a success, even without Google


Even without Google services, the Huawei Mate 30 Pro is one of the most promising smartphones this year. We tested it and yes, it is a most successful smartphone.

To everyone’s surprise given the complicated relations with the American government, Huawei nevertheless made official in late September its new high-end smartphone for fans of new technologies with the Mate 30 Pro. If the smartphone arrives well armedAndroid 10, he is lacking Google services.

Even today, when this test was published, it is not yet known when the Huawei Mate 30 Pro will be marketed or how. And that’s a shame. We’ve been using the smartphone for over a week and it’s been a real success. Huawei France has confirmed that the Mate 30 Pro will be on the market by the end of the year, with roughly a month and a half remaining. We know that the marketed versions will probably be deprived of services Google. For our smartphone, this is the Chinese version to which Google services have been added!

Characteristics and Packaging

As a reminder of the features, the new Huawei Mate 30 Pro offer you :

Mate 30 Pro
Screen – 6.53 inch AMOLED
– Definition 1176×2400
– 18.4: 9 aspect ratio
– HDR10 +
– Gorilla Glass 6
– DCI-P3
– Notch
Design – Aluminum outline
– Glass back
– IP68
SoC and GPU – Kirin 990 processor
– GPU Mali-G76 MP12
– 7nm engraving
Memory – 12 GB of RAM
– 256 GB or 512 GB storage
– NM-Card memory port up to 1TB
Colors – Aura Glow
– Aura Black
Camera – Triple cameras, the main one with a 40 megapixel RYYB color sensor, the ultra wide angle with a 3: 2 RGGB 40 megapixel sensor and telephoto with an 8 megapixel sensor
– 27mm SuperSpectrum wide angle lens with F / 1.6 aperture
– 18mm ultra wide angle lens with F / 1.8 aperture
– 3x 125mm telephoto lens with F / 2.4 aperture
– TOF sensor
– Optical stabilization on the main camera and telephoto
– Leica treatment
– Zoom: 3x optics and 5x hybrid
– Hybrid AF combining Laser AF, contrast detection and phase detection
– Dual-Tone LED Flash
– Scene Recognition via Artificial Intelligence
– Video recording up to 1080p / 60 and 4K (2160p) / 30

– 32 MP front sensor
– Aperture f / 2.0
– Recognition of 2D faces
– Automatic HDR
– Front video capture in UltraHD at 30fps

Audio – Mono speaker
– No 3.5mm jack
Drums – 4500 mAh battery
– Huawei SuperCharge 2.0 40W
– Wireless Recharge 27W
– Reverse Charging (Wireless and Wired)
Connectivity – 3D Facial Recognition
– Optical fingerprint reader under the screen
– Bluetooth 5.0
– WiFi 6
– 2x nano-SIM
– 4G LTE
– 5G optional
Software – Android 10
– EMUI 10
Height and weight – 162.3 x 77.2 x 7.9 mm
– 196g
Price 1109 € (256GB)
€ 1,209 (512GB)
availability date 2019

The packaging is classic and not surprisingly: there is a 40W SuperCharge 2.0 USB charger, a USB Type-C to Type-A cable, instructions for a first use and USB-C hands-free headphones / kits. In the Chinese version that we tested, we find a basic protective shell. And since it’s a curved screen, no screen protector pre-installed on the smartphone.

For its price, officially count from 1109 € and this is about the price at which you can find it on import sites like our partner GearBest for example.

Design

The Huawei Mate 30 Pro offers a size and dimensions quite similar to the P30 Pro. The finish is still excellent and if you still have doubts about the quality, we can assure you that the smartphone fulfills the conditions to be cataloged as a Premium smartphone. Because the Mate 30 targets an audience more technophile than photographer, it offers a more angular general design, this can be seen at the corners of the smartphone.

We’ll come back to the screen later but the side screen edges are non-existent, it’s super impressive. We thought we had reached a certain level with the Samsung Galaxy Note 10/10, Huawei went even further. Besides, the edges do not exist, there are no volume buttons. As for the standby / unlock button, it is more part of the back than the edge as we used to see on the P30 Pro for example. For the top and bottom edges, they are almost the same size and we obviously find the notch, as on the Mate 20 Pro since the Mate 30 Pro offers 3D facial recognition, in addition to a fingerprint sensor under the ‘screen.

On the back, exit the square photo block, it’s a rounded photo block, a bit like what we saw with the OnePlus 7T. We find a photo block composed of three cameras with a TOF sensor for managing the depth of field, we will come back to this later. Still, the photo block is surrounded by a circle with a “brushed glass” rendering to better delimit the photo block on the glossy back. Speaking of the back, the glossy coating receives fingerprints with disconcerting ease. On the left of the photo block, we find the flashes and the reminder of the partnership with Leica. Besides, as I told you a little above, we quickly notice the sleep / unlock button.

On the other hand, a little backtrack since the Mate 30 Pro no longer offers the speaker system by screen vibrations. We are entitled to a simple mono speaker in the lower edge of the device which also accommodates the hatch for the 2 nano-SIMs, coupled to an NM Card port. On the top edge, a rarity in these modern times, there is an IR port.

Display and Audio

The Huawei Mate 30 Pro thus offers an impressive Horizon Display screen that goes up to the edge level, which eliminates the need for side screen edges. Note also the top and bottom screen edges of only 4.2mm and 4.8mm. The panel is OLED type with a diagonal of 6.53 inches with a Full HD + definition of 1176 × 2400 and therefore an 18.4: 9 format. Like the P30 Pro but also the Samsung Galaxy Note10, the Mate 30 Pro offers curved side edges that go to the back, a bit like the very recent Vivo Nex 3 or the “Waterfall” screen type d ‘Oppo. Note that the curvature is much more pronounced on the Mate 30 Pro than on the P30 Pro, it almost looks like it could be a right angle.

The screen supports the DCI-P3 profile and reduces blue light by -25%. Because the side edges are non-existent on the Mate 30 Pro, Huawei has introduced a new technology, Side-Touch Interaction, which allows you to tap on the edges to launch functions. Typically, double-tapping one of the edges launches the volume control and just drag your thumb to increase or decrease the volume. You can also use the edges as a trigger in the photo application. And finally, there is a fingerprint sensor under the screen of the optical type but of new generation. There is a little habit to get used to but we got used to it quite quickly. On the other hand, for those who used to take these screenshots by making standby button + volume button, well, we will have to adopt the famous double “knock” on the screen that Huawei is trying to impose for so long!

And concerning the curved edges, if we did not notice a problem of “touching” as on some Samsung Galaxy with curved edges, we noted a kind of vignetting on the corners. In itself, this did not particularly bother us on a daily basis but the purists will surely note it.

Compared to the Mate 20 Pro, Huawei has returned to Full HD + definition at the expense of Quad HD +. It is true that apart from a possible use around virtual reality, it did not make too much sense to offer Quad HD +. It consumes more and everyday, with the naked eye, it is almost impossible to tell the difference. The OLED panel is balanced in terms of colorimetry, brightness and viewing angles. If that’s not enough, Huawei provides a tool to correct this. On the Mate 20 Pro, the panel was a bit cold by default, this is no longer the case with the Mate 30 Pro. The contrasts are strong and the blacks deep. In my practice, with surfing on the internet browser and photo applications, I never had to complain about the colors or the fine display of the screen.

On the sound side, there is a mono speaker in the bottom edge of the smartphone, no micro-vibration system like on the Mate 20 Pro. The sound volume is fairly well contained so that with videos on the internet for example, the sound does not saturate too much and remains pleasant. After that, it’s mono and not stereo, and as usual, it will be more than enough for short content on the internet but don’t even think about making a series or a movie without an external speaker or headphones . Finally, note that no, there is no longer a jack and that you will have to go through USB-C or Bluetooth to connect an external audio device.

EMUI 10, Android 10 and Google Services

The Huawei Mate 30 Pro comes with Android 10 as well as an Emotion UI 10 overlay. We had already seen it during the handling of EMUI 10 last August, Huawei has made enormous efforts to detach itself from more and more of an interface too similar for some to iOS. And suddenly, as long as we activate the application drawer a little, the experience is quite similar to Android Stock, to our delight. In the same order of change, the folders are no longer limited to 9 applications displayed, as on iOS! The application drawer launches via a gesture at the bottom of the screen upwards, you can quickly switch between the last applications launched. That good finally this EMUI 10.

On the other hand, as already said in the introduction, there are no Google services in the Chinese model that we are testing and it is very likely that the same problem arises with the models marketed in France (without all Chinese applications that we found by default and that we uninstalled). If there is a choice in the Huawei App Gallery, it is clearly not the Google Play Store. Also, on the internet, we looked for various methods to activate Google services on the Huawei Mate 30 Pro. It’s not super complicated but you have to take the time to do it and be a little hack. Without that, it is difficult to recommend the Huawei Mate 30. The Chinese manufacturer has indeed not convinced all Western developers. So we risk being more frustrated than anything else without Google’s everyday services.

Now, concerning the Chinese version of EMUI 10, it is indeed under Android 10 but lacks Google services. We added these. It was not very difficult (we are preparing a tutorial shortly). However, some apps like Netflix require certification from Google. Also, even with Google services, no Netflix during this test. We fell back on Amazon Prime Video and Youtube. Huawei also gave its video service, Huawei Video, access for a month with smartphone activation. To our surprise, the video service provided access to a substantial amount of content, but in Chinese … So if you master the language, it’s only happiness, if not, and go well.

Performance and Autonomy

The Huawei Mate 30 Pro inaugurates the Kirin 990 which differs from its predecessor with clearly increasing performance and always better energy management. The Kirin 990 engraved in 7nm, is 23% more efficient than the Kirin 980, the Mali-G76 GPU is 39% more efficient and finally, its new NPU is 460% more efficient. Moreover, on the benchmarks, it shows quickly with results quite close to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855/855 + for example. Still, some applications (often games or benchmarks) are not necessarily very well optimized. But in absolute terms, we did not have to complain about daily performance.

We have used the Huawei Mate 30 Pro with a number of applications and we have never felt any discomfort or slowdown. The Mate 30 Pro hardly heats up, whatever the applications launched. The user experience is very fluid and on a daily basis, there is clearly nothing to complain about. There are still apps that will work better under Qualcomm’s SoC Snapdragon, but it’s more about optimization than anything else. In reality, on high-end smartphones, we no longer really pay attention to benchmarks since the available power exceeds our daily needs.

As with every new smartphone, it will take you a few days of use before obtaining your cruising autonomy. But for our greatest happiness, with another 4200 mAh battery, you will have enough to do to last a day. In addition to this, Huawei has added SuperCharge 2.0 which, with the supplied 40W charger, can charge the Mate 20 Pro from 0% to 70% in just 30 minutes. And that’s not all, there is fast wireless charging in 15W! To put it simply, it’s as fast as a conventional wired charger! And finally, the Mate 30 Pro also offers reverse charging which allows you to charge other smartphones and / or other accessories.

As an example of a rather classic use:

Photo and Video

For the photo part, Huawei continues its partnership with the German Leica and the first thing that stands out is this circular rear photo block. As with the P30 Pro, there are a trio of cameras with a wide angle, an ultra wide angle and a telephoto. But alongside, there is also now a TOF sensor. The Mate 30 Pro basically takes the formula of the P30 Pro with the difference that telephoto now boils down to an optical zoom of 3x, which also gives a hybrid zoom in 10x. The main sensor is therefore the same as that of the P30 Pro, namely a RYYB sensor, it is recalled that capturing the yellow color allows more information to be captured. So, taking advantage of the power of the latest processors and artificial intelligence, green is recreated after capture.

Technically speaking, the main camera features a 40 Megapixel SuperSensing Wide sensor with a 27mm wide angle lens and an F / 1.8 aperture. The second camera has an 8 Megapixel sensor with a lens up to 80mm, an opening of F / 2.4 and therefore an optical zoom of 3x (10x in hybrid zoom). Both offer optical stabilization. We’ll come back to the ultra wide-angle but we always note a Macro mode at 2.5 cm and the TOF sensor which allows better management of depths of field but also a better experience around Augmented Reality if necessary.

But the big news about this photo block is that it allows the Mate 30 Pro to fetch a record sensitivity of ISO 409,600 and pass a gap in video for Huawei. Indeed, the novelty concerns the ultra wide-angle camera with a brighter lens (18mm and F / 1.8) but above all a 3: 2 RGB sensor of 40 Megapixels (1 / 1.54 inch). Why ? Simply because for video, it’s better to go back to an RGB sensor, rather than using the RYYB sensor. Note that this is an RGGB sensor with two green pixels! In all cases, for video, the Mate 30 Pro will use in priority the ultra wide angle because the sensor is optimized there both at the pixel level and the 18mm lens which allows to record videos in large angle. Another benefit of all this, we reach a video sensitivity of ISO 51,200 and slow motion up to 7680fps!

Well, enough technique, how does it work in reality? Let’s start with the photo. With the experience acquired with the P30 Pro and the various updates, the photos taken with the Mate 30 Pro are impressive when the light conditions are ideal. The colors are contrasting and the photos are full of details with the addition of a very pleasant natural bokeh. The zoom photos are not left out and we find a quality that really makes the difference with a digital zoom (like on the Pixel 3 for example). There are still some exposure concerns but apart from that, it’s all good!

Here are some sample photos :

The P30 Pro was already excellent in photography when the light conditions were not at the top, the Mate 30 Pro follows in the footsteps of the P30 Pro with already performance without going through the very convincing night mode! Besides, in general, we rarely need to switch to night mode.

Here are some example photos in low light :

On the selfie side, there is a 32-megapixel sensor on the front with a lens with an opening of F / 2.0. With such a resolution, this allows Huawei to better analyze the photo itself and therefore, to simulate a Portrait mode. We always find the wide angle mode to take more people in the selfie photo.

During the announcement, Huawei highlighted everything it had done to make video as good as its two major competitors: Apple and Samsung. As much to be clear, if Huawei has made further progress, Apple and Samsung still have a lead. In itself, the videos produced by the Mate 30 Pro are of good quality but we can clearly see that Huawei does not yet control the exposure and as you can see in the examples below, in the section of the Grands Boulevards, the buildings are overexposed. On the other hand, the stabilization works wonderfully and we see it on the travelings. Note that stabilization works well in 4K. Now, putting aside the exposure issues, we were pleasantly surprised by the video performance in low light conditions. Digital noise was much better controlled compared to the competition. All of this is fixed at the software level and I hope Huawei will update the algorithms quickly because the manufacturer has a card to play.

As usual, Huawei had insisted on some good gadget functions like super slow motion which was not limited to 960fps or 32x like the Samsung Galaxy S10 / Note10 or Sony Xperia 1/5 but went up to 7680fps or 256x! Everyday, it’s fun but we quickly forget this option. We welcome the performance, however!

Here are sample videos :

Where to buy it?

The Huawei Mate 30 Pro is unfortunately not yet available in France. To get it like us, you have to go through import into China via online stores like Gearbest that you know well. It is displayed there at 910 euros in its 8 + 256 GB version, and it runs on Android but without the services of Google.

Buy the Huawei Mate 30 Pro at Gearbest

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Data science student with an interest in machine learning and artificial intelligence. Currently pursuing my masters degree at DePaul.

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