Huawei P30 Pro – A great camera with a good phone

Today in Paris, Huawei released their latest flagship phone, the Huawei P30 Pro. Honestly, it’s pretty great, but can it compete with the Samsung S10+? Let’s see.

Specs

The P30 Pro comes with 8 gigabytes of RAM, paired with 128, 256 or 512 gigabytes of storage. It has a large 6.47″ curved 1080p AMOLED display, which makes it a bit less pixel-dense than the Mate 20 Pro. With the Kirin 980, don’t expect this phone to break any records. Overall, very average specs, if not below average.

Design

As mentioned before, this phone sports a gorgeous 6.47″ AMOLED notched display. That notch is a teardrop design, and is very minimal. The side bezels are also just that; minimalistic, beating even the iPhones in thinness. I personally love this design. The normal incredible gradient colours on the rear make a return, with some stunning visuals. The cameras are arranged in a very similar way to the P20 Pro, so not much change there.

Battery

Huawei has once again hit it out of the park when it comes to battery life. This phone sports the same 4200mAh battery, 40 watt wired fast charging and 15 watt wireless fast charging as the Mate 20 Pro, but with the reduced display quality, it will go significantly further, with Huawei claiming even more than the S10+.

Now, Samsung. You added a huge 4100mAh battery to your phone to make the battery life better. However, knowing that this phone would come out only a month later, you neglected to add wired charging above 18 watts, wireless charging above 12 watts and still expected people to buy it? Well, you’re right. Despite the clear advantage of this phone over its competitors, most will still choose them over this, because Huawei is not as well-known as Samsung. Come on, people.

Software

Huawei’s software is bad. There, I said it. But, it still deserves a mention. The P30 Pro is running EMUI 9.1 on top of Android 9.0 Pie. Overall, there are very few changes to the software side compared to the Mate 20 Pro, so if you want to see the best of EMUI 9, check it out here.

Cameras

The Huawei P30 Pro has a total of 5 cameras, but not all of them perform equally. Let’s look at each one individually.

The normal lens is 40 megapixels, and just great. Huawei’s HDR is not as good as rivals like Apple and Google, but nothing can make up for raw sensor hardware. With this newest iteration, Huawei has also increased the maximum ISO by 4x, all the way up to 409600. That helps hugely with the improved night mode, which is generally regarded to beat even Google’s Night Sight, which was – by far – the leader in nighttime photography before now. Well done, Huawei, well done. Also, a new great addition is OIS, which makes this phone’s video stabilisation one of the best on any phone.

Below the normal lens is the 20 megapixel wide-angle lens. It is noticeably lower quality than the normal lens, but that is to be expected. Really, though, it is a great addition. It allows for so much more creativity with your photos, especially with the 2.5cm autofocus for super macro shots. My only slight complaint is that it is less wide than the S10+’s wide-angle lens, which can fit 3 degrees extra into the shot, which may not sound like much, but it can make a difference in everyday use. Other than that, great addition.

To the right of the wide-angle lens is a ToF sensor. This is where the cameras go downhill. A ToF sensor can create a depth map, using a technique remarkably similar to echolocation, but with light rather than sound. In practice, though, it doesn’t have any real implementation other than slightly improved bokeh, and even that is only slight.

Below the wide-angle lens, though, is the crown jewel of the whole package; the telephoto lens. This is a 5x lens, and is basically identical to Oppo’s recent 5x telephoto lens prototype, which means that it is incredible. Huawei, in typical Huawei fashion, goes above and beyond with zooming. On top of the 5x optical zoom, they provide a 10x lossless hybrid zoom, and up to 50x digital zoom. That is about 5x all of their competitors. Honestly, I love this. The detail that can be retained when using this lens is just amazing. My biggest complaint is not Huawei’s fault, but Oppo’s. Oppo claimed to have 10x zoom, which got people very excited for the future of phone zoom, but also made 5x sound inferior, when in actuality, it is nearly exactly the same zoom length.

Huawei also offers a 32 megapixel selfie camera, which is plenty sufficient, but won’t win any awards. Finally, they offer a dual-shot mode, that allows you to capture 2 focal lengths at the same time in video. A bit gimmicky, but cool nonetheless.

Extras

Huawei offers a host of extras with their latest phone. The optical in-display fingerprint scanner makes a return from the Mate 20 and is sped up by 30%, and it is noticeable. The scanner has also been moved down slightly, as many people wanted it to be. I was personally fine with the old placement, but hey, if you can’t beat them, join them.

They also offer an IR blaster, which is still a nice addition to a flagship phone. Reverse wireless charging also makes a gimmicky return, to nobody’s excitement. Huawei has also added 2 odd software features in the form of the assistant power button and a digital car key.

If you press the power button for a second or two, it will summon the Google assistant, or will perform the normal power off action if you continue to hold it down. It’s pretty cool but nothing revolutionary. Also, using the NFC in the phone, Huawei has added a digital car key, in that, for certain Audi models, and more promised, the NFC will unlock the car. Only 7 cars, all made by Audi, are being used right now, which makes it very limited, but more compatibility is promised. Finally, rather than an earpiece speaker, they use electromagnetic levitation to vibrate the glass to make the sound. All that that means though, is no stereo audio. Huawei, why? That is probably why they put an actual speaker on the bottom, unlike the last generation. All in all, pretty great extras.

Price

The P30 Pro starts at £899, and no, it still isn’t available in the US. That is expensive, but the same price as competitors. Also, for a short time, Huawei is offering a free Sonos One speaker with every purchase of the P30. But, even with that addition, is it worth it? Let’s see.

Verdict

The Huawei P30 Pro is a truly incredible camera phone, and a great performer in nearly every other category. But, it’s flaws are apparent. Bad software, below average internals and a high price weigh this phone down. Personally, I think this is the best phone on the market right now, because the cameras on a phone are so important to me, along with battery life. If you also value those features, then this could be your next phone. If not, maybe wait for the Mate 30 Pro.

Can you get over those downfalls, or will you be waiting for the Mate 30? Let me know in the comments below.

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