Before I start, I’d like to note that this isn’t a standard review. It is, instead, an ongoing record of my experience with the Huawei P30 Pro, designed to create an honest overview of what it’s like to live with in an uncensored, unedited form. I’ll be writing it on the move, so don’t expect a model example of long-form journalism. These are my raw thoughts — nothing more, nothing less.
So, let’s set the scene. I received my Huawei P30 Pro on April 26 at around 2:30 PM CET. Before that, I saw it in Amsterdam at an exclusive event, where I spent around an hour playing with the device, so at the time of writing on April 27 I’ve spent approximately 40 hours with the handset — and I’ve loved every second. It’s by far the best smartphone I’ve used to date; but I do have a couple of qualms.
The first is that the Huawei P30 Pro is extremely comfortable in the hand. But it’s also extremely slippery. This morning, I sat on the toilet to, erm, take care of business, and the device slipped out of my trouser pocket, colliding with the marble floor. Fortunately, the loo was quite low to the ground, so there wasn’t any visible damage, though it did teach me a valuable lesson: a case is essential.
The second is the screen. Just like on the Huawei P20 and Huawei P20 Pro, Huawei opted for a FHD+ screen for the Huawei P30 and Huawei P30 Pro, and coming from a Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus, it’s a noticeable step down, and therefore takes a little bit of adjusting to. At times, I found myself checking the screen resolution to make sure that Smart Resolution hadn’t knocked it down to HD+ — it hadn’t.
Truth be told, there isn’t much else I can fault about the Huawei P30 Pro right now — and I hope it’ll stay that way. The quad-camera (40MP + 20MP + 8MP + ToF) on the rear, which was once again co-engineered by imaging titan Leica, is nothing short of fantastic; it’s super fast, thanks to the Kirin 980 CPU and 8GB of RAM; and the 4200mAh battery saw me through the first day of use with ease.
When I first heard that Huawei had decided against using an earpiece speaker, in favour of a new bit of kit that sends sound waves through the screen itself, I was a bit sceptical. LG tried something similar, and it was underwhelming at best. But Huawei has hit the nail on the head; it’s clear, loud and there’s minimal sound leakage — minimizing the risk of passersby eavesdropping in on your conversation.
The in-screen fingerprint reader is really good. Huawei says it’s around 30% faster than that of the Huawei Mate 20 Pro, and I believe it. Within a mere second of resting your finger on the designated section in the lower-third of the handset’s screen, it’s unlocked — that is, of course, provided you don’t have Face Unlock enabled. And if you don’t, it’s definitely something I’d recommend doing because it’s super quick.
Fast forward a little less than a week, and the Huawei P30 Pro is still just as good as the day I unboxed it — if not better. The quad-camera on the rear never fails to astound me. I still find myself wishing the screen was of a higher resolution like that of the Samsung Galaxy S10, but that’s likely because I spend a lot of time bouncing between devices; for the average consumer, it shouldn’t be an issue at all.
Before I switched to the Huawei P30 Pro, I was using the Porsche Design Huawei Mate 20 RS, and it feels near-identical in the hand. It’s a lot more well-built than the Huawei Mate 20 Pro, even though the Mate Series is traditionally the more robust out of the two. The device has taken a brief tumble twice now, and it’s emerged relatively unscathed, save for a small blemish on the lower-right corner.
The slightly boxier corners make it a lot more comfortable to hold than both the Porsche Design Huawei Mate 20 RS and Huawei Mate 20 Pro, but it’s still a very slippery handset — and that’s a result of the screen and the glass on the rear curving to meet the frame in the middle. If Huawei had opted for a more square form factor, it would have eliminated the issue, but sacrificed the excellent viewing angles.
It’s a compromise that had to be made, and was the right call.
So far, so good.