Huawei’s P30 and P30 Pro flagships are currently dominating the news cycle, marking the first period of prolonged media focus on the Chinese company that’s actually product-related within at least half a year or so as the Mate 20 debuted during a much busier time for both the high-end mobile segment and Huawei’s legal troubles in the United States.
A single look glance at them is enough to see why, assuming that gaze is directed at the P30 Pro, the larger and somewhat more capable member of the new Android family. By every metric imaginable, this phablet is an evolution of the triple-camera setup used by both the P20 and Mate Pro 20 last year, hence finally surpassing the tech that against all odds remained at the very top of the mobile photography game for twelve months, which is something that seemed impossible not too long ago.
And while analyzing DxOMark reviews is usually worth the effort when it comes to receiving a point-blank answer on which device out of any two (or more) previously reviewed by the service are better at general tasks such as generic portrait photography, equally non-descript low-light performance, macros, color retention with zooming, image retention with similar magnification, etc., they are almost always used in the context of competing products, ones that yield results so similar (in total) or so dissimilar that it is difficult to understand which one is better in everyday use (in all matters but consistency, assuming a full-fledged review hasn’t already taken place) or specific scenarios, i.e. which one is not, especially if the extent of that superiority or lack thereof must be described as well.
Today, we encounter a rare exception to that rule thanks to an even rarer exception to the manner in which the mobile industry operates; while Samsung and Apple have been interchanging as the creators of the best mobile camera for years now on a seasonal basis, having only started yielding to the imaging prowess of Google’s Pixel-series handsets, if only for a month or two, the global mobile photography race has been truly and utterly dominated by Huawei for over a year now.
Without delving how this state of affairs came to be for the second time in the last 24 hours, the only thing that truly needs to be reported here is that after even the Mate 20 and Samsung Galaxy S10+ failed to completely dethrone the P20 in the imaging segment, the P30 Pro did so and appears to be set for another year of unprecedented dominance. DxOMark naturally did its thing by spending a lot of time doing various stress tests and other types of shots with Huawei’s latest and greatest smartphone, ultimately awarding it a score of 112, three above the previous two Huawei flagships, as well as the Samsung Galaxy S10+.
Naturally, with this being a non-finite scale, it doesn’t reveal as much as one would think at first because between the overall look of the produced shots and completely unprecedented tech such as 5x optical zoom crammed inside a regular phone camera module, a sensor with no native green pixels, and an even more robust artificial intelligence framework leveraging all of that crazy hardware, what Huawei delivered at its Paris launch event on Tuesday is nothing short of an engineering marvel, at least when it comes to mobile photography.
DxOMark Image Labs, a French company specializing in camera benchmarking and optimization, is a valuable resource for the mobile industry in a variety of ways. Media uses its tests as a guideline regarding how individual smartphone cameras perform, consumers willing to sift through the numbers can largely do the same, and manufacturers can not only get a feel for their latest tech and how it performs in the real world against their competitors’ products but also receive vast swaths of data which is then structured into more meaningful insight so as to provide help in regards to how to optimize capture, both of the photo and video variety.
To put it bluntly, DxOMArk if a unique firm selling camera optimization and related consulting services that advertises itself through benchmarks. Exhaustive benchmarks described by some as the more scientific tests of end-user performance the mobile camera segment ever had. Even as vocal debates on whether that says more about its tech or the state (of existence) of its rivals continue to this date after already running through every feasible and many more unfeasible scenarios, the fact remains that DxOMark is still arguably the best-standardized source of smartphone camera reviews.
Such reviews weren’t devised to answer all questions about any particular mobile camera but to provide vague approximations of core performance parameters in a manner that can be compared with historical results using the same method. So, they’re trustworthy and easily repeatable by manufacturers and (some media) outlets, though this is where consumers reach the end of DxOMark’s fee-free service; repeating the firm’s results requires buying into a wider set of services aimed primarily at original equipment manufacturers, then invest a sizeable amount of effort into getting everything to work, solely for the purpose of a single test.
That’s why many industry watchers, even certain media professionals often simply take DxOMark at its word and haven’t had that good faith turn into a security risk… yet. The company’s reviews are known to the point of money offers being waved in front of it regularly, as one of its top officials revealed in an exclusive interview with Android Headlines from last year. It never accepted them and none of the parties offering it in the past presented them as bribes but admission fees they thought were required, DxOMark Marketing VP Nicolas Touchard said in mid-2018.