Phones and watches from Nexus 6P-maker Huawei are starting to get good

Huawei's tech gadgets are beginning to walk the walk, which is great news for buyers.

Jessica Dolcourt Senior Director, Commerce & Content Operations
Jessica Dolcourt is a passionate content strategist and veteran leader of CNET coverage. As Senior Director of Commerce & Content Operations, she leads a number of teams, including Commerce, How-To and Performance Optimization. Her CNET career began in 2006, testing desktop and mobile software for Download.com and CNET, including the first iPhone and Android apps and operating systems. She continued to review, report on and write a wide range of commentary and analysis on all things phones, with an emphasis on iPhone and Samsung. Jessica was one of the first people in the world to test, review and report on foldable phones and 5G wireless speeds. Jessica began leading CNET's How-To section for tips and FAQs in 2019, guiding coverage of topics ranging from personal finance to phones and home. She holds an MA with Distinction from the University of Warwick (UK).
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Jessica Dolcourt
2 min read
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Phones and smartwatches may be getting more alike these days, but for Google Nexus 6P-maker Huawei, the fact that its products are getting good is the best news of all.

It means that for the first time in the six years I've been covering the company, Huawei stands a real chance. To do what? To make money, certainly. To improve its global reputation, crucially.


Click for more of Jessica's travel stories around Asia.

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A number of years ago, I said that if Huawei wanted to work on its reputation (the US government accused Huawei's networking arm of espionage), it would have to make its products better. Part of that assessment had to do with my access to Huawei phones, the best of which never made it to the US -- or even into my phone-reviewer hands at all. Some of it had to do with the quality of products compared to others on the market.

Well, now quality has improved. Builds are getting better and prices are getting lower. Huawei is catching up. Google noticed when it chose Huawei to make the Nexus 6P, Google's high-end phone to showcase the Android 6.0 Marshmallow OS. CNET loved that phone, and so do a lot of real-world people I know.

In the same vein, Huawei just launched the P9, which has a camera from world-renown brand Leica. We haven't reviewed the phone yet, but I do have one here in China, where I attended a Huawei analyst summit in the company's headquarters in Shenzhen. The P9 looks terrific, and its specs are high-end (though maybe not the highest).

Eye to eye with the dual-camera Huawei P9 and P9 Plus (pictures)

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The Huawei Watch and Huawei MateBook tablet we saw at MWC also played their part in boosting Huawei's image in my eyes, though neither one is perfect. The watch is big and heavy on my wrist (even with the lady-focused Elegance and Jewel bands, which are just thinner wrist straps for the same large face) -- but it has a gorgeous OLED screen and looks more premium and watch-like than most of its rivals.

Even on the low end, some inexpensive Huawei phones I saw at CES (like the Honor 5X) offer decent performance for the money, making them pretty appealing for those who buy the unlocked phone directly from the carrier.

My point is that Huawei's efforts have paid off, and now it's often recognized as the No. 3 phonemaker in the world. True, this kind of status changes regularly, but it's an indicator that Huawei is paying attention to user demands around the world. And that means that buyers everywhere should start looking to Huawei -- in addition to heavy-hitters Apple, Samsung and LG -- if they haven't already.