Let the 2019 cell phone flagships wars begin! It's now Huawei's turn to announce their flagship for their first quarter and they have announced two latest flagship phones, the P30 and P30 Pro, at a press event in Paris on Tuesday. Both handsets include a new SuperSpectrum lens for better low-light photos, and the P30 Pro features a periscope lens that uses a prism for near-lossless images at up to 10X zoom. I manage to get my hands on the device early on. So here's a quick look at the device.
The P30 Pro has a 6.47-inch OLED display with an in-screen fingerprint sensor. The display is curved, with tighter bezels than the P20 Pro and a very small notch for the camera. It's powered by Huawei's top-end Kirin 980 processor with 8GB of RAM. Storage is available in 128GB, 256GB, or 512GB, with no microSD slot, it certainly feels quite weighty to hold which I personally like.
Rounding out the hardware is a Cat 21 modem capable of speeds up to 1.4Gbps. Powered is provided by a 4,200mAh battery that features 40W Huawei Supercharge, which can charge the phone from 0 to 70 percent in just 15 minutes. There's also 15W Wireless Quick Charging as well as reverse charging.
The phone is available in four color gradients: Amber Sunrise (red to orange), Aurora (blue to black), Breathing Crystal (amethyst to blue), and Pearl White which you can see here. (basically opalescent). There's also a plain black model for those who prefer a more conservative look. No matter the color, the phone features an IP68 rating for protection against dust and water.
While the updated design and features are intriguing, the main focus here is on the camera. The P30 Pro features four cameras with Leica branding. The primary camera is a 40MP SuperSpectrum design with an f/1.6 lens and optical image stabilization (OIS). Instead of using a traditional RGB Bayer color filter, Huawei developed a special overlay that filters yellows instead of greens. Some processing is required to correct colors behind the scenes, but the net result is a filter that doesn't cut as much incoming light, which means the phone's native ISO range—a measure of a sensor's sensitivity to light—is higher than competitors.
The P30 Pro has an ISO range of up to 409600, a figure traditionally reserved for full-frame systems, compared with other top-tier phones, which tend to settle in around ISO 6400. We'll have to wait and see if the design garners better results in the real world than other recent smartphones, notably the Google Pixel 3 and its excellent Night Sight feature or Samsung S10's low light mode.
The second ultra-wide-angle lens comes in at 20MP and has an f/2.2 aperture and OIS. In addition to its wide-angle abilities, it should also be good for macro photography. It has a focal distance of just 2.5cm (0.98 inches) with a 1/3200s ISO.
The third and most remarkable lens is actually an 8MP, 125mm periscope zoom with OIS. To keep the P30 Pro thin, the periscope lens sits behind a prism that rotates images by 90 degrees. Huawei reports the lens provides an almost lossless experience at 10x zoom (270mm).
The final, time of flight (TOF) lens sits next to the flash and is used in computation photography to determine depth of field in real time. The TOF lens creates a detailed exposure map to improve photography in a variety of settings. In night mode it allows more light, more clarity, and better detail preservation. It also improves portrait mode and bokeh effects by maintaining details in the foreground while naturally blurring details in the background.
I'll definitely be testing Huawei's claims on their camera, their Mate 20 Pro was one of their best phones and my personal pick for 2018 so it remains to be seen how this one will do. The take on sensor design is certainly intriguing, and may well set the P30 Pro apart from other smartphones.
In addition to the P30 Pro, Huawei also introduced its new P30 smartphone, an update to last year's P20. It features more conservative upgrades compared with its larger sibling, but is still a powerhouse.
The P30's flat OLED display comes in at a slightly smaller 6.1 inches and has an in-screen fingerprint sensor. It has a Kirin 980 processor with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, along with a CAT 16 modem capable of speeds up to 1Gbps. A 3,650mAh battery powers the phone and supports 22.5W Huawei Super Charge. Wireless charging and reverse charging are limited to the Pro model.
The camera stack on the P30 is also different. It has a 40MP SuperSpectrum lens with a slightly narrower f/1.8 aperture. The secondary lens is an ultra-wide-angle 16MP sensor with f/2.2 aperture. The third lens clocks in at 8MP with 3x optical zoom. Unlike the Pro, there is no periscope lens or TOF sensor.
So far inital figures suggest that Huawei will price the P30 Pro at €999 with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, or €1,099 for the 8GB / 256GB configuration, or €1,249 for 8GB / 512GB. The P30 will cost €799 with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. Local figures in the middle east will vary as Huawei are known to price their devices here competitively to other manufacturers.