At a time when smartphones are increasingly similar, Huawei has found a way to make the P30 Pro stand out: it gave it superpowers. The ability of the new flagship to look into the dark is eerie; the optical zoom is unparalleled; the endurance is extraterrestrial. Hyperbole aside, the Huawei P30 Pro feels like the smartphone superhero in many ways, but all superheroes have their weaknesses. Is the price tag the kryptonite of the P30 Pro? And are the camera options just as good as the hype wants? Here is our Huawei P30 Pro Review.
Huawei P30 Pro Review – Design
If you have ever played with the Mate 20 Pro, you already know what the P30 Pro looks like. The overall format is the same, but the P30 Pro is a hair larger. Unlike the various notches and camera settings, these phones are almost identical. The Huawei P30 Pro feels very comfortable in the hand, despite the slippery glass back. It is a bit heavy, but not as tiring. Although most people want to use it with two hands, you can certainly use one if you put a good suitcase on it.
The widescreen bends pleasantly over the sides, just like on the Samsung phones. It is beautiful, but the curves create annoying sparkle under bright light. If you like flat screens, the normal P30s have you covered. The notch on the P30 Pro is small and unobtrusive. Regarding the boundaries, this is probably the best compromise between form and functionality, because it doesn’t really mess with the message bar. That was my biggest complaint about the big notch on the Mate 20 Pro.
Just like the Mate 20 Pro (and nowadays many phones), the Huawei P30 Pro has a fingerprint reader for in-display. Is it better compared to the Mate? In my experience, it works about the same. It’s not as fast or accurate as conventional sensors, but it’s still great for everyday use. As long as you press your fingerprint firmly on the screen, you will get good results.
Unlike the large cameras, the design of the back is fairly simplistic. The flashy colors make up for it. All versions have color hues in color, except the regular black ones. You can view the Aurora and Breathing Crystal versions on the photos in this post. The most eye-catching is probably Amber Sunrise, a lush cocktail of red and orange that just screams “pick me up”. My advice: go to a store and check all the colors before you order a P30 Pro – video, and photos don’t really convey what they look like in real life.
Huawei P30 Pro Review – Display
Most high-end phones now have beautiful OLED screens and the Huawei P30 Pro is no exception. The pixel density, brightness, and contrast levels are on point. By default, the display colors are set to Vivid, which I prefer over the slightly warmer standard mode. You can also easily choose a custom color setting. The P30 Pro has a simple always-on display that shows the time and some messages. You can’t change it without setting a schedule for it, and you can’t wake up the phone with a double tap, which is a real first-world problem for me. For the record, the regular P30 has a 6.1-inch Full HD OLED screen.
Huawei P30 Pro Review – Software
The Huawei P30 Pro runs on EMUI 9.1, based on Android 9 Pie. Despite the change in the version number, EMUI 9.1 remains very similar to the Mate 20 Pro user interface, with some minor improvements. The P30 Pro finally displays third-party notifications on the always-on display, which is an annoyance for me on the Mate. You can also swipe from the side to close the app drawer and you can now open the Google Assistant by pressing and holding the power button.
There are also some new integrations, such as the ability to open and start your car with just your phone – if you have a nice new Audi for that. The software experience on the P30 Pro is good. The user interface is well designed and has many functions, the controls for the gesture work great and you have many customization options, including a well-done dark theme. However, EMUI looks a bit dated compared to Samsung’s One UI and Google’s own vision on Android.
Huawei P30 Pro Review – Performance
The Huawei P30 Pro performs admirably. Thanks to the Huawei’s own Kirin 980 Octa-Core Processor, that comes with 8 GB RAM and 128/256/512 GB storage options. The GPU here is the Mali-G76 MP10, which is decent for high-end gaming. It is just as fast and smooth as you would expect from a phone of this caliber. Apart from a few hiccups in the first hours that I had the phone – which can be written down for installing all apps – I didn’t encounter any performance issues at all.
The P30 Pro has its own file system that supports performance. Most users will never notice it, but this deep-level adjustment gives the phone a little more nuisance when transferring files to and from storage, in addition to slightly lower app start times. Speaking of storage, don’t buy a microSD card for your new P30 Pro. The phone has a card slot but only works with Huawei’s own Nano-Memory format, just like the Mate 20 Pro.
The Huawei P30 Pro gets solid scores in benchmarks, but nothing to brag about. In AnTuTu, for example, it scores around 290,000 points, a good 40,000 points behind the Galaxy S10 Plus. In Gary’s Speed Test G, the P30 Pro (like the P30) completed the course in 1m: 45s, slightly behind the 1m: 33s of the Galaxy S10 Plus.
If you really want the best performance, you can enable Performance mode via the battery settings, although I don’t recommend it. I didn’t see any visible improvement in gaming, but I did notice a hit on the battery life. If you decide you need it, don’t forget to turn it off later.
Huawei P30 Pro Review – Camera
Chances are that you are here for the camera discussion. Everything else about the Huawei P30 Pro is impressive, but not really new. The camera is in a class of its own.
The P30 Pro has three main cameras and a Time-of-Flight (ToF) sensor that measures the distance to objects in the field of view. The most important 40MP camera is what you will use in most cases. Because it uses pixel binning, 10 MP images are saved by default, but you can switch to the full 40 MP resolution if you wish. For groups of people or landscapes, you can switch to the ultra-wide camera. If you want to bring your subject closer, switch to telephoto. If it all sounds frightening, don’t worry – you don’t have to be a photographic professional to master the P30 Pro. It is very easy to use once you learn its peculiarities so that you can fully concentrate on getting the best photo.
In general, pictures taken with the P30 Pro look fantastic, with sharp details, pleasant colors (without jumping overboard), an accurate white balance and a good dynamic range. The zoom range is impressive: whereas most phones only support digital zoom, the P30 Pro can zoom in up to 5x optically and then switch to lossless zooming up to 10x. If you really want to get close, the digital zoom function goes up to a whopping 50X. In the real world, you can use this zoom factor to capture more details, better frame your shots, and separate your subject from the background.
In good light, the pictures taken with 5x and even up to 10x look very bright, without the dirty effect that you see on most other phones. Do not expect smooth clarity from a large luxury SLR. The zoom of the P30 Pro is just as good as in the field of smartphones. By zooming in more than 10x, the image quality decreases quickly, but with good light, you can still get decent results, even at high magnification. They will not be crispy or detailed, but in no time they might be enough.
Occasionally, the P30 Pro has difficulty selecting the correct lens (or, technically speaking, a combination of lenses) when swiping to change the zoom factor. In these cases, you get a blurry, blurry image preview, instead of the optically stabilized image of the telephoto lens camera. It is not a big problem because the phone usually recovers quickly.
Zoom out sufficiently and the P30 Pro switches to the ultra-wide camera. The lens on this camera has a smaller aperture and has no OIS, so the image quality will be slightly lower. On the Mate 20 Pro, the images with the ultra-wide lens were quite dark and blurry, but the P30 Pro seems to be better in this regard. You still get the best results in broad daylight. This camera is also very suitable for macro photography (close-up).
The 32MP selfie camera is more than sufficient. Selfies can sometimes be too soft, but I wouldn’t call it a problem. In video mode, the P30 Pro records 1080p Full HD as standard, but you can use up to 4K UHD with a maximum recording time of 10 minutes per clip. The OIS and AIS (software stabilization) work very well to make your shooting easier. View the video review above to see an example of David. On the other hand, I encountered some flickering and unusual graininess when recording video in low light. The zoom effect is also quite jerky and switching between cameras can result in shocking changes in image quality.
Huawei also teased the ability to record videos with two cameras simultaneously, so that one of them can capture the entire scene, while the other can zoom in on the subject. This feature, called Dual-View Video, will come as an OTA in the coming weeks.
Huawei P30 Pro Review – Battery Life
After the excellent camera, the battery of the P30 Pro is the best option. Being backed by a 4,200mAh battery, I have been able to get to the screen-in time between 8 and 9 o’clock. The phone was usually connected to Wi-Fi, with automatic brightness and dark mode on and Performance mode off. My use was a mix of just browsing the internet, using Sync for Reddit, watching a lot of YouTube and playing some games. David, who did the review video of the Huawei P30 Pro, had even better screen-in times of 9 to 10 hours. That is despite the use of the mobile cellular connection of his telephone in Morocco. We were both able to work two days without any problems.
The P30 Pro even lasts longer than the Mate 20 Pro, which has the same battery size and the same specifications. When the P30 Pro finally runs out of juice, it is easy to refill it. The charger in the box is a 40W model, which is much faster than other fast chargers out there. It can charge the P30 Pro up to 70 percent battery in just 30 minutes. It is really impressive. Support for 15W wireless charging is also great.
Just like the Mate 20 Pro and the Galaxy S10 Plus, the P30 Pro can charge other devices wirelessly. This reverse wireless charging function is intended for small gadgets such as wireless earbuds, smartwatches or perhaps an electric toothbrush. You can use it to recharge other phones, but with just 2.5 W it won’t be a good experience. As a side note, Samsung’s flagship is a bit faster with reverse charging, but not that much.
Huawei P30 Pro Review – Should You Buy It?
There are two major ways in which smartphones can improve considerably, at least until foldable are there. One is the camera, the other is the battery. The Huawei P30 Pro does both. The benefits compared to competitors are almost unfair. However, this review is not about competitors, but about people. So should you buy the Huawei P30 Pro? If you want the best camera, the best battery life or just a very good all-round smartphone, the answer is a strong yes.
The P30 Pro has a number of shortcomings, such as its own memory card format, the lack of a headphone connection and perhaps the less established ecosystem of Huawei. But they pale in comparison to the strengths.
That’s all for our Huawei P30 Pro Review.