Why Huawei’s new P30 Pro is probably the best all-around camera phone


Huawei has pulled off a miracle again with its latest P30 Pro smartphone. The phone which was just announced at its global launch event in Paris just a couple of hours ago pushes the concepts the company first introduced last year with the P20 Pro. The end result is a phone which isn’t just a great smartphone that could go toe-to-toe with the likes of the latest Samsung Galaxy S10+ and iPhone XS Max, but also a photography powerhouse which has all the ingredients to eclipse both the Nokia 9 PureView and Google Pixel 3 in still imagery and Samsung Galaxy S10 and iPhone XS in video. This isn’t surprising since the P20 Pro last year was the highest rated camera phone on DXOMark with even the Google Pixel 3 not being able to dethrone it. This year with the P30 Pro, they again top the list widening the gap with a quad camera array on the back which promises some incredible all-around performance.

The core specifications

  • 6.4-inch curved OLED screen with teardrop notch with 2k resolution.
  • An all new design that comes with an aluminium frame, bevelled metal sides and a glass back while being IP68 certified.
  • Huawei Kirin 980 processor built on a 7nm process with 8GB RAM & upto 512GB of storage.
  • Dual SIM with dual VoLTE and nanoSD card expansion
  • 4,200mAh battery with 40W super charge, wireless charge and reverse charge
  • 32-megapixel front facing camera array with AI based HDR+ which the company claims could be the best selfie camera system. It would certainly be amongst the highest resolution selfie cameras around.
  • 40-megapixel primary camera with f/1.6 aperture, optical image stabilisation and super spectrum resolution with an RYYB pixel array allowing 40 percent more light than standard sensors.
  • Industry first 8-megapixel periscope style optically stabilised telephoto lens offering 5x optical zoom.
  • 20-megapixel wide-angle camera with a f/2.2 aperture.
  • A time of flight depth sensor which elevates the portrait mode depth sensing to greater levels of realism.
  • Based on Android 9 Pie with the latest version of EMUI 9.1.

How does this camera work

  • Huawei uses pixel binning techniques to merge pixels from the 40-megapixel camera to 10-megapixel resolutions drawing in four times the detail and light. This is something it has been doing since the P20 Pro.
  • On the P30 Pro this is further improved using the Kirin 980 processor and a new AI-based HDR+ technique which sounds like its take on Google’s HDR processing.
  • The P30 Pro and P30 models also leverage the RYYB pixel arrangement which draws 40 percent more light than standard RGB pixel layouts which enhances low-light performance.
  • The periscope based telephoto lens offers 5x zoom but it further fused with image data from the main camera offering up-to 10x lossless zoom which is incredible.
  • There is also a wide-angle camera so you can go ultra wide, and super close at the same time.
  • The time of flight sensor ensures the depth sensing is way better than standard depth-sensing cameras. Even the Nokia 9 uses a ToF depth sensor and the P30 Pro becomes the second phone after it to provide it for the rear camera. Portrait edge detection should be class leading this way.
  • The phone has a low-light night mode which has been further enhanced using the new hardware and software processing enabling mega low light performance which could potentially even overtake the Google Pixel 3’s night sight mode.
  • For video too, Huawei has added a dual sight mode which leverages and activates both the standard and wide-angle cameras allowing users to capture twin perspectives at the same time.
  • In the presentation, Huawei showed off low light shooting capabilities of the P30 Pro alongside the iPhone XS and the Samsung Galaxy S10+ where it was able to take clearer video. This is commendable if true as the S10+ is the current benchmark for video on smartphones.

Why this could be the best camera phone

While there are many great camera phones out there, Huawei proved last year with both the P20 Pro and Mate 20 Pro that it has the best hardware technology for smartphone cameras. Only Google’s software managed to usurp its phone that too in stills. This year with improved hardware and more refined software the P30 Pro has the potential to have the best camera phone all year.

  • DxOMark has rated the P30 Pro camera 112 overall which is 3 points higher than the P20 Pro. Just in the imaging department the P30 Pro scores 119 which will be a hard number to beat.
  • Especially in scenarios where zooming in and depth sensing is involved, software can do only so much — which means that the Huawei P30 Pro will probably have the best zoom and portrait mode for a while.
  • Even though there are 4 cameras stacked, this phone is likely to have a fast camera as it is powered by the very latest processing technology. HMD Global’s Nokia 9 may have one more camera, but then it is also based on processor which was meant for 2018 flagships.
  • Compared to the Pixel 3 and Nokia 9, the Huawei P30 Pro also has a more versatile camera as it has a wide angle camera and optically stablised telephoto lens with laser sensor and colour temperature sensor.