The Good Four Huawei P30 Pro cameras take stunning photos, their battery is great and the design is beautiful.
The Bad Processor performance and screen resolution are not the best. The lack of a headphone jack will upset people who have wired headphones, and the P30 Pro uses expandable space.
The Bottom Line Impressive camera skills and bright design The Huawei P30 Pro is easy to beat the Galaxy S10 Plus and Pixel 3, but the political intertwines mean the phone will not come to the US.
When Huawei first told me about the P30 Pro ($ 678 on Amazon) setting up the four rear cameras, I didn’t believe a word. I used it then. This phone takes zoom and low light pictures unlike anything I’ve seen on my phone. It blows the Galaxy S10 Plus ($ 800 on Amazon) and Pixel 3 ($ 900 on Amazon) made of water, along with its sleek design and excellent battery life, the P30 Pro is one of the best phones of the year.
Huawei is the second largest handset maker in the world, and with the P30 Pro, it outputs large pistols to secure the place.
The rear cameras certainly have great features, but the beautifully colorful design and bright 6.47-inch screen make it a truly great phone.
Huawei P30 Pro’s four rear cameras from every angle
For £ 899 in the UK (with a basic 128GB storage), it’s not quite cheap, but it’s just like you pay for the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus equivalent. In Australia, your phone will give you back $ 1,599 with a 256GB base storage, which will make it more compatible with the S10 Plus, which costs $ 1,499 with 128GB of storage. The P30 Pro has not yet been sold in the US because of ongoing concerns from the US government, but the price is around $ 1,135.
P30 Pro vs. Huawei P30
The P30 Pro joins the standard P30, which is a more comfortable version with a smaller screen, but with an attractive aesthetic. Not enough super zooms and in-depth Pro cameras. Yes, it’s the less exciting of the two, but it does have at least a headphone jack – something you won’t find in Pro. (See the full specification comparison table at the end of this review.)
It was the look of the P30 Pro that caught my attention first. It stands out in a way that others just don’t. The way the light blue goes with the pink on my Breathable Crystal review model is just beautiful, and it makes this phone mode more attractive than anything else out there.
There is also a dark blue blend of Aurora colors and an orange Light Amber Sunrise. Of course, there is the usual black version, if you do not get caught up in the extra extravagance of your phone.
When I tested it alongside the Galaxy S10 Plus, it was the P30 Pro that attracted the most attention from passers-by. My S10, meanwhile, was sitting there as “just another phone” – even though it’s the most expensive white ceramic model.
It is built of glass and metal, just like the usual Galaxy S10 or P20 Pro ($ 500 on Amazon) before that, but it’s not bad. He feels good and enjoys it when you pick him up. Some of Huawei’s previous phones felt cheap, but it feels different. You want to avoid it falling – a real possibility, given the inherent slenderness of the structures of the entire glass. But at least there are IP68 waterproofing to prevent spilled drinks.
The P30 Pro doesn’t have a headphone jack, so you’ll have to look for a smaller P30 or Galaxy S10 if you want to use your wired headphones. The fingerprint scanner is built into the display (a small fingerprint icon appears on the lock screen to tell you where to place your finger). It works well and recognizes my prints much more often than not. I think it’s more accurate than the Galaxy S10’s fingerprint scanner, though they aren’t as accurate as a standard optical scanner.
There is also no microSD card slot as Huawei has re-selected its own nano-memory (NM) format for memory expansion. NM cards are more expensive (£ 42 for a 128GB card versus £ 15 for an equivalent microSD Sandisk) and much more complex than standard microSD cards. Be aware that you will not be able to use the available memory cards in the P30 Pro.
The display has a resolution of 2,340×1,080 pixels. This is a step below the maximum resolution of the Galaxy S10 Plus 3,040×1,440-pixels, but I doubt you’ll notice. If you have both phones playing the same high resolution video at the same time, you are simultaneously watching really carefully at the screen, you might be able to see the difference, but honestly, are you going to do it? In everyday use, the P30 Pro’s resolution is more than adequate to showcase your favorite YouTube videos, and its bright colors are great for gaming.
The screen extends to the right to the edges of the phone, broken only by a tiny tear slit at the top, large enough to accommodate the front camera. I like this solution: it’s unobtrusive when playing full-screen videos or games. It’s smaller than the S10 Plus cutout for the two front cameras, but using both, I have no particular advantage between them. Of course, this should not be your primary consideration when choosing between these phones.
Huawei P30 Pro’s camera put to the test in Paris
The P30 Pro kills it with magnification
The cameras at the back of the Pro are the real stars of the show. You get a 20-megapixel super wide-angle lens, a regular 40-megapixel lens, and an amazing square lens that uses a prism-based periscope system to get huge scales. This 8-megapixel lens offers not only a 5x magnification but also a 10x magnification without much loss of overall quality. It is a huge scale of the phone and allows you to get closer to the details that usually look like ordinary digital zooms.
I was skeptical when Huawei first explained it to me, but it actually works fine. You can zoom in on a scene that is close to details that are just not available to any other camera on your phone. It’s not completely lossless, as Huawei claims – the small details are a bit fuzzy – but when you compare the P30 Pro’s zoom with the S10 Plus’s 2 telephoto lens, the Huawei really jumps in front.
Stabilization is also good. When you zoom in on small parts, your phone tries to keep them steady to get a clear picture. Sometimes you need to help with your hands to keep your phone stable, but for the most part you can freely come off.
You can zoom in further up to 50x using a digital zoom and a telephoto lens. This does crop the image, but at maximum magnification the image quality is greatly reduced. The images I took with her were not useful for anything but a little fun.
The P30 Pro also plays a blind eye when it comes to night shots. The P20 Pro was already one of my best low-light phones with incredible night mode. Fortunately, this standalone camera mode is still on board, taking pictures with far more shadow detail and controlled backlight than almost any other phone that manages to manage, though it takes about 4 to 6 seconds to capture each image.
Super low light skills
But the P30 Pro takes low light further. By combining a new type of image sensor and a high ISO, the phone can take pictures in situations where even my eyes cannot see properly. Locked in my bathroom almost in total darkness, the P30 Pro still managed to get a vivid – if grainy – image. In the same scene came a shot of S10 Plus, similar to something made in the 19th century.
This low-light skill is not a specialized mode and can be struck when the camera is actually using it. If there is almost no light in the scene – say, in the park at night, where there are no street lights – it will start and brighten the scene. But if you’re shooting at night and the street lights create some ambient light, there’s almost no difference what you’ll find on the S10.
Daily shots from a standard camera are generally decent. Compared to the S10 Plus, the P30 Pro’s images are a bit more muted, and it doesn’t always also balance out light colors and shadows, sometimes leaving bright skies washed out. This is especially the case when using the Wide Angle mode, which can sometimes struggle to balance the overall exposure.
The tear cut on the front of the phone is the 32-megapixel P30 Pro front camera. It’s a huge number of megapixels for a selfie camera, so it’s no wonder these self-portrait guns look clear.
The phone also does a decent job of balancing exposure for selfies – helping with HDR mode, which helps keep bright backgrounds under control. Colors also look natural. And although there is no front flare to illuminate you in the dark, the pictures taken in low light conditions still look good.
Power does not compete with the Galaxy S10
The P30 Pro runs on the latest Huawei Kiring 980 processor with 8GB of RAM. To be a reference, the phone does not fit the S10 Plus. It returned slightly lower performance on the multi-core Geekbench 4 test (9 623 vs 10 863) and significantly lower than the 3D Mark Slingshot graph test (3,233 against 7,818). There is a “Performance Mode” that raises numbers to the touch, but it still doesn’t fit the S10 Plus.
But the landmarks don’t tell the whole story, and I can confidently say that this phone is far from slow. Navigate through the interface quickly and without delay. The video goes live without release and plays graphic games such as Asphalt 9: Legends and PUBG. The S10 phones can perform better on lab tests, but you will hardly notice the difference in the real world.
The P30 Pro runs on the latest version of Android 9 Pie, which is packed with Huawei EMUI 9.1 software, which reminds me of the iPhone in how to place applications on multiple home screens. You can switch to a more standard Android application tray if you wish.
You can charge the 4,200mAh capacitive battery via USB-C. Ultra-fast charging takes your phone from empty to 70 percent in just 30 minutes if you’re using a built-in 40-watt charger. This is one of my highlights of the phone when I regularly find myself needing to move around with a low battery. It all needs a quick acceleration to give me enough juice to last the evening – which means I won’t have to carry an external battery with me.
Not that the loss of power is a big problem in this case. I have found that the phone will comfortably serve a whole day of heavy use, often with a little time left to move me to the next morning. It’s still a phone that I would like to charge every night to stay safe, but that’s the case with every phone on the market.
If you have spare power, you can always transfer it to a friend using two-way wireless charging. If enabled, you can hold any Qi-enabled device on the back of your phone to transfer power, as in the Mate 20 Pro ($ 1,029 on Amazon) and on four Samsung S10 phones. It’s nice to be able to lend a hand to a friend who has plunged below this “5% remaining” threshold until you become the default battery supplier for all your mates – save a little for yourself, okay?
Huawei P30 Pro compared to its competitors
Huawei P30: It’s a zoom feature that really stands out on the P30 Pro, and without it, the standard P30 loses some of its luster. It’s still good, though its smaller size will make it easier for those with paler palms.
Huawei P20 Pro: The P20 Pro looks great, takes stunning photos, and was already my top choice for low-light images from my phone. The P30 Pro does this a bit further, but I don’t think it’s worth upgrading to a great phone already.
Galaxy S10 Plus A: The Zoom and Night mode carries the P30 Pro over the S10 Plus, but I prefer the Samsung camera to shoot in the daylight regularly, so it’s important to think about what’s more important to you. The S10 Plus is also more powerful in lab tests and the screen has a higher resolution.
Pixel 3: The Pixel 3 also comes with a great camera and almost the P30 Pro’s processing power. However, the Pixel 3 does not have a zoom feature and there is no way to expand storage.
Huawei P30 Pro specifications comparison
|Huawei P30 Pro||Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus||Huawei P30||Google Pixel 3 XL|
|Display size, resolution||6.47-inch OLED; 2,340×1,080-pixels||6.4-inch AMOLED; 3,040×1,440-pixels||6.1-inch OLED; 2,340×1,080-pixels||6.3-inch “flexible” OLED; 2,960×1,440 pixels|
|Pixel density||398ppi||522ppi||422ppi||522 ppi|
|Dimensions (Inches)||6.22×2.89×0.33 in||6.20×2.92×0.31 in||5.87×2.81×0.30 in||6.2x3x.03 in|
|Dimensions (Millimeters)||158×73.4×8.41 mm||157.6×74.1×7.8 mm||149.1×71.4×7.57 mm||158×76.7×7.9 mm|
|Weight (Ounces, Grams)||6.77 oz; 192g||6.17 oz.; 175 g||5.82 oz; 165g||6.5 oz; 184g|
|Mobile software||Android 9.0 with EMIU 9.1||Android 9.0 with Samsung One UI||Android 9.0 with EMIU 9.1||Android 9 Pie|
|Camera||40-megapixel (standard), 20-megapixel (ultra wide), 8-megapixel 5X optical periscope zoom, TOF (time of flight) sensor||12-megapixel (wide-angle), 16-megapixel (ultra wide-angle), 12-megapixel (telephoto)||40-megapixel (standard), 20-megapixel (ultra wide), 8-megapixel 3X optical zoom||12.2-megapixel|
|Front-facing camera||32-megapixel||10-megapixel, 8-megapixel||32-megapixel||Dual 8-megapixel|
|Processor||Kirin 980 processor||Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 855||Kirin 980 processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (2.5GHz octa-core)|
|Storage||128GB, 256GB, 512GB||128GB, 512GB, 1TB||128GB||64GB, 128GB|
|Expandable storage||Up to 256GB with proprietary NM card||Up to 512GB||Up to 256GB with proprietary NM card||None|
|Fingerprint sensor||In-screen (optical)||In-screen (ultrasonic)||In-screen (optical)||Back cover|
|Special features||Camera night mode, 40w Huawei SuperCharge, 15w wireless charging, reverse charging, IP68 water resistance||Wireless PowerShare; hole punch screen notch; water resistant (IP68); Fast Wireless Charging 2.0||Camera night mode, IP53 water resistance||IPX8, wireless charging support, Pixel Buds USB-C headphones in the box|
|Price off-contract (USD)||Converts to $1,135||$1,000||Converts to $781||$899 (64GB); $999 (128GB)|
|Price (GBP)||£899 (128GB)||£899 (128GB)||£699 (128GB)||£869 (64GB); £969 (128GB)|
|Price (AUD)||AU$1,599||AU$1,499||AU$1,099||AU$1,349 (64GB); AU$1,499 (128GB)|