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Huawei Y9 Prime 2019 vs Samsung Galaxy A30 - Sub PHP 14K showdown

Huawei Nova 5T
Samsung and Huawei have been aggressively lately so we pit their sub PHP 14K offerings against each other to see which one is better.
Huawei Y9 Prime 2019 vs Samsung Galaxy A30 - Sub PHP 14K showdown
Huawei Y9 Prime 2019 and Samsung Galaxy A30

The sub PHP 14K price point has been widely contested by smartphone manufacturers in recent years. So we decided to pit the Samsung's Galaxy A30 against the Huawei's latest, the Y9 Prime 2019.

Let's take a deeper look and see where these phones stand strong and where they could improve.

Build Quality/Design

Triple cameras vs dual cameras
Triple cameras vs dual cameras

Both phones are made of a glossy polycarbonate frame, a front glass panel, and a rear glasstic panel. Build quality and design are both top notched. It will now come down to your preference in design.

For us, the Y9 Prime 2019 is simple and elegant while the A30 turned it up a notch with their prism design with unique and beautiful reflection effects.

The polycarbonate frame and glasstic back panel are nearly indistinguishable from metal and glass when viewed at a distance or up close. The only way to tell is if you nitpick and when you touch it. The glasstic is a fingerprint magnet and it does make the phone more prone to slips.

At the back are the rear-facing camera, fingerprint sensor and branding.
Top
Top

On top of the A30 is a single microphone while the Y9 Prime 2019 has the pop-up camera, triple-slot card tray (dual SIM, microSD), and the single microphone.
Bottom side
Bottom side

At the bottom of both phones are the 3.5mm headphone jack, USB-C port, microphone, and bottom-firing speaker.
Left side
Left side

On the left side of the Y9 Prime 2019 is a smooth surface while the A30 has a SIM card tray.
Right side
Right side

The right side of the A30 and the Y9 Prime 2019 both contain the volume rocker and the power button. Surprisingly, there is no Bixby button on the A30.

Both phones are easy to hold but both are fingerprint magnets and are prone to slips. Hardware and software buttons are placed where our small hands can reach them easily.

In terms of build and design, both are on equal footing. Both get points. It is now down to personal preference.

Display Quality

Notchless vs Infinity-U notch

Samsung Galaxy A30 carries a 6.4-inch 2.5D Super AMOLED display with 2340 x 1080  resolution at 403 PPI while the Huawei Y9 Prime 2019 carries a 6.59-inch 2.5D curved TFT LCD (LTPS) display with 2340 x 1080 resolution at 391 ppi.

All-screen experience or with notch?

Both displays are nearly equal in sharpness but the A30's display has a more vivid color and deeper blacks. This doesn't mean the Y9 Prime 2019's LTPS display is bad, Samsung is just that good with AMOLED displays.

Samsung offers a slightly better picture quality while the Huawei Y9 Prime offers a full-screen experience.

Both get points, but it is just very impressive to see a phone with no notch and almost bezel-less design for a more immersive viewing experience at this price point.

Audio Quality

Both phones feature a bottom-firing speaker and a 3.5mm headphone jack. In terms of sound quality, both bottom-firing speakers produce sound with good clarity, good separation and decent sound stage at maximum volume with minimal distortion.

The speaker of Y9 Prime 2019 is better, louder

Both performed exceptionally but when compared side by side the Huawei Y9 Prime 2019's speaker just had more power and volume. 

When plugging our RHA 450i earphone to either phone via the 3.5mm headphone jack, sound quality is superb and is identical.

Mic recordings are identical as well.

We will give the audio to the Y9 Prime for having the better speaker experience.

Battery

PC Mark Battery test
PC Mark Battery test

Both loads with large 4,000mAh batteries.

We got a PC Mark battery test score of 11 hours and 38 minutes for the A30 while we got 9 hours and 38 minutes with the Y9 Prime 2019. This was not in tune with our real-world results where the Y9 Prime lasted longer even after a heavy workday.

Y9 comes with stronger battery performance!

In our day to day use of our smartphones with constant LTE and WiFi connection while calling, texting, web browsing, e-mailing, YouTube and Spotify streaming, and social media, the Samsung Galaxy A30 would give 5 hours of on-screen time while the Huawei Y9 Prime would give us 6 to 7 hours of on-screen time.

This means that when we unplug the A30 at 8AM, we would arrive home at 8PM with 10 to 15 percent left in the battery while when we unplug the Y9 Prime at 8AM and arrive at 8PM we would get 20 to 25 percent left in the battery.

Since both carry a 4,000mAh battery with the A30 having a 15W charger while the Y9 Prime 2019 has a 10W charger. This results in Charging time averages of 1 hour and 40 minutes for the A30, and 2 hours and 5 minutes for the Y9 Prime 2019.

The Samsung Galaxy A30 charges faster but the Y9 Prime 2019 lasts longer. 

Personally, I will prefer a phone with slightly stronger battery performance than slightly faster-charging speeds.

Cameras

Rear Camera UI
Rear Camera UI

Samsung Galaxy A30 carries a dual rear-facing camera set-up of a 16MP f/1.7, and 5MP f/2.2 ultra-wide-angle lens while the Huawei Y9 Prime carries a triple rear-facing camera set-up of a 16MP f/1.8, an 8MP f/2.4 120-degree ultra-wide-angle lens, and a 2MP f/2.4 depth sensor.

Triple or dual-cam?

A30's stock camera app allows for several modes like Photo, Video, Pro, Panorama, Live Focus, and Slow-motion while Y9 Prime's camera modes are Aperture, Night, Portrait, Photo, Video, Panorama, Slow-Mo, Light Painting, Pro and Time-lapse.

Pro mode on the A30 is basic with controls for ISO, White balance and exposure compensation only while the Y9 Prime's Pro mode allows for controls of ISO, Shutter Speed, Exposure compensation, White Balance and Focus modes.

Rear Camera Samples

Daylight rear main camera
A30's daylight rear main camera
A30's rear ultra-wide
A30's rear ultra-wide
Y9 Prime 2019's daylight rear main camera
Y9 Prime 2019's daylight rear main camera
Y9 Prime 2019's daylight rear ultra-wide camera
Y9 Prime 2019's daylight rear ultra-wide camera
A30's Indoor rear main camera
A30's Indoor rear main camera
A30's indoor rear wide camera
A30's indoor rear wide camera
Y9 Prime indoor rear main camera
Y9 Prime indoor rear main camera
Y9 Prime indoor rear wide camera
Y9 Prime indoor rear wide camera
A30's lowlight rear main camera
A30's lowlight rear ultra-wide camera
A30's lowlight rear ultra-wide camera
Y9 Prime's lowlight rear main camera
Y9 Prime's lowlight rear main camera
Y9 Prime's lowlight rear main camera in NIGHT MODE
Y9 Prime's lowlight rear main camera in NIGHT MODE
Y9 Prime's lowlight rear ultra-wide camera
Y9 Prime's lowlight rear ultra-wide camera

Both phones performed well in daylight conditions while in indoor shots, both phones produce images that soften and lose color to a small extent. The A30 is noticeably sharper in indoor shots in both the standard and the ultra-wide cameras.

It is in the low light shots where these phones falter with the standard and ultra-wide cameras. Images in low light are soft with a noticeable loss in color accuracy but the A30 manages to produce better auto low light images than the Y9 Prime.

Y9 Prime 2019 has a secret weapon though, the AI-assisted Super Night Mode which allowed the Huawei's offering to take more stunning low light images versus the A30.

We have to give the score to the A30 for retaining sharpness, and color accuracy even in indoor and low light situations because the Y9 Prime's Night Mode is situational.

But Y9 Prime 2019 also has a 3rd camera to aid it in taking images with bokeh background blur.
Front-facing cameras
Front-facing cameras

For front-facing cameras, the A30 carries a single 16MP f/2.0 while the Y9 Prime carries a 16MP f/2.2 shooter.

Having a pop-up selfie camera is quite exciting!

There are three camera modes for the Samsung Camera app when switched to the front-facing camera: Photo, Video and Live Focus while the Y9 Prime also has three modes: Portrait, Photo, Video.

Selfie Camera Samples

A30's daylight selfie
A30's daylight selfie
Y9 Prime's daylight selfie
Y9 Prime's daylight selfie
A30's daylight selfie in Live Focus Mode
A30's daylight selfie in Live Focus Mode
Y9 Prime's daylight selfie in Portrait Mode
Y9 Prime's daylight selfie in Portrait Mode
A30's indoor selfie
A30's indoor selfie
Y9 Prime's indoor selfie
Y9 Prime's indoor selfie
A30's low light selfie
A30's low light selfie
Y9 Prime's low-light selfie
Y9 Prime's low-light selfie

After looking at all the selfie images, it can be seen that the Y9 Prime's camera produces the wider field of view, the better exposure especially in low light and the sharper image across all three scenarios, but the A30 produces the images have the more attractive color, white balance, and bokeh. 

The sharpness difference between the two phone's selfie camera isn't that far from each other so we will give the score to the Huawei Y9 Prime 2019.

Performance

AnTuTu comparison
AnTuTu comparison

The AnTuTu score of the Samsung Galaxy A30 is at 106,243 while the Y9 Prime 2019 is at 142,082.

This means that the Y9 Prime 2019 leads by a whopping 36K points. This is due to the different clock speeds of the two processors: 1.8GHz 64-bit Exynos 7904 octa-core processor for the A30, and 2.2GHz 64-bit Kirin 710F octa-core processor for the Y9 Prime 2019.

For less, Huawei Y9 Prime 2019 is the phone with speedier performance!

Allow us to just note that Kirin 710F is faster than Kirin 710.

We noticed in our day to day use that the Y9 Prime is noticeably faster in opening apps and when running intensive tasks.

The difference in performance is more pronounced when running processor and graphics-intensive apps like games and video editors.

In most cases like navigating through the OS, opening and using apps, the speed of both phones is not that far from each other, but we have to give the point to Huawei.

The UI

Samsung's new One UI
Samsung's new OneUI

The Samsung Galaxy A30 is running on the latest Android 9.0 Pie-based OneUI which is a major change from the previous Samsung Experience UI. The One UI is now lighter and faster with more focus on functionality. It focuses on one-handed use and is now smoother even when running on entry-level devices.

The new One UI also has simplified their menus which have made it easier to navigate through all the features.
Huawei's EMUI 9.0
Huawei's EMUI 9.0

The Huawei Y9 Prime 2019, on the other hand, is running on the latest Android 9.0 Pie-based EMUI 9.0 that brings focus to better ergonomics for one-handed use and promises a minimal change in performance over time. This means that you will get nearly the same performance of the phone from when you got it new from the box until the day you decide to replace it. From our experience with the P10 even after nearly 2 years of use.

Another unique feature of EMUI is the GPU turbo which uses AI to improve the performance with specific games/apps which has allowed Huawei devices to game with better experiences from previous or current hardware.

You can read more about the EMUI here.

EMUI has quirks that make it a polarizing OS. You either like it or you don't. Personally, I am not a fan of it but I've learned to work around its quirks but it would be great if Huawei would improve upon it.


Other features

Connectivity-wise, we never had a problem connecting via WiFi or Bluetooth with either phone. GPS acquires quickly and accurately for both phones as well. Huawei Y9 Prime 2019 also has the 700MHz 4G LTE connectivity for better indoor signal reception.

Face unlock is quick and reliable for the A30. Surprisingly, Y9 Prime 2019 does not have face unlock. The fingerprint scanner on both phones is located at the back of each phone. Both scanners scan instantaneously and reliably.


Samsung Galaxy A30 vs Huawei Y9 Prime 2019 Specs Comparison

DeviceSamsung Galaxy A30Huawei Y9 Prime 2019
Display6.4-inch 2.5D curved Gorilla Glass 3 protected Super AMOLED screen w/ FHD+ 2340 x 1080 resolution at 403 ppi6.59-inch 2.5D curved TFT LCD (LTPS) screen w/ FHD+ 2340 x 1080 resolution at 391 ppi
CPU
1.8GHz 64-bit Exynos 7904 octa-core processor
2.2GHz 64-bit Kirin 710F octa-core processor
GPUMali-G71 MP2Mali-G51 MP4 w/ GPU Turbo
RAM4GB4GB
ROM64GB expandable via microSD card slot up to 512GB128GB expandable via microSD card slot up to 400GB
Back Camera16MP f/1.7 + 5MP f/2.2 ultra wide-angle lens w/ AF and LED flash16MP f/1.8 + 8MP f/2.4 120-degree ultra wide-angle lens + 2MP f/2.4 w/ PDAF and LED flash
Selfie Camera16MP f/2.016MP f/2.2
Battery
4,000mAh w/ 15W fast charging
4,000mAh w/ 10W fast charging
OSAndroid 9.0 Pie w/ One UI
Android 9.0 Pie w/ EMUI 9.0
Connectivity
WiFi 802.11ac (2.4GHz/5GHz), 4G LTE, Bluetooth 5, FM Radio, GPS, GLONASS, dual SIM
WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, 700MHz 4G LTE, Bluetooth 4.2, BLE, HWA, aptX, and aptX HD, FM Radio, OTG, GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, dual SIM
SensorsAccelerometer, orientation, proximity, gyroscope, sound, magnetic
Accelerometer, light, orientation, proximity, gyroscope, sound, magnetic
Others
Fingerprint sensor, face unlock, USB-C, Colors: blue, white, black
Fingerprint sensor, USB-C, Colors: midnight black, emerald green, sapphire blue
Dimensions158.5 x 74.7 x 7.7 mm163.5 x 77.3 x 8.8 mm
Weight
165 g
197 g
PricePHP 13,990
PHP 12,990

Huawei Y9 Prime 2019 advantages - Full-screen design with no notch and minimal bezels, faster Kirin 710F chipset, larger 128GB storage, triple-camera setup, more affordable price tag
Samsung Galaxy A30 advantages - Gorilla Glass 3, vivid display, slightly brighter main and selfie cam, dual-band WiFi, Bluetooth 5.0, face unlock

Verdict

The objective of this comparison was to see the features and value for money can you get from a sub PHP 14K smartphone in 2019.

Huawei is disrupting the segment with the Y9 Prime 2019 with specs that rival phones that are above its PHP 12,990. This includes the Samsung Galaxy A30 which held its own against the Y9 Prime.

But, Huawei clearly wanted to win with its pop-up front-facing camera, full-screen display, faster Kirin 710F, larger storage capacity, AI-assisted Super Night Mode, and a slightly more affordable price tag.

We have to give props to A30 for holding its ground, but we crown the Y9 Prime the winner in this comparison because of its outstanding value

What do you guys think?
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