Huawei P30 review: P series DNA at an attractive price

Joel Guinto, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 30 2019 06:30 AM | Updated as of Jun 12 2019 01:29 PM

Huawei's P30. ABS-CBN News

MANILA -- It's the Huawei P30 -- no Pro, no X, no Max -- and it's fine. In fact, it's really good if you're looking for a photography-centered smartphone that can last for an entire day of snapping and sharing.

The 50 times zoom on the P30 Pro is absent on the P30. It also has 3 lenses instead of 4, missing the time of flight or depth sensor. The screen is also smaller at 6.1 inches versus 6.47 inches.

But the omissions don't take away from the experience of a Leica-powered P Series phone. Colors are rich, images are sharp and a wide angle view captures as much of the scene as possible.

It also helps that the P30 sells for P36,990, P14,000 less than the P30 Pro, P13,000 less than the Galaxy S10 with a similar sized screen and nearly half the price of the iPhone XS.

MINI MONSTER

The P30 has Leica-engineered triple shooters: a 40MP wide angle lens with f/1.8 aperture, a 16MP ultra wide lens with f/2.2 and an 8MP telephoto with f/2.4.

Huawei endorser and Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach said during the P30 series launch that the smartphones see what the eyes can't. The wide view was especially enjoyable for dramatic landscape shots.

An infinity pool overlooking Clark Field is seen in this shot taken with the Huawei P30 Pro using wide angle mode. ABS-CBN News

The wide angle mode made this scene appear like a shower of yellow flowers while the macro mode made one cluster of blossoms pop.

A wide angle shot of a flower tree using the Huawei P30. ABS-CBN News
A macro shot of a cluster of flowers using the Huawei P30. ABS-CBN News

Our review unit topped out at 30 times zoom and it took a decent shot of the moon at nightfall.

The moon at nightfall, is seen against a church belfry, in this shot taken with the Huawei P30 at 30 times zoom. ABS-CBN News

The night mode is among the best we've used in a smartphone, as in these photos of a church interior.

The interior of a church, shot with the Huawei P30. ABS-CBN News
The interior of a church, shot with night mode on the Huawei P30. ABS-CBN News

Colors on mundane objects like these pinwheels appear bright.

Colorful toys are shown in this shot taken using the Huawei P30. ABS-CBN News

The P30's Master AI can recognize food, but we found that it needed a fair amount of natural light to make the colors pop. Colors can look bland in dim lighting.

A plate of lechon tacos, under natural light, is shown in this photo taken using the Huawei P30. ABS-CBN News
A plate of Angus beef tacos, under dim lighting, is shown in this photo taken using the Huawei P30. ABS-CBN News

PALM-SIZED POWER

The smaller screen on the P30 makes it easier to manage unlike its larger sibling. The flat screen comes with a screen protector. Looking for screen guards for curved screens like that on the P30 Pro or the Galaxy S10 and S10+ can be chore for those averse to scratches.

At 165 grams, the phone is easy to hold, coupled with the flat top and bottom. The supplied clear case makes it less slippery.

The P30 comes in the same gradient color finishes of the P30 Pro and seen from afar, the two phones look almost identical unless you know how to spot the square-shaped periscope lens and the TOF sensor on the Pro model.

The P30 also has a headphone jack and calls are loud on the earpiece speaker, which the P30 Pro replaces with screen vibrations.

The 3,650 mAh battery is enough to power the phone for a day. However, it lacks the wireless charging and reverse wireless charging on the Pro model.

The P30 ships with 128GB of on board storage with 8GB of RAM. The Kirin 980 blazes through applications and tasks. Navigation gestures on EMUI 9 is more intuitive than other Android skins. However the look of the UI is overdue for a refresh.

THE P FOR MOST PEOPLE

The Huawei P30 succeeds in bringing the P Series DNA to a smaller, less expensive package. Despite lacking the marquee features of the P30 Pro, it doesn't feel like a compromise.

It's rare for flagship phones to be priced in the P30,000 tier, even Huawei's rivals like Xiaomi and OnePlus have begun to flirt with higher price points.

For photography smarts, power and a competitive price tag, the P30 is a smart choice.