When it comes to the current smartphone war, it’s important to constantly be a step ahead of the competition; be it by quality or even value. As observed over the years, the P-series has always been Huawei’s counter to Samsung’s Galaxy S-series of smartphones, especially when it comes to flagships released in the first quarter of the year. This time around, the new P30 promises unprecedented performance and outstanding photography. Seeing that it’s my job anyway, I gladly put that claim to the test.
Not counting in performance, the P30’s 6.1-inch front display looks rather indistinguishable from masses of smartphones with waterdrop notches out in the market today. Fortunately, the rear glass case of the phone is where the aesthetics shine with either the eye-catching Aurora, or the stunningly gorgeous Breathing Crystal. There’s also the Black colour option, but no one talks about that. Good to know that the 3.5mm headphone jack exists on this phone as well.
To be honest, I can’t wait to get to the camera but let’s not forget that the Huawei P30 has other features that makes it a worthwhile flagship smartphone. Under its hood, the phone is powered by the Kirin 980 processor and coupled with 6GB RAM which packs a heavy punch for all things multitasking and gaming. The P30 is running on the latest version of Android 9 Pie, and is backed up by Huawei’s own EMUI 9.0 interface. While its 3,650mAh battery capacity is not as massive as the Mate20 X, it’s sufficient enough for a whole day’s worth of usage.
The P30 has an in-display fingerprint sensor which works well and quick, given that you’ve provided enough samples of your print for it to identify you. Another great and useful feature included with the phone is the NFC-based OneHop sharing system which transfers files wirelessly to other compatible Huawei devices at lightning speeds. I’ve actually tested this feature with the Huawei MateBook 13, and you can read more of it here.
Capturing The Moments
If you can’t already tell, I just love the P30’s Leica powered triple cameras in all of its glory. Spec-wise, the phone’s rear camera setup consists of 40MP main, 16MP ultra-wide, 8MP telephoto with 3X optical zoom, and Leica optics. For selfie enthusiast, its front shooter is equipped with a 32MP f/2.0 sensor. Yup, Huawei did not hold back on that either.
On its own, the triple cameras take excellent photos with remarkable detail, especially in daylight. With the integrated AI mode switched on, images are enhanced in real-time thanks to the AI’s ability to identify certain scenery where it could increase the saturations of greenery and the sky, as well as intensifying details in clouds for an added dramatic effect. If you prefer a non assisted approach, you can always turn the AI mode off for a more natural look to your photos. Ultra-wide shots are also terrific thanks to its 17mm lens where photos taken includes more into the perspective and features a warped-like effect on its edges.
What’s even more impressive is that the cameras actually performed very well in lowlight photography. Even in darker areas, the camera manages to pick up enough detail to have the image appear brighter, while at the same time brighter objects (such as light-up signboards) won’t appear overwhelming as opposed to most night modes found in other phones (or actual cameras!). I find this feature extremely useful as I do find myself covering certain events where the environments are indoors or in dim light.
Prior to the phone’s launch, Huawei has been hyping up the P30 series’ periscope camera by providing sample photos of close-up shots of certain landmark and even a detailed shot of the moon. Being a fan of astrophotography myself, I took the P30 out a bit of lunar photography. To my surprise, the standard P30 is able to do just that - provided that you shoot in Pro Mode with the right settings. Granted, it’s not highly detailed as an actual camera with a long telephoto lens, but for a smartphone camera being able to pull it off impressive to say the least.
For non-astro related photography, the P30’s 3X optical zoom and also its digital zoom performs best on a bright day. To demonstrate its performance, I planned an overall shot of our office building and also asked my colleague, Calvin to place himself somewhere in the scene where it’s only be possible to spot him with the zoom. I’ll let the following photos do the talking from there.
Video-wise, the P30 is capable of recording 4K videos but it's advisable to only go for this mode in daylight. The phone excels when recording at 1080p in most lighting conditions but even in a lower resolution, videos can only be shot at a frame rate of 30fps. One highly appreciated feature for video shooting is the stabilisation where frames rarely show any signs of bobbing when standing still or even walking.
Did I mention that I really like the P30’s cameras?
The Dependable Sibling
A majority would come to a decision of choosing the P30 Pro over the standard P30 - which is not wrong if you compare them by specifications and features. However, the standard P30 is by no means a second-rate flagship whatsoever. Instead, it exists as the base variant of the series and is still equipped with high tier specs, but with a reasonable price tag for those who’d rather not shell out more than MYR 3K for a flagship. With that said, it’s hard not to recommend the Huawei P30 as a solid choice for those seeking a worthwhile flagship smartphone. Also, you gotta love the phone’s amazing cameras.