It's been a month since Huawei introduced its latest flagship device: the Huawei P30 Pro. I've played with the P30 and P30 Pro for a few weeks and I've been impressed with the camera system.
The P30 Pro is the successor of the P20 Pro and presents improvements in all areas. It could have been a really remarkable phone, but some problems still retain it compared to more traditional Android phones, such as Google Pixel 3 or OnePlus 6T.
A star device
The P30 Pro is by far the most premium device on the P line. It features a giant 6.7-inch OLED display, a small tear notch near the top, a fingerprint sensor integrated into the screen and many cameras .
Before immersing yourself in the camera system, let's talk about the general feeling of the device. Compared to last year's P20 Pro, the company removed the fingerprint sensor at the bottom of the screen and reduced the notch. The fingerprint sensor does not work as well as a dedicated fingerprint sensor, but it does the job.
It has become difficult to differentiate smartphones based on the design, since it looks a lot like the OnePlus 6T or the Samsung Galaxy S10. The screen has an aspect ratio of 19.5: 9 with a resolution of 2340 × 1080, and is curved around the edges.
The result is a phone with smooth curves. The industrial design is less angular, although the upper and lower edges of the device have flattened. Huawei uses an aluminum frame and a glass with colorful gradients on the back of the device.
Unfortunately, the curved screen does not work as well in practice. If you open an application with a unified white background, such as Gmail, you can see some strange-looking shadows near the edges.
Below the surface, the P30 Pro uses a system on a Kirin 980 chip. The Huawei home chip performs well. To be honest, smartphones have performed well for some years. It is already hard to complain about performance.
The phone has a headphone jack, a 40W USB-C charging port and an impressive 4,200 mAh battery. For the first time, Huawei added wireless charging to the P series (up to 15W).
You can also charge another phone or accessory with reverse wireless charging, such as the Samsung Galaxy S10. Unfortunately, you have to manually activate the function in the configuration every time you want to use it.
Huawei also removed the loudspeaker grille at the top of the screen. The company now vibrates the screen to turn it into a small speaker for their calls. In my experience, it works well.
While the phone is shipped with Android Pie, Huawei still puts a lot of software customization with its EMUI user interface. There are a dozen useless Huawei apps that probably make sense in China, but they do not necessarily have to be there if you use Google applications.
For example, the HiCare application keeps sending me notifications. The integration process is also quite confusing, since some screens refer to Huawei's features, while others refer to standard Android features. It will definitely not be a good experience for people who are not technology experts.
(P30 Pro on the left, P30 on the right)
Four cameras to master them all.
The P20 Pro already had some excellent camera sensors and paved the way for night photos on the latest Android devices. The P30 Pro camera system can be summed up in two words: more and better.
The P30 Pro now presents not one, not two, not three but f-o-u-r Sensors on the back of the device.
- The main camera is a 40 MP 27 mm sensor with an aperture of f / 1.6 and optical image stabilization.
- There is a 20 MP (16 mm) wide-angle lens with an aperture of f / 2.2.
- The 8 MP telephoto lens offers an optical zoom of almost 5x compared to the main lens (125 mm) with an aperture of f / 3.4 and optical image stabilization.
- There is a new flight time sensor under the flash of the P30 Pro. The phone projects infrared light and captures the reflection with this new sensor.
It has already become a kind of meme: yes, the zoom works incredibly well in the P30 Pro. In addition to packing many megapixels in the main sensor, the company added a telephoto with a periscope design. The sensor has a mirror to transmit light at a right angle and place more layers of glass on the sensor without the phone being too thick.
The company also combines the main sensor of the camera with the telephoto sensor to allow it to capture photographs with a 10x zoom with a digital-optical hybrid zoom.
Here is a series of photos with the wide-angle lens, the normal lens, a 5x zoom and a 10x zoom:
And it works incredibly well in the light of day. Unfortunately, you will not be able to use the telephoto lens at night, since it does not work as well as the main camera.
In addition to the hardware improvements, Huawei has also worked on the algorithms that process their shots. The night mode works incredibly well. Just hold the phone for 8 seconds so you can capture as much light as possible. This is what it looks like in a completely dark room vs. an iPhone X:
Huawei has also improved HDR processing and portrait photos. That new flight time sensor works well when it comes to distinguishing a face from the background, for example.
Once again, Huawei is a bit too heavy with post-processing. If you use your camera with the Master AI setting, the colors are too saturated. The grass looks much greener than it actually is. Smoothing the skin with the selfie camera also feels weird. The phone also aggressively smoothes surfaces in dark shots.
When you choose a brand of smartphone, you also choose a certain style of photography. I am not a fan of saturated photos, so Huawei's tendency towards non-natural colors does not work in my favor.
But if you like extremely vivid shots with incredibly good sensors, the P30 Pro is for you. This range of lenses opens many possibilities and gives you more flexibility.
The P30 Pro is not available in the US UU But the company has already covered the streets of major European cities with P30 Pro ads. It costs € 999 ($ 1,130) for 128 GB of storage; There are more expensive options with more storage.
Huawei also introduced a smaller device: the P30. It is always interesting to observe the commitments of the most affordable model.
On that front, there's a lot I like about the P30. For € 799 ($ 900) with 128GB, you get a solid phone. It has a 6.1-inch OLED screen and shares many specifications with its larger version.
The P30 presents the same system on a chip, the same tear notch, the same fingerprint sensor on the screen, the same screen resolution. Surprisingly, the P30 Pro does not have a headphone jack, while the P30 does have one.
There are some things you will not find on the P30, such as wireless charging or the curved screen. While the edges of the device are slightly curved, the screen is completely flat. And I think it looks better.
The cameras are a little worse on the P30, and you can not zoom so aggressively. Here is the full summary:
- A main sensor of 40 MP with an aperture of f / 1.8 and optical image stabilization.
- A 16 MP wide-angle lens with an aperture of f / 2.2.
- An 8 MP telephoto lens that should provide a 3x optical zoom.
- Without flight time sensor.
In the end, it really depends on what you're looking for. The P30 Pro definitely has the best cameras in the P series. But the P30 is also an attractive phone for those looking for a smaller device.
Huawei has once again exceeded the limits of what you can pack on a smartphone when it comes to cameras. While iOS and Android are more mature than ever, it's fascinating to see that hardware improvements are not slowing down.