Huawei P30 Pro
Huawei is pushing the camera as the headline feature of its 2019 flagship, the P30 Pro. With four sensors, excellent zoom and impressive low-light capability, the camera is undeniably strong - but reviewers have questioned whether its specs are weighed down by its software.
- Excellent camera with impressive zoom
- Efficient in-display fingerprint sensor
- Generous display size
- Specs are not market-leading
- Display colours are a little dull
- Software is not visually appealing
The Huawei P30 Pro: In more detail
The Huawei P20 Pro was lauded for its photographic capabilities in 2018, and the P30 Pro looks set to follow in its footsteps. Huawei has again teamed up with camera manufacturer Leica to push its smartphone technology even further. The zoom is the feature that has impressed the most, with T3 calling it ‘phenomenal’, TechRadar calling it ‘mind-blowing’ and Engadget calling it ‘a revelation in smartphone photography’. Besides the camera, it’s a well-built phone, although it doesn’t match the Samsung Galaxy S10 or the iPhone XS in terms of specs.
The P30 Pro features a quadruple-camera setup on the rear. It has a 40MP wide angle sensor, a 20MP ultra-wide sensor, an 8MP telephoto sensor and a time-of-flight sensor (for better background blurring). The 40MP main sensor shuns the typical RGB configuration (red, blue, green) and instead uses RYYB (red, yellow, yellow, blue). This ‘Super Spectrum’ feature is designed to absorb more light, giving better low-light photos.
Reviewers agree that the camera’s most impressive feature is its zoom capability. Its telephoto lens offers 5x optical zoom, and it has a 10x hybrid zoom, both (Huawei claims) completely lossless. It can also use these features to produce a 50x digital zoom. TechRadar found the 5x and 10x zooms both worked ‘incredibly well’ while the 50x zoom gave ‘strong, sharp photos’, and Stuff found it ‘really impressive’.
Initial reviews of the camera’s low light photography have been mixed. TechRadar said it ‘didn’t impress massively’, while Engadget found it marginally less impressive than the Google Pixel 3’s night mode - although the P30 Pro won on its ability to zoom in low light. Android Authority found it to be ‘insanely capable’ in very low light, taking usable shots in almost complete darkness. The Verge have been effusive in their praise for the camera’s prowess in low light, stating that the P30 Pro ‘sets a new benchmark for night photography’.
The P30 Pro has a premium-looking design, with a screen that curves round into the aluminium frame and only a very thin bezel. It comes in five pearlescent ‘gradient’ colour finishes: Breathing Crystal (light blue), Aurora (purple/blue), Amber Sunrise (orange), Pearl White and Black.
The phone is slightly taller and thicker than its predecessor, the P20 Pro, although it’s around 0.5mm narrower. The screen has a teardrop-shaped notch for the 32MP front camera, and an in-display optical fingerprint scanner. Huawei claims the latter is faster and more accurate than Samsung’s latest ultrasonic fingerprint scanner, which T3's reviewer found to be true in their tests.
Huawei has increased the screen size on the P30 Pro to 6.47 inches (the P20 Pro had a 6.1-inch screen). The camera notch is also smaller than the P20 Pro’s, giving you more screen space.
The Full HD+ resolution means the display isn’t as sharp as the quad-HD+ screens on the Pixel 3 and LG G8, and the OLED panel can’t rival Samsung’s brilliant AMOLED display. However, T3 found it ‘colourful and vibrant’ while TechRadar thought it gave a ‘very impressive picture’ with a peak brightness that ‘stuns at times’. TechRadar also noted that its colours are more muted and natural, which may not be to everyone’s taste.
Performance, software and battery
The P30 Pro is powered by the Kirin 980 chipset, which Stuff calls ‘powerful, fast and intelligent’. This comes with either 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, or 8GB of RAM with options for 128GB, 256GB or 512GB of storage. Coupled with Huawei’s EMUI 9.1 software, this setup provides fast browsing and a fluid user experience - although TechRadar found it wasn’t as fluid as the iPhone XS or the Galaxy S10. T3’s reviewer was less impressed by the software, calling its design ‘outdated and infantile’.
Like the Mate 20 Pro, the P30 Pro has a hefty 4,200mAh battery. Huawei claims that advances in AI and battery management will make the new phone’s battery life even better than the Mate 20 Pro’s, which has been previously been described by TechRadar as ‘gigantic’. The phone also has 40W fast charging, which should get you from 0-70% in around half an hour, and fast 15W wireless charging too.