Huawei P30: Hands on review

Huawei’s P range of phones are all about photography – that’s what the P stands for – and with the P30 is the brand is once again claiming to have produced a flagship that will push your smartphone snapping experience to new heights, with powerful cameras and a huge range of photo effects and features.

The phone builds on many of the popular features of the Huawei P20, but offers a little bit extra in many ways: it has an extra camera, a bigger battery, and more screen real estate, although it isn’t as much of an upgrade as the Huawei P30 Pro is over the P20 Pro.

The P30 Display

There’s not much point having a great camera on your phone if you don’t have a high-quality display that does justice to the images it takes, so there’s a lot riding on the P30’s screen.

The Huawei P30 comes with a 6.1-inch OLED Full HD+ screen, with a 1920 x 1080 resolution and 19.5:9 aspect ratio.

The colors really pop on the display, with softer tones looking especially vibrant, while contrast was also good.

The display also houses the in-screen fingerprint sensor, which Huawei says is its fastest-unlocking ever, supposedly taking half a second to register your print.

The P30 Design

The back of the handset is curved Gorilla Glass, which lends a premium feel to the phone, although the flat top and bottom seem curiously angular compared to the rest of the design.

There’s a volume rocker and power button on the right side of the device and a USB-C port to the bottom – there’s also the surprise return of a 3.5mm headphone jack, which the Huawei P20 was lacking.

The Huawei P30 is an impressive handset to look at – provided you pick the right shade.

It comes in five colors – Breathing Crystal and Aurora, which have blue, violet and white gradient designs, Amber Sunrise which has a red, orange and white gradient pattern, and rather less impressive white and black designs.

The P30 Camera

The camera is the main selling point of the Huawei P30.

Huawei has made a major change to the way the main camera on its phones work, in that instead of picking up RGB (red, green, blue) color as most cameras do, the primary snapper sees RYYB – the two Ys stand for yellow, and by using this model the phone can pick up both green and additional red lights, which according to Huawei means more color and brightness information can be gathered.

This main camera is the 40MP f/1.6 main Super Spectrum camera, which is joined by 20MP f/2.2 ultra-wide and 8MP f/2.4 ‘optical periscope’ telephoto cameras.

Together this triple rear camera array is meant to take some amazing pictures.

The camera is fantastic at picking up vibrant colors – when tested on orange and blue objects, the colors popped out from the rest of the surroundings and made for great-looking pictures. There are different modes which picked up on colors or dulled them a little bit to fit into the setting; both quite appropriate for different subjects.

The front-facing selfie camera is a whopping 32MP snapper – that’s a lot more powerful than you’d need for your average social media selfie.

It takes really good-looking pictures and the beauty mode filters are subtle – they did a nice, understated job of smoothing features and thinning the face, although color shifts were a bit more noticeable.

The P30 Battery Life

Inside the Huawei P30 is a 3,650mAh battery, a moderate step up from the 3,400mAh power pack in the Huawei P20, and likely enough for at least a full day of use given that the EMUI user interface the phone uses is designed to reduce battery consumption.

The P30 doesn’t support wireless charging, unlike the P30 Pro, but it can power up using the 40W SuperCharge fast charger included in the box, which Huawei suggests can power the phone from 0% to 70% in only half an hour – an incredibly quick time if true.