Huawei has announced its P30 Pro and that brings major improvements in the field of photography. Here are our first impressions on this beautiful beast.
Huawei P30 Series
The Huawei P series is, according to Huawei, focused on design, creativity, and importantly camera, in contrast to the Mate series that revolves around brute power and strong performance. The latest phone in the P series is without a doubt one of the best smartphones in 2019 if not the best smartphone of 2019.
This year we already saw the P Smart (2019) and the P Smart+ (2019), which are two budget phones that impressed us with the camera performance and their modern design for an affordable price. With the new P30 series, the new front runners are revealed: the Huawei P30 and the P30 Pro.
P20 and the P20 Pro version already made a strong impression last year in terms of camera performance. The phone also topped the DxOMark score. With the Huawei P30 Pro, Huawei has taken the camera performance to a whole new level especially with the kind of zoom it offers.
If you look at the front of the phone, it looks totally different from the P20 Pro, but if you turn it around, you do have the feeling that you have an upgraded version of the phone in your hands. At first glance, the screen of the P30 and P30 Pro is reminiscent of the Mate 20 with its water drop notch
There is quite a small chin at the bottom of the phone. Gone is the ugly taller chin that featured the featured the fingerprint scanner. The fingerprint resides under the display. At the bottom of the device, there is USB-C port, a speaker and in the case of the P30 also a 3.5 mm audio connection. On the right side, you will find the volume buttons and power button while the SIM slot resides on the left side.
When we look at the back, there is a tall vertical camera module with the main camera, wide-angle lens and finally the 5x Optical Periscope lens.
In addition to that camera module, there is a second, much smaller module with a Time of Flight Camera (ToF) under the infrared autofocus and flash.
The Huawei P30 Pro is available in a new range of colors: white, Breathing Crystal, Black, Aurora and Amber Sunrise. Eye-catching Amber White, in particular, is a color with a transition between red and orange and the breathing crystal variant that looks white with a blue, gleaming appearance.
When you take a look at the front of the phone it reminds you of the Mate 20 Pro. Unlike the P20 Pro, it has curved screen edges that blend seamlessly into the aluminum housing and then into the curved glass back. This makes the phone very nice to hold, better than the Galaxy S10 series which flatter in shape.
The only drawback is that the P30 Pro, just like the Mate 20 Pro, is quite thick and feels heavy, which in turn is nicer with the S10 series.
Huawei P30 Pro features a large AMOLED panel of 6.47 inches, which is a lot larger than the 6.1 inches panel of the P20 Pro last. Furthermore, the panel has a Full HD resolution of 2340 by 1080 pixels and a ratio of 19:5:9.
The display panel left a good impression on me during the limited time that I spent with the device. It seemed brighter compared to the Mate 20 Pro, but not than the Galaxy S10+. Samsung is still a leader when it comes to
The P30 and the P30 Pro both run on the Kirin 980 that we saw earlier in the Huawei Mate series and the Honor View 20. The chipset made according to a 7nm architecture is still the most powerful Huawei processor.
The P30 Pro and the P30 do not follow Samsung in terms of the large increase in storage and physical memory. The P30 Pro variant comes with 8 GB of RAM while the P30 comes with 6GB RAM.
Furthermore, the base model comes with 128GB storage and the top of the line version maxes out at 512GB. The Mate 20 Pro previously came with a maximum of 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage, so Huawei is taking a small step forward in that area.
If we include the battery of the P30 Pro, we notice that it has exactly the same capacity as the Mate 20 Pro, i.e 4200 mAh. We were previously very pleased with the battery performance of that device. The P30 has a smaller battery of 3650 mAh. The phone comes with 40-watt fast charger in the box. Huawei promises that it can charge the phone up to 70 percent in half an hour.
Just like the Huawei Mate 20 Pro, the P30 Pro also has an optical fingerprint scanner. In case of the P30 Pro, the fingerprint is much faster and more responsive compared to that of the Mate 20 Pro.
The P30 Pro makes hardly any difference in terms of performance compared to the Huawei Mate 20 Pro and given the vision of Huawei, the focus on creativity and camera, that is understandable. I expect that the Mate 30 Pro that comes with a new high-end processor will make a difference in terms of performance.
The biggest improvement and notable innovation come in the camera department. The highlight of the Huawei P30 Pro camera is the Periscope zoom lens.
OPPO was perhaps the first to come with this idea but couldn’t implement it in their smartphones. Huawei is the first brand to implement this tech in a device. Huawei named it “Optical Periscope Zoom Camera”.
It is a system of different camera lenses set up at a 90-degree angle so that both the thickness and the width of the device can be used to zoom in on an object with the P30 Pro. The image is reflected by a prism on the sensor. This way you get 5x optical zoom which is improved with software and thus leads to 10x hybrid zoom. In comparison with the Mate 20 Pro, it had 3x optical zoom and 5x hybrid zoom.
I can say that the P30 Pro zoom performance leaves the Samsung Galaxy S10 and all those other smartphones that come with the 2x optical zoom. 5 times optical zoom is also much better compared to what the Mate 20 Pro could do.
Huawei thus virtually eliminates the true Achilles heel of smartphone photography, the limited possibility of zooming in without loss. It used to be that the best zoom on a smartphone camera is your legs.
The new technology with the Periscope camera is a huge improvement on everything we saw before, but I see it primarily as a starting point for even more impressive camera performance. Now that the width of a device can also be used for camera lenses, much more is possible in the future.
If we look further at the 10x hybrid zoom, then I have to conclude that the images definitely have to lose quality. Images lose clear detail and look a bit more like paintings if you look at them more closely. The quality loss is not huge but noticeable.
The phone can also zoom in up to 50 times digitally, but then the quality loss is clearly noticeable. Although you still notice that it is less compared to other phones.
I am less enthusiastic about the telephoto lens video performance. Huawei emphasized that the sensor, just like the wide-angle lens and the main lens, is equipped with optical image stabilization together with Huawei’s AIS, which is the software-based stabilization.
As you zoom in more and more with the camera, the image automatically becomes more unstable, because vibrations from your hand always stand out. Despite all the image stabilization technology, a zoomed image still looks very jerky and therefore unusable for professional use. Although today you also have a wide range of smartphone gimbals and tripods that will partially solve that problem.
Super Spectrum Lens
The main camera of the P30 and P30 Pro has also been completely revamped, Smartphone cameras usually come with RGB (Red, Green, Blue) sensors from which all the other colors are derived. Huawei is now introducing a lens with an RYB sensor for the first time, where ‘Y’ stands for yellow. The company notes that this color allows much more light than green, which greatly improves the photography performance in underexposed conditions.
Huawei states that the reason why we have never seen this before is simply due to the fact that this involves a lot of work. Both in terms of hardware and software, according to the Chinese manufacturer, much ‘fine-tuning’ is required to achieve the desired result.
The P30 Pro comes with a maximum ISO score of no less than 409,600, a huge figure compared to its predecessor, the P20 Pro, and also compared to what the competition offers. Purely thanks to hardware, it should now be possible to obtain a much brighter image by increasing the iso values.
We were able to try out the Super Spectrum Lens in a completely darkened room with a poster of a colorful street scene. We were then able to take a photo from the normal camera position to see the result. The image was very well lit. I performed the same test with the camera of the Galaxy S10+ and the Mate 20 Pro. The latter came a bit close, but the first one was completely dark.
Just like the Honor View 20, Huawei also comes out with a Time of Flight camera on the back, but the focus of the brand is not on gaming but on photography. The ToF camera can be used to take the so-called ‘Multi-Level Bokeh’ photos. This is supposedly going to make the Bokeh effect a bit natural.
In addition, Huawei comes with a new AR Measure app as we saw earlier with the OPPO RX17 Pro. You can use it to measure objects and determine distances. Huawei gave few details about how the app works, but it seems that the phone itself spontaneously shows the length of the object. For example, he recognizes the legs of a chair and thus gives the length. We are very curious about how this will work in
Little has changed in the Huawei camera app. The layout has remained the same but Huawei has included a new feature called HDR+ which allows you to automatically take pictures in High Dynamic Range. The lighting conditions are thus better estimated depending on the situation, making the contrast clear. HDR+ is nothing new because we have seen the feature for some time with other camera apps, such as the Pixel phones from Google.
We will be very brief about the software of the Huawei P30 Pro because no major innovations have been introduced here. The P30 and the Pro variant run on Android Pie, the latest version of the Android operating system.
Furthermore, the device also still works on EMUI 9, that is the software shell of Huawei. That shell comes with a number of its own apps and also uses apps from Google for messages and SwiftKey as a keyboard.
The P30 Pro is a flagship made for those who want the best in smartphone photography, and Huawei has taken a new path with its Periscope camera and Super Spectrum Lens, which introduces a lot of improvements. With the P30 Pro, Huawei makes a statement that smartphone photography is really getting serious, and the differences with a DSLR cameras are getting smaller.
Thanks to the new approach with the Periscope camera, the phone achieves what no other manufacturer has been able to succeed in. Also, the photos are downright impressive in underexposed conditions thanks to the RYB
However, you will notice that those who are less interested in good photography performance will often be left hungry, because then we will come to the less impressive side of this device. Relatively little has been shown in terms of performance and software that we have not seen before. For such improvements, it is likely that you will have to wait until the next top-of-the-range devices from the Mate series.
In summary, we notice that Huawei has put almost all of its energy into the camera. What was previously the best aspect of the P20 Pro has become much better. Although it comes at the expense of other improvements that are not included. What do you think of the P30 Pro? Let us know in the comments at the bottom of this article.