Huawei Announces The P30 & P30 Pro: A Total Rethinking of Photography

Today, here in Paris, Huawei is taking the wraps off the new flagship P devices, along with their newest flagships, the P30 and the P30 Pro. The P30 delivers a serious emphasis on cameras and design and Huawei really thinks that this is the best device it has ever made, and I’m inclined to believe.

Huawei P30 Pro
Starting with the most impressive feature of the P30, it’s new SuperSensing image sensor. This is the same 40mp resolution of last year, but practically everything else has changed. Starting with the way a camera sees colour. There is something called a Bayer filter, you’ve likely seen it before. It’s a grid of colours organised by RGGB (Red, Green, Green, Blue) and what Huawei has done is swap that Green for Yellow, as Yellow is a more sensitive colour to light, meaning they can suck in more light for better low light shots, but also increase dynamic range in daylight. This may sound simple, but if you think about it a bit more, everything in film and digital is there to look for RGB, Red, Green and Blue, so to change just one of those is still a massive undertaking, and from the testing I’ve undertaken, Huawei has been able to pull it off with no detriment to standard images, which is ridiculously impressive.

What about the other cameras on the rear? Well, keeps rest of the Leica Quad Camera setup houses a 20mp ultrawide angle sensor, Huawei keeps telling us that it is greater than 120 degrees, but not a specific angle, either way, 120 degrees is very wide and comes to an effective focal length of 16mm. The next is the cool kid, the new transfer student, this is the 8mp Zoom camera, this is a new periscope style camera wherein the sensor is mounted 90 degrees and a series of mirrors are used, just as with a submarine periscope in order to give enough distance to get a 5x Optical Zoom! With a 10x Hybrid zoom, which uses data from all 3 sensors and uses the NPU to stitch it all together and approximate the results, and boy are they impressive. The last camera, which, in my opinion, is a bit of a stretch, is a ToF, or Time of Flight sensor used for more accurate depth mapping, used for portrait shots, and also AR applications.

Huawei P30 Pro
The P30 Pro isn’t just about the camera though, Huawei is making a big deal about the design this time around as well. With smooth glass and polished metal adorning the chassis all blended into each other, it’s hard to not call the P30 Pro beautiful, especially in the stunning colours it comes in this time. You can choose from the standard Black, or the luscious Pearl White, or the absolutely stunning set of new colours, Breathing Crystal, Aurora and Amber Sunrise. I’m personally pretty partial to the Breathing Crystal, which looks even more stunning in real life and is nearly impossible to photograph effectively, though they truly are all lovely.

Inside, the P30 Pro is still a 2019 flagship, so it is outfitted with the Kirin 980 SoC from Huawei owned HiSilicon, consisting of 2x Cortex A76 at 2.6Ghz Peak clocks, with 2 other Cortex A76s at a more reasonable 1.9Ghz, and then 5 Cortex A55s at 1.8Ghz, with a monstrous Mali G76 MP10 GPU. This thing absolutely flies, and with 8GB of RAM, you shouldn’t have to worry about things closing either. Closing out the ridiculous specifications are the internal storage options, ranging from 128GB all the way up to 512GB and pair that with the biggest Nano-Memory Card you can get right now (256GB) and you can have a phone with ¾ of a terabyte of storage.

Well, with all that power do you have to worry about your battery? Nope! Huawei shoved a massive 4200mAh battery in there, and to stop it taking an age to charge, they also included the impressive 40w SuperCharging that debuted on the Mate 20 Pro in October last year. For good measure, you’ve got 15w wireless charging and reverse wireless charging at about 5w as well – neat!
The screens are massive this year too. The P30 Pro has increased to 6.47” but due to the reduction in bezels, it doesn’t feel unmanageable in the slightest, which is great because I really wouldn’t want to be dropping this. That 6.47” Display is an OLED panel (reportedly from Samsung) with dual curves on the edges and it really does look stunning. There is a minute notch at the top for the 32MP front-facing camera, but no earpiece, that’s because the P30 Pro vibrates the top part of the screen to be your earpiece, and in my testing, it’s pretty damn awesome actually.

Something that I wasn’t actually expecting to be that good if I’m honest was the in display fingerprint scanner. It is still an optical sensor, and it is still smaller than I’d like, but it is larger than the Mate 20 Pro and lower down on the screen, making it easier to use. It’s also significantly faster than the Mate 20 Pro, and in my time with the phone I was only able to get it to fail once on purpose, every other time I unlocked the phone, it just worked, even if it was a bit slower than the capacitive ones I’m used to on Huawei devices.

The standard Huawei P30 is just a tad scaled back from the Pro variant. For instance, whereas the Pro has a 6.47” OLED screen, the P30 has a 6.1” OLED screen. Both have the same resolution. The camera takes a bit of a step down too. You lose the ToF camera, and the Optical zoom goes from 5x down to 3x and you lose the periscope also, just a standard lens here. Wide-angle has gone from 20MP to 16MP also, but you do still get the standard 40MP SuperSpectrum sensor. The biggest annoyance for me is that the standard P30 doesn’t have 40w SuperCharging, it “makes do” with the normal 22.5w SuperCharging to top up it’s 3650mAh battery.

The P30 also loses out on the cool earpiece, but it does pick up support for stereo speakers because of it, and for those that care, there is also a 3.5mm audio jack. The P30 standard is not a bad phone, in fact, I personally think it feels nicer in the hand, but I wish there wasn’t such a gulf between the two devices. Give them the same cameras at the very least.

UPDATE: We have just been provided with release dates and pricing for both the P30 and P30 Pro in the UK and they are both available as of today (March 26th). The 128GB P30 comes in at £699, with the 128GB P30 Pro coming in at £899 with the 512gb at£1099, we dont know which colours will be available in the UK, but I would assume the headlining colours are.

About Domenico Lamberti

Technology has been a big part of my life for years, whether it be ripping the family computer apart to see how it worked, playing with the new phones that Dad brought home from work. Senior Reviewer for MTT.

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