There are two big ways smartphones can still improve substantially, at least until foldables come along. One is the camera, the other is the battery. The Huawei P30 Pro does both. Its advantages over competitors are almost unfairIn a time when smartphones have become increasingly similar, Huawei has found a way to make the P30 Pro stand out: it gave it superpowers. Its ability to see in the dark is uncanny; its optical zoom is amazing; its stamina is out of this world.
The Huawei P30 Pro is the manufacturer’s last flagship that shipped with Google apps on board. Even a year after its release, the P30 Pro remains an attractive option for customers who just can’t deal with the lack of Google apps, but still like Huawei’s products.
Unlike other manufacturers, Huawei bundles its flagships with the best charger available. It’s the same crazy-fast 40W charger we saw on the Mate 20 Pro. The soft clear case is basic, but still nice to have until you get something more personal. The earbuds are decent, for a bundled product, but you can definitely do better.
WHAT'S IN THE BOX:
- 40W fast charger
- USB-C earbuds
- A basic clear case
Unlike other manufacturers, Huawei bundles its flagships with the best charger available.
It’s the same crazy-fast 40W charger we saw on the Mate 20 Pro. The soft clear case is basic, but still nice to have until you get something more personal. The earbuds are decent, for a bundled product, but you can definitely do better.
- 158 x 73.4 x 8.4mm
- Waterdrop notch
- Curved display edges
- USB-C port
- No headphone jack
If you ever played with the Mate 20 Pro, you already know what the P30 Pro feels like. The overall format is the same, but the P30 Pro is a hair bigger. Other than the different notches and camera setups, these phones are almost identical.
The Huawei P30 Pro feels very comfortable in the hand, despite the slippery glass back. It’s a little heavy, but not too much. While most folks will want to use it with two hands, once you slip a good case on, you can definitely use it with one. The notch on the P30 Pro is small and inconspicuous. As far as notches go, it’s probably the best compromise between form and functionality, as it doesn’t really mess with the notification bar. That was my top complaint about the large notch on the Mate 20 Pro.
- 6.47 inches
- 1080 x 2340, 19.5:9
- HDR10, DCI-P3
- 398 ppi
Always-on displayMost high-end phones now feature beautiful OLED screens, and the Huawei P30 Pro is no exception. The pixel density, brightness, and contrast levels are on point. By default, display colors are set to Vivid, which I prefer over the slightly warmer Default mode. You can easily pick a custom color setting as well.
- Huawei Kirin 980
- Mali-G76 MP10
- 8GB of RAM
- 128, 256GB or 512GB of RAM
The P30 Pro features a proprietary file system that helps performance. Most users won’t ever notice it, but this deep-level customization gives the phone a bit more oomph when transferring files to and from its storage, in addition to slightly lower app start times.
Speaking of storage, don’t buy a microSD card for your new P30 Pro. The phone has a card slot, but it only works with Huawei’s proprietary Nano Memory format, just like the Mate 20 Pro.
- Standard: 40 MP, f/1.6, OIS
- Pixel-binned 10MP images
- Ultra-wide: 20MP, f/2.2
- Telephoto: 8MP, f/3.4, OIS
- Time-of-Flight camera
- 32MP selfie camera
The P30 Pro has three main cameras and a Time-of-Flight (ToF) sensor that measures the distance to objects in the field of view. The main 40MP camera is what you’ll use in most cases. Because it uses pixel binning, it saves 10MP images by default.
But you can switch to the full 40MP resolution if you prefer it. For groups of people or landscapes, you can switch to the ultra-wide camera. If you need to bring your subject closer, switch to the telephoto.
- 40W fast charging
- 15W wireless charging
- Reverse wireless charging
After the excellent camera, the P30 Pro’s battery is its best feature. I was able to get between 8 and 9 hours of screen-on time. The phone was mostly connected to Wi-Fi, with auto-brightness and the dark mode on, and Performance Mode off. My usage was a mix of plain internet browsing, using Sync for Reddit, watching lots of YouTube, and some gaming. David, who did the Huawei P30 Pro review video, got even better screen-on time of 9 to 10 hours. That’s despite using his phone’s roaming cellular connection over in Morocco. Both of us were able to go through two days of usage without any issues.
- No headphone jack
- Single speaker
The bottom-firing speaker on the Huawei P30 Pro gets very loud. The sound is clear, but it lacks bass and there’s a little distortion at the high end when volume is maxed out. The wired USB-C earbuds in the retail box feel cheap in the hand, but they sound surprisingly good.
Given the sorry state of USB-C headphones, you may want to opt for a wireless model – we have plenty of recommendations here. The P30 Pro supports Bluetooth 5.0 with the high fidelity aptX HD, LDAC, and HWA codecs.
- EMUI 10.1 (OTA available)
- Android 10 (OTA available)
- Dark theme
Out of the box, the Huawei P30 Pro runs EMUI 9.1, based on Android 9 Pie. Despite the change in version number, EMUI 9.1 remains very similar to the UI on the Mate 20 Pro, with some small improvements. The P30 Pro finally displays third-party notifications on the always-on display, which has been a peeve of mine on the Mate. You can also swipe from the sides to exit the app drawer, and you can now open Google Assistant by holding the power button. There are some new integrations too, like the ability to open and start your car with just your phone – if you own a fancy new Audi, that is.
SHOULD YOU BUY THE HUAWEI P30 PRO?
There are two big ways smartphones can still improve substantially, at least until foldables come along. One is the camera, the other is the battery. The Huawei P30 Pro does both. Its advantages over competitors are almost unfair. This review isn’t about competitors, though, it’s about people. So, should you buy the Huawei P30 Pro? If you want the best camera, the best battery life, or just a really good all-around smartphone, the answer is a strong yes.
The P30 Pro has a few shortcomings, like the proprietary memory card format, the lack of a headphone jack, and perhaps Huawei’s less-established ecosystem. But they pale in comparison to its strong points. As far as I’m concerned, this superhero has no kryptonite.
And that wraps up our Huawei P30 Pro review. Will you buy this phone?