Huawei really got its mojo back. After releasing the acclaimed Huawei Mate 20 Pro with its stellar camera, Huawei’s guys did better with the Huawei P30 Pro. With its all-seeing and immensely versatile camera setting, a battery that refuses to give up and a design which is shiny enough to stand out, the Huawei P30 Pro is a fantastic flagship that fits the Samsung S10 series well and makes a strong game for your wallet.
If it’s mobile photography, the Google Pixel was the undisputed champion, but Huawei P30 Pro changes it and knots the crown of mobile photography, at least for the moment.
Huawei P30 Pro is available on Amazon starting April 15 and is priced at Rs. 71,990 for the 8 GB / 256 GB breathing colors (bluish-white pearlescent, in the picture above at sunset) and Aurora (blue), with early risers getting a Huawei Watch GT for Rs 2,000 if purchased as a package. Read on for detailed pros and cons, but if you’re a fan of high-budget cameras, this is the phone to buy right now.
P30 Pro Pro
Cameras: how is Huawei’s setup on the rear quad camera configuration different? Let’s start with that crazy telephoto periscope setup, which channels the light through the series of lenses inside the body, a configuration that would otherwise be impossible to insert, in depth, into a smartphone frame. The result? True 5x optical zoom which, combined with the main 40 MP image sensor, allows Huawei to produce a 10x hybrid zoom that the company claims is leak-free (spoiler warning: it’s not completely, but the levels of detail are impressive and the loss of quality and sharpness is negligible).
Not idle claims these – the P30 Pro has, put simply, the best low-light camera in a smartphone, besting even the auto-magical Night Sight on the Pixel. This is just the auto mode, and there’s a dedicated Night Mode and a Pro mode if you feel the need to tweak the shots further.
Bear in mind, while the telephoto camera has optical stabilization, the disappointing f/3.4 aperture (vs f/1.6 on the main sensor) makes the zoom sensor fairly ineffective, so much so that the camera app completely switches to digital zoom even if there’s a mild drop in ambient light.
However, the zoom features are only half the history of the camera. With the kind permission of the new RYYB sensor (contrary to the traditional RGB configuration), Huawei claims to be able to collect 40% more light which helps to capture details, especially in low light conditions.
These statements are not ideal: the P30 Pro has, in a nutshell, the best low light camera on a smartphone, even improving Pixel’s auto-magic night vision. This is only the automatic mode, and there is a dedicated night mode and a Pro mode if you feel the need to further modify the shots.
Keep in mind, while the telephoto lens has an optical stabilization, the disappointing opening of f / 3.4 (vs f / 1.6 on the main sensor) makes the zoom sensor quite ineffective, so much so that the camera app switches completely to digital zoom too if there is a slight drop in ambient light.
Rounding out the variety of shooting options are the 32 MP front-facing camera and the 20 MP ultra-wide-angle shooter, the latter allowing for all-around landscape shots and a surprisingly good super macro mode. The last “camera”, a Time of Flight or a depth sensor, helps to focus in low light conditions and to separate the subject from the background objects for portraits that generate deliciously dreamy bokeh most of the sometimes, although edge detection could be much improved. https://twitter.com/2shar/status/1113444164484632576/photo/1
Articulated against its main rival, Pixel has even more detail in well-lit photos, while the Huawei P30 Pro has stepped forward with low-light shots and zoom. Overall, the images taken with the Huawei P30 Pro are sharp, offer good dynamic range and accurate white balance and produce pleasant colors without going completely overboard.
It’s not perfect – you still have color inconsistencies when you switch from one camera to another and the video quality is not comparable to that of the iPhone / Samsung Galaxy S10 – but when it comes to photos, the Huawei P30 Pro excels where stumbles more and burns a new path for mobile photography. Update to see progress made by a company other than Google, Samsung or Apple.
Design: if you have used Huawei Mate 20 Pro, you will know how to play the Huawei P30 Pro in your hand, even if it is bigger. Yet the design is anything but old, and while the Aurora blue is still a stunner, the pearlescent white-blue finish coating of ‘Breathing Crystal’ is surprisingly different and rewards you if you take the risk of using it without case.
No holes in the hole here – Huawei is blocked for this round with a small dew mark on the only OnePlus 6T, which means that you get the only selfie camera, without laser-based facial unlocking like on Huawei Mate 20 Pro, making it simpler to spoof and slow down in case of dark faces unblocking. Biometric authentication takes place via the on-screen fingerprint scanner, an optical variant that is reasonably fast and precise as long as the fingerprint is firmly pressed on the screen, it works.
Also missing is the conventional earpiece speaker, which is now present below the screen and uses a bunch of magnets to create vibrations on the screen to project the sound into the ear. Voice calls are loud and clear, often a little too loud if you increase the volume.
The other side of the coin? There is only one speaker with the bottom edge, so no stereo separation. No headphone jack, which is strange since the smaller Huawei P30 includes one, but at least they have retained the infrared module.
Performance and battery: coming to the middle of the cycle for company launches, Huawei P30 Pro has the same Kirin 980 chip as the Huawei Mate 20 Pro, with 8 GB of memory and 256 GB of storage space.
There is a new file system that gives the phone a boost during file transfer and app launch, but there’s nothing new here, more wisely, about Mate 20 Pro: it’s fast and fast to use daily, the shortcuts of knotty gestures are performed without delays and beneficial games with the GPU Turbo 3.0 performance boosts – practically in line with what you would expect a phone to have a price at this point, although I expect Kirin 980 is invaded by the new group of Snapdragon 855 smartphones that are right around the corner.
After the camera, the 4200mAh battery is the other star of the show, fast charging up to 40 W (from zero to full in just over an hour) using the included charger and with a duration of almost two days of normal – Internet browsing, WhatsApp, watching YouTube and some Asphalt 9 – the phone is the flagship Duracell rabbit. The now familiar party trick that Huawei Mate 20 Pro introduced for the first time – reverse wireless charging – is also present.
Huawei P30 Pro Cons
Display: for all its bleeding hardware, Huawei seems to have played it a little too safely with the display. The resolution of 2340×1080 pixels on the 6.47-inch panel is much lower than its peers, but with most of those same peers being shipped with a lower resolution selected by default in the box, it is unlikely you could say the difference unless you are pixel peeping out.
It also helps with the battery life of the Huawei P30 Pro and is not a bad display by itself … plus it is tuned to the DCI-P3 color gamut (with HDR support). It’s just that, while one should be happy with a display full of accurate colors … at this price, a panel with higher resolution is approximate for the course.
EMUI: for the most part, EMUI 9.1 based on Android 9.0 solves the usability problems that have plagued Huawei software for several generations, but it is still a bit dated and seems approximate, especially when compared with OneUI cleaned up on flagships of Samsung. Install a third-party launcher and you should be fine.