Huawei P30 Pro vs Huawei Mate 20 Pro: Which is best?

Does Huawei's latest top Huawei's previous greatest?

The Huawei Mate 20 Pro quickly became our favourite smartphone on the planet, and held that throne in 2019. But Huawei's just released the next contender to the throne.

The P30 Pro just dropped, and the flagship keeps a fair amount of the Mate 20 Pro's DNA while merging it with a bit of last year's P20 Pro, with an end result that both maintains and evolves Huawei's flagship mystique.

Of course, the Mate 20 Pro is still plenty brilliant – and in a couple ways, it may still top the P30 Pro. Which will prevail? Here's what we think now that we've completed our P30 Pro review.

Design: Cut from the same cloth

The P30 Pro sits right in the middle of the P20 Pro and Mate 20 Pro in terms of design philosophy. It has the curves and silhouette of the Mate 20 Pro, but the camera placement and smaller notch of the P-Series. And in this case, the P30 Pro opts for a teardrop notch, while the Mate 20 Pro has that huge, iPhone-like cutout.

Both are winners from the back, thanks to the brilliant gradient colour options. The P30 Pro introduces a couple of new colours, including the hot Amber Sunrise option, while the Mate 20 Pro offers the unique option of a textured backing instead of the dazzling gradient finish. You really can't go wrong with either handset here, but strictly from a design and screen-usage perspective, we'll take a teardrop over an ultra-wide notch any day.

Verdict: Huawei P30 Pro

Screen: That's my Mate

We can safely call this one for the Mate 20 Pro. The Mate's 6.39in display is a super-sharp Quad HD Super AMOLED panel, and it's a stunner.

Meanwhile, Huawei opted to stick with a 1080p AMOLED panel on the P30 Pro, this time at 6.47in. It's a smidge larger, but also lower-resolution. It's not going to win this particular fight, even though it's still a pretty great display. And both phones have an in-display fingerprint sensor, so it's all square there.

Verdict: Huawei Mate 20 Pro

Camera: Zooming to victory

The Mate 20 Pro lightly improved upon the P20 Pro's triple-camera array, but the P30 Pro takes it to bold new heights – and it's a quad-camera array now.

The addition of a depth-sensing time-of-flight camera is important, but the bigger feature is the ability to pull off lossless 10x zoom. It's a mixture of optical and digital zoom (more the former than the latter), and it is truly, honestly impressive. It's so far beyond the 3x optical and 5x hybrid zoom of the Mate 20 Pro.

Given that the P30 Pro also takes excellent everyday snaps that are at least as good as the Mate 20 Pro's, Huawei's newest phone takes this win by a clear margin. The P30 Pro can also record video from two cameras at once, which is downright cool.

However, the Mate 20 Pro has a clear advantage from the front: 3D facial scanning like Apple's Face ID, which provides a much more secure biometric reading than a simple 2D scan. The P30 Pro can only muster up the latter. In the grand scheme of things, the P30 Pro's rear upgrades seem way more important.

Verdict: Huawei P30 Pro

Performance: About the same

Both phones use Huawei's current top-end Kirin 980 chip, while the Mate 20 Pro has 6GB RAM in the base model and 8GB in a pricier edition. The P30 Pro, meanwhile, sticks to 8GB RAM across the board. The Kirin 980 is a super-fast processor that can deliver the kind of speedy performance needed for games, apps, media, and really anything else.

Benchmarks show some differences with other current top chips like the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 and Samsung Exynos 9820, but they all seem to be in the same ballpark overall. You shouldn't be disappointed with the performance of either handset here.

Verdict: Draw

Battery and perks: One difference

Both phones also pack a 4,200mAh battery cell within, which is built for a strong day and change on the Mate 20 Pro and possibly a smidge longer with the P30 Pro, given the lower-resolution display. Both phones have wireless charging, too, along with reverse wireless charging – that lets you pop another wirelessly-chargeable phone or accessory on the back for a top-up.

You can get the Mate 20 Pro in 128GB and 256GB storage options, and the P30 Pro matches those and also adds a 512GB selection. In both cases, you can use Huawei's Nano Memory cards to add even more to your storage stash at any point.

Verdict: Huawei P30 Pro

Verdict: Pro vs Pro

The Mate 20 Pro and P30 Pro belong to different Huawei lines, as the names suggest, and there are some key differences between them. The Mate 20 Pro has a higher-resolution screen and more secure front-facing camera setup, while the P30 Pro opts for a quad-camera array with 10x zoom capabilities. Both phones are listed at £899.

That higher-resolution screen might pull some folks to last year's Mate 20 Pro, but in other ways, the P30 Pro improves upon the Huawei formula in key ways. But really, it's all about the camera: there's nothing else like that 10x zoom, and it makes the P30 Pro our new favourite smartphone in the world. The Mate 20 Pro isn't far behind, though.

Winner: Huawei P30 Pro