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Huawei Mate 30 Pro: The forgotten and imperfect flagship

A smartphone is more than just its cameras, even if they are exceptionally large ones. (Image source: Notebookcheck)
A smartphone is more than just its cameras, even if they are exceptionally large ones. (Image source: Notebookcheck)
One of Huawei's primary aims with the Mate 30 Pro is to revolutionise videography among smartphones. While the largest camera sensor in any smartphone may help the Mate 30 Pro achieve this, Huawei's latest flagship may not be the best choice for most people. We are not even talking about the absence of Google Play Services, either.

Our review of the Mate 30 Pro has been a long time in coming. Unveiled in September, Huawei's latest flagship has only just arrived in Europe and to little fanfare, despite being first showcased in Munich. While the ongoing trade war between China and the US has had a limited effect on the volume of Huawei's sales in recent months, it has killed off the Mate 30 Pro from being one of the most talked-about flagships of the year, as the Mate 20 Pro was last year.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Mate 30 Pro is an excellent smartphone. It may have even ended up on many end-of-year lists too, but its delayed and partial release has put pay to that. Setting aside the lack of Google Play Services, which can be sideloaded through various methods, the cameras in the Mate 30 Pro do not impress as much as Huawei may have hoped. The high light sensitivity of the two 40 MP cameras is a blessing and a weakness. On the one hand, it helps the device pick out details well in low-light. However, it also means that the Mate 30 Pro has a tendency to overexpose shots in good ambient lighting, which is less than ideal. Moreover, Huawei needs to work on its colour reproduction, which is slightly off. Using the manual mode rectifies this, but few people will likely use this regularly.

There are other issues too, including Huawei's persistence with nano memory cards rather than their more readibly available microSD counterparts. Its battery life is not as good as it could be either, although it should still see you through a full day's use between charges. The Mate 30 Pro has a dimmer and lower resolution panel than many of its competitors too. Oddly, even the Mate 20 Pro has a higher resolution panel than the Mate 30 Pro does.

The omission of a volume rocker is also an odd choice, but one that people may get used to. Incidentally, surface temperatures on our review unit are on the high side, which is not ideal.

Overall, the Mate 30 Pro suffers from a few gripes that are compounded by the lack of Google Play Services. It is the first real casualty of Huawei's trade embargo, but that will not stop the Chinese company from releasing future flagships. If you live outside of China, perhaps wait for the P40 Pro or Mate 40 Pro, instead.

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2019 12 > Huawei Mate 30 Pro: The forgotten and imperfect flagship
Alex Alderson, 2019-12-19 (Update: 2019-12-17)
Alex Alderson
Alex Alderson - News Editor - @aldersonaj
Prior to writing and translating for Notebookcheck, I worked for various companies including Apple and Neowin. I have a BA in International History and Politics from the University of Leeds, which I have since converted to a Law Degree. Happy to chat on Twitter or Notebookchat.