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Home / Features / Sony Xperia 1 vs Huawei P30 Pro: Which is best?

Sony Xperia 1 vs Huawei P30 Pro: Which is best?

Can Sony's super-tall flagship take out the current smartphone champ?

On the hunt for an enormous, super-premium Android phone right now? You’ve got plenty of options, and the Huawei P30 Pro and Sony Xperia 1 are two of the best.

Of course, Huawei’s phones currently have a big question mark around them given Google’s severe cutoff from the Android ecosystem. But on its own merits, the P30 Pro is brilliant, thanks to its amazing 10x camera zoom capabilities, top-notch design, and plenty of power onboard.

Sony’s new Xperia 1 is a different kind of handset, delivering a taller-than-average 4K screen while packing similarly high-end innards – well, except for the camera. On the whole, though, which of these two Android phones is most deserving of your time and money? Here’s what we think, now that we’ve reviewed the Xperia 1.

Design: Big units

You’ve got pretty different-looking options here. The Huawei P30 Pro is curvy and dazzling in its design, thanks to the various gradient colour options on the back. They’re all pretty sublime. You get a small notch atop the screen here, but it’s as tiny as can be.

Meanwhile, Sony’s Xperia 1 is a bit less flashy in approach – a bit more workmanlike, really. It still looks and feels like a premium phone, but is definitely more understated and has a solid slab of bezel above the screen. The P30 Pro definitely pops more, but pick your poison.

Verdict: Huawei P30 Pro

Screen: 1080p… or 4K?

We were a little disappointed to see Huawei stick with a 1080p panel for the P30 Pro after using an excellent Quad HD screen on last year’s Mate 20 Pro. That said, the 6.47in OLED screen here is actually pretty great all the same. It lacks the Mate 20 Pro’s sharpness, but it’s huge, clear, bright, and the colours pop.

The Xperia 1 has the edge though, in large part to having a 4K (!) resolution 6.5in screen. At a 21:9 aspect ratio, it’s taller than any screen you’ve seen on a flagship phone, which makes the phone very, very long. That said, it’s not the brightest screen we’ve seen, nor are the viewing angles the best around – but it’s still a super-stunning 4K smartphone screen.

Verdict: Sony Xperia 1

Camera: The best is the best

The Huawei P30 Pro has the best camera setup ever seen on a camera – which means, yes, it wins this battle pretty handily.

Why is it so amazing? It’s all about the 10x zoom. Through a mix of optical lensing and digital smarts, the P30 Pro achieves a level of zoomed-in clarity previously thought impossible on a smartphone. It’s pretty mind-blowing. The quad-camera setup otherwise captures brilliant shots in most scenarios, including strong nighttime photos.

To its credit, Sony’s triple-camera setup is the best smartphone camera array the company has ever produced, and it’s definitely one of the top cameras on the market right now. It’s just not the P30 Pro, however.

Verdict: Huawei P30 Pro

Performance: Power lifters

Both of these phones are powered by top-end Android processors: the Xperia 1 has Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 855 chip, while the P30 Pro uses Huawei’s own Kirin 980 chip from last autumn.

They’re pretty close overall, and both phones feel super speedy. However, while benchmarking shows nearly identical single-core scores for both processors, the Snapdragon 855 comes solidly ahead when it comes to multi-core processing. It’s enough of an advantage to give Sony the edge in this category.

Verdict: Sony Xperia 1

Also ReadSony Xperia 1 review

Battery and perks: More is more

Battery life brings another big win for Huawei, with an enormous 4,200mAh battery pack that can potentially last you as much as two full days depending on usage. Meanwhile, the 3,330mAh pack in the Xperia 1 feels a bit small for a big phone with a 4K screen. It should last a full day if you don’t push too hard, however.

The P30 Pro also has wireless charging and reverse wireless charging capabilities, while the Xperia 1 sticks solely to wired charging.

On the storage front, you’ll get 128GB base internal storage on both, with the P30 Pro also coming in 256GB and 512GB options. With both phones, you can expand that tally with expandable storage: microSD on the Xperia 1 and Nano Memory on the P30 Pro.

Verdict: Huawei P30 Pro

Verdict: Winner and still champion

Design: They

If you like the idea of an extra-crazy-tall 4K screen, then go right ahead and get the Sony Xperia 1. It is Sony’s most impressive phone to date, packing in top-end tech with one very unique hook.

But we still think the Huawei P30 Pro is the better overall device, thanks in large part to its brilliant camera setup, sleek looks, and hefty battery pack. It is £50 more expensive at £899 vs the Xperia 1’s £849, but it’s well worth the investment in our eyes.

If you’re wary about buying anything Huawei at the moment, given its seemingly massive challenges ahead, then fair enough – it’s tough for us to give advice on that front right now, but the situation doesn’t look great. But right now, based on what we know, we say Huawei has the better Android flagship here.

Winner: Huawei P30 Pro

Profile image of Andrew Hayward Andrew Hayward Freelance Writer


Andrew writes features, news stories, reviews, and other pieces, often when the UK home team is off-duty or asleep. I'm based in Chicago with my lovely wife, amazing son, and silly cats, and my writing about games, gadgets, esports, apps, and plenty more has appeared in more than 75 publications since 2006.

Areas of expertise

Video games, gadgets, apps, smart home