Huawei Mate 30 Pro review: Don’t even think about buying this phone

The Huawei Mate 30 Pro.

Ian Knighton/CNET

It’s been a tough 2019 for Huawei. Due to issues that its tools might be used to spy on the US and different firms, the Chinese tech large has been banned from using technology from US companies. As a end result, it may well’t license Google Mobile Services. The Mate 30 Pro, its newest flagship, has no Google Play Store, and no apps like Google Maps, Gmail and YouTube. 

It has the putting look of a futuristic slab of aluminum and glass, however I knew I used to be in for a tough trip simply moments after booting up the Mate 30 Pro. Entering the AppGallery, Huawei’s model of the Google Play Store, I used to be inspired to obtain a few of its hottest apps: Weibo, WeChat and the China Drama Channel. It rapidly grew to become clear that Huawei does not have a lot to supply its non-Chinese clients.


  • Quad-camera setup takes excellent images and astonishing slow-motion video
  • Original, slick and distinct design
  • Battery life is tremendous spectacular

Don’t Like

  • An Android phone with out full Google assist is a catastrophe
  • Waterfall show is opulent, however the lack of a quantity button is awkward

One query has enshrouded the Mate 30 Pro since Huawei’s tech ban: Can Huawei, an enormous, highly effective firm with deep assets, discover a approach to neutralize the lack of Google? 

The reply, sadly, is not any.

The Mate 30 Pro is an distinctive piece of {hardware}. Its quad-camera setup shoots excellent images, a blinding 6.53-inch waterfall show is the centerpiece of an impressed design, and its 4,500-mAh battery goes and goes and goes. But the fiasco that’s Android with out full Google assist makes it not possible to suggest. 

Even extra galling is the Mate 30 Pro’s worth. The phone begins at AU$1,599 in Australia, which converts to $1,100 or £830. (No availability has been introduced for both the US or UK.) Yes, it is a premium phone and premium elements ain’t low cost. But as a proposition to you, the client, that a lot cash for {a partially} functioning phone is preposterous. 

What the house display screen seems like while you first boot the Mate 30 Pro up. Filling it up with apps you like takes onerous work. 

Ian Knighton/CNET

Huawei tries Android with out all of Google

Since Android 10 itself is open-source, the Mate 30 Pro nonetheless runs Google’s most up-to-date working system advantageous. But since Google Mobile Services requires a license, Huawei has no entry to the Google Play Store or any of Google’s apps. 

Instead, you will use Huawei’s AppGallery, which the corporate says has over 45,00Zero apps. That feels like rather a lot, however I might rely the helpful apps within the AppGallery on one hand.

There’s no Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Netflix, Disney Plus or Reddit. You will not discover Google apps, like Gmail, Maps or YouTube. (You can log into Gmail via Huawei’s native e mail app, although.) Even should you do set up Google apps by downloading their APKs — the Android equal of Windows’ .exe recordsdata — they will not work with out authentication from Google Mobile Services. Uber does not work both, for the reason that ride-sharing app runs Google Maps. Losing Google’s suite of apps is devastating; dropping nearly each helpful app within the Google Play Store is debilitating. 


Huawei’s AppGallery has over 45,00Zero apps. You’ll discover few of them helpful.

Ian Knighton/CNET

Of all of the apps I obtain onto each new phone, just one was accessible: Spotify. When I attempted to search out Spotify within the AppGallery per week later, nonetheless, it appeared to have been pulled. TikTook (which is owned by Chinese firm Bytedance) was accessible at first, then disappeared after which appeared once more. 

To get across the software program obstructions I downloaded APKs from assorted web sites. It was a dodgy course of, and labored inconsistently. Some apps ran advantageous, others crashed after a couple of moments and others nonetheless did not work in any respect.

It was a complete mess.

Huawei Mate 30 Pro’s digital camera credentials

If Huawei phones have been identified for one factor, it is cameras. Huawei beat opponents to the punch with dual-lens cameras (P9), a devoted Night Mode (P20 Pro) and 5x optical zoom (P30 Pro). Photography is undoubtedly the Mate 30 Pro’s best power.

The phone has a improbable quad-camera setup. The primary shooter has 40 megapixels. Then there’s an 8-megapixel telephoto lens, which has a 3x optical zoom and 30x digital zoom; a 40-megapixel ultrawide-angle lens; and there is a 3D “time-of-flight” sensor that helps with depth notion.

The Mate 30 Pro has much less zoom functionality than Huawei’s present flagship the P30 Pro ($699 at Amazon), which has 5x optical and 50x digital. But it has an even bigger, higher ultrawide-angle sensor over the P30 Pro. This is a worthwhile commerce, as a result of I discover ultrawide-angle functionality far more helpful than higher zoom performance. 

Some Portrait pictures give the topic brushed, lightened pores and skin.

Daniel Van Boom/CNET

Others work higher.

Daniel Van Boom/CNET

The Mate 30 Pro’s quad-camera setup typically captures crisp, vibrant pictures. 

Daniel Van Boom/CNET

See that fountain all the way in which within the again? 

Daniel Van Boom/CNET

Here it’s, shot with 30x zoom. 

Daniel Van Boom/CNET

Photography is not good. Thanks to heavy software program processing, pores and skin can look artificially brushed in Portrait pictures. This processing additionally makes Night Mode superfluous: Low-light pictures seize a formidable quantity of sunshine, and toggling on Night Mode typically ends in overkill. I did not have the choice to shoot a darkish photograph even once I wished to as a result of the scene is brightened with software program by default. 

But regardless of these points, the Mate 30 Pro has top-of-the-line digital camera setups on any Android phone. Photos typically look spectacular, with wealthy coloration and crisp element. 

And Huawei packed in one other modern trick, however this time for the video digital camera. The Mate 30 Pro options stupefying slow-motion capabilities. There are 4 choices: 4x, 8x, 32x, 64x and an astonishing 256x. That 256x choice makes use of AI software program to sluggish issues all the way down to 7,680 frames per second. 

Slow-motion cameras want extra mild, so you will want a fairly vivid atmosphere to make the most of ultra-slow-mo. And since 256x sluggish movement makes 25 seconds out of one-tenth of a second, you will want good timing to shoot the break up second you need in slow-mo. But I discovered the characteristic tremendous enjoyable to mess around with. It makes one thing as little as a water splash look spectacular. 

Good elements, dangerous phone

In regards to {hardware}, the Mate 30 Pro is opulent in each side.

Its 6.53-inch, 2,400×1,176x-pixel display screen is gorgeous, vivid and crisp. Its OLED display screen is a waterfall show, that means it wraps across the facet of the phone all the way in which to the aluminum again. Videos and looking have been a pleasure, and the glass physique felt extra luxe to carry than aluminum. The draw back is that there are not any quantity buttons, so I needed to faucet the facet of the show to activate an on-screen quantity slider as an alternative. This typically works OK, however makes fast quantity modifications extra cumbersome than they want be.

Powered by Huawei’s personal Kirin 990 processor and 8GB of RAM, the Android heavyweight felt silky easy to make use of. But the place the Mate 30 Pro actually shines is battery life. Running it via CNET’s battery check — turning the phone on Airplane mode and looping an HD video — it lasted 24 hours, 12 minutes. That’s loopy. 

The greatest phone you should not purchase.

Ian Knighton/CNET

I want I might say that the Kirin 990 CPU additionally scored properly on Geekbench 5, a benchmark we run to check a processor’s effectivity. Saying it carried out properly could be a protected guess however, after downloading the APK for Geekbench 5 from 4 totally different websites, the app by no means labored. I might strive trying to find extra Geekbench APKs, however I feel this anecdote is an apt encapsulation of the Huawei Mate 30 Pro.

It’s a fantastic gadget with highly effective elements and a chic digital camera. But its software program scenario is a catastrophe. Don’t purchase this phone. 

Huawei Mate 30 Pro

Huawei Mate 30 Pro Google Pixel Four XL Samsung Galaxy Note 10 OnePlus 7T iPhone 11 Pro
Display measurement, decision 6.53-inch OLED 6.3-inch OLED 6.3-inch AMOLED; 2,280×1,080 pixels 6.55-inch AMOLED; 2,400×1,080-pixels 5.8-inch OLED Super Retina XDR; 2,436×1,125 pixels
Pixel density 409ppi 537ppi 401ppi 402ppi 458ppi
Dimensions (Inches) 6.22 x 2.88 x 0.35 in 2.9×6.3×0.Three in 5.94×2.83×0.31 in 6.34×2.93×0.32 in 5.67×2.81×0.32 in
Dimensions (Millimeters) 158.1×73.1×8.Eight mm 75.1×160.4×8.2 mm 151×71.8×7.9 mm 160.94×74.44×8.13 mm 144×71.4×8.1 mm
Weight (Ounces, Grams) 6.98 oz; 198g 6.Eight oz; 193g 5.93 oz; 168g 6.70 oz; 190g 6.63 oz; 188g
Mobile software program Android 10 with EMUI Android 10 Android 9 Pie Android 10 with OxygenOS iOS 13
Camera 40 megapixel (customary), Eight megapixel (telephoto), 40 megapixel (ultrawide-angle), 3D ToF sensor 12.2-megapixel (customary), 16-megapixel (telephoto) 12-megapixel (wide-angle), 16-megapixel (ultra-wide angle), 12-megapixel (telephoto) 48-megapixel (customary), 12-megapixel (telephoto), 16-megapixel (extremely wide-angle) 12-megapixel (vast), 12-megapixel (ultra-wide), 12-megapixel (telephoto)
Front-facing digital camera 32 megapixel, 3D ToF sensor 8-megapixel 10-megapixel 16-megapixel 12-megapixel
Video seize 4K 4K 4K 4K 4K
Processor Kirin 990 2.84GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor, or Samsung Exynos 9825 2.96GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 855+ Apple A13 Bionic
Storage 128GB, 256GB 64GB, 128GB 256GB 128GB 64GB, 256GB, 512GB
RAM 8GB 6GB 8GB 8GB Not disclosed
Expandable storage Up to 256GB No No No No
Battery 4,500-mAh 3,700-mAh 3,500-mAh 3,800-mAh Not disclosed, however Apple claims it should final Four hours longer than iPhone XS
Fingerprint sensor In-screen No In-screen In-screen No
Connector USB-C USB-C USB-C USB-C Lightning
Headphone jack No No No No No
Special options Up to 256x sluggish movement; wi-fi charging; reverse charging; IP68 resistance; dual-SIM; waterfall show Soli movement sensing and touchless gestures; 90Hz show; water-proof (IP68); dual-SIM capabilities (nano-SIM and e-SIM); wi-fi charging S Pen stylus; Wireless PowerShare; gap punch display screen notch; water-proof (IP68) 90Hz show; dual-SIM; Warp Charge 30T Water resistant (IP68); dual-SIM capabilities (nano-SIM and e-SIM); wi-fi charging
Price off-contract (USD) Converted: About $1,100 $899 (64GB), $999 (128GB) $949 $599 $999 (64GB), $1,149 (256GB), $1,349 (512GB)
Price (GBP) Converted: About £830 £829 (64GB), £929 (128GB) £899 Converted: About £485 £1,049 (64GB), £1,199 (256GB), £1,399 (512GB)
Price (AUD) AU$1,599 AU$1,279 (64GB), AU$1,429 (128GB) AU$1,499 Converted: About AU$890 AU$1,749 (64GB), AU$1,999 (256GB), AU$2,349 (512GB)

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