Huawei Mate 30 Pro review: the forbidden fruit
Let’s get it out of the way. Reasonably speaking, you shouldn’t buy the Huawei Mate 30 Pro, not in its current form. It’s an excellent device, but Google’s uncertainty makes it impossible to recommend it to the average user.
Are you still with me? So you are probably not the proverbial ‘average user’ who should steer clear of all the recently released Huawei devices right now. In that case, let’s talk about what makes the Mate 30 Pro special because this is essentially a particular phone.
The Huawei Mate 30 Pro is the forbidden fruit of the tech world. You know that you should avoid it, and you can come up with sound and reasonable arguments for doing so. It’s expensive, it’s iterative, it’s a bit impractical, and it’s hard to come by right now. But you still want it.
Beautiful and luxurious design Excellent performance A versatile and powerful camera Excellent camera performance at night Wonderful battery life and charging features
No Google apps Uncertain updates and security outlook Expensive Dubious volume controls
Huawei Mate 30 Pro Review: The Big Picture
Huawei faces an existential threat. The US ban strangled its supply lines and cut off the Google ecosystem. Five months after the ban, Huawei is outperforming it surprisingly well, thanks to its robust proprietary technology, deep pockets, and the haven of its domestic market.
Except for Google’s missing apps, the ban appears to have had no visible effect on the Mate 30 Pro. This phone is on par with competitors like the Galaxy Note 10 Plus and iPhone 11 Pro in most cases. It’s a premium flagship phone made for people who want the best.
What is in the box
The Mate 30 Pro comes with a 40W charger, which means you won’t need to spend more to get the best charging speeds available for the phone. You also get an essential pair of USB-C headphones, but with decent sound.
158.1 x 73.1 x 8.8mm, 198g Glass and aluminum construction. IP68 No headphone jack Infrared blaster Single speaker
The Mate 30 Pro feels luxurious. Every inch is polished, shiny, and pleasantly rounded. On the other hand, it is less practical than Huawei’s previous flagships.
The screen features curved edges that wrap around the sides at nearly 90 degrees. It is similar to Samsung’s flagships but more curved. Huawei markets it as the Horizontal display, while others have called this style a “waterfall” display. Whatever you want to call it, there is no doubt that it is beautiful.
The screen still has bezels on the sides, and you just won’t see them most of the time. To achieve this bezel-less look, Huawei made the metal frame much thinner than on other phones. This isn’t an issue from a usability perspective, and the phone feels substantial in hand.
Huawei dropped the physical volume control and replaced it with a software solution. I wish Huawei had kept the actual button as the software replacement is not that great. To activate it, you need to double-tap the edge of the screen, just above the power button. That is not always easy to do, especially with one hand or during phone calls. Volume control is one of those essential things that should be as simple as possible, and the software controls feel like an unnecessary regression. At least the power button is still there, and it works great.
The glass edges of the Mate 30 Pro are as slick as you’d expect. I hate to think what would happen if you dropped it.
On the back, Huawei replaced the Mate 20 series square camera module with around one. The polished “halo” around the cameras reminds me of some point-and-shoot cameras. It’s an ironic throwback considering that smartphones have eliminated that category of products. I still like the Mate 20 Pro’s camera design better, but the Mate 30 Pro’s halo has grown on me.
The back of the phone is polished glass with a mirror effect. Fingerprints and grime will be a constant problem if you decide to go without a case.
The bottom of the phone houses the USB-C port, a speaker, and the hybrid SIM/memory card tray. At the top, you’ll find a feature that most other competitors don’t offer these days: an IR blaster that lets you control TVs, air conditioners, and more. Canada and other appliances.
The Mate 30 Pro looks like a million dollars.
The Mate 30 Pro will be black, space silver, cosmic purple, and emerald green. The images in this Mate 30 Pro review are of the Space Silver model. The emerald green version has a gradient: the bottom of the back is matte, while the area around the camera is glossy.
The € 1,100 Mate 30 Pro looks like a million dollars. It oozes style and is a joy to use, except for those pesky volume controls. Too bad you’ll almost have to put a case on it.
6.53 inch 18.5: 9 AMOLED 2,400 x 1,176 pixels, 409ppi Gorilla Glass 6 Waterfall display
The Mate 30 Pro features a beautiful AMOLED screen made by Samsung covered with Gorilla Glass 6. The resolution and pixel density are lower than on the Mate 20 Pro, but I couldn’t see any difference in sharpness. Overall, the Mate 30 Pro’s screen looks identical to that of the P30 Pro, which is very good.
The notch at the top looks a bit dated now that other manufacturers are making punch-hole cameras and pop-up cameras. Huawei kept it to have room for a selfie camera, a depth sensor, and the 3D face unlock system. The notch is a bit smaller now, and I didn’t find it intrusive at all. Your experience may be different.
I never liked very rounded corners, so it was nice to see a more boxy look on the Mate 30 Pro, just like the Galaxy Note 10 Plus.
Specs fans beware – there’s no super smooth 90Hz or 120Hz refresh rate here. If you want a high refresh rate display, the new Huawei P40 Pro may be what you are looking for.
The fingerprint reader works reasonably well – still not as fast and reliable as rear-mounted scanners (remember that?), But it gets the job done. It sits pretty low on the screen, making it awkward to use with one hand. In most cases, the laser-based face unlock system will unlock the phone before you need to touch the sensor. This system is fast and accurate.