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Huawei P30 Pro review: a telescope in your pocket

Pushing digital camera performance to new heights, the Huawei P30 Pro is my new favourite telephone up to now. Its trailing benchmark scores, notably its graphics performance, gained’t affect the telephone’s usability for business users. That deterrent is additional diminished by its excellent set of cameras, which tout supreme low mild performance, and the 50 occasions zoom is like carrying a telescope in your back pocket if in case you have regular palms. And with a 4,200mAh battery, you’ll be able to shoot all day too. If you’re choosing one up in Canada, do yourself a favour and get the Respiration Crystal colour; it’s simply too lovely to move up.

  • Zoom to the moon
  • Jaw-dropping lowlight performance
  • Wonderful battery life and lightning-fast charging
  • TOF sensor produces lovely bokeh
  • Fast animations add to a snappy really feel
  • Notch is small enough to ignore
  • Lovely color choices
  • Comparatively reasonably priced in comparison with most other flagship telephones

  • The usual vast digital camera doesn’t reign supreme at native zoom
  • Single base-firing speaker
  • Show isn’t as vibrant in HDR
  • No headphone jack
  • Can really feel heavy with a strong case

Huawei P30 Pro Specifications

IdentifyHuawei P30Huawei P30 Pro
ChipsetHiSilicon Kirin 980
Display6.1″ 2,340 x 1080p HDR OLED6.47″ 2,340 x 1,080p HDR OLED
Digital camera (Rear)
  • 40 MP, f/1.eight normal vast angle
  • 16 MP, f/2.2 ultra-wide angle
  • 8MP, f/2.4 telephoto
  • 40 MP, f/1.6 normal extensive angle
  • 20 MP, f/2.2 ultra-wide angle
  • Periscope 8 MP, f/3.four telephoto
  • ToF sensor
Digital camera (Entrance)32MP32MP
Battery3,650 mAhfour,200 mAh
Audiomono base speaker


Flagship telephones in 2019 virtually mandate a glass back. Since wi-fi charging is pretty much a commonplace in flagship phones, glass is the right material that lets electromagnetic waves permeate by means of while exuding a premium really feel. The draw back is that it’s slippery and susceptible to cracking when dropped. I promptly snapped on the included rubber case upon opening the field.

Each the entrance and rear aspect glass curve in the direction of the profile’s centre. The proper aspect is house to the facility button and quantity rocker, whereas the left is just flush.

Huawei hasn’t finished something artistic to cover the 32MP front-facing digital camera. It’s embroidered in a teardrop notch dangling from the top edge. What’s hidden, nevertheless, is the earpiece grill. Huawei has walled off the earpiece behind the display for a flush, all-screen look.

Also slid underneath the display is the fingerprint reader. Since it’s a purely optical sensor, it isn’t as elaborate nor as safe as the ultrasonic fingerprint sensor on the Samsung Galaxy S10+. Still, it’s impressively quick and reliable even when my fingers have been damp.

Most flagship telephones both have two base-firing audio system, or combine the earpiece with the underside speaker to create left and proper channels. The P30 Pro sorely misses each, utilizing only a single bottom speaker to ship sound. It doesn’t sound terrible, per se, but its weak output will shortly drive you to connect it to a devoted speaker. What’s really felony shouldn’t be together with a headphone jack. Yes, I’m nonetheless sour about that in 2019.

The soul of the P30 Pro is in its all-important digital camera array. This time around, you get an ultra wide-angle digital camera, commonplace vast digital camera, and the famous periscope digital camera that can deliver 5 occasions optical zoom. Next to the glass array is the time-of-flight sensor, which is used to measure depth.


Although it scores properly in sharpness and brightness, the P30 Pro’s AMOLED show trails behind other flagship panels in color quality, particularly relating to HDR content material. Regardless of being HDR-certified, its colours appear slightly muted and fewer saturated in the upper colour spectrums. In this regard, the Samsung Galaxy S10+ and its new dynamic AMOLED simply takes the crown.

Because of its slender, lengthy physique, the show’s 19.5:9 facet ratio is pretty near the facet ratio of most films and movies, which are often shot at 16:9. This leaves thinner black bars on both aspect. Dispersing a 2,340 x 1,080p decision across a 6.47″ show area can appear scattered on paper, however its pixel density is more than enough to stop a “screen-door” impact.


This marks the third time the Kirin 980 has appeared in a flagship Huawei telephone. The Kirin 980 Pro is designed by Huawei and made by HiSilicon based mostly on ARM CPUs and made using the 7nm course of. At the time of writing, Huawei has already announced its successor, the Kirin 985, that may doubtless be released with its subsequent new telephone in autumn this yr.

Once I reviewed the Mate 20 Pro final yr, the Kirin 980’s efficiency didn’t blow me away. It was aggressive to Apple’s A11 Bionic chip in compute, however trailed each the A11 Bionic and the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 in graphics performance, finally ensuing in low scores in 3D Mark’s SlingShot Excessive and PC Mark Work The performance difference was translated into real-world efficiency; Player Unkown Battleground (PUBG) ran smoother on my Google Pixel 3 XL and the iPhone XS.


The Geekbench benchmark exams for single and multi-core efficiency although integer, floating point, cryptography, and reminiscence workloads. All checks are finished utilizing the CPU with out GPU acceleration.

Until a state of affairs dictates, most people will probably be utilizing the telephone on their “balanced” energy mode for one cause: battery. So while enabling performance mode does give the Kirin 980 a slight increase, it’s just not value the extra warmth and energy consumption. In its balanced energy mode, the Kirin 980 scored 3,290 and 9,812 in Geekbench’s single and multi-core check respectively, maintaining final yr’s efficiency and trailing the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 by solely a few proportion points.

PC Mark Work 2.0

PC Mark Work 2.0 more intently simulates real-world utilization by testing the complete telephone’s hardware ecosystem, stressing the CPU, GPU, storage, and RAM unexpectedly by means of a number of work-related tasks.

As anticipated, the P30 Execs scored identically to the Huawei Mate 20 Pro (7,709). It trails the Google Pixel 3 XL (9,151) by 15 per cent and the Samsung Galaxy S10+ (9,746) by 20 per cent.

3D Mark

As its identify implies, 3D mark checks for a telephone’s graphics processing efficiency using a various variety of geometries and effects.

I don’t know what kind of optimization Huawei added, however the Mali G-76 GPU jumped by 19 per cent in performance compared to the Mate 20 Pro. Although it’s still behind the Qualcomm Snapdragon’s Adreno 630 GPU, the hole is now simply a bit narrower.

With strong processor efficiency, improved graphics efficiency, and a quicker filesystem, why the P30 Pro doesn’t rating greater in PC Mark Work is beyond me. None-the-less, real-world utilization completely does not faze the P30 Pro in any means. Whether or not it’s spreadsheets, photograph modifying, social media, or something in between, the P30 Pro is more than able to handling them suddenly and then some.

Digital camera

Huawei’s “P(hotography)” collection smartphones maintain digital camera performance paramount — a lot so, in reality, that the remainder of the telephone might really feel like an afterthought at occasions.

Rear Digital camera

Commonplace vast angle

A digital camera’s benefit is based upon a basket of things, one in every of which is detail — the capability to reveal the topic’s intricacies and is partially dictated by the number of pixels. Cramming a high number of pixels into a small space increases the resolution, but smaller pixels are worse at capturing mild. Conversely, a low number of larger pixels can extra simply capture mild, however compromises on the decision. There isn’t any golden ratio here; balancing the 2 depends upon the technologies at play and is an ongoing effort by all digital camera producers.

It looks like Huawei has opted for the previous by equipping the P30 Pro with a 40MP sensor. However by default, the digital camera solely shoots at 10MP. To seize more mild, the P30 Pro’s digital camera groups 4 pixels together into a single digital pixel. I was hoping that I might be capable of capture extra detail by enabling the higher resolution capture, however it turned out that wasn’t the case; the 40MP capturing mode only added marginally more element at the value at three to 4 occasions the file measurement. See the comparison gallery under.

The P30 Pro’s normal digital camera is not any slouch, however it nonetheless pales in comparability to the Google Pixel 3XL. The side-by-side comparison under pits its 40MP mode towards the Google Pixel 3XL. Even when expanded to equal magnification, it’s evident that the Pixel three XL is superior.

Extremely-wide angle

Unfortunately, the ultra-wide angle digital camera isn’t optically stabilized, which suggests you’ll have to to have steadier palms when capturing night time scenes. In addition to barrel distortion, picture high quality is unbelievable when lighting is sweet.

Periscope zoom digital camera

I first tried out the P30 Pro final month in New York, the place Huawei invited reviewers to get an unique look. Again then, I principally explored its periscope zoom sensor and weren’t allowed to export image samples.

And which will have been a good factor, because the periscope digital camera can capture far more than you’d anticipate. At 5x zoom, its footage are sharper than some other digital camera at equivalent focal lengths. 10x zoom turns into a little more durable to work with, each as a result of greater noise degree and amplified motion sway.

Lastly, in what I name “creeper mode”, you’ll be able to stretch the zoom all the best way to 50x, which is equivalent to a 125mm focal size. While it wasn’t my intention, I was capable of discern the inside particulars of a automotive parked at my office — from our Ninth-floor workplace. Had I carried out this in New York, some poor bloke from the constructing throughout the road might have turn into the unlucky sufferer of getting his horrible work day recorded.

Low mild

Whereas the hyper-magnified 10x hybrid zoom enabled me to deal with topics in new artistic ways, the P30 Pro’s true lifeblood flows in its night time time images potential. In its New York presentation, a Huawei spokesperson stated that its new RYYB Bayer filter captures 40 per cent extra mild than conventional RGGB filters. It additionally proudly touted that its new digital camera sensor has four occasions the brightness (for digital camera geeks, ISO sensitivity) of a Canon 5D DSLR, and twice that of its P20 Pro launched last yr.

I wasn’t absolutely convinced through the presentation and dismissed their numbers as nothing greater than boisterous advertising. After using it for two weeks as my day by day driver, nevertheless, I was a believer; the comparability gallery under showcases its sensible efficiency in light-starved situations.

Every of the three candidates — Huawei P30 Pro, Samsung Galaxy S10+, and Google Pixel three XL — have their own devoted night time mode, but they’re removed from being equal. With decrease noise and higher exposure, the Huawei P30 Pro utterly outshines the Galaxy S10+’s lackluster night time mode and even trounces Google’s Night time Sight AI wizardry.

Entrance Digital camera

The P30 Pro also boasts a powerful 32MP front digital camera that delivers some pretty good results. A number of AI options are available to create your own emojis and stickers, too.

Software and Options

The P30 Pro’s EMUI 9.1 — an incremental update to the EMUI released last yr — is aesthetically equivalent to EMUI 9.0 launched final yr and retains all of its options.

However that additionally means it inherits all of its useless apps. Tucked away in an app folder are the forgettable Music, Video, and Notes. While it’s a good concept to have defaults, apps like Mirror, which is literally simply the front digital camera, and compass don’t have to be taking over area.

Additionally, are antivirus software turning into a norm for Android smartphones? The Samsung Galaxy S10+ had an optionally available antivirus by McAfee, and the P30 Pro has one by Avast built into its optimizer app.

Even if the hardware is prime notch, software animation velocity can significantly have an effect on its perceived performance. Though they aren’t as fairly, EMUI’s snappy animations make navigation quick and fluid, decreasing the molasses really feel when switching between many apps.

Each time I obtain a new telephone, gesture control is a function I allow virtually instantly. I personally find it more intuitive and easier to carry out when working with one hand. The P30 Pro’s gesture set is very similar to Apple’s: swipe up to retreat to the house display, swipe in from the left to return, and the fitting to go ahead. Transitioning from the Google Pixel XL’s Android gestures took a couple of hours, however they’re undoubtedly much more intuitive.

Saving the most effective for final, a central function of EMUI 9.1 is Huawei’s personal EROFS filesystem, which controls how knowledge is stored and accessed. First introduced back in the middle of 2018, the new file system guarantees quicker random read efficiency and better compression over Ext4. And since it’s a read-only reminiscence, it revokes write permissions for important system purposes to stop external tampering.

Battery life

With a battery capability that’s equivalent to the Huawei Mate 20 Pro, I’d anticipated the P30 Pro to last for at the very least a day and a half on a full cost. Its large four,200 mAh cell simply lasts seven hours of screen-on time. Though enabling performance mode dampens that a bit, I not often had to enterprise into it as the telephone is already lots quick even with out it.

Just because the Mate 20 Pro earlier than it, the P30 Pro can wirelessly cost in each instructions. Set it on a charging pad and it will fill its battery, or give one other telephone a increase by enabling reverse wireless charging. It looks like a gimmick until it saves your work telephone from expiring or pulls your smartwatch back from the brink of demise.

Capacity is great, but charging a giant cell can take hours without a quick charger (I’m taking a look at you, Galaxy S10+), which is why I’m so appreciative of Huawei’s 40W charger. On days once I overlook to plug my telephone in at night time, it could actually charge from zero to 70 in a mere half-an-hour, greater than enough for a full day of use.

Worth and competitors

Although the P30 Pro is just purchasable by means of carriers, It’s featured at practically each major Canadian wi-fi service.

Given its great hardware, construct high quality, and design, the P30 Pro continues to be expensive, but has the hardware to punch method above its pay grade. It can be discovered between $1,099 (Fido) to $1,315 (Koodo) outright. In comparison with the roster present era of high-priced flagship phones, the P30 Pro delivers extra value.

Priced in parity with the Samsung Galaxy S10, the P30 Pro has the upper ground in battery capacity, design, and general digital camera efficiency, whereas the Galaxy S10 triumphs in show colour quality, pinhole digital camera, and a safer fingerprint sensor. It’s essential to notice that although the Galaxy S10 wins in more categories, its victories are minor in addition to the display. The P30 Pro, then again, wins by healthy margins in the classes that it excels in.

One other contender is Huawei’s own Mate 20 Pro, which features the same chipset because the P30 Pro and its personal triple cameras however lacks the periscope zoom, new picture sensor, and the ToF sensor. It additionally shorts 2GB of RAM and has a obvious notch on the prime. Hovering at around $1,044 to $1,299 on Amazon, you’re higher off paying a little additional for the P30 Pro as an alternative.


With well-rounded performance and phenomenal cameras, the P30 Pro is a tempting upgrade even in comparison with last yr’s P20 Pro and the Mate 20 Pro. I don’t typically advocate upgrading from a telephone that’s just a yr previous, but you’ll undoubtedly recognize the numerous leap in digital camera quality.

Digital camera apart, the P30 Pro also brings some notable design modifications over the P20. The devoted house button has been removed in favor of an in-display answer, decreasing chin thickness. The show intently resembles the one on the Mate 20 Pro, with curved glass on front and back that assist create a razor-like profile. Albeit heavy (particularly with a case), the telephone straightforward to carry with one hand, and the respiration crystal colour choice is beautiful to take a look at.

Objectively speaking, the Kirin 980 SoC does indeed fall behind the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 and Apple A12 Bionic chipsets in efficiency, but you gained’t notice that distinction in even heavy productivity and multitasking. Regardless of its nimble package deal, it packs a large 4,200 mAh battery that easily lasts until the subsequent sunrise and even the one after. And since its 40W charger can get it from zero to 70 per cent in 30 minutes, this is a telephone that gained’t expertise any downtime.

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