The autumn flagship of Huawei fell into conditions of serious turbulence, but it will still get to the market — albeit not today, but it will definitely get there. We tested the smartphone in advance and report on what is one of the most technologically advanced gadgets today.
Huawei announced its most powerful smartphone a couple of weeks ago, and we wrote about it in a timely manner. In the bottom line, after numerous rumors and speculation, we have the first gadget based on the fresh Kirin 990 platform with an unprecedented curved OLED display, a very serious quadruple camera, in which special emphasis is placed on the video function (where Huawei smartphones used to be far behind) — and still on Android with the EMUI 10 shell. But without Google services and any clear way to install them.
Including this story (about the ins and outs of which — the US trade war with China — you, of course, know) led to the fact that the smartphone was announced and even the price was announced, but there is no date for its release on sale yet. The company needs time to prepare the Huawei App Gallery branded store for the European user, saturating it with familiar applications if possible. Most likely, it will be possible to prepare by November — then sales of the Mate 30 / Mate 30 Pro will also start.
Today we will talk about the Chinese version of the smartphone — technically identical to the European one, but with the still underdeveloped infrastructure of Huawei Mobile Services. One more thing — we will talk about the version of Huawei Mate 30 Pro 4G. As it is easy to understand, it differs from the 5G version in the absence of a corresponding modem, but not only. It also uses a slightly stripped-down version of the Kirin 990 platform — it is made using a simpler process technology (FinFET, not FinFET Plus EUV) and is equipped with a slightly weaker processor for neural network calculations, and also received cut frequencies.
|Huawei Mate 30 Pro||Huawei Mate 20 Pro||Huawei P30 Pro||Samsung Galaxy Note10+||Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max|
2400 × 1176 dots, 409 ppi, capacitive multi-touch
3120 × 1440 dots, 538 ppi, capacitive multi-touch
2340 × 1080 dots, 398 ppi, capacitive multi-touch
|6.8 inches, Dynamic AMOLED, 1440×3040, 498 ppi, capacitive multi-touch||6.5″, Super AMOLED, 2688 × 1242 (19.5:9), 458 ppi, capacitive multi-touch, TrueTone technology|
|Protective glass||Corning Gorilla Glass 6||Corning Gorilla Glass (version unknown)||No information||Corning Gorilla Glass 6||No information|
|CPU||HiSilicon Kirin 990: eight cores (2 x ARM Cortex-A76 @ 2.86GHz + 2 x ARM Cortex-A76 @ 2.09GHz + 4 x ARM Cortex-A55 @ 1.86GHz); HiAI architecture||HiSilicon Kirin 980: eight cores (2 x ARM Cortex A76 @ 2.6GHz + 2 x ARM Cortex A76 @ 1.92GHz + 4 x ARM Cortex A55 @ 1.8GHz); HiAI architecture||HiSilicon Kirin 980: eight cores (2 x ARM Cortex A76 @ 2.6GHz + 2 x ARM Cortex A76 @ 1.92GHz + 4 x ARM Cortex A55 @ 1.8GHz); HiAI architecture||Samsung Exynos 9825 Octa: eight cores (2 × Mongoose M4, 2.73 GHz + 2 × Cortex-A75, 2.4 GHz + 4 × Cortex-A55, 1.9 GHz)||Apple A13 Bionic: six cores (2 × Lightning, 2.65 GHz + 4 × Thunder, 1.8 GHz)|
|Graphics controller||ARM Mali-G76 MP16||ARM Mali-G76 MP10||ARM Mali-G76 MP10||ARM Mali-G76 MP12||Apple GPU (4 cores)|
|RAM||8 GB||6 GB||8 GB||12 GB||4 GB|
|Flash memory||256 GB||128 GB||128/256/512 GB||256/512 GB||64/256/512 GB|
|Memory card support||Yes (Huawei nanoSD only)||Yes (Huawei nanoSD only)||Yes (Huawei nanoSD only)||There is||Not|
|Connectors||USB Type-C||USB Type-C||USB Type-C||USB Type-C||Lightning|
|SIM cards||Two nano-SIMs||Two nano-SIMs||Two nano-SIMs||Two nano-SIMs||One nano-SIM and one eSIM|
|Cellular 2G||GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 MHz||GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 MHz||GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 MHz||GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 MHz||GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 MHz CDMA 800 / 1900|
|Cellular 3G||HSDPA 800 / 850 / 900 / 1700 / 1900 / 2100 MHz||HSDPA 800 / 850 / 900 / 1700 / 1900 / 2100 MHz||HSDPA 800 / 850 / 900 / 1700 / 1900 / 2100 MHz||HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1700 / 1900 / 2100 MHz||HSDPA 800 / 850 / 900 / 1700 / 1800 / 1900 / 2100 MHz|
|Cellular 4G||LTE: information unknown||LTE Cat. 21 (up to 1400 Mbps), bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 12, 17, 18, 19, 20, 26, 28, 34, 38, 39, 40||LTE Cat. 21 (up to 1400 Mbps), bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 12, 17, 18, 19, 20, 26, 28, 34, 38, 39, 40||LTE Cat. 20 (2000/150 Mbps), bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 14, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 28, 29, 30, 32, 38 , 39, 40, 41, 66||LTE-A (up to 1600/150 Mbps), bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 11, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 25, 26, 29, 30, 34, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 46, 48, 66, 71|
|NFC||There is||There is||There is||There is||Yes (Apple Pay)|
|Navigation||GPS (dual band), A-GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, Galileo, QZSS||GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, Galileo, QZSS||GPS (dual band), A-GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, Galileo, QZSS||GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, Galileo||GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, QZSS|
|Sensors||Light, proximity, accelerometer/gyroscope, magnetometer (digital compass), IR sensor, Face ID||Light, proximity, accelerometer/gyroscope, magnetometer (digital compass), IR sensor, Face ID||Light, proximity, accelerometer/gyroscope, magnetometer (digital compass), IR sensor||Light, proximity, accelerometer/gyroscope, magnetometer (digital compass), barometer||Light, proximity, accelerometer/gyroscope, magnetometer (digital compass), barometer|
|The fingerprint scanner||Yes, on screen||Yes, on screen||Yes, on screen||Yes, on screen||Not|
|Main camera||Quad module, 40 + 40 + 8 MP + TOF, ƒ / 1.6 + ƒ / 1.8 + ƒ / 2.4, hybrid autofocus, optical stabilization, dual LED flash||Triple module, 40 + 20 + 8 MP, ƒ / 1.8 + ƒ / 2.2 + ƒ / 2.4, hybrid autofocus, optical stabilization, dual LED flash||Quad module, 40 + 20 + 8 MP (periscopic) + TOF, ƒ / 1.6 + ƒ / 2.2 + ƒ / 3.4, phase detection autofocus, optical stabilization, dual LED flash||Quadruple module: 12 MP with variable aperture ƒ / 1.5-2.4 + 12 MP, ƒ / 2.1 + 16 MP, ƒ / 2.2 + TOF camera, phase detection autofocus, optical stabilization in the main and telemodules, led flash||Triple module, 12 + 12 + 12 MP, ƒ / 1.8 + ƒ / 2.0 + ƒ / 2.4, LED flash, phase detection autofocus and five-axis optical stabilization — in the main and telemodules|
|Front-camera||32 MP, ƒ/2.0, fixed focus, no flash||24 MP, ƒ/2.0, fixed focus, no flash||32 MP, ƒ/2.0, fixed focus, no flash||10 MP, ƒ/2.2, autofocus, no flash||12 MP, ƒ/2.2, no autofocus, no flash|
|Nutrition||Non-removable battery: 17.1 Wh (4500 mAh, 3.8 V)||Non-removable battery: 15.96 Wh (4200 mAh, 3.8 V)||Non-removable battery: 15.96 Wh (4200 mAh, 3.8 V)||Non-removable battery: 16.34 Wh (4300 mAh, 3.8 V)||Non-removable battery: 15.04 Wh (3969 mAh, 3.8 V)|
|Weight||198 grams||189 grams||192 grams||196 grams||226 grams|
|Operating system||Android 10, EMUI 10 shell||Android 9.0 Pie, EMUI shell||Android 9.0 Pie, EMUI shell||Android 9.0 Pie, native shell||iOS 13|
|Current price||1,099 euros||320$||$520 for 256 GB version||$820 for 12/256 GB version||From 920$|
⇡#Design, ergonomics and software
To release a flagship smartphone without any subluxation in design is a rule of bad taste. The “regular” Huawei Mate 30 managed, however, without it — a flat screen, a small cutout, a glass back cover with an unusual, but generally not causing any serious emotions, rear camera arrangement (in a black circle with a mirror ring). There is even a mini-jack!
But the Pro version, which we got for the test, with the same back and very similar filling, still stands out from the general background. The thing is the screen, which here is not just bent, as in the same Huawei P30 Pro, but very bent. In fact, its edges cover the edges of the smartphone, smoothly flowing into the very back. In my preliminary review of the gadget, I wrote that it looks good, but it does not really affect the user experience. After a week with the Mate 30 Pro, I can say that it still has an effect. It is not very convenient to take this smartphone from the table, and because of the side edge shifted to the back panel, you have to slightly change the usual manner of holding the device — otherwise it strives to slip out of the palm of your hand.
I would not say that this is a big sin — today almost all serious smartphones are not tenacious. Curved glass panels easily get dirty and tend to crawl away — both from the hand and from any surface. The Huawei Mate 30 Pro is no exception, it just adds an extra little inconvenience to it. But, despite the 6.53-inch display, the Mate 30 Pro turned out to be quite narrow — and, if not for the increased soiling and slippery edges, it would be comfortable to hold it.
Huawei Mate 30 Pro comes with a glass back in black, silver, green and purple, as well as a back panel made of artificial (as Huawei representatives said, “vegan”) leather back in orange and green. All these versions have, of course, beautiful names, but I, perhaps, will not give them here. We can say for sure that the colors are pleasant, especially for the «leather» versions. However, ours, with glass, iridescent purple and silver, is very good.
Despite the fact that we are not far from the end of 2019, cutouts for a selfie camera and various sensors are still relevant: just as they have not gone away from the new iPhones, the Huawei Mate 30/Mate 30 Pro received their “monobrows” — it was not possible to come up with a more elegant way to accommodate all the frontal machinery. The Mate 30 Pro has a very impressive one, which is not surprising: it houses both the front camera, and a 3D camera with a depth sensor, and a proximity / lighting sensor, and a sensor for gesture recognition.
Huawei Mate 30 Pro is one of the first smartphones to lack a hardware volume key. There is only one physical key here — it is responsible for blocking / turning on / rebooting the gadget and is located almost on the back of the device. The volume key is made virtual, its role is given to the sidewall of the display, and either on the left or on the right: you need to double-tap the edge of the smartphone with your finger — and the familiar slider will appear for a short while. It’s not as convenient as a classic key, to be honest, but you have a choice where to press — right-handers and left-handers are equal in rights. Parasitic clicks are excluded due to the need for this double click — the rest of the time the “key” is not active and does not interfere with the usual interaction with the smartphone. However, other functions are also provided for it: for example, you can “hang” special game trigger keys here, like on ASUS ROG Phone, and when taking a selfie, a special shutter icon appears there.
Another feature of Huawei Mate 30 Pro control is the ability to scroll text and take screenshots without touching the screen. To do this, you need to activate the item in the settings «Quick access and gestures → Gestures in the air.» After that, you show your palm to the smartphone at a distance of 20-40 cm from the screen, it reacts with the corresponding icon — and you can wind the text in the browser or messenger with a brush movement or take screenshots by clenching your hand into a fist. For gesture recognition, the Mate 30 Pro has a special sensor — it responds to movements quite adequately and quickly, but in general this method of control seems more cumbersome than the usual interaction with the touch panel — so I think this sensor will go down in Huawei history together with Mate 30 Pro.
And here is another function announced in advance — the fact that the smartphone «sees» the position of your head and does not change the orientation of the display if, for example, you read something lying on your side — it looked useful on paper, and in reality it turns out to be indispensable . You no longer need to go into the settings and turn off the often annoying auto-rotate — everything works perfectly.
Otherwise, this is a typical modern flagship smartphone — without a mini-jack (the Pro version did not get it), with a USB Type-C port on the bottom and an infrared port on the top.
The fingerprint scanner is hidden under the screen. According to what technology the sensor is made, the manufacturer does not specify, but, most likely, it is optical — it does not react to a wet finger. In general, the speed and accuracy of fingerprint recognition is noticeably improved compared to what was in the P30 Pro, and significantly improved compared to the weak performance of the Mate 20 Pro. Together with the fingerprint sensor, a user identification system by face works, and not just with the help of the front camera, but with the use of a depth sensor — that is, cheating a smartphone with a photo is excluded. It works very quickly, the percentage of errors is low. But there is a problem — it doesn’t really work in the dark, you need to duplicate the smartphone lock either with a fingerprint sensor, or with a password / pin code.
The software situation is a topic for a separate conversation, which has been flowing very rapidly since May. A pile of sanctions that limit the relationship of American companies with Huawei, which are either introduced or postponed, finally affected the final product — the Mate 30 / Mate 30 Pro came out without pre-installed Google services. This means that the smartphone does not have Google Play out of the box, a set of familiar applications (Gmail, Google.Maps, YouTube, and so on), you cannot log in to your Google account, and some of the applications are of someone else’s authorship, but are closely tied to the API Google (for example, Uber or Antutu Benchmark) will not start even if you install them manually by filling the installation files into the device’s memory. That is, yes, a significant part of the usual functionality of an Android smartphone falls off. By the official start of sales, Huawei promises to significantly upgrade its Huawei App Gallery app store by adding Russian services to the maximum (Huawei is actively cooperating with Yandex, Mail.Ru and Sberbank) and making key Western applications like Facebook available for download.*whatsapp and instagram*. But while they are not there, as well as many, many others. If you do nothing with your smartphone and try to use it according to the scenario that is supposed after the usual unpacking, you will have to give up some of the usual things.
But, as is usually the case with Chinese gadgets on which Google services are blocked — and these are all smartphones released specifically for the Chinese domestic market, the Huawei Mate 30 is simply the first with such a problem for the outside world — a workaround was quickly found. In order for Google services to work, it is not even necessary to “root” the gadget and try to install alternative firmware. Colleagues from Androidcentral found a special application available on the site lzplay.net. We open the site in any browser, download the apk from the link, install the file on the smartphone and give the application administrator rights — well, then with its help we install all the necessary services with the crown in the form of Google Play. After that, we use the Huawei Mate 30 Pro as a regular Android smartphone, and remove the admin rights from the pirated application and remove it from harm’s way. Another thing is that we do not know exactly what still it puts in the smartphone’s memory, except for Google Mobile Services, bypassing the protection of the device. Using such things is always a certain risk. For me, in particular, these services disappeared after the first reboot — I had to re-download this bootloader and install them again. The second attempt was more successful, and they are holding on so far. And everything works, even the Google Pay service.
However, Huawei says it will bring Google Mobile Services back to the device with the latest firmware within 24 hours of warming relations with the US government. This can happen even before the start of official sales of Huawei Mate 30/30 Pro. Or maybe not. Then you have to use such crutches — well, or look at what Huawei will invent in addition to this.
While the material was being prepared for publication, the site lzplay.net was closed. Also, Google itself has reportedly developed a defense against installing the Play app store via an undocumented API. Probably, closer to the start of official sales of the Mate 30 Pro in Europe, either it will become available again, or some kind of mirror will appear, but so far there is not even such a loophole for installing GMS on a smartphone.
Otherwise, we are dealing with a smartphone on Android 10 with a new shell EMUI 10. Only the far left screen is striking, given at the mercy not of Google Now, of course, but of the proprietary Huawei Assistant. In full mode, it is currently only available for China, but during the fall the system will also be launched for Russia — and we will be among the first countries.
I already wrote about EMUI 10 as part of a report from Huawei Developers Conference 2019 — now I managed to talk to her better. It has changed a lot in appearance compared to the eighth and ninth iterations of EMUI: icons have been redrawn, fonts and system colors have changed, animation has been improved (really improved, not just changed), gestures have been updated, the interface feels better tactile. There was a mandatory dark theme for everyone today. Well, it’s still probably the fastest and slickest skin for Android outside of Pixel UI.
⇡#Display and sound
Horizon Display, «horizon display» — this is how Huawei called the screen installed in the Huawei Mate 30 Pro. Now it is customary to give proper names to all the components of a modern gadget: from the processor to the colors of the case and screen. I have already told about its main feature above — it is very strongly bent. The diagonal of 6.53 inches is the entire screen, along with the sides. The same applies to resolution: 2400 × 1176 pixels — this is taking into account curly edges. The Mate 20 Pro has remained an exception to Huawei’s tradition of putting Full HD displays in their smartphones — the rollback occurred almost immediately, back in the P30 Pro. In Mate 30 Pro, it was confirmed. The pixel density is ordinary — 409 ppi. Even less than the current iPhone, even if the difference can only be seen on 4K video, and even then with difficulty.
The display is made using OLED technology, and without specifying whether it is passive or active OLED. Be that as it may, you can safely enjoy conditionally infinite contrast, the display has no problems with viewing angles either. When stretching the picture to full screen, not the entire surface is used, but only part of it in the 18.4: 9 format, the picture looks more like on the Huawei P30 Pro — partially crawling onto the sidewalls, but not as far as to cause discomfort. The notorious cutout is much more worrying, but the “ears” on the sides of it can be filled with black — and then it will not invade the image.
The measured limit level of brightness without software increase during auto-tuning is 488 cd / m2. If necessary, it will grow even more — in the sun you will definitely not experience any problems, you can use your smartphone as usual. HDR support is declared, but which standard is not specified.
Despite the new Android with the new EMUI, the set of screen settings has changed in only one point: the possibilities for displaying information on the locked display (Always-On Display) have been greatly expanded. The rest is just in its place, including auto-tuning of the color tone depending on the lighting — the local analogue of Apple’s True Tone. It is disabled by default, but I recommend immediately getting into the settings and activating the option. Why — a little lower, in the results of measuring color reproduction. The rest of the settings are also familiar: if you do not turn on auto-tuning, then there is a choice between normal and bright color reproduction with the ability to adjust the color temperature yourself. By default, the display works with vivid colors. I measured the display of the Mate 30 Pro in this mode and with auto hue enabled.
The manufacturer stated that the color gamut of the display complies with the DCI-P3 standard, so I carried out all measurements with reference values that are specific for this gamut. And, I must say, Huawei did not lie. In «bright» mode, the coverage triangle is very close to DCI-P3, albeit slightly offset. The average gamma value is 2.28 with a fairly stable behavior of the curves — everything is within the normal range. At the same time, the color temperature is overestimated, but not much (7,000–7,600 K), and the average DeltaE deviation for the extended Color Checker palette (shades of gray + a wide range of color shades) is 4.38 — this does not fit into the reference boundaries (the norm is 3.00), but not too bad. The picture is bright, juicy, but cold and with not the most natural colors — many will like this, but if you are looking for naturalness, you should entrust the color settings to the smartphone itself.
I measured the display performance in very dim room lighting conditions — in other conditions, a display with activated automatic color rendering will naturally behave differently, but the general direction is still clear — and certainly correct. The color space is still extended, close to the DCI-P3 standard — natural colors today do not necessarily require sRGB space. Gamma is exactly the same. But the color temperature is even lower than the reference 6,500 K. The tones are warm — and this is good, because the average DeltaE deviation on the Color Checker scale is 2.27, which already falls within the normal range and is very close to the standard (2.00). The display of the Huawei Mate 30 Pro is excellent — in this regard, the Chinese flagship is on par with the Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max, and it even surpasses the Samsung Galaxy Note10+.
But in terms of sound — nothing outstanding. There is no mini-jack, so you can only count on working through an adapter. And it would be nice if the problems ended there, especially since now all flagships require such “crutches”, but the sound quality itself is far from outstanding – perhaps we can say that here the Mate 30 Pro is inferior to all direct competitors. There are no problems with wireless data transfer, in this regard it is at a general level, all the necessary profiles are in place (aptX, aptX HD, LDAC). But in the issue of external dynamics — again a small failure. Only one speaker, which is located on the lower edge, and that is not of the highest quality — the volume is average, I don’t want to talk about some kind of detail. The speaker is hidden in the screen, like the P30 Pro. There are no problems with him, it’s comfortable to talk on the “mate”.
* It is included in the list of public associations and religious organizations in respect of which the court has made a decision that has entered into legal force to liquidate or ban activities on the grounds provided for by Federal Law No. 114-FZ of July 25, 2002 “On countering extremist activity”.
⇡#Hardware and performance
Huawei Mate 30 Pro is the first smartphone with the new HiSilicon Kirin 990 4G platform on board. I won’t describe in detail here what kind of system-on-a-chip it is — there was already a separate material for this, and at the beginning of this review I already touched on this issue. But in brief, the characteristics still need to be given: two ARM Cortex-A76 clocked at 2.86 GHz + two ARM Cortex-A76 clocked at 2.09 GHz + four junior ARM Cortex-A55 cores clocked at 1.86 GHz. It is easy to see that, compared to last year’s Kirin 980, the cores have not changed, and the frequency of those that exist has not grown too much. The manufacturing process for the 4G version is the same — 7 nm FinFET.
The graphics accelerator also received a minor update — this is the same ARM Mali-G76, but with sixteen, not ten, as in the Kirin 980, cores. That is, in fact, we can say that in terms of overall performance, the Kirin 990 differs from the Kirin 980 in much the same way as the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Plus from the Snapdragon 855 — with a slight adjustment for quite noticeably improved graphics. Since the previous Huawei platform was inferior in performance to its main competitors, the news is not the most joyful.
However, you will not feel a serious lack of power. The results of synthetic tests are quite decent — there is an increase in all respects, Kirin 990, although it does not catch up with direct competitors in the main benchmarks, is still approaching them. The level is enough for all modern games to run at maximum settings without problems, applications open very quickly and the overall feeling of the device can be described as «flagship».
For at least the next year, you will not experience a lack of performance — and Huawei claims that there will be no problems with this for many years due to intelligent software algorithms using mandatory neural networks.
Huawei promised a much larger increase in processes related to machine learning — the module responsible for these tasks (NPU, Neural Processing Unit) received a major update. But here the situation is paradoxical — in theory, everything is as it should be, Huawei ate a pound of salt in this matter. In practice, the usual benchmark Ludashi AI Mark shows a very low score. It remains to attribute this to measurement errors — synthetic tests are still not very suitable for evaluating the performance of neural network calculations. But how to explain the fact that a smartphone spends noticeable time processing photos with the AI assistant activated? You shoot a series and wait until all the photos are uploaded to the gallery. Behind a pile of smartphones on the previous platform, Kirin 980, I did not notice this. But with intelligent video processing on the fly, the smartphone copes easily. It remains to write off the strange problems on the still rather raw firmware.
The situation with the Huawei Mate 30 Pro cooling system is also paradoxical. Again, a comprehensive solution to this issue is announced — using graphene elements, an evaporation chamber, a heat pipe … But the standard CPU Throttling Test benchmark shows that under load the platform lowers frequencies to 74% of the maximum with an average performance level of 186.5 GIPS — not bad, but not particularly impressive. However, pay attention to the graph itself — during the 15-minute test, the frequencies only grew, and in leaps and bounds, and reached a maximum at the very end! So, the Mate 30 Pro most likely does not have any problems with cooling, but at the moment there is a controller or firmware.
The memory situation is quite typical for a top smartphone as of 2019: 8 GB of LPDDR4X RAM and a 256 GB drive — UFS 3.0 standard, that is, with a very high data transfer rate. You can increase the storage capacity using a nanoSD memory card, which is put in place of the second SIM card.
⇡#Communications and wireless communications
Huawei Mate 30 Pro in the 5G version has become a breakthrough gadget in terms of mobile communications — 14 5G antennas and 21 antennas in total, free switching between SIM cards working with 5G or 4G, a record number of supported bands, and so on. But all this is irrelevant for us — the deployment of fifth generation networks is still far away. So we are talking about the 4G version, which does not stand out in anything special in this respect. A standard set for a modern flagship smartphone: two nano-SIMs that support LTE. The built-in modem is friendly with LTE Cat.21, just like last year. The data download speed in theory can reach 1.4 Gb / s, transfer — 200 Mb / s. Huawei did not provide a list of supported bands, but this should not be a problem.
The Wi-Fi tethering looks a bit dated by today’s standards — it doesn’t work with Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax). Standard 802.11a/b/g/n/ac only. There is Bluetooth 5.0, NFC and an infrared port for controlling household appliances. The navigation module is up-to-date, with dual-channel GPS — and the connection speed with satellites is good, and the location accuracy is the highest. GLONASS, BeiDou, Galileo, QZSS systems are supported.
The Huawei Mate series has never been anything particularly remarkable in terms of cameras. At best, «large» smartphones received cameras similar to those of the P-series. At worst, the quality of shooting even slightly decreased, like, for example, the Mate 20 Pro compared to the capabilities of the P20 Pro. This year, the current Mate also did not receive the main feature of the P30 Pro — a huge zoom by mobile standards. But still, Huawei found something to surprise: the place of the wide-angle module was taken by a camera designed specifically for shooting video — taking pictures with an extended angle of view turns out to be secondary for it.
For this, a 40-megapixel (Quad Bayer scheme) sensor, unique for smartphones, with physical dimensions of 1 / 1.54 inches and 3: 2 format (almost all sensors for smartphones get an aspect ratio of 4: 3) was used. He works in a company with a lens with a focal length of 18 mm and aperture f/1.8. There is no optical stabilization, autofocus is hybrid, it combines phase sensors and a contrast method with a laser “range finder”. Together with a new image processor, it provides 4K video recording at 60 frames per second with HDR. Digital stabilization is available at any resolution and any frame rate, optical, of course, only when shooting using other modules that turn on when zooming.
Original video (133 MB)
Original video (227 MB)
Huawei is obviously angry that the company’s smartphones are constantly swallowing dust in various video quality ratings, so she took the matter seriously. The Mate 30 Pro can shoot videos up to ISO 51200, but the numbers don’t mean too much in this case. Practice is more important — and yes, indeed, progress compared to Huawei’s past experiences in this area is obvious: noise during night shooting is noticeable, but not annoying, smoothing is relatively accurate, and stabilization is confident.
Original video (179 MB)
But there are a few notable claims. The same wide-angle camera, which in theory should give the best picture, shoots worse than the main photomodule with a focal length of 26 mm — the picture seems to be slightly out of focus, blurry, and this is especially evident at night. That camera, which — again in theory — is not designed specifically for video, does not have such a problem. Claims can also be made about the insufficient quality of the transition from one camera to another — scaling is not very convenient, only in the form of a slider, you can not quickly jump between cameras. At the same time, both the picture quality and the white balance noticeably change — and I can’t say that at a wide angle the image is better than when shooting with the second 40-megapixel module, which, it would seem, is less suitable for video.
But anti-aliasing works much better when turning the smartphone — all Android gadgets are subject to twitching in this situation, including the best in terms of video shooting (for example, Sony Xperia 1), but Huawei Mate 30 Pro can perhaps be called, if not the best, then one of. In general, this is a good level in terms of video shooting — I think it will be highly appreciated in the DxO Mark rating.
Original video (31 MB)
Original video (69 MB)
In place are already familiar techniques using artificial intelligence, highlighting the object from the background and blurring the background or depriving it of color. It works, by the way, much better than before.
And what’s really great is the slow (more precisely, accelerated) video modes. In Full HD you can shoot at up to 960 fps, and in 720p at up to 7680 fps! From any moment, however, you can’t write — the smartphone will choose the episode itself, tracking movements in the frame. Everything is like people. The viewing angle is reduced, but the quality is quite decent. The mode is specific, but you can shoot very impressive videos.
On this, perhaps, enough about the video. With photography, the Huawei Mate 30 Pro is also doing very well. The other three sensors are well known from past smartphones of the company. So, a 40-megapixel RYYB sensor, which migrated straight from the P30 Pro, in the company of a lens with aperture f/1.6 with OIS provides a standard viewing angle (26mm) and guarantees quality shooting in the dark. The second camera, with an 8-megapixel sensor, makes it possible to count on a threefold optical zoom (and a fivefold hybrid); the third is the TOF camera, which serves to separate the object from the background.
There is no need to talk about a hundredfold digital zoom, as in the Huawei P30 Pro, here the maximum is 30x. Somehow it’s not possible to shoot the Moon especially cool, but the general range of available focal lengths is very good. True, the viewing angle offered by the same video module cannot be called “ultra-wide”.
It is further reduced when the night mode is activated, which, by the way, is available for the entire range of focal lengths — the multi-frame exposure gluing system, which has become a revelation for owners of new iPhones, already works well here as usual. Yes, with some overkill in the software enhancement of contour sharpening and with not always natural colors, but the freedom in choosing subjects for shooting still never ceases to amaze. The Mate 30 Pro in terms of night photography confidently shares the first place in the world of smartphones with the P30 Pro.
The camera is branded Leica, and this time the number of filters has been increased. Examples of shooting with different random filters can be seen above. There are also examples of shooting in monochrome mode: black and white sensors are no longer used in the company’s smartphones, but the very possibility of shooting in BW has been preserved.
Portrait mode works very well. The smartphone is great at sharing plans, both when shooting in large format and with full-length portraits, plus it can “draw” a variety of bokeh: in the form of circles, hearts, and so on. There are also sophisticated lighting effects like simulating Roman blinds or a stained glass window in the background (with matching reflections on the face). The same effects can be applied when shooting with a selfie camera.
The camera app has been updated along with the rest of the EMUI 10 interface. However, there were no fundamental differences. Both the control logic and the set of tools are about the same: there is a mode with manual settings, the ability to shoot RAW, HDR must be activated separately, but this is not necessary at all — the smartphone already intelligently glues frames.
There is also a proprietary neural network assistant that recognizes various scenes and adjusts the picture for them (mainly by selectively raising the saturation in specific areas of the image). Examples of how he does this can be seen above. In general, progress in the application of machine learning technologies to photography in Huawei smartphones is obvious — you don’t want to rush to turn off the assistant first thing, all these improvements are more likely to suit most subjects.
In terms of the combined quality of both photo and video shooting, Huawei Mate 30 Pro is a completely legitimate contender for leadership in the world of smartphones. At least one of the main ones. Not so serious, compared to the P30 Pro, the zoom does not seem like such a drawback, while all the advantages of this model (excellent shooting both in the daytime and in the dark, as well as a beautiful portrait mode) are retained, and the wide-angle camera has only become better .
The front camera is left almost unchanged: 32 megapixels, aperture lens ƒ / 2.0, no autofocus and flash. But to this is added a depth sensor, which is primarily needed for user identification, but it also helps with software blurring of the background. Selfies on the Mate 30 Pro are good, but the angle of view of the optics still seems too wide to me, leading to noticeable distortion of facial features.
Huawei Mate 30 Pro received, at first glance, a small increase in battery capacity. The predecessor had a 4000 mAh battery, the P30 Pro had a 4200 mAh battery, the new flagship had a 4500 mAh battery (17.1 Wh, 3.8 V). Nothing outstanding — let’s remember at least ASUS ROG Phone II with its 6000 milliamp-hour battery. But in fact, the Mate 30 Pro is very good in terms of autonomy — it feels like it holds the battery better than anyone among its direct competitors. For a working day at full load, it will be enough for sure, and in ordinary use cases it can not be charged at all every day.
The result of our traditional test with HD video playback at maximum brightness, with Wi-Fi on and auto-update, is far from outstanding, although not bad (just over 15 hours), but the Mate 30 Pro does a really good job with complex tasks. The indicator may not be a record, but close to that — you can watch movies on this smartphone for a long time.
For charging, the current USB Type-C port (USB 3.1) is used, the proprietary Huawei Super Charge 40 W fast charging system works, which allows you to charge the battery in about an hour. Moreover, the smartphone supports wireless charging at a record power of 27 watts. Also, the smartphone, as well as its predecessor, can charge related devices by itself.
With Huawei Mate 30 Pro, everything is simple and everything is complicated at once.
Difficult — because it is not known in what form it will enter the market. Will it still have Google services at launch — or not? Will the user have to make do with only a very limited offer of Huawei Mobile Services — or will they also have to dance with a tambourine? It is not even known when exactly both Mate 30 will be on sale. Most likely in November, but this is not certain.
Simple — because it is expensive (1,099 euros — how much it will cost in rubles is not yet known), but at the same time an extremely technological and adequate smartphone for this price. With a great screen, camera and battery life, but with a platform that is slightly inferior to competitors in performance. Not so critically inferior, however, to focus on this. In terms of pure functionality, this is an excellent gadget, a worthy competitor for any modern smartphone. If, as before, everything was limited to functionality …
- chic main camera;
- slow motion up to 7680 fps;
- excellent autonomy + very fast both wired and wireless charging;
- high-quality OLED display (which still lacks resolution);
- moisture protection according to the IP68 standard;
- can charge other gadgets.
- no Google Mobile Services;
- problems with video shooting at a wide angle;
- very slippery body;
- not the best sound quality;
- the controversial decision to abandon the hardware volume key;
- no mini jack.