Huawei has been upholding its tradition of launching two flagship phones every year for some time now and the first flagship release to come for a year cycle is always a new P series phone. As for 2019, the brand has developed P30 Pro to succeed older P20 Pro. P in the name, as described by the brand, is for photography. Similar to last year’s device, P30 Pro comes with a strong focus on its camera experience. And while photography is one key aspect, Huawei has made sure to equip P30 Pro with all the other latest and greatest hardware as well to make it a true 2019 flagship device. So let’s discuss in this Huawei P30 Pro review if all these high-end specs and photography feature really stand out in this model.
Outfitted with top of the line hardware, Huawei P30 Pro has a Kirin 980 processor coupled with 6GB / 8GB of RAM. Further, it ships with base storage of 128GB — can be spec-ed with 256 / 512GB as well. In true Huawei fashion, the phone comes wrapped in premium materials such as stainless steel and glass. Both hardware and exterior wise, P30 Pro is a true flagship in every sense of the word. However, the climbing price is something that is becoming harder to justify and the flagship tax is becoming even more questionable.
Before our discussion, here is the list of all official Huawei P30 Pro technical specs:
- Network: (GSM / FDD / TDD / WCDMA)
- Display: 6.47-inch Display (19.5:9, 2340 x 1080)
- Processor: Kirin 980
- OS: Android 9.0, EMUI 9.1
- Camera (Rear): Leica Quad Camera: 40 MP (Wide Angle Lens, f/1.6 aperture,OIS) + 20 MP (Ultra Wide Angle Lens, f/2.2 aperture) + 8 MP (Telephoto, f/3.4 aperture,OIS) HUAWEI Time-of-Flight(TOF) Camera
- Camera (Front): 32 MP, f/2.0 aperture
- Connectivity: Type-C USB 3.1 GEN1, Bluetooth 5.0, WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (wave2)
- Memory: 6 GB RAM + 128 GB ROM / 8 GB RAM + 128/256/512 GB ROM
- Dimension: 158.0 x 73.4 x 8.41 mm
- Battery: 4,200mAh
Exterior and Design
P20 from Huawei was the first P series flagship phone to carry a complete glass back, shifting from previous P10 aluminium build. Utilizing the same philosophy, P30 Pro also comes wrapped in glass coupled with a stainless steel chassis surrounding the phone. For overall design, new P30 Pro is quite similar to P20 series. While there are key distinguishing factors that make P30 Pro fundamentally different in terms of design but from a far, the layout of the back is quite similar which makes for a comparable P20 Pro look. This serves in the phone’s favor. It allows P30 Pro to maintain a characteristic Huawei signature, while still managing to stay unique and different from other devices.
Seeing how there is only so much that can be done with a standard bar shape smartphone, Huawei has been utilizing some amazing paint-schemes in its recent devices. Learning from each iteration, the brand has perfected the paint finish on the P30 Pro. Available in solid color finishes such as Black, Pearl White, there are gradient color options available as well which include Breathing Crystal, Amber Sunrise and Aurora. Our unit had the Breathing Crystal color and we must say, it is definitely one of the best color options we have seen on a smartphone. There is so much depth to the finish that it is hard to describe in words — view our high-res photos! Breathing Crystal features multiple hues of blues, purples and even pinks in this single finish. As the light changes, the phone also displays different colors which is mesmerizing and pulls a great amount of attention towards itself. We often found ourselves viewing the back of the phone just to see the paint-job!
For other aspects of design, P30 Pro has a unique, rear quad-camera array arrangement. 3 lens are placed in a vertical manner on the left side (viewing from back). The flash LED and sensors panel is maintained parallel to the main cameras. Interestingly, 4th lens of Huawei P30 Pro’s quad-camera setup is a ToF (TimeOfLight) sensor and doesn’t capture a complete image. This sensor is placed right beneath the flash and sensors setup. This layout is unique to P30 Pro and makes it easily identifiable. Apart from the amazing color scheme and also the traditional Huawei logo, that’s it for the rear.
Inspecting the sides of the phone, all buttons are placed on the right. Carrying from P20 Pro, there is a orange / red highlight on the power button to differentiate from the larger volume rocker. This aspect only adds a new visual element, the feel of the power button is same as the volume buttons so new users will still easily mistake one for the other. For the top, there is infra-red sensor along with a microphone cutout. The right is empty and on the bottom, there is the speaker grill, USB Type-C port and the SIM tray. Unfortunately, there is no 3.5mm headphone jack and no stereo speakers as well.
For the front, this is where the most design changes have arrived when compared with P20 Pro. New P30 Pro drops the large chin, fingerprint button and rectangular notch for a larger, curved display that has a drop-style notch and features fingerprint sensor underneath the display.
Internal Hardware and Performance
For flagships, performance is one key thing that buyers are looking at when it comes to their buying decision. That and, other important internal hardware. As each brand has its own R&D department, all flagship phones come with a unique set of components which excel in certain things as compared to others. Let’s discuss what P30 Pro has to offer in this regard.
The display itself, on the P30 Pro, is curved, which is new and has been carried over from last year’s Mate 20 Pro. The panel itself is an OLED panel that runs at a high resolution of 2340*1080. Further, the fingerprint scanner, despite being underneath the display is quite responsive and fast. If compared to a conventional sensor, it is just a touch slow but for overall experience, it has improved quite a lot from first-gen, beneath glass fingerprint scanners. For accuracy, we have noticed, if your finger is wet, the sensor is considerably inaccurate. This has been a problem for all in-display sensors and Huawei’s take doesn’t solve it, unfortunately.
– Processor, Storage and RAM
Internally, Huawei has outfitted P30 Pro with latest Kirin 980 processor. Kirin being Huawei’s proprietary chipset, it is well optimized to work with EMUI — the brand’s software skin. Processor count on 980 is on par with other 2019 high-end chipsets. Further, Kirin 980 is also based on 7nm FinFET process. It, however, does lose a bit in performance when put to head to head with Snapdragon but what it loses, gains in battery endurance which is a good trade-off. For the performance difference, it is quite technical and not noticeable in normal usage. Overall, P30 Pro snaps effortlessly through heavy apps, daily tasks and everything else in between! We have attached benchmarks for a relative idea of P30 Pro performance figures.
Storage capacities for the Huawei P30 Pro start from 128GB. The base model also comes with reduced 6GB RAM. Other variants, 256GB and 512GB, all come with 8GB RAM. Our unit was the 256GB variant so keep that in mind when viewing benchmark figures.
Large battery modules on phones have become the new standard. Following, P30 Pro comes with a 4,200mAh battery module. A minor jump from 4000 on P20 Pro. However, we were pleasantly surprised about the phone’s battery endurance. Without compromising on display quality, performance, we were easily getting a days worth of heavy usage out of the phone with some to spare for the next day.
In periods where we tested the phone with average use, it survived two complete days with us which is an achievement on its own. This feat has been made possible thanks to optimized EMUI, Kirin 980 and Huawei’s aggressive approach to killing unused apps. If you are in the market for an battery endurance phone, it is hard to find any alternatives to P30 Pro.
Overshadowing all other aspects is Huawei’s camera on the P30 Pro. Overall experience is so beautifully put together that often, when talking about P30 Pro, camera is the subject which is most discussed. As the P name in P30 Pro stands for Photography, Huawei put a strong focus on P30’s mobile photography capabilities.
In our tests, we found P30 Pro’s rear Quad-camera Leica setup quite versatile and well-equipped. Starting from the camera app which supports numerous useful modes, various settings and a clean UI, the hardware itself is high-end as well. There are 4 cameras on the rear: 40 MP (Wide Angle Lens, f/1.6 aperture,OIS) + 20 MP (Ultra Wide Angle Lens, f/2.2 aperture) + 8 MP (Telephoto, f/3.4 aperture,OIS). For the forth, it isn’t a complete camera which captures images but a TimeOfLight sensor to help with digital bokeh in portrait shots. This setup allows P30 Pro to have the best Night Mode on the market and also, makes it capable for upto 50x zoom — a mixture of the telephoto lens and digital processing. Here are some of the sample photos we took with the phone.
We are doing a complete, detailed camera guide for the P30 Pro! Stay tuned!
For the front selfie camera, it is a 32MP module with f/2.0 aperture. The pictures that come out are adequately sharp and have vivid colors. Further, the software supports post-processing features such as beautification which make for even better, perfect pictures.
Again, uniqueness and added functionality is an important aspect for flagship phones. Unlike cheaper options, P30 Pro has to offer something drastically different that justifies the price. We have already established that the phone does indeed come with best in class camera, amazing exterior color options and high-end performance but there is more to it.
– Infrared Sensor
Unlike the norm, P30 Pro offers a top-mounted infrared sensor. Basically, with this, your phone can act as a remote for your appliances ranging from TVs to Air Conditioning units. This added accessibility is great to remove the need for remotes. Adding that extra layer of convenience.
– Reverse Wireless Charging
Making use of the large battery module, 4200mAh, Huawei allows your P30 Pro to become a wireless charging dock. Enabled via software, P30 Pro will be able to charge phones that support wireless charging while being flipped. The charging rate is slow but it works reliably and is a handy functionality that we found ourselves using.
– Huawei SuperCharge
To reduce charging times of the large battery, P30 Pro comes with Huawei SuperCharge which supports up-to maximum input of 40W. Further, the SuperCharge adapter is included within the box which is a big plus. For charging times, the phone can reach to 70% of charge within 30 minutes from zero which is plenty fast especially considering the battery capacity of the phone.
Learning from experience, Huawei has really improved its EMUI skin over the past couple of years. P30 Pro ships with the brand’s latest EMUI 9.1 revision which is itself based on Android Pie.
The concept with EMUI is providing loads of customization features while still managing to keep it easy to use. Also, if you are not into gesture navigation, P30 Pro lets you choose between standard touch buttons of old. Further, as we mentioned when talking about battery endurance, EMUI is greatly optimized to extend battery life-time that too, without making drastic performance compromises.
New EMUI 9.1 boasts a better file-system that is meant to increase read/write times and hence overall performance. There is now easy access to Google Assistant with the power button as well. Older fan favorites such as Phone Manager and Huawei Clone have been carried over. The skin however has a mar-mite look. Some users love it while others don’t. Thanks to Android, that can easily be customized by a full-fledged theme.
If you are waiting for the EMUI 9.1 update to arrive on your Huawei or Honor device, you should check out our complete EMUI 9.1 update schedule.
To complement EMUI, there are few default apps that need to be highlighted as they add to the overall software experience.
Default bundled Huawei P30 Pro Apps and Features:
- Phone Manager: This is sort of a central app provided by Huawei to overview your phone stats and monitor it. It is helpful for cleaning out junk from storage and seeing which apps use the most RAM and all of that sort.
- Themes: Huawei provides this Theme app from which you can download extensive themes for your EMUI device. The good thing is, it has a variety of selection and you can easily filter through.
- HiGame: A sort of redundancy towards Google Play but HiGame basically provides the best games which Huawei has helped in development for its smartphones. Good to browse through when you are searching for an optimized game for your phone.
- Mini Screen View: This built-in mode allows you to shorten the whole display towards the bottom of the screen so that you can use the phone effectively with one hand.
- AR Measure: Supported with P30 Pro, there is a built-in app that uses Augmented Reality to help users measure real life objects.
- Huawei Clone: For users transferring from older smartphones, Huawei Clone offers you to copy over older SMS, photos and other user data to your new P30 Pro quite effectively and automatically.