a challenge to design a lens that provides a very wide angle of view and still fits into the thin body of a high-end smartphone. Therefore, Huawei settled on a compromise at 18mm, which is noticeably wider than the main camera, but not as wide as that of some competitors, such as the latest Samsung devices and iPhones, which offer 12mm and 13mm lenses, respectively. 

Tele-camera 

The P40 Pro’s tele-camera comes with similar technology to last year’s P30 Pro. The module is optically stabilized and uses folded optics to achieve a 5x optical zoom factor (125mm equivalent). 

“Field-of-view fusion” zoom 

The P40 Pro doesn’t rely just on hardware alone for zooming, however. Like the P30 Pro, the P40 Pro uses software systems which Huawei calls field-of-view fusion and AI RAW, a combination of optical and algorithm-powered digital zooming that adapts to the chosen magnification factor. Only the primary camera is used for up to 2x magnification; the tele-camera takes over from 5x and longer. For intermediate zoom factors, the P40 Pro uses a fusion algorithm that combines image data from both cameras, merging several RAW frames from the main and tele cameras into one high-resolution frame, which is then cropped for zooming. 

For optimal detail, the 5x tele-cam records image data at the centre of the frame; it uses AI-refined image data from the primary camera to fill in the “missing” image areas around the edges. A deep learning algorithm improves detail on fine patterns and textures—quite an impressive feat, considering that autofocus, white balance, and other image parameters of both cameras all have to be in perfect sync for good results. 

At the long end, the camera is capable of achieving a 50x zoom factor using a combination of optical zoom and super-resolution processing that stacks multiple RAW frames from the tele-cam. 

Improved bokeh mode with AI RAW and super-resolution 

While the P30 Pro used AI RAW only for zooming, the P40 Pro now applies the technology to most camera modes, including bokeh. This means that as with zoom shots, bokeh images from the new model offer a wider dynamic range. The camera uses the 50MP high-resolution sensor and an AI RAW-powered super-resolution algorithm to generate an image with a 54mm-equivalent focal length and very good detail rendering. Data captured by a time-of-flight (ToF) laser measures the distance to objects in the scene, and is then used to confirm and fine-tune the initial depth-map that the primary and super-wide cameras generate. 

Improved white balance and colour rendering with multispectral sensor 

The P40 Pro also comes with a new white balance system that uses a semantics-based neural network and data-driven methods for more accurate white balance. The system also gets help from a multispectral sensor that can measure specific colours more accurately than the image sensor. 

Autofocus with dual phase detection on all sub-pixels 

The new autofocus system comes with dual phase detection on all sub-pixels and can use all pixels for autofocusing. In low light, the system also makes use of subject distance information that the ToF laser sensor captures. 

Key camera specifications: 

  • Quad camera setup, including ToF sensor 
  • Primary: 50MP 1/1.28″ sensor (12MP output), 23mm-equivalent (1x defined as 27mm) f/1.9-aperture lens, full-pixel Octa-PD, OIS 
  • Ultra-wide: 40MP 1/1.54″ sensor, 18mm-equivalent f/1.8-aperture lens, PDAF 
  • Tele: 12MP 1/3.56″ sensor, 125mm-equivalent f/3.4-aperture lens, PDAF, OIS 
  • ToF 3D depth-sensing camera (78-degree FOV) 
  • LED flash 
  • 4K video, 2160p/60fps (2160p/30fps tested); default is wide-angle camera 1080P/30fps 
  • Multispectral colour temperature sensor 

Please note: The Huawei P40 Pro was tested with European firmware which by default has AI set to off. In other regions the feature is activated by default. The camera firmware used for the DxOMark tests is not yet currently available to consumers. Huawei will make it available as an update in the near future.  

To read the full camera test, visit DxOMark’s website

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Huawei unveils Watch GT 2e

Huawei has unveiled a new addition to the Watch GT 2 lineup, called the Watch GT 2e. It features 100 workout modes, ranging from traditional sports to new forms of exercise.

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The Huawei Watch GT 2e forms part of the Watch GT 2 line, which has already delivered an impressive wearable with a 2-week battery life. Huawei has introduced a blood oxygen saturation (SpO2) monitoring feature. This goes along with precise heart rate monitoring, abnormal heart rate notifications, and sleep monitoring features, which allow users to understand their health status. 

The smartwatch comes in two new colour variants: Mint Green and Lava Red. It is equipped with a 1.39-inch AMOLED high precision touch display, supporting a Retina-grade resolution. With this vibrant display, users can view information even if they are outside in bright sunlight. 

“Like the previous Huawei Watch GT products, the Huawei Watch GT 2e will continue to bring reliable fitness and health management experiences to consumers,” says Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei Consumer Business.  

“Huawei places huge importance on fitness and health functions. Since we are upgrading the All-scenario Seamless AI Life strategy in 2020, fitness and health will become an essential user scenario. As technology products are more interconnected with consumers’ lives, Huawei will continue to drive technology advancement, improve software and hardware ecosystems, and innovate in wearables to bring smarter fitness and health management experiences driven by technology.” 

The watch comes in four colours of Graphite Black, Lava Red, Mint Green and Icy White, with the strap made of a soft and comfortable fluororubber. The dual-colour, breathable TPU material completes a unibody design.    

It supports 15 professional workout modes including eight outdoor activities (running, walking, mountain climbing, hiking, trail running, cycling, open water swimming, triathlon) and seven indoor activities (walking, running, cycling, pool swimming, free training, elliptical machine, rower).  

In professional workout modes, it provides comprehensive monitoring that can track 190 types of data – to help the users to get the most out of their workout. The smartwatch can also automatically detect 6 professional workout modes, offering a smarter sporting experience.  

The GT 2e also supports 85 customised workout modes that cover six categories of sports: extreme, leisure, fitness, aquatics, ball games and winter sports. The activities range from street dance to parkour, rock climbing to yoga, and ballet to boxing.  

It has a large internal storage that can store around 500 mp3 songs. With Huawei Music and Bluetooth headphones, users can enjoy their custom exercise playlist during their training.  

Beginning from April, Huawei Watch GT 2e will be available in Huawei Vmall and Huawei Authorised Retailers, for a recommended price of R3864 and Huawei Watch GT 2 42mm will be available for a recommended price of R4424 (Frosty White) and R4810 (Chestnut Red). 

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