A class-leading camera pairs exquisitely with brilliant hardware design
The drama surrounding Huawei, as of late, is nothing short of unprecedented in the industry. Despite these events and any fact or fiction surrounding them, Huawei is pulling out all the stops with its latest flagship, the P30 Pro, and showing the world that it’s still vowing to make the best mobile phones ever seen. This holds particularly true for the camera on the P30 Pro which is better than ever, a feat which is a significant accomplishment in and of itself.
Disclaimer: At Android Headlines, we now review all phones from the “good” and the “bad” perspectives. We tailor these reviews to give a specific perspective on what makes a phone the best out there, or why a phone's faults are large enough to avoid it altogether. This “good” review focuses on the positive aspects of the Huawei P30 Pro. To see what faults lie in the P30 Pro, visit our “bad” review.
Let’s spend a bit of time expanding on what makes this camera so undeniably good, and why it's the clear selling point for the P30 Pro.
Just like Fall 2018’s Mate 20 Pro, the P30 Pro features a triple camera system that includes a 40-megapixel main camera, 16-megapixel ultra-wide angle camera, and an 8-megapixel periscope camera. That periscope camera is the highlight of the experience this time around, as that’s what differentiates the P30 Pro from other phones on the market as of the current moment.
Huawei’s latest tech breakthrough offers a 5x optical zoom that offers lossless quality when zooming in up to that mark. A 10x hybrid zoom utilizes the periscope plus the main 40-megapixel camera to provide a sharper image than just what digital zoom alone can offer, and a 50x digital zoom blows the competition away by offering 5-times the possible distance.
The detail that comes from this new camera is astounding and is just as amazing in practice as it sounds on paper.
Zoom detail in-between 1x and 5x is still class leading, despite the telephoto camera not activating until that 5x mark, so no worrying there.
Video, likewise, offers up to 15x zoom via the same periscope camera, and also kicks in once you go past 5x. Like photos, being able to zoom in so far in videos without any quality loss is astounding, especially when the details can be so well appreciated in 4K.
Video quality, as a whole, is far better than any Huawei phone before it, including significantly improved image stabilization that no longer has the weird image quality issues we saw on the Mate 20 Pro. This is by far the best video ever on a Huawei phone, and can finally stand toe to toe with most other flagship phones out there.
There’s a few new modes and enhancements as well, including a cool new dual-video mode that records from multiple cameras at a time, giving a unique look to each scenario you find yourself in.
See everything, even in the dark
It’s also got the most impressive low light photography we’ve ever seen from any smartphone, including Huawei’s previous efforts, with the ability to push the ISO up to 409,600. That’s an astounding number for even high-quality standalone cameras, much less a smartphone, and the difference is clear the moment you take that first snapshot in pitch black conditions.
While other phones rely on a night mode that takes several seconds to take and process pictures like these, Huawei delivers a brighter, more detailed scene with a snap of the shutter and only a minor delay in the darkest of conditions.
Check out our full review of the Huawei P30 Pro camera to see everything the phone can do, what it excels at, and what it fails at.
Onto the phone hardware, you’ll find a new design when compared to last year, which sports not only significantly smaller bezels and a tiny notch, but also a curved OLED display that makes the phone look elegant.
Just like what we saw on the LG G8, there are no openings at all on the front of the phone, and the earpiece has been moved inside the display. This speaker performs better than LG’s integration, as there’s no rattling and the volume levels are much better, including a larger sweet spot to place your ear when on phone calls.
It’s still got Dolby Atmos too, and while the in-glass solution isn’t as robust-sounding as previous designs from Huawei, it’s still good enough to enjoy quality sound while playing games or watching videos.
It’s also got an in-glass fingerprint scanner, just like the Mate 20 Pro, and works far better than that phone did too. As a bonus, the fingerprint scanner is situated lower on the display than the Mate 20 Pro as well, making it more comfortable to use in all situations.
Enough power for more than just a single day
A 200mAh larger battery means battery life is marginally better than even last year’s incredible P20 Pro, but that was a phone that regularly got 2 days of full use without needing a top-up. I regularly forgot to even charge the phone at night because I’d end most days with 60% battery left, easily getting through the second day before having to charge again.
Even if you need a top-up, the included 40W charger will bring it from 0% to 70% in 30 minutes flat, which equates to a full day’s heavy use at that charge level.
Huawei’s EMUI has improved so drastically over the past year alone that it’s almost unrecognizable from what it was only 2 years ago. Stylistically it looks identical to Huawei’s first redesign that launched with the Mate 10 series at the end of 2017 with the main exception of the Overview screen, which looks and functions like most Android 9 Pie-powered phones.
Huawei has also vowed to get Android updates out faster than ever, something the company hasn't always been great about but has improved significantly over the past few years both in promise and delivery.
Full-screen gestures have been significantly improved since their introduction with the Mate 20 Pro, as they were extremely buggy and annoying to use on that phone.
Performance-wise, this is a significant improvement over last year’s P20 Pro in every single way. That phone itself was an improvement over previous generations, and it’s clear Huawei’s Kirin lineup of processors has come a very long way in a short time. There’s no lagging or slowdown on the P30 Pro, just fast, snappy performance in every single application you use.
While this normally wouldn’t even be commented on with a modern flagship phone, it’s a huge improvement for Huawei devices, which often were fairly sluggish in the past.
The camera comes before the phone
The P30 Pro is an amazingly solid device that, once again, specializes in a camera experience like no other. There’s plenty to like here, but it’s the camera that you should be buying this phone for, as the rest just falls in line and becomes an expected part of the experience without feeling out-of-the-ordinary.
Huawei's features and extras found throughout the US remain some of the most intriguing in the industry, providing ways to remotely display the phone's screen as a desktop computer, easily share files and videos, and with plenty of convenience factors to boot. There's not a lot new on this front, but what's there is solid and continues to improve over previous generations. This results in a solid experience all around that feels worth the price, even ignoring the amazing camera prowess in this package.