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Huawei P30 Review - Sometimes less is more!

Huawei Nova 5T
It's been almost a month using the Huawei P30 and in case you missed our unboxing and first impressions of this phone, you can check the link we highlighted in red below.
Huawei P30 Review - Sometimes less is more!
Huawei P30 review


Now, it is time for our full review!

Display Quality

Crisp screen
Crisp screen

Huawei P30 features a 6.1-inch 2.5D curved OLED screen with FHD+ 2340 x 1080 resolution at 422 ppi. It is an almost bezel less screen with a dewdrop notch on top and a very minimal chin bezel.

Colors are punchy, details are crisp!

As expected, colors are punchy. It is perfect for binge-watching your favorite Netflix shows or K-dramas and playing Mobile Legends: Bang Bang. Overall it has a sharp display which is one of the best for the price.

Sunlight legibility is very nice. You'll definitely see what you're watching, playing, or texting even under direct sunlight. BUT, make sure not to do these things while walking, keep yourself safe.

It also has the color mode & temperature adjustment feature found in the display settings and the smart resolution feature that automatically lowers the resolution from FHD+ to HD+ when needed to conserve power.

Of course, as expected, Huawei P30 has 10 points of multitouch to make your type and swipe life easier.

Audio Quality

Single down-firing speaker
Single down-firing speaker

I like playing music and this is one of the features I always check right away when it comes to any device. The P30 has a single grill speaker placed on the right bottom of the device. 

It makes a nice, casual listening. But, it didn't meet my expectation of loudness. For me, the Huawei P30 could've been equipped with a better, louder speaker. Overall, the sound is nice, with the sound lyrics' being heard clearly, and the bass is evident.

We're also happy that it has 3.5mm headphone jack, yay!

It has strong driving power which can even make some source-picky in-ear earphones shine. Those who want a customized listening experience may also take advantage of  Dolby Atmos audio software. It comes with smart audio optimization as well.

Using the wireless Huawei FreeBuds Lite with the P30 is very nice. it has great sound and eargasm quality most of those casual listeners, like me, are looking for.

Its two microphones are working well with clear quality for phone calls and personal recordings. For video recordings, very minimal of hissing sound is evident, great job, Huawei!

Battery

Over 14 hours!

Huawei P30 is packed with a non-removable 3,650mAh of battery. It isn't as large as the 4,200mAh juice of the P30 Pro, but it is still considered as quite large for a phone with smaller 6.1-inch display. Besides, its 7nm Kirin 980 chip is one of the most power efficient high-end chips around.

As strong as most phones with 4,000mAh juice!

It got a total of 14 hours and 28 minutes on our PC Mark battery benchmark from 100 percent down to 11 percent!

For real life usage, Huawei P30 can last up to a day and a half, even under mixed light, moderate, and heavy usages! The usage we're telling is composed of web surfing, music, a bit of games, and more of social media.

You can switch to performance mode to activate the full speed of your phone, but it will drain the battery a bit faster. Our recommendation is just use the default battery setting with dark interface.

But in case you need to conserve more power, it has the power saving and ultra power saving modes. You can also manage the app launches and apps running in the background.

Huawei also has one of the most aggressive battery management software that automatically kills unnecessary background apps to save power.

We can't miss to tell that its 22.5W SuperCharge can fill up the P30 from 0 to 100 percent in just an hour. It even has the TÜV Rheinland certification for safety.

However, it doesn't have wireless charging and reverse wireless charging feature of the Pro P30 model.

We just wished that the Huawei P30 is also wireless charging enabled like the P30 Pro. 

Camera

Leica triple-cam
Leica triple-cam

Unlike the higher-end P30 Pro with four cameras, P30 is only equipped with 3 cameras in total. But, the cameras they used are still more powerful compared with other triple cameras.

Powerful Leica triple-camera setup!

The P30 is equipped with triple rear cameras of 40MP f/1.8 RYYB sensor + 16MP f/2.2 ultra wide-angle sensor + 8MP f/2.4 3x zoom sensor paired with 4D predictive focus, AIS, color temperature sensor, and dual-tone LED flash.

The 40MP f/1.8 sensor reminds us of Mate 20 Pro's 1/1.73-inch size sensor with quad-bayer binning tech. But, Huawei said that it is an improved version of the sensor. Again, Huawei and Leica specifically tuned its cameras to capture great details and colors in any lighting condition.

It also has a lower 16MP f/2.2 120-degree ultra-wide lens with 2.5cm macro feature. The third camera is an 8MP f/2.4 shooter with 3x zoom.

Like other flagship Huawei phones, P30 uses the 4D predictive focus, color temperature sensor, and dual-tone LED flash.

What's missing in the P30 from the P30 Pro is the ToF lens for 3D sensing for cleaner looking bokeh edges. P30 relies with the main camera and zoom lens for shots with bokeh.
The camera UI and modes
The camera UI and modes

Fortunately, it retained most of the features found with P30 Pro like the Master AI, Leica filters (standard, vivid, smooth), Portrait (with face beauty and bokeh), Night (AIS handheld Super Night Mode), Aperture (f/0.95 to f/16), Pro (with up to 32s and ISO 102400), Monochrome filter (with Aperture, Portrait, and Pro modes), HDR, Filter, Super Macro, Panorama, Light painting (Traffic trails, Light graffiti, Silky water, Star trails).

But that's not the surprise, if the Huawei P30 Pro's 50x zoom has been catching anyone's attention, well Huawei P30's 30x zoom deserves a recognition as well.

The result? This phone shoots is an excellent shooter regardless of price. It also goes with really fast focus speed, impressive macro mode, and quick image saving time. 

near flagship-grade photos! It has super fast focus speed and can take close-up images with ease. It also has pretty fast shutter speed.

The AI works well for us too. It can detect and optimize a lot of scenes without overdoing the images most of the time. It can detect if you need to use the Portrait, Night, and even Super macro modes.

It is not for everyone though. There are times where the AI will fail and produce oversaturated or oversharpened images.

The good thing? Huawei will allow you easily enable and disable the AI effect before taking photos according to your preference.

Camera Samples

Normal
Normal
Wide

In terms of quality, Huawei P30's camera produces superb photos! The outputs have very nice colors and sharpness with great balanced exposure and contrast. 
Normal
Normal
Wide
Wide

The 16MP ultra-wide mode of this camera is also one of the nicest around. It can also shoot daylight and indoor images with a lot of details and good colors. To our surprise, its color reproduction is close to the main shooter.
Normal
Normal
Wide
Wide

Basically, its wide cam simply allowed us to see more with minimal distortion unlike other ultra-wide cams.
Another wide-cam shot featuring Ciara of TeknoGadyet
Another wide-cam shot featuring Ciara of TeknoGadyet

Users may also use the secondary wide cam for the Super macro mode designed close-up shots.
Super macro mode using the wide cam of the phone
Super macro mode using the wide cam of the phone

For the portrait photos, the P30's background blur is sharp enough although it doesn't have the P30 Pro's ToF. The bokeh effect works well both on aperture and portrait modes.
Portrait mode
Portrait mode

There are times that it may look very much artificial, but for most of the photos we took, it blurred the back of the subject well.
Aperture mode
Aperture mode

How can I forget mentioning the 30x zoom? Huawei P30's camera feature highlight is its 30x zoom. It may not reach as far as the Pro's 50x zoom can, but it definitely levels up to the game.
1x, 5x zoom
1x, 3x zoom

We tried to take moon shots using its 30x zoom, and the photos taken were close to the Pro's 50x zoom capability! Meanwhile for the other zoom shots, the noises are evident, but the 30x zoom photos will surely blow up your mind.
5x, 30x zoom
5x, 30x zoom

Indoor shots are mostly okay too. In fact, even under challenging scenarios, some of our shots are still considered as good and detailed.
Indoor cropped
Indoor cropped
Challenging light
Challenging light
Sunset wide
Sunset wide
Even on challenging scenes
Even on challenging scenes

In low light, P30 has the ability to shoot decent night shots even on auto mode. Thanks to its large 40MP sensor with f/1.8 aperture.
Auto mode
Auto mode
Super Night Mode
Super Night Mode

However, the ultra-wide cam's output is soft in low light. The zoom will have some grain as well.
Wide low light
Wide low light
Wide Super Night Mode
Wide Super Night Mode

Fortunately, Huawei has a solution to that problem. Huawei is using an improved AI-assisted Super Night mode handheld long exposure technology. To recall, Huawei pioneered this tech with the P20 last year.
Night mode by the beach
Night mode by the beach
Another night mode photo
Another night mode photo
Stunning!
Stunning!

Huawei's Super Night Mode turns photos taken under low light with great exposure. Huawei P30's low light shots with the help of Super Night Mode are great. 

Personally, being amazed at how the Super Night Mode can add great exposure to photos, I also used it quite a few times even with shots taken with natural and artificial lights.

Overall, the Huawei P30 can take great photos with nice exposure, contrast, dynamic range, and colors.
32MP snapper!
32MP snapper!

For the selfie camera, it features a single, 32MP f/2.0 with AI HDR. It is one of the biggest selfie camera found on phones today.

Selfie UI
Selfie UI

It doesn't have an autofocus system, but it has speedy face detection. Photo saving time is also quite fast.

Like before, it has the portrait mode where you can select different bokeh lighting effects and adjust the beautification level and even the slimness of your face.

Huawei also added an AI-assisted HDR feature that allowed the phone to capture even against the light selfies.

Selfie Camera Samples

Daylight selfie
Daylight selfie

From our experience, it fixed our biggest complain from the P20 last year. The selfies from the P30 are sharper this time. It doesn't look soft anymore. Colors accuracy is way better as well.
Outdoor selfie
Outdoor selfie 
Beautified  (level 3) outdoor selfie
Beautified  (level 3) outdoor selfie
Indoor selfie
Indoor selfie

The portrait mode is also quite impressive with clean edge detection. Just don't expect it to be as neat as the bokeh from the main cameras.
Lowlight indoor selfie
Lowlight indoor selfie

But so far, it can capture nice selfies both under well lighted areas and low light with the help of screen flash.

For videos, P30 has the ability to shoot up to 4K 30fps in quality. It also goes with 1080p 60fps, 1080p 30fps, and 960fps super slow-mo videos at the back. You can even take selfies with face beauty 

Like the Mate 20 Pro, you'll find AI color, Background Blur, Vintage, Suspense, and Fresh video effects with the P30. It also has the classic time-lapse feature and Leica color features.

Huawei also made sure that you can use all those modes with the ultra-wide angle camera.

The 4K video mode looks great with a lot of details. But for social media use, my personal favorite is the 1080p at 60fps as it delivered the smoothest looking videos. Stabilization is noticeably better compared with older Huawei phones. Huawei used the OIS and AIS at the same time.

My only gripe is it doesn't have a 4K 60fps mode unlike other flagship phones.

For selfie videos, it can shoot up to 1080p 30fps (normal mode) and 720p 30fps (face beauty mode). Crop is evident, but selfie video quality is considered as good. Stabilization is respectable even if it doesn't have OIS.

Video Samples


Performance

Great scores
Great scores

Huawei P30 is equipped with 2.6GHz 64-bit Kirin 980 octa-core processor with Dual-NPU along with Mali-G76 MP10 with GPU Turbo 2.0, 8GB LPDDR4x RAM, and 128GB memory expandable via NM card slot up to 256GB.

Overall, powering both the Huawei P30 and P30 Pro's are the same, except for the internal storage since the Pro's got a little bigger 256GB while the P30 has only 128GB. But both can be expanded up to 256GB via microSD card slot.

It scored a total of 308,655 on AnTuTu benchmark and 3338 (single core) on Geekbench.

P30's scores are higher than all 2018 flagship phones. Today, there are few phones with speedier performance than Kirin 980 based on benchmark scores.



For almost a month of using the Huawei P30, I've never encountered any hiccups. I'm trying to get it by multitasking a lot and playing heavy 3D games, but it didn't. Maybe because it knows I'm trying to push it to its limit, that's why "ginalingan", kidding!

Ginalingan!

With or without GPU Turbo, gaming performance is great. Games like the PUBG Mobile and Mobile Legends: Bang Bang are great! Even NBA 2K19 are playable at max settings. We never had issues with most of the games we tried.

Thermal management is respectable. It gets warm while playing games ven if we use it the whole day on mixed mobile data and WiFi plus playing games, it doesn't get alarmingly hot.

The UI

EMUI 9.1 skin

Huawei P30 runs on the latest Android 9 Pie along with EMUI 9.1 skin out of the box. There are few bloatwares that cannot be deleted but mostly are essential to the user.

Some of those useful non-removable apps are the Optimizer, Themes, Health, and Recorder. The Health app is the place where you can see and track your fitness. You can even connect it with wearables like the Huawei Band 3 and Watch GT.

There are also some useful removable apps like the Translator. A of Google apps like the Gmail, Maps, YouTube, Drive, and more are pre-installed as well.

By default, it has all the apps in multiple home screens. If you swipe left, you'll find he Google feed for news, info, and more. Users may also opt for the app drawer style.

It also has the traditional three-button navigation, but you can also use the gesture-based navigation.

I also like that it has the App Twin where you can use two apps like Facebook at the same time, Private Space where you can store files and other details that's just for you, and One-handed mode.

You can activate the One-handed mode by swiping up diagonally from one of the bottom corners on gesture mode. If you are using the three-key navigation, just swipe left or right across the navigation bar.

My favorite feature is the Huawei Share. It uses the WiFi and Bluetooth for ultra-fast Huawei to Huawei file transfers. If you have a Huawei PC like the Matebook 13, you can use the OneHop file transfer that uses the Huawei Share and NFC for super-fast phone to PC file transfers.

Like other Huawei devices, it has the Wireless Projection feature. It even has the Desktop mode if you have a USB-C to HDMI cable and an external monitor.

Other features

The In-Display fingerprint is one of the fastest around. Traditional fingerprint scanners are still faster, but it isn't as slow and inaccurate like the In-Display fingerprint scanner last year. Even with light tap, it'll work 5/5 times. With super light tap, it'll work 3/5 times. Still, not bad!

If you do not like using the fingerprint scanner, you can always opt for the speedier face unlock tech. It even has a lift to wake function and it works even in under low light areas.

The rest of the telephony experience works great. It has a strong GSM signal like most Huawei phones. 4G LTE is also okay on areas with strong connection. WiFi, Bluetooth, and GPS works most of the time.. It has LED notification, OTG, gyroscope (for AR and VR apps), and dual SIM slots.

Pros - Premium-looking & vibrant design, powerful performance, strong battery life, SuperCharge tech, great photo and video performance, improved selfies, 3.5mm headphone jack slot, speedy In-Display fingerprint scanner
Cons -  No stereo speakers, no wireless charging, no 4K 60fps videos

Huawei P30 Specs

Display: 6.1-inch 2.5D curved OLED screen w/ FHD+ 2340 x 1080 resolution at 422 ppi
CPU: 2.6GHz 64-bit Kirin 980 octa-core processor w/ Dual-NPU
GPU: Mali-G76 MP10 w/ GPU Turbo 2.0
RAM: 8GB LPDDR4x
ROM: 128GB expandable via NM card slot up to 256GB
Back Camera: 40MP f/1.8 RYYB sensor + 16MP f/2.2 ultra wide-angle sensor + 8MP f/2.4 3x zoom sensor paired w/ 4D predictive focus, AIS, color temperature sensor, and dual-tone LED flash
Selfie Camera: 32MP f/2.0 w/ AI HDR
Battery: 3,650mAh w/ 22.5W SuperCharge
OS: Android 9.0 Pie w/ EMUI 9.1
Connectivity: WiFi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (2.4/5GHz), 4G LTE Cat 21, Bluetooth 5 BLE, aptX HD, OTG, NFC, GPS (L1 + L5 dual-band), A-GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, Galileo (E1 + E5a dual-band), QZZS (L1 + L5 dual-band), dual SIM (hybrid)
Sensors: Accelerometer, light, orientation, proximity, gyroscope, sound, magnetic, pressure
Others: In-Display fingerprint sensor, IP53 water splash resistance, 384K/32-bit HiFi DAC, USB Type-C, loudspeaker, 3.5mm headphone jack slot, Colors: breathing crystal, black, aurora
Dimensions: 149.1 x 71.36 x 7.57 mm
Weight: 165 g
Price: PHP 36,990

Verdict

Huawei P30 proved that sometimes, really, is more.

Although it is more affordable and smaller in size than the Pro version, it doesn't mean it had to go so low when it comes to specifications and performance.

It may lack a bit on some features found on the Pro and other pricier high-end phones, but Huawei P30 proved that it is no slough.

In fact, it could be the phone to get if you are in need of a compact phone with true flagship performance for less.

Huawei P30 is priced at just PHP 36,990. Most high-end flagship phones are found in the over PHP 50K range.

Build/Design - 4.5
Display - 4.5
Audio - 4
Battery - 4.5
Camera - 4.5
Performance - 4.5
Average - 4.41/5
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