Friday emails: should I buy a Huawei, and the new Amazon wearable

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Welcome to the weeky Trusted Reviews emails page. We want to know what you think, ideally while avoiding the blood letting of unmoderated commenting, so here we go. Thanks to all the people who emailed in and please email in yourselves to continue the conversation.

Is my Huawei phone going to stop working?

I’m a Huawei phone owner and I’ve been reading that my phone is about to stop working. I don’t really understand what is going on here. Is this true? I’m only half way through my contract and I don’t want to be stuck with a broken phone.

— P. Zak

What’s happened is that the US has revoked Huawei’s Android licence, as well as its access to US-made hardware. What that means is that from October, Huawei cannot update Android on its existing Huawei or Honor phones – which means no new versions of Android, or security patches although everything else should work OK. New phones will also lose access to Google Play services and the Google Play store on new handsets – which means no Google apps. Beyond that, losing access to US hardware designs, chipsets and so on, means it’s questionable whether Huawei can remain in the handset business at all.

If you are an existing Huawei or Honor customer, there’s nothing to worry about for the moment, although that may change from October. The situation is in flux though, so it’s hard to say just yet. Our advice is to wait and see for the moment.

Should I buy a new Huawei phone?

I’ve been considering the new Huawei Mate X but with the question mark over Huawei, I’m not sure whether I should buy it when it comes out. What do you think?

— Malcolm Breech

We think you should wait for the moment. The Android ban, if it takes effect from October, means new phones won’t come with the features we’d expect to see and that clearly would have an impact on our buying advice. However we aren’t there yet. We’re adding a disclaimer to our reviews at the moment and are keeping the situation under review – we’ll update our readers as soon as the situation becomes clearer.

Amazon’s stalking me

I was just thinking the other day, as Amazon scanned all my food, music, entertainment choices and household routines, while I browsed all the tailored product recommendations on my Fire tablet from all those trustworthy grey importers, that it still didn’t have enough information on me. So I was delighted to read about the new Amazon wearable that will recognise and understand my increasingly paranoid and fragile emotional state.

— H. Flagstaff

I’m looking forward to seeing what sorts of products get recommended by a more sensitive, emotionally intuitive globe-spanning AI overlord.

Real world reviews

After using the Galaxy 6 for a few years I had occasion to buy a very well used iPhone 5c. I had shied away from Apple products because of cost. But guess what? The voice quality on the 5c was fantastic. No more did I have to toothpick out the mic hole on my phone. My next phone was an iPhone 6 and now I am up to a 6s.

If anything the range and voice clarity is better in the 6s than it is my 5c. Cameras? Who cares. We have a top of the line Sony SLR (any photographer knows that the quality is all in the lens). So these phones only substitute for the compact camera. Games? I am never bored enough for that. Speed. How fast is fast? I really can’t tell the difference. I do like your reviews,  I wish they included functional things like voice quality and range.

— Jim Busse

We do talk about the microphone and the quality of voice calls in our tests, but we also have to review products from the perspective of most users. Which means we can’t avoid talking about cameras – which are one of the major reasons people buy phones. Or games performance. And so on. Phones are truly multi-functional, unless you are buying a feature phone.

Hear me

I’ve recently bought a second hand, good condition Samsung Galaxy S9 mobile phone, and because of having hearing aids, need to use the mobile on loudspeaker mode, but after making sure that the volume  is set to its fullest slide volume, I’m finding this mobile very quiet when trying to listen to people who have called me up, is there any way of increasing the caller volume on it at all, to make incoming loudspeaker calls louder for my hearing?

— M. Layton

Are your hearing aids Bluetooth compatible? If so, you should be able to pair them with your phone. Go to Settings, Device Connections and switch on Bluetooth. Your phone will search for them and should connect when it finds them. Audio will then be broadcast directly from your phone to your hearing aids.

Band aid

Your last Mi Band 4 article doesn’t mention its predecessor also had NFC which never worked in Western markets, even the international model. Assuming the NFC will be universal and certified to work in all major continents, especially Western markets is as good as anyone’s guess because Xiaomi didn’t publicly disclose any deals indicating that.

I had the first Mi Band and the second too but I never bought the 3rd because its NFC capabilities are only certified to work in the Asian market.

Your article talks good things about the Mi Band 4 but the truth is that even if Mi Band 4 was given for free, Samsung, Fitbit and Apple would have nothing to worry because no one adult enough wants to wear a “smartwatch” that has isn’t smart enough to have its NFC work internationally.

And everything I said here is omitted in your article, now you tell me if that’s good journalism.

— Fernando Moura

Well Fernando, our article was based on a news story about an as-yet unreleased product. It wasn’t a review. We haven’t tested the Mi Band 4 yet. When we have, we will be able to tell you whether the NFC works in the West – or at least, the UK – and whether you should buy it or not.

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