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HUAWEI MATE 30 PRO REVIEW

WHAT'S IN THE BOX:

The Mate 30 Pro is bundled with a 40W charger, meaning you won’t need to spend extra to get the best charging speeds available for the phone. You also get a pair of basic, but decent-sounding USB-C earbuds.

DESIGN:

  • 1 x 73.1 x 8.8 mm, 198 g
  • Glass and aluminum build
  • IP68
  • No headphone jack
  • IR blaster
  • Single speaker

The Mate 30 Pro feels luxurious. Every inch of it is polished, gleaming, and pleasantly rounded. On the flip side, it’s less practical than previous Huawei flagships.

The display features curved edges that wrap around the sides at almost 90 degrees. It’s similar to Samsung flagships, but more curved. Huawei markets it as the Horizon display, while others have taken to calling this style a “waterfall” display. Whatever you want to call it, there’s no disputing it’s very pretty.

The screen still has bezels on the sides, you just won’t see them most of the time. To achieve this bezel-less look, Huawei made the metal frame much thinner than on other phones. This really isn’t an issue from a usability perspective, and the phone feels strong in the hand

DISPLAY:

  • 53-inch 18.5:9 AMOLED
  • 2,400 x 1,176 pixels, 409ppi
  • Gorilla Glass 6
  • Waterfall display

The Mate 30 Pro is available in Black, Space Silver, Cosmic Purple, and Emerald Green. The pictures in this Mate 30 Pro review are of the Space Silver model. The Emerald Green version has a gradient to it – the lower part of its back is matte, while the area around the camera is glossy.

The Mate 30 Pro features a beautiful Samsung-made AMOLED screen covered in Gorilla Glass 6. The resolution and pixel density are actually lower than on the Mate 20 Pro, but I couldn’t see any difference in crispness. Overall, the display on the Mate 30 Pro looks identical to the P30 Pro’s, which is to say very good.

The notch at the top looks a bit dated, now that other manufacturers are doing punch hole cameras and wild pop-up cameras. Huawei kept it in order to have room for a selfie camera, depth sensor, and the 3D face unlock system. The notch is slightly smaller now, and I didn’t find it intrusive at all. Your mileage may vary.

I never really liked very rounded corners, so it was good to see a more squarish look on the Mate 30 Pro, much like on the Galaxy Note 10 Plus.The fingerprint reader works reasonably well — it’s still not as fast and reliable as rear-mounted scanners (remember those?), but it gets the job done.

PERFORMANCE:

  • HiSilicon Kirin 990 7nm
  • 2 x 2.86GHz Cortex-A76; 2 x 2.09GHz Cortex-A76; 4 x 1.86GHz Cortex-A55
  • Mali-G76 MP16
  • 8GB RAM
  • 128GB/256GB UFS 3.0
  • Nano Memory card slot

The bar for smartphone performance is set high, but the Mate 30 Pro clears it with ease. Despite technically being an engineering sample, the phone I tested felt lightning fast and smooth.

It’s all thanks to the Kirin 990 chip at the heart of the Mate 30 Pro. Huawei has invested heavily in its own silicon over the years, meaning it was able to put a cutting-edge chip inside its latest phone despite the US ban. 

Storage space of 128GB or 256GB and 8GB of RAM means you won’t need to worry about bottlenecks. As with the P40 Pro, P30 Pro and the Mate 20 Pro, the dual SIM card tray doubles as an expandable storage slot for Huawei’s proprietary Nano Memory cards.

CAMERA:

  • Wide: 40MP, f/1.6, OIS, RYB sensor
  • Telephoto: 3x zoom, 8MP, f/2.4, OIS
  • Ultrawide: 40MP, f/1.8
  • 3D ToF camera
  • 4K 60fps video
  • 7680fps ultra-slow-motion
  • Selfie: 32MP, f/2.0
  • Front facing 3D ToF camera

Where some manufacturers have focused heavily on software (with great results), Huawei has opted to throw more hardware at the camera problem. There’s merit to both approaches, but Huawei’s hardware-centric philosophy results in a versatile and flexible camera experience. This isn’t the most seamless and user-friendly camera phone, but the Mate 30 Pro is definitely fun to use.

The cameras on the Mate 30 Pro are similar to the P30 Pro’s setup, with a couple of important exceptions. The biggest is the use of a new 40MP sensor for the wide-angle camera. This relatively large sensor will result in better, brighter images in wide-angle shots; it’s also used by default when shooting video. Another difference is that, instead of the 5X periscope optical zoom of the P30 Pro, the Mate 30 Pro only offers 3X optical zoom.The Time-of-Flight camera helps the Mate achieve great simulated bokeh, with a natural-looking transition between foreground and background. Details like loose hair strands are typically challenging; the Mate 30 Pro handles them better than most phones, though it’s not perfect.For selfies, the Mate 30 Pro has a second Time-of-Flight camera on the front. It helps create a more realistic background blur in self-portraits. Selfies are generally good, even with strong backlight. One issue I noticed was the excessive skin smoothing that happens from time to time.

CAMERA SAMPLES:

BATTERY:

  • 4,500mAh
  • 40W wired charging
  • 27W wireless charging
  • Reverse wireless charging

Huawei launched a wicked-fast 40W charging solution on the Mate 20 Pro, and a year later, it’s still among the best on the market. The Mate 30 Pro doesn’t improve in this key metric, but it does bring improvements in just about every other department. The battery capacity is now 4,500mAh, compared to 4,200mAh on the previous generation.

According to our testing, the Mate 30 Pro battery will fill up from empty in just 70 minutes. A quick 15-minute top up will charge the phone to 39%.

n our battery testing, the Mate 30 Pro handily beats the Note 10 Plus and OnePlus 7T in the mixed use, WiFi browsing, and video playback benchmarks. The phone lasts almost as long as the ROG Phone 2, which has a 6,000mAh battery.

SOFTWARE:

  • EMUI 10
  • Android 10
  • No Google apps

Once you have the Play Store and your apps up and running, the Mate 30 Pro feels very familiar to anyone who’s tried recent Mate and P series devices. Somewhat ironically, the Mate 30 Pro is one of the first major phones to launch with Android 10, in the form of EMUI 10.

The update is focused on visual refreshes, including a new color palette, reworked quick settings tiles, and a revamped settings menu. Beneath that cosmetic layer, the OS is full of features and customization options, including a great system-wide night mode.

As of June 2020, Huawei has yet to offer a compelling solution to the missing apps conundrum. The company encourages customers to use its Phone Clone app, which can copy over most (but not all) apps from an existing device. Another option is to try Huawei’s App Petal service, which scours APK sites for the apps you need. You can also try your luck with third-party APK sites directly.

AUDIO:

  • Single speaker
  • In-screen earpiece
  • No headphone jack

The Mate 30 Pro gets loud! When I placed the Mate 20 Pro and the Mate 30 Pro side by side and played the same video, the Mate 30 Pro drowned out its predecessor.

Sound has a bit more punch that I was expecting, despite there being a single speaker at the bottom (the earpiece doubles as a secondary speaker, but it’s pretty soft in comparison to the main one). One minor annoyance: playing music on the Mate 30 Pro’s speakers makes the whole phone vibrate.

The earpiece, which is hidden below the screen, works flawlessly. Like almost every other flagship phone, the Mate 30 Pro lacks a headphone jack.

VERDICT:

Buy the Mate 30 Pro if you:

  • Want top-notch hardware;
  • Want something that’s a little exclusive;
  • Believe photography is more than pressing that big button;
  • The price isn’t a primary concern of yours;
  • You don’t mind tinkering with your phone;
  • You’re willing to take a chance with your smartphone;
  • Hate volume rockers.

Don’t buy the Mate 30 Pro if you:

  • Want something that just works out of the box;
  • Don’t want to (or can’t) mess with sideloading apps;
  • You’re security conscious;
  • You’re budget conscious;
  • You want the best possible return on your investment.

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