Huawei P30 Pro vs Galaxy S10 Plus vs iPhone XS Max: which phone is right for you?

It's been a little over a month since Huawei launched the P30 series and we've already seen a couple of updates by the Chinese manufacturer that optimize the performance of its latest flagship phone.

It's thus a good time to compare the Huawei P30 Pro with the top offerings from Samsung and Apple. Samsung also recently launched the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus, while Apple’s iPhone XS Max is fairly new as well.

All three of these phones have top-of-the-line specs and features, but which of the these is the best for you? To help you decide we’ve compared the different features of these phones so you can decide which one is best for you.

Design

As each device is the biggest in their respective ranges, you won’t be surprised to hear that they’re all large – but there isn’t a lot of difference size-wise between the three phones themselves. 

The iPhone XS Max, at 157.5 x 77.4 x 7.7mm and with a weight of 208g, is the biggest phone – but only just, as the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus measures 157.6 x 74.1 x 7.8mm, although there’s a bigger weight difference as the Galaxy S10 Plus weighs in at 175g. 

In comparison the Huawei P30 Pro measures in at 158 x 73.4 x 8.4mm which makes it narrower than the other two phones and that translates to a more comfortable fit in your hands. The Huawei P30 is taller and with a weight of 192g, sits between the Galaxy S10 Plus and iPhone XS Max.

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Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus. Image credit: TechRadar

Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus. Image credit: TechRadar
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iPhone XS Max

iPhone XS Max. Image credit: TechRadar
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Huawei P30 Pro. Image credit: TechRadar

Huawei P30 Pro. Image credit: TechRadar

In terms of materials, each of these phone is protected by sturdy glass front and backs with metal frames, and they're all IP68, which means they're protected from dust and can be submerged to depths of up to 1 meter.

Both the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus and the Huawei P30 Pro have screens that curve from the sides which makes them look more futuristic than the flatter design of the iPhone XS Max. We also like the Breathing Crystal finish on the P30 Pro and find it the prettiest of the bunch.

Features

Under the hood the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus is powered by Exynos 9820 chipset while the iPhone XS Max has an A12 Bionic chipset and the Huawei P30 Pro uses the Kirin 980.

It’s a little hard to compare the chipsets since they’re made by different companies, and therefore not directly comparable, but they’re all top-of-the-line processors. 

There is a clear distinction in terms of RAM, as the iPhone XS has 4GB while the Huawei P30 Pro  and the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus have 8GB to allow more apps to run better.

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Android 9 Pie on Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus. Image credit: TechRadar

Android 9 Pie on Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus. Image credit: TechRadar
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iOS 12 on iPhone XS Max. Image credit: TechRadar

iOS 12 on iPhone XS Max. Image credit: TechRadar
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Android 9 Pie on Huawei P30 Pro. Image credit: TechRadar

Android 9 Pie on Huawei P30 Pro. Image credit: TechRadar

One major difference between the iPhone XS Max and the other two phones is that it runs iOS 12, while the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus and Huawei P30 Pro both run Android 9 Pie, although the P30 Pro and S10 Plus both have their own different user interfaces that run over the top of Android Pie. Operating system is a subjective way to differentiate between phones, but some people have their preferences, so it’s worth staying informed. 

Display

The biggest phone of the bunch, in terms of screen size, is the iPhone XS Max with a 6.5-inch display, that tops the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus at 6.4 inches and the Huawei P30 Pro at 6.47 inches by a fraction.

You’re going to lose some of this real estate though – the iPhone XS Max has the biggest notch as well while the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus has a dual ‘punch-hole’ cut out on the screen to house the two front cameras. The Huawei P30 Pro on the other hand, has a ‘teardrop’ notch that juts down from the top of the display.

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Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus. Image credit: TechRadar

Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus. Image credit: TechRadar
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iPhone XS Max. Image credit: TechRadar

iPhone XS Max. Image credit: TechRadar
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Huawei P30 Pro. Image credit: TechRadar

Huawei P30 Pro. Image credit: TechRadar

This close race between the three screens extends to the tech and resolution. The Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus has an AMOLED display and offers the highest Quad HD+ resolution, although its default setting is Full HD+. The Huawei P30 Pro also has an OLED display but with a Full HD+ resolution while the iPhone XS Max featured an OLED screen with Apple’s Super Retina HD.  

With its AMOLED screen and QHD+ resolution, we found the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus has the most vivid colors and brightness and thus, the best screen out of the three phones in this comparison.

Camera

The Galaxy S10 Plus has a 12MP variable aperture main sensor which can switch between f/1.5 and f/2.4, plus a 12MP f/2.4 telephoto lens and a 16MP f/2.2 ultra-wide lens, while the iPhone XS Max has a 12MP f/2.4 telephoto lens like the Galaxy S10 Plus and a 12MP f/1.8 wide-angle lens.

The Huawei P30 Pro has a massive four-lens rear camera setup, consisting of a 40MP f/1.6 main sensor, which Huawei calls Super Spectrum as it picks up light better, a 20MP f/2.2 ultra-wide lens, an 8MP f/3.4 ‘Periscope’ lens for 10x optical zoom, and a time-of-flight lens to help the camera measure depth for better bokeh shots.

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The Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus. Image credit: TechRadar

The Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus. Image credit: TechRadar
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The iPhone XS Max. Image credit: TechRadar

The iPhone XS Max. Image credit: TechRadar
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Huawei P30 Pro. Image credit: TechRadar

Huawei P30 Pro. Image credit: TechRadar

We’ve tested all the cameras and there is a good reason that the Huawei P30 Pro sits on top of our phone camera guide. With an unmatched zoom and incredible low light photos and videos, the Huawei P30 Pro is a stunner. If the camera is your top priority, you can skip the rest of this article and go with the P30 Pro- it's not just the best camera in this roundup, it is the best phone camera currently available. 

Coming the front, the iPhone XS Max has a 7MP camera while the Huawei P30 Pro has a 32MP selfie cam and the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus actually has a dual-lens snapper, consisting of a 10MP main lens and an 8MP depth-measuring lens to take pictures with accurate bokeh.

Battery

One of the perks of a bigger phone is having a bigger battery, and fittingly each phone has a power pack that would put its smaller siblings to shame. Of the trio, the iPhone XS Max has the lowest battery capacity at 3,174mAh, which goes up to 4,100mAh in the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus and higher for the Huawei P30 Pro with its 4,200mAh power pack.

A bigger battery doesn’t necessarily mean a longer battery life, but in our experience devices with batteries as big as the P30 Pro and S10 Plus will usually easily last a full day of use and end with a big chunk of battery left, although they’re unlikely to stretch to two full days. The iPhone XS Max should also last a day, but is unlikely to have as much juice left over.

Charging is important for your handset too, and each phone powers up in different ways. The iPhone XS Max supports both fast and wireless charging, although we found it the slowest to charge of the bunch.

The Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus meanwhile supports faster charging than the iPhone XS Max, and has a ‘Wireless Power Share’ feature that we first saw on the Huawei Mate 20 Pro, which means you can charge other compatible devices using the S10 Plus. 

The Huawei P30 Pro has the fastest charging speeds between all the handsets shipping with a 40W supercharger that charges the phone by up to 70% in just 30 minutes. The Huawei P30 Pro also supports fast wireless charging as well as wireless reverse charging.

Battery life on the Galaxy S10 Plus and Huawei P30 Pro is similar in terms of capacity and usage, however, the P30 Pro pulls ahead with faster charging speeds. The iPhone XS Max gets left behind in features, capacity and usage to both its competitors.

Price

As the larger siblings of already high-end flagships, you can’t expect any of these devices to be cheap. If you really do want to splash out, the iPhone XS Max costs the most at AED 4,649 for a model with 64GB of storage, AED 5,279 for 256GB or AED 6,129 for 512GB.

If that’s a bit too much for you, the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus is a little cheaper. For 128GB of storage Samsung suggests a retail price of AED 3,599 though you can find deals on the phone as low as AED 3,099. 

The Huawei P30 Pro costs AED 3,399 for and comes with 256GB of storage. That’s priced slightly below the retail price of the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus. Looking at the current deals, we’ve found the P30 Pro slightly discounted to AED 3,099. Alternatively, Huawei currently has a Ramadan promotion that throws in a free pair of Freebuds lite valued at AED 349.

Verdict

Since the Huawei P30 Pro, Galaxy S10 Plus and iPhone XS Max all have various strengths and weaknesses, it’s not easy to say one is necessarily better for you, especially since the choice will be influenced by your opinion on phones – if you’re a die-hard iOS fan, the choice is easy for you.

The new Huawei P30 Pro has a powerful camera array, but you’re not going to have the best possible screen. The Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus meanwhile has a great screen but offers half the storage of the Huawei P30 Pro. And the iPhone XS is the most expensive device but it’s the only way you’ll be getting to use iOS 12.

All of these phones deserve flagship status but the one that deserves your money is based on the features you value the most.