Huawei Mate 30 Pro Hands-on: what I LOVE and what I HATE about it

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.

Even if you have some of the most innovative camera technology and a record-beating battery life, yet your phone does not run Google Apps, you might wonder if that's even a smartphone.

You have probably heard about it: the Huawei Mate 30 Pro, the company's flagship for late 2019, has no Google apps because of the US-China trade war.

But this phone is seriously very exciting, so you are missing out on some great stuff. These are the top features that I love about it, but also a few ones that disappointed me.



What's HOT


1. It has a unique curved display that extends over the edges of the phone. Imagine the familiar curves on Samsung phones, but to a much larger extent. Some call this a “waterfall” screen for the effect it creates, plus with this you get the feeling as if the phone has no bezels on the side at all. I was worried that accidentally touching the side of the screen would be a bad experience, but Huawei has implemented some sort of a palm rejection, so this wasn’t an issue. But apart from just looking cool, I didn’t find much actual use of this curved screen.

2. It has a huge, 4500mAh battery on the inside and this is a big deal. The battery size alone is impressive, it’s larger than any other mainstream phone and in my experience with the Mate 30 Pro, it would last two days with average use. You have to charge most phones every day, while this phone is next level. Of course, if you are actually using 5G, you will get a bit less than that. You also have a 40-watt fast charger included in the box, and it allows you to get more than 50% charge in less than half an hour. This is also the first phone to support 27 watt wireless charging, so fast that we didn’t even have a wireless charger fast enough to test it.

3. The Mate 30 Pro looks like a camera and I really dig that look. You have three cameras on board, a main, a telephoto and an ultra-wide. I love the video stabilization here, it’s absolutely amazing. The phone just magically makes your footage look extremely steady and cinematic, it’s much better than on any other phone. Also, if you take a lot of pictures of people, the portrait mode works great, you can shoot portraits at 1X, 2X and 3X, and the 3X zoom portrait mode makes for the best portrait pictures, and few other phones have it. And its larger camera sensor brings some big improvements for low light photos.

And if you like recording videos with the front camera, you will be extremely impressed with the new AI HDR feature that gives you footage that looks better than on most rivals.

Plus, you also have that super sloooow mooo option that slows down reality to a near complete stop. It’s a gimmick that you may never use, but a fun one.

4. You have one of the best face recognition systems on board here. The Mate will scan your face much like the iPhones and this 3D scan gives you a secure and easy way to unlock the phone. But if you don’t want that, you also have an optical fingerprint scanner that also works great and unlocks the phone quickly too. No other phone on the market offers both a secure 3D face scan and a fast and reliable in-screen fingerprint scanner.

5. Also, this phone is packed with antennas. It features a 5G modem on the system chip which is more efficient while most other rivals don’t even offer a 5G option at all yet.

6. Finally, Huawei’s new EMUI interface has improved a lot. It looks cleaner and more modern, more stylish, plus gestures now work smoother.

What's NOT


1. There are also a few things I didn’t like about this phone, and first and foremost, of course it is that lack of Google services which is a big deal. You don’t realize how much you depend on the Google Play store, YouTube, Google Maps, and all the rest until you are handed a phone like this one. It almost feels like it’s not a smartphone without those apps. And yes, there are ways you can sideload the Google GMS license and all Google apps, but we’re not even sure that’s legal, so we won’t get into that. But unless you feel like a hacker that wants to do that, we just can’t recommend this phone at all.

2. And this brings us to the price, which is just absurd for a phone without Google services. The Mate 30 Pro costs around $1100 which is more than the latest iPhones and Galaxies. This is a lot of money for a handicapped phone.



3. There are also a few other things. Because of that “waterfall” screen that goes over the edge of the phone, we don’t have volume buttons. Instead, you have to double press on the side of the phone to get them to pop up. Problem is, this doesn’t really work every time and it’s frustrating not being able to control the volume, especially if you accidentally play something loud in a public space and are rushing to turn down the volume.

4. Also, the camera quality here is… well, inconsistent. Sometimes you get great photos, and other times, colors on pictures appear just weird. Huawei has been praised for including some innovative camera features like that periscope 5 times zoom camera in the P30 Pro and this time with the Mate 30 Pro it has two much bigger camera sensors, but while technically it is more advanced than the competition, the actual images just don’t look as nice as on some other phones.

5. Last, but not least, this phone is quite big and it has sharp edges so it’s definitely not the most comfortable thing to carry in your pocket. Should I also mention that there is no headphone jack on board? I personally miss having it.

Final Words



The Mate 30 Pro is a beast of a phone that has a lot going for it and one huge obstacle to overcome. If the clouds around Huawei clear and the Mate 30 Pro gets Google apps, it would be among the top contenders, despite its flaws. Without those Google services, it takes a little bit of hackery (which is probably illegal) to even be able to watch YouTube videos, and that is not an experience we would recommend to most users.

Either way, we will be testing the Mate 30 Pro in a lot more detail over the coming days and a full review is due. Stay tuned for that and drop any questions you may have about the phone in the comments below.

Related phones

Mate 30 Pro
  • Display 6.5" 1176 x 2400 pixels
  • Camera 40 MP / 32 MP front
  • Processor HiSilicon Kirin 990, Octa-core, 2860 MHz
  • Storage 256 GB + Nano Memory (NM)
  • Battery 4500 mAh

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20 Comments

1. User123456789

Posts: 1008; Member since: Feb 22, 2019

Of course colours will have issue because of the Yellow pixel. RGGB exists because our eyes are this way. I think these waterfall are very stupid idea. Play a video on it and at least 10% of the image will be on the sides, waste of space. All this to say to costumers % of screen is higher than last device.

2. CristianGMoraru

Posts: 10; Member since: Apr 27, 2019

Alright, where can I buy it? I have no problem to install google services myself.

3. Priyam009

Posts: 60; Member since: Oct 23, 2018

Almost every review out their showed the camera is as good as the rival infact better in most occassion and the new improved color science of Huawei is absolutely spot on not like what it was in P30 so everyone is bluffing we have to asume or biased except well well! The 4K stabilization for video is simply best in the world hands down reference:https://youtu.be/yisEtGja0nw shatters the all time best Apple but not does it matter to PA! 9.4 to Apple 8.4 to Mate 30 probably lol

12. Blazers

Posts: 751; Member since: Dec 05, 2011

Without Play services, an 8.4 is a fair score.

4. S4NDY

Posts: 255; Member since: Mar 14, 2016

That googleless experience is actually big win for those who don't want murica spyware on their phones.

16. ScottsoNJ56

Posts: 125; Member since: Oct 01, 2017

You're kidding right? You don't think they have any spyware just because Google isn't on it?

5. alanrock

Posts: 324; Member since: Oct 04, 2018

9.4 - 9.5 ...

9. Alcyone

Posts: 487; Member since: May 10, 2018

That won't be allowed to happen. Sad, but true.

15. OneLove123

Posts: 1189; Member since: Aug 28, 2018

Not on an android. They can’t let that happen.

10. Lita9

Posts: 57; Member since: May 07, 2017

how is mate30 pro cost more than iphone pro max ? your iphone 11 pro max starts with 64GB only for $1099. don't ever forget to mention that.

11. CEDEOTB

Posts: 442; Member since: Nov 21, 2016

Why does it have to have a huge notch when it has a fingerprint scanner? The P30 pro looks better

17. jiangqiushi

Posts: 25; Member since: May 28, 2019

because it gives you both options of security authentication: 3D face ID and finger print. No other phone can do that.

13. chenski

Posts: 774; Member since: Mar 22, 2015

No Google no problem, 10min installation, phone of the year IMO

14. OneLove123

Posts: 1189; Member since: Aug 28, 2018

It ain’t an iPhone so you won’t love it.:)

18. jiangqiushi

Posts: 25; Member since: May 28, 2019

I don't understand why PA said sideloading google services is illegal, can they provide any supporting argument? It's a big loss for Google not having Mate 30 pro preinstalling their services. Google will be more than happy to help to install them although they can't do it directly due to the stupid ban.

21. KingSam

Posts: 1472; Member since: Mar 13, 2016

The Mate 30 non pro is a better option.

22. BlackhawkFlys

Posts: 924; Member since: May 07, 2014

This phone deserves a 9.6. The fact that it does not have Google apps builtin is not Huawei's fault... The Ducking Donald Ducking Trump is responsible for that. I can always sideload Google Apps. The victor guying trying to put doubts in the minds of people questioning the legality of sideloading apps, lame effort. Forcing Huawei to not ship phones with Google apps is morally illegal not sideloading Google apps on your own damn phone.

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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