Huawei P30 Pro Smartphone Review
PAT PILCHER discovers that he is indeed a world-class photographer, thanks to the amazing, scenery-changing photographic chops of Huawei’s award-winning new smartphone.
It’s usually big news when Huawei launches a new phone, and it isn’t terribly hard to see why. All of the Chinese telecommunications giant’s recent phones have wowed reviewers thanks to a strong line-up of features and impressive cameras, all for a reasonable sticker price. Hence this frothing-at-the-mouth Huawei P30 Pro Smartphone Review.
It’s the newbie on the block and the latest in Huawei’s photographic oriented “P” range. In this Huawei P30 Pro Smartphone review, we see that it wowed with the highly rated Mate 20 Pro to a whole new level.
“The P30 Pro uses a peeper pleasing shimmering pearlescent finish”
The key take-out with the P30 Pro is that it offers a tonne of functionality for its price. This is a good thing. In an age where phones are costing more yet providing little in the way of genuinely compelling reasons to upgrade, the P30 Pro stands out.
That said, its sticker price of $1499 means it’s not a budget phone and its overall design initially looks pretty bog standard, consisting of front and back glass panels sandwiched between an alloy band in the middle. A closer look, however, reveals that looks can be very deceiving indeed.
The P30 Pro comes in four colours: light blue (or in Huawei marketing speak, Breathing Crystal), purple/blue ‘Aurora’, orange ‘Amber Sunrise’ or reflective black. Except for the black colour (which is black), the P30 Pro uses a peeper pleasing shimmering pearlescent finish.
Sporty types will love that the P30 Pro will take a dunking and come back for more due to its IP68 rating. Buy a case though, as its all-glass design means it won’t survive a drop test onto hard surfaces (to their credit, Huawei do bundle a silicon case with the P30 Pro).
“Its screen curves into the alloy band that runs around its outside edge”
As with earlier P-series phones, Huawei has paid a lot of attention to small design details. A good example of this is the power button, with its small, red-painted recess making it easy to find by feel. Another nice touch is that on both its left and right-hand sides, its screen curves into the alloy band that runs around its outside edge, much like the Mate 20 Pro, making for a comfy fit in the hand.
The P30 Pro’s waistband has a USB-C connector, but there is no headphone jack. On its underside is a single, downwards-firing mono speaker. The lack of stereo speakers at this price point might seem a trifle odd, but the screen uses magnetic levitation to vibrate and act as a speaker. This also means that there is no earpiece cluttering up the top bezel, adding to its all-screen design.
The 6.47-inch OLED display has a teardrop notch for the front camera that seems odd given that there is no earpiece, and it means that a punch hole for the front camera would have done the job better. The screen is full HD and is a good compromise between resolution and battery life. Colours are not harsh and oversaturated but look natural. The display is bright and crisp, too.
“Huawei says that it will make us completely rethink smartphone photography”
On the storage front, Huawei has been quite generous. You get 8GB of RAM, which allows for smooth multitasking and a whopping 256GB of storage, which is ample for most media collections, apps, photos and videos.
The star of the show are the cameras. Around the back sits four image sensors. Huawei says that the P30 Pro will make us completely rethink smartphone photography. They’re not exaggerating. The killer feature is what they the Super Spectrum Sensor. It’s a 40MP sensor that can pull off night photos that are nothing short of astonishing and were previously next to impossible with a smartphone camera.
The RGB sensor can pull in more light and as well as camera information because some of its green pixels have been replaced with yellow pixels. It’s what Huawei calls the Super Spectrum Sensor. When combined with AI image processing, night shots look crisp, sharp and colour accurate, thanks to a lack of pixel noise or excessive image smoothing.
“Some smart inbuilt AI image processing adds a surprisingly good digital zoom”
Impressive night shooting chops aside, it also sports a Tardis-like 50x zoom capability. Optical zooms on slim smartphones are a lot like oil and water. Zoom lenses are big and jut out in a way that would make most smartphones impossible to pocket.
The answer to this comes in the form of a variable length periscope that runs along the length of the P30 Pro’s body to give it zoom capabilities while also allowing for an ultra-slim design. Huawei says that it has a 10x optical zoom and with some smart inbuilt AI image processing adds a surprisingly good digital zoom to give an astonishing 50x zoom.
If those were the only camera features, then I’d be happy enough, but Huawei also added in a time-of-flight range imaging sensor and an ultra-wide mode 20MP sensor. The upshot is that ultra-detailed bokeh effects are now possible, and instead of making photographic subjects look like cardboard cut-outs, bokeh shots now have a real sense of depth and subject edge detail.
It’s of little surprise that the P30 Pro has taken the top spot on camera benchmarking site, DxoMark. All told, the shooting chops of the P30 Pro sets a new benchmark for smartphone photography.
“Its shooting chops set a new benchmark for smartphone photography”
Battery life on the P30 Plus also impressed. Like the Mate 20 Pro, solid power management and a big battery (4200mAh) keep things chugging along for a day with heavy use, and two days with moderate use.
The charger is a fast 40 watts and can deliver 70 percent charge in a mere 30 minutes. The 15 watts of wireless charging is baked in and the P30 will wirelessly charge Qi-compatible widgets using reverse wireless power delivery.
The phone uses Android Pie which is skinned with EMUI 9.1. EMUI may have its detractors, yet this latest version is surprisingly light-handed and leaves plenty of stock Google functionality available.
“The Huawei P30 Pro is the strongest camera phone Huawei has ever produced”
Powering things is the same in-house developed Kirin 980 CPU and chipset used by the Mate 20 Pro, which offers ample power for nearly any task you’re ever likely to throw at it.
The Huawei P30 Pro Smartphone is packed with features and is the strongest camera phone Huawei has ever produced. Solid design combines with plenty of functionality and photography capabilities to make it a definite contender for any shutterbugs, hence a perfect 10/10 score.