Huawei Mate 30 Pro hands-on: The best smartphone you probably shouldn't buy

Huawei Mate 30 Pro hands-on: The best smartphone you probably shouldn't buy

- in Technology

Huawei’s new handset boasts a quartet of sensors on its rear (Image: Express Newspapers)

Mate 30 Pro was unveiled by Huawei at a feverishly anticipated showcase in the historical German city of Munich yesterday.

Shortly after the phone’s debut, was given some brief time to go hands-on with the hardware. Here’s our first impressions:

Design and display

It doesn’t seem like Huawei’s top-tier phones ever have successors that are content with being iterative.

Last year’s Mate 20 Pro introduced a number of meteoric upgrades over its predecessor and the Mate 30 Pro is no different.

The phone’s two main differentiating factors this time around are its display and rear aesthetic.

Starting with the former, the Mate 30 Pro boasts a 6.53-inch OLED display with the resolution of 1176×2400 and the density of 409-pixels-per-inch.

While a noticeable notch is present at the top of the screen, the futuristic facial unlocking and gesture sensing technology housed inside makes it one of the most justified on a smartphone.

While the handset is certainly not pushing the industry forward with its pixel count, or 60Hz refresh rate for that matter, it certainly is on a pure design front.

The Mate 30 Pro comes with what Huawei is dubbing a “Horizon Display” that essentially means its screen is more curvaceous than any of its rivals, so much in fact the device doesn’t appear to feature side bezels at all.

The design choice makes the Mate 30 Pro look extremely futuristic – you really have to see and feel the phone in your hand for it to make sense.

The extreme curvature on the mobile’s panel means the power button has been shifted more towards the rear of the device and volume rockers are ousted completely.

Instead, Huawei has come up with a clever, and very unique, way of allowing Android fans to adjust the phone’s sound.

Tapping twice on the side of the phone’s display brings up a volume panel and swiping up or down in the same area then adjusts it.

The feature certainly doesn’t revolutionise contemporary smartphone design, but it’s a subtle change that adds to the phone’s futuristic feel.’s only worry with Huawei’s Horizon Display concerns how well it will be able to tackle accidental touches – having the phone’s screen extend all around its edges means your hand is practically always resting on in.

During this publication’s brief time with the device, we didn’t experience any issues of this nature – but we are still concerned about it going forward.

On its rear the Mate 30 Pro has a new circular camera system that is certainly reminiscent of the Nokia Lumia 1020.

A ring has been placed around the device’s sensor housing that flaunts a different colour shade than the rest of the phone – this serves no functional purpose, but we certainly like the added flare it brings to the Mate 30 Pro’s design.

Mate 30 Pro preview

The Mate 30 Pro comes with what Huawei is dubbing a ‘Horizon Display’ (Image: Express Newspapers)


Simply put, the Mate 30 Pro is an absolute beast – the phone comes with some of the most advanced internals on a smartphone to date.

Powering the flagship is Huawei’s new Kirin 990 chipset that debuted earlier this month at German trade show IFA.

Huawei has promised the silicon should not only deliver faster performance for users, but also improved efficiency, too.

With that said, the Kirin 990’s built-in support for 5G networks is certainly its biggest bragging right.

Essentially, this means the phone does not require a dedicated 5G modem to be housed inside – freeing up room for other components such as a larger battery for instance.

We didn’t spend long enough with the Mate 30 Pro to comment on its supposedly improved performance – however the phone certainly felt snappy throughout our usage.

Mate 30 Pro preview

On paper, the Mate 30 Pro should deliver excellent battery life (Image: Express Newspapers)

And now for the painful bit – the Mate 30 Pro runs Android 10 but does not come with support for Google apps or services.

This omission is a result of the US government’s decision to place Huawei on a trade blacklist, effectively prohibiting domestic businesses – such as Google – from dealing with it.

Most importantly, this means Google was unable to provide the Mate 30 Pro with an Android licence.

Without one, no Android device is able to come with Google’s apps or services – both of which form a fundamental pillar of a smartphone user experience for most people across the globe.

Launching the Mate 30 Pro without Google support was clearly not something Huawei wanted to do – at least not right now.

The Chinese tech giant is confident its own suite of apps and services can fill the gaping void left by Google’s own – Huawei’s email app supports Gmail accounts for instance.

However, it’s undeniable this not only forces a user to make changes and potentially compromises not required on any of the Mate 30 Pro’s competitors, but it also raises the knowledge barrier to entry for the device – you need to know how to work around the lack of Google support to get the most out of it.

Most fundamentally, if users know they are not able to harness apps they use on a daily basis such as Google Maps on the Mate 30 Pro, they will look elsewhere – no matter how superb its hardware is.

Mate 30 Pro preview

The Mate 30 Pro looks extremely futuristic (Image: Express Newspapers)


On paper, the Mate 30 Pro should deliver excellent battery life – the phone is fitted with a humongous 4,500mAh cell.

This capacity is larger than both the P30 Pro and Mate 20 Pro – both of which continue to offer some of the greatest longevity on a smartphone right now.

When the Mate 30 Pro’s battery does need a recharge, the Huawei device supports up to 40W wired charging and 27W wireless charging – both of which should be supremely fast.

Mate 30 Pro preview

The Mate 30 Pro’s zooming capabilities are not quite up to snuff with the P30 Pro (Image: Express Newspapers)

Mate 30 Pro preview

The Mate 30 Pro’s notch houses an array of facial scanning technologies (Image: Express Newspapers)


Huawei’s new handset boasts a quartet of sensors on its rear comprised of a 40-megapixel standard, 40-megapixel ultra wide-angle, 8-megapixel telephoto and a time-of-flight (ToF) sensor.

We weren’t able to test the phone’s photography array – but it seems Huawei has really focused on improving the video recording of its flagship this year.

Unlike any previous handset from the Chinese tech giant, the Mate 30 Pro is able to capture pixel-packed 4K footage at 60-frames-per-second.

Plus, the handset can record slow-motion clips at 7680-frames-per-second in a 720p resolution.

It is worth noting the Mate 30 Pro is not as capable as the P30 Pro where zooming is concerned.

The device offers a three-times optical zoom compared to the five-times available on the older Huawei handset.

Mate 30 Pro also maxes out with a 30-times digital zoom, compared to 50-times on the P30 Pro.

Huawei Mate 30 Pro preview

The Mate 30 Pro’s ‘Horizon Display’ looks superb (Image: Express Newspapers)


The Mate 30 Pro comes in two flavours – a standard model that only supports 4G and another with 5G capabilities.

The former costs €1,099 (£968.83) and the latter will retail for €1,199 (£1056.98).

Huawei has confirmed the Mate 30 Pro will be made available in the UK – however a precise release date is unknown.

Official UK pricing has also not been announced at the time of writing.

Mate 30 Pro

Huawei has boasted about the Mate 30 Pro’s video recording capabilities (Image: Express Newspapers)

Mate 30 Pro preview

Mate 30 Pro runs Huawei’s EMUI 10 software based on Android 10 (Image: Express Newspapers)


The Mate 30 Pro is the best smartphone that you shouldn’t buy…at least for now.

Although Huawei is confident its own apps and other workarounds will compensate for the Mate 30 Pro’s lack of Google support, we aren’t quite convinced. will need to test the device extensively to really see if the Mate 30 Pro can deliver a capable user experience.

It’s possible Huawei’s newest phone will exceed even the loftiest of expectations as it stands, or that the firm’s relationship with Google will be restored in the future – but either certainly aren’t guaranteed.

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