Huawei tried to pass off DSLR photo as smartphone selfie in new ad

Reddit users were not impressed.

Abrar Al-Heeti Technology Reporter
Abrar Al-Heeti is a technology reporter for CNET, with an interest in phones, streaming, internet trends, entertainment, pop culture and digital accessibility. She's also worked for CNET's video, culture and news teams. She graduated with bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Though Illinois is home, she now loves San Francisco -- steep inclines and all.
Expertise Abrar has spent her career at CNET analyzing tech trends while also writing news, reviews and commentaries across mobile, streaming and online culture. Credentials
  • Named a Tech Media Trailblazer by the Consumer Technology Association in 2019, a winner of SPJ NorCal's Excellence in Journalism Awards in 2022 and has three times been a finalist in the LA Press Club's National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards.
Abrar Al-Heeti
Huawei ad

Don't believe everything you see.

Screenshot by Abrar Al-Heeti

If the selfie in Huawei's latest Nova 3i ad looks too good to be true, that's because it is. 

In the commercial, we see several shots presumably taken by the phone's front-facing camera, including one where a woman is putting on makeup and a man holds out the phone to take a selfie. 

But a behind-the-scenes photo posted by Sarah Elshamy, an actress in the ad by Huawei Mobile Egypt, reveals a DSLR actually took the photo. Reddit user AbdullahSab3 pointed this out in a post on Monday. The actress has since deleted the picture.

Huawei ad

Here's the behind-the-scenes shot, which reveals the selfie was actually taken by a DSLR.

AbdullahSab3 via Reddit

Huawei told CNET that a disclaimer at the end of the video outlines the images and content shown "are for reference only." 

The Arabic text translates to: "Product characteristics and actual specifications may vary (including but not limited to appearance, color, size), as well as actual presentation contents (including but not limited to backgrounds, user interface, and controls)."  

This isn't the first time Huawei has passed off a DSLR shot for a phone picture. Android Police points out that in 2016, the company used a $4,500 Canon EOS 5D Mark III camera to take photos allegedly shot by a P9