An unbeatable phone for budding photographers
Release date: March 2019 | Weight: 192g | Dimensions: 158 x 73.4 x 8.4mm | OS: Android 9 (EMUI 9.1) | Screen size: 6.47-inch | Resolution: 1080 x 2340 | CPU: Kirin 980 | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 128GB/256GB | Battery: 4,200mAh | Rear camera: 40MP + 20MP + 8MP | Front camera: 32MP
UPDATE: While we'd previously placed the Huawei P30 Pro in a higher position, the ongoing trouble the company faces with the US Government casts a great deal of uncertainty on the degree of support its products will receive into the future. As such, we've moved Huawei's handset lower on our top 10 recommendations list.
We're starting to sound like a broken record at this stage, but Huawei's latest handset is the Chinese phone maker's greatest to date. It's got a gorgeous build, fantastic specs and the best photographic capability of any phone on the market.
Screen: This year's P-Series handset once again features a vibrant Super AMOLED display which delivers crisp images and gorgeous colours. If there's one downside to the P30 Pro's screen, it's that Huawei has opted to go with a FHD+ display – last year's Mate 20 Pro featured a QHD+ display and the difference is noticeable.
It's a curious decision given the P30 Pro's premium price point and focus on photo-taking, but we can't complain too much given the other high-end features found in the handset. Under the display, you'll also find a speedy fingerprint scanner that's pretty much identical to the one featured on the aforementioned Mate 20 Pro.
Design: As one of the only non-Galaxy handsets employing curved glass on its display, Huawei's P30 Pro looks very slick and premium from the outset. That commitment to luxury carries over to the back of the phone, which also features curved glass (perfect for the device's power-sharing functionality). Sandwiched in-between the two panes is an aluminium frame that's a touch thicker than some of the other flagship phones on the market (8.4mm), resulting in a bit of added weight, too (192g).
Like last year’s P20 Pro, the P30 Pro lacks a 3.5mm headphone jack – a strange design choice given how thick the phone is. That said, we’re glad Huawei has opted to include support for expandable storage via the device’s SIM tray, even if that means being forced to use the company’s relatively obscure NM (Namo Memory) card format.
Performance: If the camera setup on the Huawei P30 Pro is the headline feature, its battery life is the device’s unsung hero. This thing lasts, thanks to a huge 4,200mAh battery, which is larger than those in pretty much all of its rivals – that's also handy when it comes to sharing power via the P30 Pro's reverse wireless charging feature.
The P30 Pro packs in Huawei’s latest Kirin 980 chipset and 8GB of RAM, giving the handset plenty of grunt under the hood. This means the handset is capable of handling any app you throw at it, with swift load times and the ability to render graphically demanding games such as PUBG on the highest settings without skipping a beat.
Camera: Thanks to an ongoing partnership with German camera company Leica, we've come to expect incredible photographic capability from Huawei's flagship handsets, and the P30 Pro is no exception. In fact, it wouldn't be overstating things to describe the P30 Pro's triple lens setup as the best smartphone camera implementation of 2019 to date.
First off, you have a 40MP main sensor which is capable to taking unmatched photos at full resolution (without any zoom) — perfect if you’re planning on professional-grade editing or producing prints later on. Of course, photos are captured at 10MP by default, and look pretty darn good at that resolution, too.
The big new camera feature in this year’s model, however, is its 5x optical zoom functionality, which cleverly employs a periscope-style mirror array to achieve zoomed-in shots without any image degradation. Push past that barrier though, and the camera implements an optical/digital hybrid zoom up to 10x, followed by a staggering 50x purely digital zoom. Surprisingly, the P30 Pro is able to maintain a steady picture even at full zoom capacity – something that can be attributed to the camera’s exceptional image stabilisation tech.
Mini verdict: While it's let down slightly by a couple of its design choices, the P30 Pro is steadily closing the gap and getting closer to that highly coveted 'best phone' crown.