Last year Huawei, with the help of Leica, released one of
the best camera smartphones to date, and with the P30, they have once again
improved on the formula.
At an event in New York, Huawei sat down with a selection of journalists to check out the P30 and P30 Pro. Finally cutting through all the leaks, rumours, and renders, the new P30 range of devices demonstrates how Huawei is at the top of their game is not simply design, but with a smartphone camera that is hard to beat.
Beginning with the Huawei P30 Pro, you have yourself a genuinely stunning flagship smartphone. The 6.47-inch FHD+ 19.5:9 screen is a pleasure to pick up and use. While it retains a notch, in this case, a teardrop style at top centre, the display is stunning and colours are sharp, clear, and vibrant. The in-screen fingerprint scanner also works as intended, and adds that level of “wow” that many users seek from a modern smartphone. Not to be out-done by the competition, Huawei has included a 32-megapixel front-facing selfie camera, perfect for Instagram, Snapchat, or recording a YouTube video on the go.
Coming in several colour options (Amber Sunrise, Breathing
Crystal, Pearl White, and Aurora and Black) the P30 Pro boasts a selection of
configurations: 128GB, 256GB, or 512GB, all with the ability to expand via
nano-memory card. With an IP68 rating and a massive 4,200 mAh battery that
includes 40W SuperCharge, wireless charging, and reverse wireless charging, the
P30 Pro is checking all the boxes you could want from a smartphone in 2019.
Looking to the back of the device, you will find the new Leica Quad Camera setup. This new array promises some of the best photography available on modern smartphones. The quad-camera setup includes a 40-megapixel main lens, a 16-megapixel Ultra-Wide lens, an 8-megapixel telephoto, and a new “Time of Flight” camera that is used for depth of field photography and more advanced Bokeh effects.
On the smaller P30, Huawei has a 6.1-inch FHD+ (Full HD Plus) display with an aspect ratio of 19.5:9, with the same basic features you can expect on its bigger brother. Carrying with it the same in-screen fingerprint sensor and the same 32-megapixel selfie camera seen on the bigger model, the P30 also includes a 3.5mm headphone jack, but makes some sacrifices with an IP53 rating and a 3,650 mAh battery that sadly lacks the wireless charging seen on the Pro variant.
The rear cameras on the P30 are pared down a bit compared to
the Pro. While it still has most of what the larger model offers, it does lack
the Time of Flight sensor, but in testing, the rear optics look to be on par
with the larger offering, for the most part.
At the core of both phones is the Kirin 980 processor, with
cores dedicated solely to the smart camera features on offer. The P30 Pro also
comes with 8GB RAM, with the P30 boasting a still respectable 6GB.
While it sounds like overkill, in practice, every lens on
offer had a purpose and executed on that purpose beautifully. While AI and the
cloud can do many things (and they do with the P30), there is something to be
said for optics. As someone that still relies on my bulky DSLR for most field
work, optics are a massive part of a good photo, and while I am still unclear just
how much input Leica puts towards the lens and cameras within the Huawei range,
they are still a huge step above most phones in the class range.
With only a few hours to test out the cameras on offer, it
is nearly impossible to give a final verdict on how the P30 compares to the
competition, but what I can say is Huawei has built a fantastic camera-centric
smartphone. Their move to change the colour spectrum used (moving to yellow
over green) managed not only some striking images but also some of—if not the
best—dark photography I have seen on a smartphone.
On the software side, this being a Huawei range of devices
you will find their own flavor of android, EMUI 9.1. Built on top of Android 9
Pie, EMUI bares a striking resemblance to iOS. In practice, it works well. I
have always been a fan of pure Android, but what in on display with EMUI is
inoffensive, and makes for a good transition if they are moving away from an
Apple device. Huawei have boasted about improvements in loading times for many
popular apps, and while they did open quickly, it will take more time with the
device to say for sure how it stacks up to the competition.
Granted, many of these features will need more extensive
testing to fully explore the real potential of what is on offer in the P30 and
P30 Pro, but from the time I have taken with the phones, the new P range for
2019 is impressive. The new cameras are an improvement on past iterations, and
the subtle design choices this time around are a joy to hold and use. We will
have a more extensive look at the phone over the coming weeks, but from
everything we have seen so far, Huawei has built one fantastic camera-centric