Huawei Mate 30 Pro hands-on: Powerful cameras, slick performance

Joel Guinto, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 23 2019 05:32 PM

Huawei's Mate 30 Pro smartphone is shown in this taken in Munich, Germany.ABS-CBN News

Huawei's Mate 30 Pro smartphone is shown in this taken in Munich, Germany.ABS-CBN News

Huawei's Mate 30 Pro smartphone is shown in this taken in Munich, Germany.ABS-CBN News

Huawei's Mate 30 Pro smartphone is shown in this taken in Munich, Germany.ABS-CBN News

Huawei's Mate 30 Pro smartphone is shown in this taken in Munich, Germany.ABS-CBN News

Huawei's Mate 30 Pro smartphone is shown in this taken in Munich, Germany.ABS-CBN News

Huawei's Mate 30 Pro smartphone is shown in this taken in Munich, Germany.ABS-CBN News

MUNICH -- In case the cookie-sized camera module on the back and the "cine" branding on the 4 Leica-engineered lenses weren't enough to get the message across, Huawei wants to add imaging to the power that the Mate series is known for with the Mate 30 Pro.

It has a 40-megapixel camera with f/1.8 aperture, a second 40MP shooter with f/1.6 and optical image stabilization, an 8MP camera with f/2.4 and OIS and a fourth depth-sensing lens.

In total, the Mate 30 Pro has 7 cameras, three of which are on the front. The main front-facing camera can shoot at 32MP at f/2.0 aperture while the rest of the camera array allows for improved facial recognition.

The Mate 30 Pro, like the Mate 20 and P30 series, has wide, ultra-wide and night modes. It can zoom up to 30 times compared to 50 on the P30 Pro.

The purple elephant in the room: Out of the box, the Mate 30 Pro does not come pre-installed with the suite of Google apps such as Gmail and YouTube, a fallout of the US-China trade war.

The Mate 30 Pro does ship with Android 10 and Huawei's EMUI out of the box. The Shenzhen-based tech giant is offering up to $1 billion (P52 billion) in incentives to developers to build apps for the platform, which is based on open-source Android.

Colors were vivid and bright and video capture was stable in our initial tests. To bolster the Mate 30's as an imaging device, Huawei is even offering accessories such as a gimbal and a portable studio light.

There was very little shake even when keeping up with Munich locals that swarmed the opening of Oktoberfest for one-liter mugs of beer, sausages and pretzels.

A video collage of scenes from day one of Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany taken using the Huawei Mate 30 Pro.

In Marienplatz, Munich's old quarter, we caught this slow-motion shot of a pigeon taking flight, which was fairly easy as the camera directs the user to find the focus of the shot.

We will be testing more of the Mate 30 Pro's video features in our full review. Among other modes, it can also shoot in monochrome and time-lapse.

A pigeon in Munich, Germany takes flight in this slow-motion video taken with the Huawei Mate 30 Pro. ABS-CBN News

Photos taken with the Mate 30 Pro were typical of Leica-engineered Huawei camera phones with high contrast and colors that pop. We found the night mode, however, to be on the exaggerated side.

The camera interface is also stripped down and it is easier to switch between modes with a left or right swipe.

The rear of a green Mini Cooper is shown in this test shot taken with the Huawei Mate 30 Pro. ABS-CBN News
A blue BMW car is shown in this test shot taken with the Huawei Mate 30 Pro. ABS-CBN News
The rear of a red BMW car is shown in this test shot taken with the Huawei Mate 30 Pro. ABS-CBN News
The BMW Museum is shown in this test shot taken with the Huawei Mate 30 Pro. ABS-CBN News
Flowers in Munich's old quarter are shown in this test shot taken with the Huawei Mate 30 Pro. ABS-CBN News
Munich's old quarter is shown in this test shot taken with the Huawei Mate 30 Pro using night mode. ABS-CBN News
A spread of German sausages and salad is shown in this test shot taken with the Huawei Mate 30 Pro. ABS-CBN News

The Mate 30 Pro is the first Huawei phone to ship with its own Kirin 990 chip set, which offers 5G support on top of artificial intelligence. The Mate series has both 5G and 4G options.

The phone didn't disappoint in terms of speed and stamina. With light use, battery was down to 81 percent 5 hours after it was unplugged from the charger. We lasted full days in Germany without battery anxiety.

The Mate 30 Pro can charge up to 40W with the bundled charger and 27W wireless.

The 6.53-inch display curves at 88 degrees, almost at a right angle, heightening the illusion of a bezel-less panel. Huawei call's this their "horizon" display. The Mate 30 ships with a flat screen.

The lack of a Quad HD screen option is disappointing, but the Full HD 2400 x 1176 OLED screen was no slouch. Only when we switched to 2K panels like the Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ and the Apple iPhone XS Max did we notice the slight difference.

The curved screen left no space for the volume rocker. Tapping on the side calls up the volume controls which can be adjusted with a slide of the thumb. Here's a tip: tap with the tip of your thumb, not the thumbprint.

The Mate 30 Pro is also slimmer and less-slab like. On some color options, the portion of the back below the camera "halo" has a textured finish instead of glossy to improve grip and resistance to fingerprints.

Our review unit is silver, but reminds us of the Orchid Gray color way on the Samsung Galaxy S8 series. The green Mate 30 Pro looks striking, so do the vegan leather options in green and orange.

Huawei has not announced pricing or availability for the Mate 30 Pro in the Philippines. We will be coming out with a full review of the Mate 30 Pro in the coming days.