Huawei wants to set a new standard for smartphone photography and is trying that with a number of interesting innovations. The P30 Pro makes a big impression with its camera and is a top smartphone in almost everything. You can read more about it in this Huawei P30 Pro review.
Read the Huawei P30 Pro review
Huawei was very successful last year with the P20 Pro, a smartphone with an impressive camera and battery life. The company hopes to surpass this success with the P30 Pro, which again focuses primarily on the camera. During the presentation of the smartphone in Paris, Huawei compared the performance of the P30 Pro camera in almost every way with that of the competition. But you always have to wait and see how good the results are in practice.
Fortunately, Huawei has surpassed itself on almost all points. The camera has been considerably improved, but the manufacturer also shows that it is one of the big boys on other fronts. In this review, we discuss all the features of the new flagship.
Huawei P30 Pro Beautiful and luxurious design
Regarding design, the necessary changes have been made. The Huawei P30 Pro review is a bit more luxurious than its predecessor and looks more like the Mate 20 Pro. The housing is made of glass, with the front and back of the sides bending towards each other.
That looks nice, ensures that the Huawei P30 Pro review fits comfortably in the hand and it even gives some grip. Nevertheless, it is smart to use a case: the glass is fragile and fingerprints (especially if you choose the black variant) are quickly visible.
That the Huawei P30 Pro looks and feels luxury is also due to the fact that the smartphone is relatively heavy. With a weight of 192 grams – which is partly caused by the large battery – the phone is a tough boy, certainly because it is not particularly handy. I personally don’t mind this: a little more weight actually contributes to the feeling that you are holding a modern and expensive smartphone in your hands.
On the right side of the case you will find the volume buttons and on/off button. At the bottom are the USB-C port and a single speaker. Unlike many competitors, there are no stereo speakers, and you notice that. The Huawei P30 Pro review can be quite loud and if you occasionally listen to a song it is fine to do, but it does not sound very good.
What is nice is that the smartphone is IP68 certified and can withstand dust and water. So you don’t have to worry if you have to use the P30 Pro for a while in the rain. Unfortunately, there is no headphone connection available: you connect earbuds via Bluetooth or the USB-C port.
Huawei P30 Pro Full HD screen with a small notch
The screen of the Huawei P30 Pro is at 6.47 inches a bit larger than the display of the P20 Pro (6.1 inches) and the manufacturer has done that by making the edges smaller. For example, the bezel on the bottom has shrunk considerably because the fingerprint scanner is no longer there, and the notch is considerably reduced. The notch is now very narrow and is just big enough for the selfie camera.
Because of this, there is no advanced face recognition like on the Mate 20 Pro, but you also do not suffer from a big bite from the screen. Incidentally, face recognition is present, but goes through the front camera and that is a lot less secure. The front row consists of almost 89 percent screen, with the P20 Pro that was 82 percent. The small notch, therefore, contributes to that and is so small that you never actually suffer from it.
The screen resolution is 2340 by 1080 pixels and that is not particularly high for a smartphone in this price range. Yet it is no problem because the OLED screen is more than sharp enough and produces beautiful images. Colors splash off the screen and the P30 Pro is also easy to read in bright sunlight. The lower resolution is also favorable for the performance and battery life of the phone, and we, therefore, think Huawei is a good choice.
Huawei P30 Pro Hardware and fingerprint scanner
Huawei has not made any ‘concessions’ on internal hardware. The P30 Pro is powered by the Kirin 980 chip that is also included in the Mate 20 Pro, and that is a very fast processor. In addition, there is 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage space as standard. That is more than enough for good performance and more than enough space for all your media.
During my test period, I have not been bothered by interruptions or other delays: the Huawei P30 Pro review runs like a charm and flies through the software.
Because the large border at the bottom – which was there for the fingerprint scanner, among other things – has disappeared, Huawei has placed the scanner in the screen. It is an optical fingerprint scanner, where a part of the display lights up to unlock if you put your finger on it. Such a scanner is also included in the Mate 20 Pro and OnePlus 6T but works considerably better on the P30 Pro.
Huawei is talking about a speed improvement of 30 percent and although that is difficult to measure, the fingerprint scanner actually feels smoother. He is also a bit more reliable and rarely refuses service. Even if your fingers are a bit wet due to the rain, the Huawei phone will unlock fairly quickly. It is not as fast as a capacitive fingerprint scanner – which could have been on the back, for example – but I can live with this very well.
Huawei P30 Pro Software remains a circus
Until now, there is not much to criticize the Huawei P30 Pro, but the software is always a story for the Chinese company. Unfortunately, this also applies to the P30 Pro, because although the phone runs on Android 9.0 (Pie), Huawei does lay its own skin over the software. EMUI remains a thorn in the eye and simply makes too many adjustments to Android.
The software looks a bit messy and contains many proprietary Huawei apps that add little to nothing. The quick settings panel, for example, contains fifteen buttons as standard, which is not nice if you like a tidy look. Huawei wants to add as many functions as possible to Android and although some of them are quite useful, it remains a challenge for the manufacturer to present them to you in a well-organized manner.
The latest version of EMUI, 9.1.0, is a lot better than previous versions and the settings app is now reasonably logical. The nice thing about EMUI is the dark mode, which makes many elements of the interface black, which is handy if you use the P30 Pro in the evenings. The OLED display also makes it more convenient for battery life. With this Huawei is already slightly ahead of Android Q, which introduces a system-wide dark fashion.
With regard to updates, Huawei is fortunately in good shape. The manufacturer promises to support the P30 Pro for three years and usually releases a security patch every month so that you remain protected against vulnerabilities in Android. You can also assume that you will receive two major Android upgrades: in this case, these are Android Q and Android R. What happens next with the P30 Pro is still difficult to say.
Huawei P30 Pro camera makes a big impression
The absolute highlight of the Huawei P30 Pro is the camera. At the rear is a quadruple camera. It is a primary camera of a 40-megapixel camera, a wide-angle lens of 20 megapixels, an 8-megapixel camera with periscopic zoom and a Time of Flight sensor to collect depth. That ToF sensor is used for portrait photos, for example, and in practice, it produces beautiful images.
That 40-megapixel camera and the camera with zoom have optical image stabilization, which means that photos do not immediately become blurred if you do not have fixed hands. In addition, Huawei’s software helps to keep images sharp.
Let’s not get around it too much: the Huawei P30 Pro has a very good camera. The big innovation is the periscopic zoom, which means that you can zoom up to 5x optically, without losing any quality. We have of course extensively tested the zoom function and the results are impressive.
Optical zooming is very useful in practice and Huawei has a head start over the competition, which often offers up to 2x optical zooming. You can simply bring images much closer and the image stabilization and camera software ensure that photos stay sharp. This is also the case with the hybrid zoom (up to 10x), where photos hardly compromise on quality. Normally you have to take a few steps to capture something in the distance with your smartphone, but with the P30 Pro, this is no longer necessary. It is great that Huawei has achieved this and offers real added value.
The P30 Pro camera also excels when shooting in low light situations. The camera uses a special technique to capture more light, so you don’t even have to start the night mode to take a usable photo. If you do this, the results are almost magical.
The photo below shows that the P30 Pro was able to capture the text on the wall well, while the room was almost completely dark. The camera almost makes it look like the photo was taken during the day, and sometimes performs better in the dark than the Pixel 3 XL, which is the king with its Night Sight function when it comes to photography in the dark.
As expected, the camera also performs well in daylight. Photos have a lot of detail, color eyes of course and even if you don’t have steady hands, you get a good photo.
The ultra-wide lens is very useful in situations like this (but also in the evening) because you put a lot more on the picture and at the same time create a great effect. All in all, Huawei shows how smartphone photography can be even better and sets a high standard for upcoming top devices from other manufacturers.
Huawei P30 Pro Excellent battery life and very fast charging
The Huawei P30 Pro review also excels with its battery life. Under the hood is a 4200 mAh battery and that is – even now that manufacturers are putting larger and larger batteries into smartphones – quite substantial. It also ensures an excellent battery life, although that will also be due to the fact that EMUI uses apps in the background aggressively. And then you also have the relatively low resolution of the screen.
With normal use, you can use the smartphone for two days without charging, and that is very neat. Even when I really did my best and used the P30 Pro very intensively, I did not manage to drain the battery at the end of the day. On two days, the P30 Pro even tapped a nine-hour screen-on time; bizarre good.
Also nice is that the battery is very quickly full again. Huawei supplies a 40-watt charger, which ensures that the smartphone is 70 percent full again after half an hour of power. That too is faster than almost all other Android smartphones. Fully charging the battery takes a little longer than an hour.
Wireless charging is, of course, available and that goes with a maximum of 15 Watt, which is faster than the wireless charging speed of the Samsung Galaxy S10, for example. There is also ‘reverse wireless charging’ to charge other devices – such as smartphones that support wireless charging – by placing them on the back of the P30 Pro. In practice, this is rather slow and you can better use the feature for accessories such as wireless earbuds.
Conclusion Huawei P30 Pro review
The Huawei P30 Pro review does a lot of good and very little error. The camera is without a doubt among the best of the moment, the device is nice and easy to use and the battery life is excellent. We also find the very fast charging a big plus and the optical fingerprint scanner performs surprisingly well.
The P30 Pro is certainly not perfect: the software remains mediocre, there is no headphone connection and the speakers are only reasonable. In addition, you pay the main prize for all plus points: 999 euros. Many people will really find that too much and possibly opt for the ‘normal’ Huawei P30 Pro review. However, it is true that Huawei phones usually fall in price quickly and therefore you might want to wait a while until the device gets home. If you buy the P30 Pro now, you will get an excellent smartphone.