Hands-On with Huawei P30: Everything You Need to Know

Leaks aside, the official word is now out and spreading like wildfire. Announced just moments ago from Paris, Chinese tech giant Huawei will be releasing their follow-up flagship smartphones to last year’s remarkably successful P20 and P20 Pro with, you guessed it, the P30 and P30 Pro. The company’s incredible growth in recent years (up 35% in 2018 vs 2017) doesn’t look like it’ll be slowing down anytime soon with these thoroughly impressive devices, which will quite quickly be followed by their first ever foldable phone Huawei Mate X later this year (though no release date has been confirmed).

Pricing, Release Date, Pre-Ordering, Etc

Let’s get the pricing out of the way first. The P30 will start from $1099 AUD with 6GB memory and 128GB storage, while the P30 Pro will be significantly more pricey at $1599 AUD with 8GB memory and 256GB storage. Importantly, both phones will have expandable memory, but if you’re opting for a dual 4G SIM phone then note that the Nano card will take up one of these slots.

For Australians, Dual SIM variants of the Huawei P30 will be available from Optus, JB Hi Fi, Harvey, mobileciti, and Kogan. Single SIM phones will be available from Vodafone.

Similarly, the P30 Pro will have the Dual SIM option stocked at Optus, JB Hi Fi, Harvey, mobileciti, and Kogan. Single SIM phones will be available from both Vodafone and Telstra.

Pre-orders open from today, Wednesday 27th March and the actual phones will be released on Tuesday 16th April. If you’re going to pre-order either phone, we advise doing it through huaweipromotions.com.au by 15th April, because you’ll also score a complimentary Sonos One smart speaker upon redemption – it’s one of the best smart speakers on the market.

Specs & Design

The specs on both devices are impressive to say the least, and show that Huawei is not holding back in their very probable sprint towards the front of the never-ending smartphone race.

The P30 comes with a 6.1-inch (19.5:9 aspect ratio) Huawei FHD+ OLED Display, while the Pro adds stronger defined curves for a slicker and more premium look; the display is bumped up to 6.47 inches (19.5:9 aspect ratio). The tiny dewdrop notch that sits over the top-middle of both phones looks absolutely fine, interrupting the display with the sole front-facing camera (a 32MP selfie cam on both the P30 and Pro). After spending some time with the Huawei P30 Pro, I can confirm that viewing media on this immaculate screen is fantastic.

Huawei’s in-screen fingerprint sensor will be available on both devices along with a smooth face lock system. However, the Pro will have one particular trick that its smaller sister lacks, and that’s Huawei’s “Acoustic Display” technology, meaning that the camera you actually use to speak on calls will be positioned underneath the screen, eliminating the need for a speaker grille on top.

The P30 has a 3650mAh battery that is further optimized by AI, while the Pro has a 4200mAh battery with AI. Huawei’s most ambitious claim is that these phones will offer a battery life of a whopping two days, complemented by a high speed SuperCharge system. With the P30 you’re looking at 0 to 58% in 30 minutes, while the Pro reaches 70% in the same time. My hands-on with the devices wasn’t significant enough for me to test these claims, but stay tuned for our full review ahead of release.

The Pro takes its battery a step further by offering 40W SuperCharge, 15W Wireless SuperCharge 2.0, and Reverse Wireless Charging. The latter means that you can use the device’s surface to simply charge other devices, such as Bluetooth headphones.

Both devices are powered by Huawei’s Kirin 980 processor, which has already been shown by the Mate 20 to be significantly faster than Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845, and 40% more power efficient when compared with Huawei’s previous generation devices.

One strong advantage the original P30 has over the Pro is that it includes a 3.5mm analog headphone socket (remember those!?), while the Pro sticks with digital USB-C for its audio output.

Though, the Pro has the advantage of being very resilient to water and dust, with a solid IP68 rating, which usually guarantees protection in water up to 1.5m deep for up to 30 minutes.

Camera

We’ll go into detail in a separate article as we take you through our hands-on session at Uluru last week, but for now check out the impressive camera specs on each device. This is where the more meaningful differences between the P30 and P30 Pro lie, and go a long way in justifying the $500 price bump.

And of course, the following is no surprise. The Huawei P20 series revolutionised smartphone photography by placing a great emphasis on low-light photography and showing how AI can be used to improve detail and reduce noise. That is built upon here, rivalling the Google Pixel’s incredible Night Sight (here, simply labelled “Night Mode”) and featuring several other notable enhancements that easily – and immediately – put this as the probably the single best smartphone camera on the market. Of course, we’ll need to spend a bit more time with it to stand behind that ambitious claim 100%, but from a day spent testing this in Australia’s otherworldly Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park, it’s looking like a sure thing.

You ready?

The P30 features a new-gen Leica Triple Camera system on the back, made up of 40MP SuperSpectrum (f/1.8), 16MP (f/2.2), and 8MP (f/2.4) sensors. An ultra wide angle (the 16MP) and telephoto (the 8MP) are the best inclusions here, while a 32MP Selfie Camera sits on the front, as mentioned above. The biggest interest, and the one that will win over consumers, is the zoom. The P30 has 3X optical zoom with up to 5X hybrid zoom with no noticeable drop in quality. Then things pick up further with a 30X digital zoom. Impressed? Switch your attention over to the Pro.

The Pro doesn’t have a triple camera system, it has a quad camera system. Four cameras are on the back of this beast, with 40MP SuperSpectrum sensor, 20MP (ultrawide) and 8MP (telephoto) camera sensors, and a Time-of-Flight lens which basically uses infra-red light to better determine depth and structure, improving AR and 3D experiences and enhancing portrait mode so you get a better separation between subject and background.

The zoom is improved too. With the Pro you’re getting 5X optical zoom, 10X hybrid, and an incredible 50X Digital Zoom with the dual OIS and AIS Leica superwide (16mm) and ultra close up macro lenses. The same 32MP Selfie Camera exists on the front.

That’s all for now, for a bigger focus on the camera head on over to our other hands-on feature HERE.

Chris Singh

Chris Singh is the Deputy Editor of the AU review and a freelance travel writer. You can reach him on Instagram by following @chrisdsingh.

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