We spent the better part of a month with the Huawei P30 Pro, and it’s time to share our findings on Huawei’s current top handset. You might have spotted our dedicated P30 Pro Camera Review, which we recommend reading, but we’ll summarize things for you if you don’t.
Some of the technical aspects of the P30 Pro are well known, such as the HiSilicon Kirin 980 processor or the battery capacity and exceptional charge speed.
They provide an excellent technological foundation for a handset that is designed to innovate primarily through its camera prowess and industrial design.
|Product||Huawei P30 Pro (2019), Price: 1200 USD at Amazon|
|Display||6.47″ 2340×1080 P-OLED , HDR10|
|Battery||4200 mAh, Wireless Charging, Huawei Super Charge|
|Design||IP68, 192g (6.8oz), 73.4x158x8.41 mm (2.89 x 6.22 x 0.33 inches)|
Industrial Design (9.6/10)
The Huawei P30 Pro has a distinctive design identity (ID), especially with the quad-camera module in the back that is fluid and well-integrated, despite the massive amount of camera hardware. More on that later.
Some years ago, many people commented that Huawei was copying Apple, but for the past couple of years, the Huawei P and Mate series have developed something distinctively “Huawei”. If anything the leaks or rumors of the next iPhone would hint that Apple might be copying the square camera module of the Mate 20 Pro. In any case, we like how this design has evolved.
Huawei has come up with new back cover colors that are vivid and pleasing while providing a toned-down version for business users and folks who want to keep things low-key.
Huawei uses a symmetrical two-sided glass industrial design technique similar to what Samsung has introduced with Galaxy Note 9, including the curved display glass and relatively thin bezels on each side (L+R).
The P30 Pro is relatively heavy at 192g, and that’s ~9% more than Galaxy S10+ but 8% less than iPhone Xs Max, two competitors within the same price and size norms. Huawei P30 Pro is often compared to Google’s Pixel 3 and P30, but these phones are significantly smaller and don’t have a comparable large-display experience.
Galaxy S10+ would be the closest competitor that most people know of, and Samsung scores very highly when it comes to technical design because its handset packs much technology for its size. The S10+ feels smaller and lighter, so it depends on your personal preferences.
Galaxy S10 also packs 4.4% more battery capacity per cubic-inch and has thinner bezels and chin, while P30 Pro has a tiny bit more battery capacity. S10 has a 3.5mm audio connector and stereo speakers, both of which P30 Pro doesn’t have.
The Huawei P30 Pro is water-resistant, but you can imagine that the dual-glass design should be handled with care: if you drop it, the chances are that it will crack. Good thing that Huawei provides a very decent translucent case in the box, unlike Samsung or Apple.
That said, the best way to decide is to hold A P30 Pro in your hand and see what feels better. For US consumers, it’s not easy to get your hands on one since channel partners such as wireless carriers do not officially distribute it. Online purchase is straightforward, however.
Display Quality (7.8/10)
From the Mate 20 Pro, Huawei seems to have allocated resources differently in this P30 Pro handset. It’s clear that a lot went into the quad-camera array (more on that soon) while the P30 Pro OLED display is limited to a wide-1080p resolution (2340×1080) with a sharpness of ~398 PPI.
It is not a terrible thing as it still looks good, but some users prefer higher-resolution screens, and even “demand it” from such an expensive phone. The Galaxy S10+ has a 3040×1440 (526 PPI) display while the iPhone Xs has a 2688×1242 (456 PPI) screen. Both use OLED as well.
From a color reproduction perspective, the Galaxy S10 display is technically the best, with the iPhone Xs Max being second. Huawei does well with 100% of the sRGB color space reproduction, but it lags a bit in that particular aspect.
From a brightness point of view, the P30 Pro can go to 700 NITs of brightness which is very decent. However, we measured the Galaxy S10+ brightness at 1363 NITs and the iPhone Xs Max at 1016 NITs. The advantage is noticeable on a sunny day as a higher NITs level means that the screen is more readable in sunlight.
The optical fingerprint scanner works well, and is actually a little faster than the Galaxy S10’s ultrasonic version. Speed aside, there are two major differences between the two:
- the optical scanner needs a very bright flash under the finger. Ultrasonic does not.
- Ultrasonic has a theoretical advantage with wet fingers, but some optical scanners also work with wet fingers
Huawei P30 Pro Camera Quality (10/10)
With a Camera IQ score of 180, the Huawei P30 Pro is currently the overall highest-performing mobile camera according to our Camera IQ benchmark (IQ = image quality). The Galaxy S10 scores 177, the iPhone Xs and Xs Max gets 155 and the Google Pixel 3 gets 152.
We have dedicated several articles to the P30 Pro Camera:
- Huawei P30 Pro complete zoom test
- P30 Pro night-vision capabilities
- complete Huawei P30 Pro Camera Review, which we recommend to get all the details.
Huawei has spent an extraordinary amount of resources into the Huawei P30 Pro camera hardware with three camera modules to support wide, ultrawide and zoom photography.
There’s also a fourth ToF camera, which captures depth-maps to improve Bokeh (background blur) accuracy and Extended Reality applications such as Augmented Reality/
The 135mm optical zoom (with optical stabilization) of the Huawei P30 Pro is the best we’ve tested so far, and can easily outpace any competitors mentioned in this review. H
uawei has set everything up so that the extra zoom hardware can be utilized starting from 3X zoom and above by merging image data from multiple cameras.
The low-light capabilities have also been improved over Mate 20 Pro, and the P30 Pro is better at capturing proper colors.
The P30 Pro beats the iPhone Xs handily in any low light situations but isn’t as color-accurate as the Galaxy S10 in many low-light situations and P30 Pro still substantially modify the mood of the scene, although much less as Mate 20 Pro.
When the brightness falls extremely low (~0.05 LUX), the P30 Pro uses its extreme high ISO and excellent noise filtering to capture images that other phones cannot capture. This is genuinely night-vision because your own eyes struggle to perceive shapes and colors.
Both the night vision (see below at 0.05 LUX) and extreme zoom feature undoubtedly give an edge to the P30 Pro by expanding mobile photography to uncharted territory. However, they also cover use cases that are a bit on the margin, at least today. Do you often want to take photos when you can barely see anything?
The ultrawide photo capabilities of the Huawei P30 Pro are among the best, but the low-light ultrawide performance lacks a little and is behind the LG G8 and the Galaxy S10/S10+.
Based on our P30 Pro Camera Review, that’s up to you to decide if you’re willing to spend more to get these, but the mere fact that the phone is capable of it is a remarkable victory for Huawei.
P30 Pro Battery Life (10/10)
The battery life is something that Huawei genuinely excels at for two reasons. The first is straightforward: with a battery capacity of 4200 mAh and a speed charge of 101 mAh/mn, the P30 Pro delivers excellent capacity and charge speed, two critical metrics for battery performance. That’s 2X the charge speed of Galaxy S10 and 5X the charge speed of iPhone Xs Max.
In addition to this, the 1080p display becomes an asset from a power-efficiency perspective. Since it has less pixel than competitors, it also uses less power.
It’s true that the Galaxy S10 can also be configured to 1080p rendering, but such a change doesn’t make up for the difference in power consumption with a native 1080p display.
Secondly, Huawei’s software manages battery life aggressively, sometimes even too aggressively. For example, even when the display brightness is set to “Manual,” the Huawei software will change it often without asking. It might even prevent some apps from accessing data in the background, even though you might want to.
Wireless charging is integrated, and it’s quite fast. The P30 Pro also has the wireless reverse-charging feature that lets you turn your phone into a wireless pad. It’s best to charge accessories such as watches and earbuds, but it can charge a phone, very slowly, as well.
P30 Pro Speed and System Performance (8.3/10)
The Huawei P30 Pro is powered by a HiSilicon Kirin 980 processor, the most powerful currently used by Huawei.
Launched in October 2018, it is an excellent system on a chip, but at the moment, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 is generally faster for CPU (geekbench) and graphics processing (GFXbench, also check our Snapdragon 855 benchmarks).
The Samsung Exynos high-end chips can also challenge Kirin 980 in markets like Europe and Asia where Samsung uses its silicon instead of Qualcomm’s.
When compared to Apple, the iPhone Xs processor also performs a bit better. The benchmarks show that Kirin 980 is in the leading group and should be taken seriously, especially when it comes with 4G (LTE CAT21, 1.4Gbps) or 1.7Gbps WiFi performance.
So yes, while it performs very well, the competition is just so intense and users that are bent on getting the highest benchmarks might not be completely satisfied.
However, unless you want to run the latest 3D games or particularly demanding applications at absolute peak performance, Kirin 980 is a very good platform that focuses on things like app-launch speed or keeps your phone fast, even after months and years of usage. Today’s benchmarks do not capture these qualities.
The Huawei P30 Pro runs on EMUI 9.1, the latest version of Huawei’s proprietary layer on top of Android. There are many reasons why OEM have custom versions of Android, but one is to allow for inserting new settings and features.
The newest EMUI feature was announced at MWC is Huawei Share OneHop, a wireless sharing mechanism to quickly share photo and clipboard data between laptop and phone. It’s a point to point sharing, so there’s no Huawei server in between, and data remains private.
As you can imagine, it only works with the newest Huawei laptops for now (MateBook X 2019, MateBook 13 and MateBook 14). The pairing of the phone and laptop is done via NFC to make it as simple as possible.
We really liked the clipboard sharing and wish that it would be able to copy/paste images and work with non-Huawei laptops as well.
The phone can send up to 500 images to the laptop in a single transaction, but in the opposite direction, one image can be sent per transaction. It’s also possible to send video (MP4, AVI, MKV, WMV, MPG, MPEG, FLV, and MOV) and data files (Word, PPT, Excel, PDF, and TXT).
The Huawei P30 Pro is an excellent high-end smartphone and earns a high rating of 9.6/10. As a relatively expensive phone (~$1200), its value (tech for the price) score isn’t very high (4.5/10), but that’s to be expected in that market segment.
Huawei made very sensible choices as it focuses on buyers who want the overall best camera performance (10/10) and battery power (10/10), while the display quality, thinness or weight may not be as high as a priority."THE HUAWEI P30 PRO IS AN EXCEPTIONAL SMARTPHONE"
No handset is the absolute best at everything, but the Huawei P30 Pro is an exceptional smartphone by many objective metrics.
It is unfortunately not officially available in the USA, so you might check for how the support works if you order one from an online retailer. Wherever it is officially supported, we can give it a glowing recommendation. In any case, it is without a doubt one of the best phones of 2019.
- 398 PPI
- f/1.6 Aperture
- Wireless Charging
- Huawei HiSilicon KIRIN 980