Huawei Mate 30 Pro Review - Amazing hardware that overshadows a more modest selection of applications

6th September 2020

Huawei Mate 30 Pro has had its world premiere long ago, but this does not apply to the premiere on the Slovak market. The manufacturer started selling it to us only in February of this year.

Huawei Mate 30 Pro was the first top model of the manufacturer, which did not include Google applications and services. So far, the new flagship P40 and P40 Pro also lack an integral part of the Android operating system.

There is a so-called AG smartphones , ie AppGallery, which refers to the court application store Huawei. I have been using the Mate 30 Pro for several weeks, as a person who is strongly connected to Google services.

I've found that the Mate 30 Pro is a top flagship smartphone with an excellent camera that can be used without Google applications and services . However, there are a few pitfalls that will depend on the needs of a particular user.  

  • 158.1 x 73.1 x 8.8 mm, 198 grams.
  • Resistance IP68, aluminum construction, Gorilla Glass 6 (both sides).
  • OLED display, 6.53 ″ diagonal, 1176 x 2400 pixels resolution, 18.5: 9 aspect ratio, HDR10.
  • 7nm octa-core Hisilicon Kirin 990, GPU Mali-G76 MP16.
  • 256 GB UFS 3.0 storage + nanoSD up to 256 GB, 8 GB RAM.
  • 1 / 1.7 ″ 40 Mpx sensor sf / 1.7, OIS and PDAF focusing, 1 / 1.54 ″ 40 Mpx ultra wide camera sf / 1.8 and PDAF focusing, 1 / 4.0 ″ 8 Mpx camera with 3x optical zoom, f / 2.4 and OIS, TOF 3D depth sensor.
  • 1 / 2.8 ″ 32 Mpx selfie with f / 2.0 brightness and HDR mode.
  • 4500 mAh battery, 40W fast charging, 27W wireless charging, reverse charging.
  • Android 10 OS with EMUI 10 without Google services.
  • Dual SIM (hybrid), Wi-Fi 802.11 a / b / g / n / ac, Bluetooth 5.1, fingerprint sensor under the display, A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS, GALILEO, QZSS, NFC, A2DP, aptX HD, 32-bit / 384kHz audio.

Huawei Mate 30 Pro: First-class construction and design

Huawei Mate 30 Pro looks better live than in presentation photos and visualizations. In terms of construction and design, it is a top - one of the best, if not the best smartphone I have ever used.  

The solid, uniform body is an almost perfect block with a thickness of 8.8 millimeters and a weight of 198 grams. The bottom and top edges are ground so that you can place your smartphone on it. The main element of the front side is, of course, the display, which is unique in that its side edges are curved at almost a 90-degree angle .  

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Huawei Mate 30 Pro

Although such a design has its flies, I must admit that I just like it. The smartphone looks as if it has no side frames and holds perfectly in the hand as it has a narrower and higher profile.

Clean lines disrupt, in a good way, only one single button . Located on the right side at an ideal height, it has a perfect response and is traditionally distinguished by red. The volume buttons have been fired.  

Instead, adjust the volume by tapping one or the other side of the display with your finger, then slide your finger along the edge of the screen to adjust the volume level . Yes, classic buttons are faster and more convenient to operate.  

The volume control system is unnecessarily complicated , but you can get used to it. In the end, I had nothing else left. It has a relatively high sensitivity and excellent vibration response. Huawei screen curvature devised really well. During use, it never occurred to me to make an unwanted or accidental touch or trigger a function.  

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Huawei Mate 30 Pro

When viewing a webpage or any other content with a white background, the curved edges of the screen create a greenish shadow . This is just a cosmetic defect caused by a sharp tilt of the display, which disappears as soon as you change the viewing angle. However, it looks directly at the display, so you can't avoid it.

Another minor problem is the accessories. The cover for Mate 30 Pro is centered mainly around the corners of the structure and does not cover the sides of the screen. If the smartphone falls to the ground unhappily, the display may take away.

The screen has very thin horizontal edges which make the company notch at the top . Compared to Mate 20 Pro, it is smaller and has more eyes. In addition to the ambient light sensor, I counted three. They are used for selfie photo and video, for face recognition and for gesture-free gesture control.

3-dimensional face recognition works great . The smartphone recognized me at all times, even in the dark. The advantage is that you can upload two faces to the system. One e. g. with sunglasses and the other without them. If you take to the streets and put on your glasses, the face recognition system will not decide. But it doesn't work with the drape on.

Thanks to this, I almost never used the sensor in the display if I omit logging in to bank applications and the like. Compared to the Mate 20 Pro, it responds faster, but the recognition reliability has remained at the same level. Do not unlock your smartphone with a finger that is too wet or dry .

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Huawei Mate 30 Pro

The sensor is located closer to the bottom edge . The original placement on the Mate 20 Pro, which was higher, suited us better. Touchless gesture control is used to scroll pages (palm waving) and capture a screenshot (fist clenched). This solution does not work reliably and while using my smartphone I did not get into a situation where it would be helpful.

Since the Mate 30 Pro was introduced last year, its display does not have 90 Hz or higher refresh rate , which is proud of this year's flagship models of major manufacturers. I accepted it without any problems and I do not consider it a shortcoming.

Not only the front of the smartphone stands out, but also the back. Mate 30 Pro is an original that no one would mistake for another smartphone. The huge, centrally located circle with four lenses makes it clear that the camera is a powerful weapon of this device.

The size of the camera is further enhanced by the ring, which is distinguished from the surface finish of the back. Fortunately, the manufacturer chose only a subtle color transition in a pale blue accent, which testifies to the smartphone. However, the manufacturer did not spare gloss . The back is a half-mirror that attracts fingerprints and the entire device slides.

Huawei Mate 30 Pro: Powerful and versatile camera

The Huawei Mate 30 Pro (5G type) has been at the top of the DXOMark rankings for a long time, which does not need to be blindly trusted, but has a good telling value. The camera, more precisely the smartphone cameras,   will delight any mobile photography enthusiast .

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Huawei Mate 30 Pro

Mate 30 Pro is not just a cosmetic innovation compared to Mate 20 Pro, but a real new generation. The quality of the photos is excellent  and this applies not only to the main 40 Mpx image sensor, but also to the ultra wide (18 mm) as well as the 40 Mpx sensor.

The user gets a lot of details , high dynamic range , portraits with a nicely separated background from the foreground, very good night shots and HDR shots . Shooting with Mate 30 Pro is addictive and as a new user you will also take photos that are not even worth the photo.

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Huawei Mate 30 Pro

Images are assisted by Mater AI , a machine learning feature that automatically adjusts them based on the identified scene. It is true that you need to pay attention to the function, but in larger cases it will help the photos, unless the user wants to play with it in an editor.

The main camera has a preset resolution of 10 Mpx . In order to provide the user with optical and hybrid zoom functions. I didn't like this very much and that's why I only used 40 Mpx resolution, ie the maximum potential of the sensor.

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Huawei Mate 30 Pro

If I need to zoom in on a scene, I chose HDR photography from the More menu , where 3x, 5x and max 30x zoom is native. In general, I avoid approaches, it is ideal to come closer to the object.

However, the result of 3x zoom is high quality and this also applies to 5x zoom, unless otherwise. For example, you sit further in the perspective of a conference or lecture and need to capture the content of a presentation in a photo. Zoom is very useful in such and similar cases.

A maximum of 30x zoom will significantly reduce the quality of the photo , but in exceptional cases it can be used for one thing - the full moon. Mater AI recognizes that you are photographing the Moon and conjured a decent photo.

Night mode works best in a night city and similar type of scenery . Of course, it won't work extra in total darkness, unless you experiment with photographing the starry sky (tripod, minimum light smog).

Thanks to the effective image stabilization, you can create a night photo from your hand even with a 7-second shutter, which is simply great. Enthusiasts will be pleased For the RAW-enabled mode , creative souls turn to Leica filters, which give photos a distinctive look.

The camera has a couple of playful modes, such as stickers, dual display or AR lens. With the help of special effects you can capture motion blur , traces of stars or so-called light painting.

Super Macro , underwater photography and 3D panorama have disappeared inconspicuously from the menu of modes . I didn't miss missing them, although Super Macro s is a bit of a shame.

One detail - Huawei used the curvature of the display in the camera as well. On its edge there is a virtual button , the shutter, which is useful when shooting in landscape mode. In addition, it can be scrolled along the edge of the screen within a certain range.

The camera application is fast and relatively intuitive and, despite its capabilities, it is not unnecessarily oversaturated with a billion functions. Too bad the main menu of the camera cannot be modified . For example, I would replace the aperture mode with the HDR mode, which is hidden in the More menu.

I would completely hide other components from the menu, as I did not use them (for example, the mentioned stickers). The main photo set does not lag behind the front camera , which produces quality self-portraits. The good news is that the Mate 30 Pro is not just about photos, but also videos.

A maximum of 4K at 60 FPS must be enough even for a demanding creator. No, you will definitely not miss 8K . The difference in video quality compared to the Mate 20 Pro is noticeable, the stabilization supported by machine learning works well. For a perfectly smooth shot, it pays to invest in gimbal. However, a complication in this regard is that image stabilization cannot be turned off in the camera settings.

During shooting, you can change the zoom from wide to max. 10x. However, you cannot rely on film fluency between distances without affecting image quality. Ultra wide video is also impressive. There are also 15 Leica filters available in video mode to enhance your shots.

Video capabilities continue with extra slow motion videos. You can shoot 120 FPS, 240 FPS and 960 FPS in 1080p quality . The first two sequences are objectively the most applicable. 960 FPS already limits the recording length, but it is still a relatively high quality image.

The extreme 7680 FPS and 1920 FPS smartphone only record in HD quality, which can be seen in the result. This mode captures only the moment of dynamics that stretches into a long sequence. Hitting the right moment manually is an art. Fortunately, motion detection can take care of the software.

I consider the 7680 FPS and 1920 FPS to be a toy , something like a 30x zoom, which you try a few times when buying a smartphone and then forget about it, or you will remember it if you want to brag about it to a colleague.

If you want to shoot capable slow-motion video with the Mate 30 Pro, make sure you have enough of the world around you. In interiors, twilight, early evening and the like, the shots will be worse. Time-lapse shooting is the king of video modes for me.

Landscapers get 4K quality and 15x (1 frame in 0.5 sec. ), 90x, 240x, 600x and even 1800x (1 frame in 1 min. ) Acceleration . The application will nicely show what the given options are suitable for (cars and transport, clouds, stars, flowering plants). You can also set the total length of the accelerated video recording.

A useful bonus is  the Pro mode , which is also available as part of time collection. Therefore, you can also set the values ​​for the correct exposure manually.

Huawei Mate 30 Pro: Achilles heel

Is it reasonable to buy a smartphone for less than € 1, 000 without applications and services from Google? There is no universal answer to this question.

A user who is accustomed to Google services, is more closely connected with them and is satisfied with them, will not come very well to this address. The restrictions are fundamental.

At the same time, however, it is not true that a smartphone without applications and services from Google is unusable , as I have read in many posts and discussions on social networks. From the beginning, I used the Mate 30 Pro only as created by the manufacturer. So I didn't use alternative application sources and relied only on the AppGallery store.

Huawei's AppGallery claims that it is currently the third most used and secure application download platform in the world, used by more than 400 million people . Currently, you will find more than 55, 000 applications in the AppGallery, and more are added daily .

In Huawei AppGallery, Slovak users will find a number of applications from local developers and more are being added.

When you start your smartphone, you do not have to log in to your google account, but to your Huawei account. If you don't have it, just register for it, which is quick and easy. The key in this regard is access to the said store and the Huawei cloud, where data from a smartphone is backed up.

After launching the AppGallery store, I saw a full-screen ad that could be skipped after a few seconds. She appeared repeatedly, which hindered me quite decently. I wouldn't mind advertising directly in the store, but waiting for an ad to get to a plethora of applications disturbed me.

AppGallery is very similar to the Google Play store. It contains rankings, a list of wishes, recommended applications, the content is sorted into thematic categories and so on.

Just like Google Play has a lot of ballast, apps that try to mimic other popular apps have weird names and seem like I wouldn't share my personal information with them.

I started looking for applications I normally use. Of course, I wasn't looking for those from Google.

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Huawei Mate 30 Pro

On Disk, YouTube, Photos, Documents, Gmail, Duo, Analytics, Maps, Books, Chrome, Google Pay musel I had to forget. I found Viber and Telegram from communication applications. Messenger, Slack, WhatsApp and Signal that I use are not in the store. Never mind.

I also didn't find social networks Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. But there is TikTok and Snapchat . But I also don't use them.

Orange and O2 operators have their applications in AppGallery, which is nice. But I am a Telekom customer who does not have an application for Huawei. In the case of the bank, I was lucky. ČSOB has the application (as well as a few other Slovak banks).

Fortunately, I was able to use the official Office application from Microsoft (WPS Office also available) for document management. I also got to Gmail. All I have to do is link the account via the Huawei e-mail client, which I used very well. The BlueMail apka is also a good alternative.

During the trip, I was looking for a Bolt, Uber or ZSSK application. Out of the game. But I found Hopin and Booking , which is great. I was afraid of navigation. But there is a Sygic application in the AppGallery , which I definitely welcomed. Recently, quality HERE HERE maps have been added to the AppGallery , which is worth installing.

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Huawei Mate 30 Pro

I'm glad I came across Deezer in the store, a music service I've been using for years. Spotify is not much more popular in the store. But the premium Tidal is at hand. I had to forget about HBO Go or Netflix. From multimedia players, I came across the legendary VLC , which is a good point.

I did not find the weather application I subscribed to in the AppGallery. However, the weather directly from Huawei suited me quite well, so I canceled my subscription and saved a few small items. Among browsers, I was approached by Opera, which I used about 100 years ago. I worked with it for a while, but in the end I used a Huawei browser that worked better.

Somehow I could go on and mention more and more applications that I'm not only using, but xy other people.

I compensated for the absence of various services and applications with the browser through which I accessed them. You can access both Google Photos and Drive through your browser . File download and upload and other functions work. This also applies to Maps. They will give you information about different places, but you will not start navigation or your own account. If you are a Local Guide, you are out of luck.

I also accessed videos on YouTube and the social networks Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Logging in to services through a browser was extremely frustrating. Google's password manager didn't help me for obvious reasons.

Therefore, I had to enter each password and login name manually and then save it in the Vault, as Huawei secures the site for this purpose. However, you can open the Google Password Manager in your browser and copy and enter your passwords one at a time.

Needless to say, using the services through a browser is not nearly as convenient as using official applications. Not to mention the missing features. As for data backup, including photos from the gallery, Huawei Cloud is available. 5 GB of free space will not be enough for you.

I have 100 GB of space on Google for € 1.99. Huawei Cloud offered me 200 GB of space for € 2.99 per month , respectively. € 25.12 with a one-time payment per year. In addition to photos and contacts, notes, recordings from the dictaphone and other information are backed up to the cloud.

If you've already used a Huawei smartphone, everything will be nicely synchronized via the PhoneClone function.

I had to get used to Mate 30 Pro for a few days and I wasn't excited about it. But over time, we began to understand each other. First of all, they silenced the warnings. I communicated via mail, SMS and phone.

I didn't enjoy using social networks through the browser. I only watched videos on YouTube that I was really interested in. I had navigation, document manager too, photos can be edited directly in the Huawei gallery, I had a note application at hand, my music, sound recorder, navigation, cloud and calendar from Huawei. Of course without events from Google Calendar.

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Huawei Mate 30 Pro

It's unbelievable how much time a person saves by not browsing social networks and sending every second irrelevant photo captured by a smartphone via Messenger. For the first time, I got the feeling that I was using my smartphone wisely and only when necessary.

Such a digital detox reminded me a bit of the times of Windows Phone. With Mate 30 Pro, I was able to work on a daily basis without losing key features . The Huawei ecosystem is certainly usable, but for me - so far - still weak to move everything from Google to the Huawei ecosystem.

Before I get to alternative application sources, I will mention the overall impression of the system. EMUI 10 on Mate 30 Pro flies without any hesitation . The gestures for control are great, the settings menu is clear and the applications from Huawei have a uniform system design supported by an excellent dark motif. Huawei chose full black, not gray, which looks great on a sharp and clear OLED screen.

To the left of the home screen is an information bar , similar to the news from Google. Displays news, interesting articles, there are a few user shortcuts or e. g. QR code scanner.

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Huawei Mate 30 Pro

Among the interesting features and pre-installed applications, I will mention the display of information and notifications on the off screen , compass, AR measurement of dimensions and area through augmented reality in conjunction with a camera or IR remote control for home electronics.

Sometimes it was a problem to automatically change the screen orientation , especially when switching from the camera directly to the gallery.

But you will run into dead ends in the system . For example, in the AppGallery I found an intruder - the Google Books application. However, after tapping to download, it only redirected me to the Google Books website, which was for two things. Another example, the Health app informed me when I opened that I was using an outdated version.

So I was looking to update, but instead of the AppGallery, I got on the Google Play store website. I discovered a few more such landmines during use from a few.

I replaced Google Books with the ReadEra app , which supports a number of formats. I uploaded to it e-books that I bought e. g. in Martinus, but I lost the books I bought directly on Google Play.

Huawei Mate 30 Pro: Gray Zone

The Android operating system allows you to install applications from unknown sources. Such a procedure is not highly recommended for ordinary users, as it may pose a security risk.

APK files that circulate in various forums can be modified and "enriched" with malicious code. Installation in the form of APK files is used by alternative application stores, and should be more secure than unknown APK files lying in different corners of the Internet.

To illustrate, I decided to try two alternative stores . One relatively safe, the other a little less. There are, of course, more. Such an Aptoide  has recently leaked a lot of personal data of its users, which certainly did not improve its reputation.

The first is the Amazon AppStore , which can be downloaded and installed from the official Amazon website. The second is the Aurora Store.

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Huawei Mate 30 Pro

In the Amazon AppStore, I found Messenger, which worked seamlessly after installation. I also found Facebook and Instagram. Instagram fell immediately after launch and I did not experiment with it further. I completely ignored Facebook and it will probably continue to be so.

Amazon AppStore improves application availability, but it's far from everything. During the installation of the application, the smartphone checks whether the APK file is infected or otherwise dangerous. It is difficult to say to what extent this examination is rigorous.

At least it works from a psychological point of view , as the system has always told me that the application is OK. You immediately feel better that you are not doing anything wrong. You can find more popular applications in the Aurora Store.

This store has a few things you won't find in any other - official - store. When launched, it displays the following warning:

Using the Aurora Store with your own Google Account may disable or deactivate it, as the Aurora Store violates Google's Terms of Service 3.3. You can choose an anonymous path and use a one-time account to log in to the Aurora Store.

The pretend function is also interesting. You can pretend to have another device, language, or locale.

Of course, I risked the procedure. Aurora Store gets full access to the network, to the location, to the installation of packages, it starts at startup and in the background of the system. It can also edit and delete the contents of the memory card.

The Aurora Store has given me much more room for maneuver in the world of applications. He ran WhatsApp , Signal , Polarr for editing photos, Spotify , HBO Go , PayPal , Twitter , Shazam , news minute by minute , even functioned flawlessly application Google Earth .

The store even offers (semi-)  automatic updates to installed applications , which is otherwise a problem with applications that are installed manually via APK files.

If you find your favorite app in such a store, it doesn't mean it will work. Telekom's App crashed after launch, Netflix and YouTube announce that the app cannot be launched without Play store services. The Slovak Post application also wrote the same for me.

I also managed to install Slack . The problem is that it uses Google services to deliver notifications. So the chat worked, but it didn't alert me to new messages. The Fleksy keyboard also worked, but it didn't allow me to change the language.

He even managed to combine the Samsung Galaxy Watch with the Mate 30 Pro. I found Galaxy Wear and Samsung Health in the Aurora Store. Yes, you can search for more and more applications in other alternative stores.

However, the principle of functionality is more - less the same, or similar to the one I described above. Alternative platforms APKMirror and APKPure, which are probably the most popular in this area, will serve well for downloading applications.

Huawei Mate 30 Pro: Performance, memory and battery

The Kirin 990 flag chipset cannot be criticized for lack of performance . If you download one of the popular and demanding games from alternative stores, the chipset will handle it with ease. In the AppGallery I found e. g. I downloaded Asphalt 9 , PUBG Mobile as APK.

The GameCenter tool is ready for game players in the smartphone. It prevents unwanted touches, turns off gesture gestures, turns off notifications, and gives games more power reserve.

8 gigabytes main memory is well enough , about 256 gigabytes storage not to mention . Due to the photo and video capabilities of the device, such a large memory will definitely fit. I had no problem connecting wireless headphones or other common features.

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Huawei Mate 30 Pro

As with the previous generation, the Mate 30 Pro provides excellent endurance on a single charge and super fast charging . During the moderate use, which was motivated by the absence of popular applications, I easily got to two full days of endurance. For more intensive use, a 24-hour watch is a certainty.

Charging? After ten minutes, I reached 37 percent of the battery capacity with the original adapter. After a short half hour, it was up to 67 percent . Great. Wireless charging is slower. With a non-genuine wireless charger, I reached 80 percent capacity in about three hours.

Huawei Mate 30 Pro: Verdict

Huawei Mate 30 Pro is a top flagship smartphone with an excellent, perhaps unrivaled camera that is worth buying. However, the lack of services and applications from Google will be an insurmountable obstacle for a significant number of users.

As I mentioned, users who often use Google services and applications are happy with them and more closely connected not only on the private but also on the work axis, they would have to struggle with big restrictions and not get rid of the feeling that they are missing something.

But I recommend Mate 30 Pro to conservative users who are looking for a perfectly crafted smartphone with a powerful camera and coughing up social networks and xy trendy applications.

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Huawei Mate 30 Pro

They receive mail, backup in the cloud as well, document management, navigation, gallery, communication via SMS or pre-installed Messenger and other applications… the smartphone is used surprisingly well in such a scenario.

The second category of customers are enthusiasts who simply enjoy trying something new, messing with applications and are not stuck to one ecosystem, or have no problem using several platforms.

Should Huawei pack it with AppGallery? No way. However, it will take a lot of time, resources and good negotiations with application developers, whom Huawei should be motivated in some way. It's good that there is competition for the Apple App Store and Google Play.

Huawei  comes with a wireless headset, Watch GT2 watch, wireless charger and VIP service for the Mate 30 Pro . The manufacturer is obviously aware of the software limits, so it has prepared really generous benefits.

It is important that you follow the available options of the device when making a purchase. The vision of new stylish watches and quality headphones ( review HERE ) can be intoxicating.

Conclusion

Huawei Mate 30 Pro is a top flagship smartphone with a first-class design, original appearance and super fast charging. Its strongest weapon is a powerful camera, the weakest link is the limitations associated with the unavailability of a number of applications and services.