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Huawei’s flagship Mate 30 Pro has impressive specs but no Google

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With an eye-catching circular camera bump

The Mate 30 Pro (pictured) has a larger notch than the regular Mate 30, and a display that wraps around the edges of the device.
Image: Huawei

After a week that saw renders, photographs, and even a couple of hands-on videos reveal much about Huawei’s latest flagship phones ahead of their announcement, the Mate 30 series is now official, starting with the Mate 30 Pro and the Mate 30.

The announcement of the Mate 30 series comes at a difficult time for Huawei, whose presence on the USA’s entity list prevents US companies from doing business with the Chinese firm. Google said last month that these phones won’t ship with Google’s apps and services, nor will they come with the Play Store preinstalled, which is how most Android users outside of China download their apps.

Huawei’s response to the problem has been to nurture its own ecosystem of apps, which are available through the Huawei AppGallery. The company announced that rather than shipping with Google’s services preinstalled, the Mate 30 Series would instead ship with the Huawei Mobile Services (HMS) core, which it claims is already integrated with over 45,000 apps. The company announced that it was investing $1 billion into its software ecosystem with an investment that would be split across a development fund, a user growth fund, and a marketing fund.

Turning to hardware, the phones have a more typical set of flagship specs. Both have a Leica-branded rear camera array contained within a circular camera cutout that Huawei is calling a “Halo ring design.” The Mate 30 has a main 40-megapixel camera with a f/1.8 aperture, an ultra wide-angle 16-megapixel f/2.2 camera, an 8-megapixel f/2.4 telephoto camera, and a “laser focus” sensor. Meanwhile, the Mate 30 Pro bumps the resolution of the ultra wide-angle camera to 40 megapixels with an aperture of f/1.8, and swaps the laser focus sensor for a 3D depth sensor.

The Mate 30 has four sensors on its rear.
Image: Huawei
The Mate 30 Pro upgrades the resolution of the ultra wide-angle camera and adds a 3D depth sensor.
Image: Huawei

In terms of video, Huawei claims that the phone can record in up to 4K 60 fps, or record in slow motion at speeds of up to 7680 fps when filming in 720p. Huawei showed off this ultra slow-motion camera in action with footage of a hummingbird in flight, where its wings were still visible despite the speed at which they were moving.

The screens of the two devices are slightly different. The Mate 30 Pro has a 6.53-inch screen which curves around the edges of the device, while the regular Mate 30 has a more traditional flat display that’s slightly bigger at 6.62 inches in size. Battery sizes also differ between the two phones: the Mate 30 Pro has a larger 4,500mAh battery, compared to 4,200mAh in the Mate 30. Both phones support fast charging up to 40W wired, or 27W when wirelessly charging.

Since the Mate 30 Pro’s display curves around the edges of the device, Huawei has ditched the physical volume buttons on the side of the device in favor of a new touch-sensitive solution. It’s a similar technology to what we’ve seen on Vivo’s Nex 3.

The Mate 30 Pro is available in six colors total, including two vegan leather options: green and orange. Other colors include silver, green, purple, and black. There’s also a new Porsche Design edition of the Mate 30, which uses a genuine leather finish on the rear of the device. The Porsche Design Huawei Mate 30 RS is available in red and black, and eschews the circular camera bump in favor of a more integrated quad-sensor array.

The Porsche Design Huawei Mate 30 RS comes with a hefty price premium.
Image: Huawei

Internally, the Mate 30 and Mate 30 Pro phones use Huawei’s Kirin 990 chip, which the company announced at IFA at the beginning of the month. The chip is the first from Huawei to include a built-in 5G modem, and as a result there’ll be 5G versions of the phones available. Along with the 5G modem, Huawei says that the phone includes 14 antennas for 5G, and 21 antennas in total.

The Mate 30 series runs on EMUI 10, which Huawei’s consumer CEO Richard Yu says is based on Android 10. Features of the software include a dark mode and gesture control via the sensor in the phone’s notch. Huawei also advertises that the phones will support both face unlock and an in-display fingerprint sensor.

Were it not for Huawei’s continued presence on the entity list, we’d have said that — on first impressions at least — the Mate 30 series looks like another set of decently specced flagship devices from Huawei. However, it’s going to be hard to sell customers outside of China on the idea of an Android phone that doesn’t have software and apps officially supported by Google. Huawei’s announcement of these devices might have attempted to be business as usual, but their reception by customers is likely to be anything but.

The Huawei Mate 30 will be available with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, and will start at €799, while the Mate 30 Pro increases the internal storage to 256GB, and starts at €1,099 for the 4G model or €1,199 for the 5G model. Finally, the Porsche Design edition will start at €2,095, and will come with 12GB of RAM and 512GB of internal storage.