Technology

Huawei redefines mobile photography with P30 Pro smartphone

Headline grabbing Chinese telecoms giant Huawei has laid down the gauntlet to mobile rivals with its flagship P30 Pro smartphone. This isn’t just another slick Android mobile, it’s nothing less than the reinvention of mobile photography.

The P30 Pro does things with lenses we’ve never seen done in the camera-phone world before. It has a zoom which borders on being a Bond gadget and boasts supreme low light performance, courtesy of a ground-breaking SuperSpectrum Sensor, all driven by a battery that’ll easily last a day, no matter how hard you hammer it.

The groundbreaking Leica quad-camera system

Available in Breathing Crystal, Aurora, Amber Sunrise, all of which take advantage of a nine-layer nano optical colour finishing process, as well as Pearl White and regular Black, the P30 pro looks very smart indeed. 

It sports a 6.47-inch 19.5:9 wide-colour OLED FHD+ display (2340 x 1080 resolution), giving a pixel density of 398 ppi. Screen edges curve and there’s barely a bezel. It’s large, but feels comfortable in the hand.

Connectivity includes USB-C and Bluetooth. There’s no headphone jack.

Driving everything along at pace is a 7nm Kirin 980 processor, with Dual-NPU AI processing. Navigating the screen and apps is wonderfully smooth. It runs EMUI 9.1 Android 9.

Of course, the P30 Pro isn’t just about leading edge tech. There are some familiar features carried over from the P20 Pro, including reverse wireless charging, which allows you to help iPhone-owing friends when they run low on juice, and an In-Screen Fingerprint sensor. The phone’s also IP68 water/dust resistant.

Available in a choice of Breathing Crystal, Aurora or Amber Sunrise finishes, the P30 Pro looks very smart indeed. 

Innovative new periscope design

Of course, for most users, it’s the smartphone’s camera chops which hold most appeal.

The current hero model of the P30 range, it features a groundbreaking Leica quad-camera system with advanced Artificial Intelligence.

There’s a 40MP main camera, a 20MP ultra-wide angle camera, 8MP telephoto camera, Time of Flight (ToF) depth sensor, which delivers great bokeh effects, and a 32MP selfie camera.

A Super Portrait shooting mode combines depth of field data and proprietary algorithms to defocus backgrounds and snap the subject into focus. 

Coupled with an f/1.6 wide aperture, the P30 Pro doesn’t just give a clear image in low light, it also captures full colour down to one lux. These bright and vibrant low light shots look a bit surreal, but that doesn’t diminish their impact. They’ll do wonders for your Instagram rep.

And then there’s that SuperZoom (pictured below), seemingly based on 007 spy technology, its extraordinary magnification achieved by an innovatory new periscope design. A prism in the telephoto camera bends light at a 90-degree angle to maximize focal length.  It has 5 times optical zoom (which looks really splendid), 10 times hybrid zoom (which is also rather clever) and 50 times digital zoom. 

Superzoom at work in Hyde Park London

The more extreme zoom requires a tripod, because the image is so prone to handshakes and blur. Get it right though, and you can spy on folks barely visible to the naked eye. It’s absolutely amazing. 

But for all its trickery, perhaps the biggest take away is just how easy the P30 Pro is to use. The camera’s AI mode makes it a doddle to get great pictures with next to no effort. AI HDR+ exposure management utilises both the front and rear cameras to eliminate overexposed and backlit images. The camera makes an (often correct) snap decision about what you’re shooting and adjusts accordingly. 

Low light performance inside Royal Albert hall

The P30 pro isn’t just about still photography either. That the SuperSpectrum sensor is just as effective when it comes to slow-light video capture. There’s also an AI Video Editor, which can add background music and special effects. 

There’s also a cool new video feature we’ve not seen before. Called the Dual View mode, the smartphone can shoot the same scene using different lens simultaneously, for example recording both wide angle and close-up views of the same shot.  

The other huge user benefit offered by the P30 Pro is battery life. During our audition we all but forgot about touting a spare battery cell around as back-up. It simply wasn’t needed. 

It’s possible to go two days with light use before charging. And when you do need to refresh the 4200mAh battery, Huawei’s 40W super charger will get you to 70 per cent from flat in just 30 minutes or so.

We rate the Huawei P30 Pro as both a great everyday Android mobile, and a game-changing camera phone. Indeed, it’s imaging prowess is so impressive even dedicated photographers will be tempted to leave their lenses at home, because it does much the same as a gadget bag full of glass, with far less effort.

If you think you already know Huawei, this flagship will make you think again.

Specification:
Display: 6.47-inch OLED FHD+ 
Headphone jack: No
Connector: USB-C
Camera system: 40MP main, 20MP ultra-wide angle camera, 8MP telephoto, Time of Flight (ToF) depth sensor, 32MP front facing camera.
Battery: 4200mAh

About Steve May

Creator of Home Cinema Choice magazine, Steve muses and reviews for Trusted Reviews, T3, TechRadar, Home Cinema Choice, Ideal Home, The Luxe Review, Channel News and the i newspaper. He’s also the editor of professional home cinema website Inside CI, and contributor to industry trade magazine ERT. He's on Twitter and Instagram as @SteveMay_UK

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