iPhone 11 Pro vs. Huawei Mate 30 Pro in-depth camera comparison

Huawei Mate 30 Pro and the iPhone 11 Pro Max.

Ian Knighton/CNET

It’s unimaginable to advocate Huawei’s Mate 30 Pro, however that is not due to the phone itself. Thanks to being barred from US tech, Huawei needed to launch its newest Android flagship without full Google support. No Google Play Store, no Maps, no Gmail. Not even Uber works. So no, you shouldn’t buy it. But that does not imply it isn’t acquired its strengths. Its digicam, as an example, is likely one of the greatest on any phone on the market. 

But is it higher at photographs than the iPhone for camera lovers, the iPhone 11 Pro?

Apple nailed the triple-camera setup on its iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max telephones. I preferred it over Huawei’s early-2019 flagship, the P30 Pro. But now Huawei has upped its recreation, combining two 40-megapixel cameras (commonplace and ultrawide-angle), an 8-megapixel telephoto lens and a 3D “time-of-flight” sensor that improves depth notion. Note that beneath we’ll solely be evaluating rear cameras, and solely photographs, not the telephones’ video capabilities.

Both telephones have excellent cameras. Both have their very own strengths and weaknesses, so which you like comes right down to style. Broadly talking, the iPhone shoots extra life-accurate photographs. It’s additionally acquired a wider ultrawide-angle lens, and a extra lifelike Night Mode. The Mate 30 Pro has extra noticeable processing, resulting in extra vivid and sharp photographs however typically on the expense of element. However its ultrawide-angle digicam captures extra element, and its zoom recreation is unimaginable.

Portrait photographs

Portrait photographs, which use software program to create DSLR-style depth of discipline, present a few of the greatest variations between the 2 cameras. Huawei’s photographs are extra clearly processed. Sometimes this makes portraits look punchier — many individuals I snapped instructed me they most well-liked the Mate 30 Pro over the iPhone 11 Pro. But different occasions it ends in brushed, “beautified” faces.

This shot of Addel is a very egregious instance:

An instance of the Huawei Mate 30 Pro “beautifying” topics’ faces. 

Daniel Van Boom/CNET

Generally talking, the Mate 30 Pro’s photographs are cooler and the iPhone’s hotter. Contrast and background blur additionally are typically heavier on Huawei’s phone. Below you may see Nicole’s Huawei portrait on the left appears punchier, however much less tonally constant than the iPhone portrait. Blowing the photographs as much as their full measurement, you may additionally see extra positive element, like freckles and strands of hair, within the iPhone shot.

Huawei Mate 30 Pro (left) versus iPhone 11 Pro (proper).

Daniel Van Boom/CNET

Same for the portrait beneath of Chanho, CNET Australia’s pleasant neighborhood barista. The background is extra saturated within the Mate 30 Pro portrait, and its highlights extra blown out. Detail on Chanho’s face and jumper are additionally sharper on the iPhone, however the Huawei’s shot appears extra dramatic.

Huawei Mate 30 Pro (left) versus iPhone 11 Pro (proper).

Daniel Van Boom/CNET

You’ll discover related within the beneath photographs of Tim: much less element, extra distinction and heavier background blurring. The photograph can be extra vivid, nonetheless. I choose iPhone portraits, however each Tim and Nicole choose their likeness as captured by the Mate 30 Pro. 


Both telephones are pretty evenly matched for traditional photographs, although I’d give the sting to Huawei. My critique of Huawei phone pictures, as in the P30 Pro and likewise the Portraits above, is that they usually sacrifice photograph element for vibrance. The Mate 30 Pro strikes a greater stability at this than its predecessor.

Look on the granola scenario beneath and you will see the Mate 30 Pro pops far more than the iPhone 11 Pro. This is not costless — the strawberries are oversaturated in comparison with the iPhone, and there is noticeable noise discount on the desk — however the Mate 30 loses minimal element of the topic. The iPhone 11 Pro’s shot nearly appears flat as compared.

Mate 30 Pro (left) versus iPhone 11 Pro (proper).

Daniel Van Boom/CNET

In the photograph beneath, you may see the Huawei produced a way more placing effort. The iPhone was really extra shade correct: The photographs had been taken throughout sundown, so the Mate 30 Pro undoubtedly warmed the scene up. (The Huawei usually cools photographs down, however usually performs with white stability far more than the iPhone.) So in the event you’re a purist, the iPhone took the “better” photograph.

In the case of ordinary photographs, not like Portrait ones, I discovered giving up a bit of life-accuracy and element in trade for extra pleasing photographs to be principally price it.

The flip aspect, nonetheless, is that iPhone photographs are typically nonetheless extra detailed and extra constant. The Mate 30 Pro’s extra liberal manipulation of white stability and saturation may end up in artificial-looking tones and overblown highlights. See the flowers beneath for an instance of the iPhone 11 Pro capturing extra element, and the espresso to see how the Mate 30 Pro can will get its saturation and highlights all fallacious.


Mate 30 Pro. 

Daniel Van Boom/CNET


iPhone 11 Pro. Notice the additional element on the flower petals.

Daniel Van Boom/CNET

Apple’s ultrawide-angle lens is admittedly huge

Apple made ultrawide-angle cameras cool, as this was the hero function of its iPhone 11 line. Huawei beat Apple to the punch when it got here to those lenses, equipping its Mate 20 Pro with one final 12 months. The Mate 30 Pro has an enormous 40-megapixel ultrawide angle sensor, double the 20 megapixels on the P30 Pro.

iPhone 11 Pro Max. It shoots a a lot wider field of regard.

Daniel Van Boom/CNET

The Mate 30 Pro, on account of a extra slim field of regard, has much less noise in its ultrawide-angle photographs.

Daniel Van Boom/CNET

It’s really troublesome to match these two pretty, as a result of the iPhone’s ultrawide-angle lens shoots a lot wider photographs. It has extra of a fish-eye factor happening. In common, Huawei’s ultrawide-angle photographs have far much less noise — discover the fuzzy timber on the left of the above iPhone shot — however the iPhone captures a far wider field of regard.

I’d name this a tie. The iPhone’s ultrawide-angle lens is so huge that it offers you a distinctly completely different photograph format. The Huawei Mate 30 Pro’s ultrawide-angle digicam is not as distinguishing, however is huge sufficient to be helpful and captures photographs with much less noise and extra element.

For what it is price although, the iPhone’s software program makes taking ultrawide-angle photographs simpler. In iOS, the digicam app has three choices on the backside of a photograph body: 0.5x (ultrawide), 1x and 2x. The Mate 30 Pro has extra of a slider scenario, from ultrawide to 30x. Not a giant deal, however Apple wins, as is usually the case, in the case of software program simplicity.


Sydney’s Queen Victoria Building shot ultrawide-angle on iPhone 11 Pro.

Daniel Van Boom/CNET


And once more on the Mate 30 Pro. It would not even appear ultrawide as compared, but it surely’s nonetheless super-useful.

Daniel Van Boom/CNET


I’m torn over the Mate 30 Pro’s Night Mode. It’s technically spectacular, lighting the hell out of darkish scenes. But it is usually overkill, because the software program processing on commonplace photographs is already greater than ok. As a end result, Night Mode can get you some nifty artsy photographs, because it ups the publicity and sharpness of a scene. But it additionally makes it very troublesome to shoot a darkish photograph if you wish to, as a result of the default mode already lights issues up a lot.

Compare the 2 photographs beneath. Both are commonplace low-light photographs, with Night Mode turned off on each. The iPhone’s image is much darker, and the Huawei impressively vivid. But it nearly already appears just like the Huawei has Night Mode turned on.

Here’s what occurs whenever you flip Night Mode on. The Mate 30 Pro overdoes it, brightening areas too darkish to seize element on in actual life, as within the case of the wall on the left beneath.

Technically talking, the Huawei does extra heavy lifting. But it makes the scene look synthetic. This is very true in photographs that comprise a lightweight supply. The home adorned in Christmas lights beneath was shot by each telephones with Night Mode turned on. Because the Huawei works so exhausting to brighten up every little thing, the lights themselves lose their illuminating impact. The tree on the left is especially overexposed.

There are going to be individuals who choose an overdone Night Mode, however for my cash the iPhone does Night Mode excellent: Light sufficient which you can see what it’s essential to see, darkish sufficient to know that it was shot throughout evening time.


Huawei is the plain victor in the case of zoom. It provides 3x optical, higher than the iPhone 11 Pro’s 2x, and as much as 30x digital. While 30x zoom is overkill, the Huawei persistently did higher with 3x and 5x zoom photographs.

In the beneath 3x-zoom photograph of Jackson, our extraordinarily further science editor, you may see the Mate 30 Pro retains extra element in The Hound’s helmet, and is total sharper and extra crisp.

Bump it as much as 5x zoom and the gulf between telephones turns into even better. The Mate 30 Pro stays remarkably sharp within the graffiti photograph. It does undergo from some extra noticeable graininess within the fountain shot, however not as a lot as does the iPhone. Zooming in additionally throws the iPhone’s saturation off; it overdoes saturation within the first photograph and barely underdoes it within the second.

So which phone is healthier at photographs? Hard to say. I personally choose iPhone portraits, in addition to its Night Mode. I’d give the Mate 30 Pro a slight edge for traditional pictures, and each telephones shoot comparable — however completely different — ultrawide-angle photographs. Huawei, as famous, scores a clear W for zoom.

It additionally depends upon what kind of photographer you’re. If you are inclined to shoot one photograph, the iPhone is extra constant and can nearly at all times provide you with one thing stable. The Mate 30 Pro has a aptitude for processing and lightweight manipulation, so its outcomes generally is a little much less constant. But when it hits, it hits exhausting.

The Mate 30 Pro homes an improved digicam setup over the P30 Pro, which I believed acquired served a loss by the iPhone 11 Pro. But whether or not you like the Mate 30 Pro over the iPhone 11 Pro as soon as once more comes right down to the query of how a lot you care about life accuracy. The iPhone recreates scenes much more realistically, whereas the Mate 30 Pro tries to make photos as vivid and dramatic as potential.

Originally printed Dec. 23, 2019.
Update, Jan. 16: Adds Huawei Mate 30 Pro video evaluation. 

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Tarun Banerjee

Professional Web Designer & Developer,Expert in SEO & Digital Market, Founder of Tech Hunt.

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