Huawei has just announced the P30 Pro. I was fortunate enough to try it out a couple of weeks before launch, so already have an insight into its strengths and weaknesses. If you’re thinking of buying it, here’s what you need to know. But first, some photos of the device:
Huawei P30 Pro photos
What is the P30 Pro? How does it differ from other Huawei phones?
The P in P30 stands for photography, and if you don’t take advantage of the camera inside this phone then you’re wasting your money. If you remove the camera, it’s strikingly similar to the Mate 20 Pro – the same processor and the same fundamental look and feel.
Like the Mate 20 Pro, it also includes an in-screen fingerprint reader – but this time it works almost flawlessly. Don’t be put off if you’ve tried others and been frustrated, as Huawei does appear to have cracked this problem.
It comes in an array of new colours, with our favourite being Amber Sunrise. It’s like a burnt orange and looks amazing in the flesh. The pearlescent white finish is also eye-catching, while there is a plain black version if you prefer.
What’s new in the P30 Pro’s camera?
The biggest change is to the sensor. Where we’re used to RGB, Huawei has changed the green filter to yellow. “Yellow has a much wider spectrum,” we were told in a pre-briefing. “It’s much brighter. It holds much more information. So when you’re in the pub… it’s a whole brighter scene.”
This translates into much higher sensitivity, with Huawei throwing out the figure of ISO 409600. “That’s almost night sight,” our spokesperson explained..
Huawei P30 Pro quad camera explained
This is also the first Leica-lens quad camera. The main one is the 40-megapixel “SuperSpectrum” camera described above, with 27mm focal length and f1.6 aperture. This sits in the middle of the oblong you see above.
To the right is a 16mm ultra-wide lens with a 20-megapixel resolution, allowing you to catch panoramic images – or wide group shots – without stitching images together.
And on the left is, oddly, a square lens. This is the innovative 8-megapixel optical “periscope” zoom I describe below, which can go all the way to 125mm.
The fourth lens you can see – away from the others – is a time of flight lens, which measures distance that light travels and adds depth information to photos. Think bokeh-style effects.
What about the P30’s “periscope” zoom?
This is clever. Huawei has effectively shifted its zoom system sideways: the light goes into a prism, is rotated 90 degrees, and then goes through a lens array to create a 5x optical zoom.
When you’re using the camera, you actually see an option for 50x zoom, but naturally this includes digital assistance. Out and about, though, I found myself using the 10x zoom quite naturally: it helps when you’re focusing on a detail in the far distance.
At the other end of the scale there’s an ultra-wide-angle lens, while macro photography works right down to 2.5cm. You’ll be capturing images that would easily fool people into thinking you were using a DSLR.
Huawei P30 Pro long exposure
I haven’t had a chance to try this yet, but the P30 Pro should make it easier to capture long-exposure night shots – light trails and such like. That’s thanks to optical stabilisation.
And if you want to capture silky water effects, of a waterfall cascading down, then again the P30 Pro should be your friend. We’ll wait until we’ve tried this in practice.
Huawei P30 Pro: video skills
With a fast Kirin 980 chip inside the P30 Pro, it’s capable of impressive video work. (The fast CPU helps when it comes processing video at higher resolutions and frame rates.)
Huawei adds its AI processing and optical image stabilisation to help things along, and promises 4K (Ultra HD) at 30 frames per second. The jury is still out on this one: from my brief time creating videos on the P30 Pro, I felt the Honor View 20 produced smoother results.
A word on audio, the screen and battery life
Not content with all those camera innovations, Huawei decided to fiddle around with the audio too. It uses a combination of a speaker in the USB-C charging slot and in-screen vibrations to create a surprisingly loud sound.
It’s only mono, but that hardly matters on a device this small. If you’re on your travels, this is an excellent way to enjoy radio and music.
The screen itself is “only” 2,580 x 1,080, which is a lesser resolution than the Mate 20 Pro. I don’t think this matters too much; there’s no sign of individual pixels unless you peer in stupidly close.
And it has advantages to battery life, with Huawei promising up to two days’ life from the huge 4,200mAh battery. I suspect this may be one of the longest-lasting phones out there when put to the test.
Huawei P30 Pro specifications
- Huawei Kirin 980 chipset
- 8GB RAM
- 128GB or 512GB storage
- 6.47in 2,580 x 1,080 curved OLED screen
- In-screen fingerprint reader
- Teardrop notch with 32MP f/2.0 camera
- 4,200mAh battery (up to two days’ life)
- 15W wireless charging, including reverse charging
- IP68 waterproof
- Bottom-firing speaker with in-screen sound
Huawei P30 Pro release date and price
The P30 Pro will be available to pre-order as of tomorrow, with the 128GB models costing £899 and the 512GB model £1,099.