4.7

Huawei is under attack. Huawei is fighting back. Huawei just wants to make good technology work for everyone.

Regardless of your interpretation of the grand scheme of things about Huawei, there is one thing that’s certain about them – their technology posts a huge threat among its competitors. It didn’t take long for the company to surface as a major player in the industry, and based on how they play their cards, it’s obvious that they are quite intimidating.

The Elephant in the Room

Enter Huawei Mate30 Pro, a follow up to last year’s successful product line-up, which introduced a lot of groundbreaking features. The new phone boasts all the best and powerful things that Huawei could ever put on their smartphone, but it lacked one significant feature that was feared to be a major dealbreaker for consumers, and that is not having Google Playstore at boot.

The issue isn’t exclusive to Huawei as some of the major players based in China like Xiaomi and Honor have been shipping smartphones that are running on open-source Android without the said feature. Phones shipped with China-ROMs installed do not come with Google Services but it didn’t post a huge issue among consumers whether or not they are based in China.

A couple of days ago, the video that we posted above seems to not be working anymore, and that’s quite unfortunate for end-users. It is also failing in Safety Net check, which means that while response signature validation and basic integrity get a passing grade, it fails in Compatibility Test Suite (CTS) profile math. This means that the device does not meet the certification standards of Google brought about the custom Android AOSP ROM preinstalled in the device. With its bootloader locked, custom firmware builders won’t be able to remediate this issue by cooking new ROMs and even root the device.

Today, we’re taking a deep look at Huawei Mate30 Pro. Despite not having Google Play services at boot, does it have everything it takes to be your next flagship smartphone?

A Display that Matters

Horizon Display, Halo, Side touch – these are the key features that wrap around the build and structure of the new Huawei Mate30 Pro. It’s elegant, absolutely nice to touch and hold.

The phone’s ultra-curved Horizon Display is a sight to behold. I can easily liken it to the Galaxy Note 10+, but the fact that it almost hugs the entire front portion of the phone, it gives off a more sophisticated look. It carries with it a number of features too like side touch, in-display fingerprint sensor and an OLED display that brings about impressive colors and level of saturation and contrast.

Mate30 Pro’s display only has a display refresh rate of 60Hz, and I really think that they could have cranked it up to 90 or even to 120Hz. More affordable phones like OnePlus 7 Pro has 90Hz display, and it’s quite odd for Huawei to put it on the Mate30 Pro. I suspect that it has something to do with Huawei M-Pen compatibility, and the touch panel’s ability to receive input from the pen limits its refresh rate. Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ also has 60Hz display because of S-Pen compatibility.

Zero Physical Volume Keys

The lack of a physical home button on the Mate30 Pro is both a blessing and a curse. It makes its Horizon Display look seamless and sleek, but the functionality is too limiting and obviously less tactile. Double tapping either the upper left or right side of the screen triggers a side UI to control buttons, but this is rendered inaccessible when you’re phone is ringing. With Mate20 Pro or even P30 Pro, you can just easily press volume up or down to mute the incoming ringtone. You cannot do that anymore on Mate30 Pro.

EMUI 10 that is ALSO built for gaming

When the operating system notices that you’re playing a game, Mate30 Pro activates an ancillary UI to control various game-related features. One of its celebrated features totally related to its side touch is the ability to map shoulder buttons to the side of the screen. It works on both sides, and it’s made possible because of the insane ultra-wide coverage of the horizon display. The response time and experience are pretty similar to my experience with the ASUS ROG Phone II. The latter though uses trigger touch panels as opposed to Mate30 Pro’s side screens. It’s an ingenious way to make use of the Horizon Display and I praise Huawei for taking this initiative.

Performance that Wows

In terms of performance, Huawei Mate30 Pro is at the top of its game compared to its other smartphones. I ran two benchmark methodologies on the smartphone: Antutu 3D Benchmark and played games while Gamebench is running the background for a more “real-life” benchmarking. We managed to benchmark the games we usually play using GameBench Pro, a leading benchmarking platform for smartphones.

As seen in the table below, our Mate30 Pro managed to reach 469,031 score, which makes it faster than any of the smartphones we tested so far.

As for the Gamebench scores, check out the following results:

PUBG (Maximum Settings at Highest FPS Mode)

  • Median FPS: 30fps
  • FPS Stability: 83%
  • Average Memory Usage: 673MB
  • Peak Memory Usage: 889MB

NBA 2K20 (Highest Setting)

  • Median FPS: 60fps
  • FPS Stability: 10%
  • Average Memory Usage: 823MB
  • Peak Memory Usage: 850MB

Call of Duty Mobile (Maximum Settings)

  • Median FPS: 60fps
  • FPS Stability: 84%
  • Average Memory Usage: 870MB
  • Peak Memory Usage: 1007MB

Darkness Rises (Maximum Settings)

  • Median FPS: 45fps
  • FPS Stability: 95%
  • Average Memory Usage: 1386MB
  • Peak Memory Usage: 1561MB

Insane Battery Life

In terms of battery performance, Huawei Mate30 Pro passed our test with flying colors. I managed to use the phone for 15 hours and 52 minutes with 8% remaining juice left. Note that I use the phone as my daily driver with most of the time WLAN is turned on, my mobile network signal is lit the whole time (with occasional blips of loss of signal).

Setting a new Standard in Mobile Photography and Videography

To say that Huawei Mate30 Pro is a monster when it comes to mobile photography and videography is an understatement. It manages to not just satisfy the people behind DxO Mark but also us at Gadget Pilipinas.

Camera Huawei Mate 30 Pro
Front camera 32MP, 2x Depth Sensor
Rear camera 40MP, f/1.6
8MP, f/2.4
40MP, f/1.8
3D TOF Camera

 

In case you missed the photos we took during our stay in Munich, we are – once again – sharing it with you.

Selfie

Mate30 Pro is Huawei’s first smartphone that sports 3 cameras infront. The 32MP front camera is coupled with 2 depth sensors, which are powerful enough to analyse and optimize selfie portrait shots. The photos below are taken with the main 32MP lens. The camera is able to achieve selfies with impressive quality of background bokeh.

When I took the last photo, I was surprised to see how the phone turned on an artificial ring light. This isn’t exactly a new feature as the latest EMUI10 build on my Huawei P30 Pro has the same implementation for users.

Landscape

Compared to Huawei Mate20 Pro and P30 Pro, the AI on Mate30 Pro isn’t as aggressive as before. Instead of making the AI aggressive in tweaking the photos, which before resulting to oversaturated photos, Huawei improved the camera sensor and all the underlying factors to produce a photo with more accurate and efficient AI intervention.

Food Photography

The bigger sensor on Huawei Mate30 Pro allows it to take impressive food photos. Taking photos of food requires efficient color processing. Here are some photos I took using the new phone. Note that I didn’t edit any of the photos at post.

Car Photography

I paid a visit to BMW Museum in Munich to take photos of cars. Here are some of mu photos. Notice the perfect combination of good contrast level to bring out the right dark and light colors. Level of saturation are on point too!

Portrait

This is where Mate30 shines. While there are a few things to improve on how the bokeh is presented, I find the photos much clearer and color-accurate.

Night Photography

Every year, this mode on Huawei’s flagship smartphones keep on getting better. This time, photos I took at night with this smartphone has more depth, and the contrast level are good enough to bring out the right mix of deep blacks and lighter colored parts of the subject.

Monochrome

I have also prepared a quick video, which I shot entirely on Mate30 Pro.

Zero color grading at post; everything is shot with Huawei Mate30 Pro.

Posted by Giancarlo Muñoz Viterbo on Monday, September 23, 2019

Now here’s 7680fps slow motion in action.

Here's a submerged Cherry Mobile Fitness Watch. It is part of Love Marie Collection, which retails for PhP2999.

Posted by Giancarlo Muñoz Viterbo on Thursday, October 3, 2019

Verdict

Whether you like Huawei or not, it’s an undeniable fact that they make trendsetting and powerful smartphones. Mate30 Pro proves that the company is willing to continue their streak.

The phone has impressive features but it is impossible for consumers to just simply turn a blind eye about Huawei’s underlying issues. Now that they are about to sell this in a few weeks (at the time of this writing), the requirement for them to be more hardworking in winning the consumers’ minds and hearts are at its peak.

You have to consider a few requirements before you jump into deciding if you’re getting this or not. Here are a few suggestions:

Get this if…

  • You’re into mobile photography and videography
  • You want a smartphone that has really good battery life
  • You have money to spare – because we think that this will sell probably more than PhP45,000. It will be a bargain if they sell it much cheaper though.
  • You’re a fan of the brand
  • You’re a streamer and you want to have an easy way to project your gameplay to your capture card via Type C to HDMI.

Don’t get this if…

  • You’re iffy about not having Google Playstore at launch.
  • You’re not a fan of Huawei
  • You want a phone with physical volume keys
Huawei Mate30 Pro Review
Our Verdict
What's Good
What's Not
4.7

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Author

Giancarlo Viterbo is a Filipino Technology Journalist, blogger and Editor of GadgetPilipinas.net, He is also a Geek, Dad and a Husband. He knows a lot about washing the dishes, doing some errands and following instructions from his boss on his day job. Follow him on twitter: @gianviterbo and @gadgetpilipinas.

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