Huawei's new P30 phones are pretty as a picture

Noel Campion says the features with the P30 and P30 Pro deliver on Huawei’s vow to rewrite the rules of photography.

This Wednesday, Huawei’s P30 Pro was launched in Paris. Its ambitious slogan — “Rewrite the Rules of Photography” — a big statement for a smartphone and not a dedicated pro camera.

Considering the fact that the P30 Pro has received the highest overall score for a smartphone from the independent website DxOmark of 112, gives Huawei something to brag about.

DxOmark test cameras, lenses, and smartphones under lab conditions.

DxOmark does a range of tests covering colour, autofocus, texture, noise, artifacts, flash and zoom as well as bokeh. It doesn’t just test stills photography, video is also put through its paces including video stabilisation.

The Huawei P30 and P30 Pro have great camera functions.
The Huawei P30 and P30 Pro have great camera functions.

Interestingly, DxOmark has also started testing front-facing cameras in smartphones over the last year and while the P30 Pro has the best overall score for its rear cameras, the selfie camera got a decent score of 89, but was bettered by the Galaxy S10 Plus, which received an overall score of 109, the same as last years Huawei P20 Pro, but a selfie camera score of 96.

I’ve been using the P30 Pro since launch and although I need to fully test it for the full review over the coming weeks, I can say that the cameras offer an incredible range of features and versatility not seen on any other smartphone to date.

Huawei has continued their co-engineering partnership with the Germany company Leica, by designing the quad camera system, which boasts a maximum ISO rating of 409,600; a 40MP SuperSpectrum lens, a 20MP ultra-wide angle lens, and an 8MP Periscope x5 optical zoom Lens. The fourth lens, which fits neatly below the vertically stacked dual flash is called a Time of Flight (ToF) lens and is used for AR and depth sensing.

The SuperSpectrum sensor uses an interesting technique for gathering light and colour. It uses an RYYB, which is a deviation from the type of RGGB Bayer filter used on every other smartphones.

Huawei P30 and P30 Pro.
Huawei P30 and P30 Pro.

Essentially, it replaces green pixels with yellow pixels, which allows it to yield a high maximum ISO rating of 409,600 on the P30 Pro and 204,800 on the P30. This fundamental shift in sensor technology, combined with AIS (Artificial Image Stabalisation), OIS (Optical Image Stabalisation), along with the P30 Pro’s f/1.6 wide aperture, should enable better photos and videos under a wider range of lighting conditions, including extremely low light. I’ve had a little time to test this at night in the Paris cityscape and my early results look impressive.

One of the biggest standout features of the Huawei P30 Pro is the new SuperZoom lens that can go all the way up to 50x digital zoom.

Traditionally, the barrier to producing smartphones with big zoom lenses is sheer physics, more zoom means a bigger phone, right? Well, Huawei has found a way to overcome this by putting a prism element into the telephoto camera which bends light at a 90-degree angle to maximise focal length, while minimising camera height, without making the P30 Pro any thicker. This means that the sensor is not directly behind the lens but instead it is at an angle. This allows it to be moved further away from the lens and provide more space for the larger lens. My only concern is will the prism degrade the image quality. All of the photos I’ve taken with this lens look impressive, but only further testing will tell the full story, so keep an eye out for the full review.

The ultra wide lens, which was first introduced on the Huawei’s Mate 20 Pro is incredibly versatile. It is especially useful for cityscapes and landscapes. It allows for unusual angles and perspectives as being able to get so much into a shot. Thankfully, the new P30 Pro also includes this lens.

A few other non-camera related features include the new in-screen fingerprint sensor. Again, this was introduced for the first time on the Mate 20 Pro, but the P30 Pro uses a second generation of the technology and I can confirm that it works much better. It’s faster to unlock the phone and more importantly, it’s more reliable.

Battery performance was excellent on the P20 Pro and the P30 Pro looks to be even better thanks to a 4,200mAh pack. Also, you get a 40W SuperCharger in the box, so you can charge up to 70% in 30 minutes. Additionally, the P30 Pro now supports wireless charging and reverse wireless charging, something last years P20 Pro lacked.

Finally, the new P30 Pro sports a 6.47-inch while the standard P30 uses a 6.1-inch display in Breathing Crystal, Amber Sunrise, Aurora, Pearl White, and Black colours. The FHD+ (2340x1080) Dewdrop Display features a small notch, which can be hidden in the settings if preferred. Something I also need to test more is the Acoustic Display Technology, which Huawei claims enables the P30 Pro to produce high-quality audio through a sound emitting display. There’s also a single speaker grill on the bottom edge.

Huawei's new P30 phones are pretty as a picture

The new Huawei P30 and Huawei P30 Pro are immediately available with a starting MSRP of €739 and €999 respectively.

In addition, any pre-order of a P30 Pro or P30 between March 26 and April will allow the buyer to redeem a free Sonas Speaker worth €229.

Alternatively, if you purchase either of the two new devices in retail stores on April 5 you can also redeem the same free Sonas Speaker worth €229.

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