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Lifewire / Erika Rawes
Stellar quad camera
Useful native apps
Face ID and fingerprint sensor
Good battery life
A user-friendly phone with one of the best smartphone cameras on the market.
Huawei has had its share of controversy, but it’s still one of the largest smartphone manufacturers globally. In spite of a ban on some Huawei networking devices in the US and other countries, many Huawei phones have been well received, like the brand’s P30 Pro phone, which first hit the market in 2019. Huawei rereleased the P30 Pro in June 2020. What’s so special about the P30 Pro? I tested the P30 Pro for a month to find out, evaluating its design, performance, connectivity, display, sound, camera, battery, and software.
Huawei P30 is one of the most attractive smartphones I’ve ever seen. With an infinity-style display that wraps slightly around the sides. The newer version comes in three color options: Silver Frost, Aurora, or Black. I tested the Black version. Unlike Samsung and Apple, which take advantage of chemically coated Corning Gorilla Glass, Huawei doesn’t advertise Gorilla Glass on its P30 Pro. The phone appears to be constructed of aluminum alloy and tempered glass.
The P30 Pro is still plenty durable though, with a water resistance rating of IP68. I got it wet several times, and it held up perfectly fine. I even dropped it into standing water and left it for about 10 minutes. I didn’t place any case or screen protector on the device during my month of testing. I even dropped the P30 Pro on a concrete floor on a few occasions, and it didn’t even scratch the device. The back of the device does show fingerprints and smudges, which was one thing I didn’t love about the phone. The P30 Pro uses a USB-C connector, and it doesn’t include a 3.5 mm headphone jack.
The original P30 Pro came in two iterations: One version with 6 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage and one version with 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage. The new version of the P30 Pro comes with a higher 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage space. It doesn’t have a MicroSD slot for expandable storage, but cloud storage applications are making this more unnecessary. You can also add a nano memory (NM) card in one of the two SIM card slots if you want extra storage. The P30 Pro runs on the HUAWEI Kirin 980 Octa-core Processor, which is powerful enough to handle everyday mobile applications, multitask, and efficiently move from task to task.
In benchmark testing, the P30 Pro scored 8119 on PCMark Work 2.0, which was lower than the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus (which scored a 10289). On Geekbench 5, the P30 Pro scored a single-core score of 686 and a multi-core score of 2421.
The P30 Pro works on 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi networks, and it connects on the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands. Wi-Fi speeds in my home max out at 400 Mbps, and on Wi-Fi, I’m able to clock speeds of 279 Mbps (download) and 36 Mbps (upload).
The P30 Pro works on 2G, 3G, and 4G networks, and it supports dual SIM cards, so you can connect two phone numbers to the phone. I live in a suburb about 15 minutes outside of Raleigh, NC, and connected the phone to the T-Mobile 4G network (now Sprint/T-Mobile). Indoors, my speeds averaged about 10/2 Mbps. However, in open outdoor areas, I could get better speeds of up to 30 Mbps (download) and 8 Mbps (upload).
The display on the P30 Pro looks absolutely stunning. It’s a 6.47-inch OLED display with FHD+ (2340 x 1080) resolution. It boasts a pixel density of 398 pixels per inch, and it wraps around the sides slightly, giving that infinity illusion.
Text is large and clear. I can read the news feed and web searches from a long distance. Videos are sharp and clean too. Although the display is lower res than on the Galaxy S10 Plus, which has a Quad HD+ Dynamic AMOLED Infinity-O Display with 3040x1440 resolution, the P30 Pro’s display looked better when placed next to the Galaxy S10 Plus. It also looked clearer and cleaner than the iPhone XS Max, and the iPhone 11.
The display on the P30 Pro looks absolutely stunning.
The Dolby Atmos speaker sounds clear and clean. It’s not sharp or tinny at all, but it isn’t as loud as I’ve heard on other phones. It also lacks bass. You can change the sound mode to movie mode, music mode, or smart mode, which automatically optimizes sound based on the content. There’s also an equalizer to improve your audio experience. The included earbuds are about as good as your typical Apple wired earbuds. I would have liked to see a 3.5 mm headphone jack, but I was able to purchase a USB-C to 3.5 mm adapter on Amazon for about $10.
The P30 Pro has a phenomenal camera. It has a rear Leica quad camera, with a 40 MP wide-angle lens, a 20 MP ultra-wide-angle lens, an 8 MP telephoto lens, and the ToF camera supports autofocus and image stabilization. The front camera is 32 MP, which is surprisingly high quality. The front camera was almost too good, with powerful lighting and the ability to capture every minute detail. Unfortunately, this means it showed every blemish, wrinkle, and bump on my face when I took a selfie. I actually turned to someone in the room and said, “Do I really look like that?” On the plus side, you can take advantage of a ton of photo software features, like a beauty editing right on the main interface, so no one will ever see those pictures showing all of my imperfections. There’s a “capture smiles” mode that automatically takes photos when people smile, a pro mode, super macro photography, underwater photography, and much more.
The front camera was almost too good, with powerful lighting and the ability to capture every minute detail...it showed every blemish, wrinkle, and bump on my face when I took a selfie.
The camera can take up to 4k video at 30 frames per second, or you can put it on auto, and it will choose the optimal frame rate.
The P30 Pro has a 4200 mAh battery, which is close to the Galaxy S10 and S20 series phones. I was able to get a full day’s use out of the phone without running low on battery. You can go to settings and enable several different battery-saving features if you want to prolong the phone’s battery life even more.
What I really like about the P30 Pro is its charging technology, as it has Huawei SuperCharge and Wireless Quick Charge. Plugging the phone into a USB outlet, I could charge the phone in under an hour.
The P30 Pro runs on Android, and the phone had me upgraded to Android 10 immediately after starting it up. The interface is clean and easy to navigate. It has Google’s ecosystem pre-installed, with features like Google Lens. The news feed is large and easy to read, and it has Microsoft Translator pre-loaded, which is an amazingly helpful feature for anyone who wants to learn another language. There are a few pre-loaded apps and features I didn’t find as useful, like Huawei’s browser and a phone clone app, but I like the interface for the most part.
For biometrics, the phone has a fingerprint reader, face recognition, and a passcode. There’s also a secure lockdown mode, where you can only unlock the device using a screen passcode.
The new rereleased P30 Pro retails for $860, and it includes the higher (8 GB) RAM and (256 GB) ROM. You can find the original international version, which includes 6 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage, on Amazon for around $500. This is an exceptional value, as this phone provides an abundance of features and a stellar camera. Plus, purchasing it in cash means no lease fees.
The P30 Pro’s Kirin 980 chip doesn’t have the level of processing speed and power that the Galaxy S10+ Snapdragon 855 provides. The Galaxy S10+ (view on Amazon) also provides a few other benefits, like a higher-res screen. But, the P30 Pro’s camera is where it slightly outshines the Galaxy S10+, especially for nighttime photographs. The S10 Plus has an impressive 10.0 MP and an 8.0 MP camera in the front, and a 12.0 MP, 16.0 MP, and 12.0 MP camera in the rear. The Galaxy S10+ takes excellent pictures, but they don’t provide the detail and depth that you get from the P30 Pro’s Leica quad camera, especially at night.
I genuinely liked it better than my iPhone.
The Huawei P30 Pro pulls out all the stops, with a vivid display and a camera that’s sure to impress.