Huawei Announces New Smartphone Flagships

Posted on March 26, 2019 by Paul Thurrott in Android, Mobile with 25 Comments

Huawei this morning announced its P30 series of flagship handsets, raising the bar yet again on smartphone photography.

“Thanks for the warm up Tim,” a Huawei tweet reads, referencing Apple CEO Tim Cook. “Now on to the main event.”

That main event is the Huawei P30 Pro, which includes a quad-lens camera system that was made in partnership with Leica. The camera system includes a 40 MP main lens, a wide-angle lens, a telephoto lens with 10X optical zoom, and a time-of-flight lens that captures blurred effects.

The P30 Pro’s camera system is designed to solve the biggest problems with smartphone cameras, like low-light situations and optical zoom, which has been stuck at 2X since Apple released the iPhone 7 Plus in 2016. The camera system also uses two lens for video recording, further leapfrogging other smartphones.

“The Huawei P30 Pro completely rewrite the rules of smartphone photography,” Huawei senior product manager Peter Gauden says.

We shall see: I was invited to the launch event—in Paris, no less—but couldn’t attend because of a previous work-related commitment. But I’m hoping to review the P30 Pro soon. Please note that the triple-lens camera system in the Huawei Mate 20 Pro is my current pick for best smartphone camera. So I have high hopes for the P30 Pro as well.

More soon.

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Comments (25)

25 responses to “Huawei Announces New Smartphone Flagships”

  1. MTrimmer

    Looks impressive. Damn shame Huawei is blocked from US market.

  2. nbplopes

    From what I’ve heard it rose the bar in smartphone photography indeed. I mean for people who like artifacts in photographs or lipsync problems in their videos.

    Actually stating that last year models had better photographic quality.

  3. Bats

    Huawei raising the bar? Raising the bar? What bar? Soap bar? Candy Bar? Is Thurrott serious? Huawei's cameras are good, but they are not great. Thurrott overrates Huawei cameras like parents overrating their children.

    We all learned from failed Windows Phone that the higher the megapixels means....absolutely nothing. Want proof? Go to Youtube and search for Pixel 3 camera vs Huawei P20 Pro. It's not even funny, how the Pixel 3 is simply better than Huawei. The Pixel 3 kicked the Mate 20 Pro's butt....BIG TIME.....with just one lens!!! The Pixel 3 was tested against a Canon DSLR and.....WON!!! Do a Youtube search for Pixel 3 vs DSLR and you'll see what I mean.

    However, my point is not to promote the Pixel 3/3XL over the Huawei. Rather, to show that the Huawei does not have the capability to (LOL) "rewrite the rules of smartphone photography." AGAIN.....if you don't believe me.....GO TO YOUTUBE. They'll show you instances where a photographer (I think from PC World) takes a picture of a model wearing a yellow shirt using with Thurrott's favorite Huawei P20. you can even see the lettering!!! However with a Pixel 3, LG V40, and even the iPhone XS you can see the lettering. LOL.....and you want me to believe that the P30 is going to be really that good?

    Again, Huawei is not re-writing rules. This concerns me, when Thurrott writes something weird like this. Remember, when he glowingly praised and hailed the OnePlus phone (I think it was "6") when he got it? LOL....where is that phone now? I remember people in his website bought that phone because of him. Now he is doing the same for Huawei with these very "peculiar" posts. makes me laugh when he writes "the triple-lens camera system in the Huawei Mate 20 Pro is my current pick for best camera system." You know why that makes me laugh? It reminds me when Thurrott, a few years ago, wrote a year-end "Best of Year" blog post and he named all Microsoft products to be the best in almost everything. I remember, "best smartwatch" was the Microsoft Band. GONE!

    Again,.....if you don't believe I said.....go to the Youtube and see for yourself.

  4. MNL

    "The P30 Pro’s camera system is designed to solve the biggest problems with smartphone cameras, like low-light situations and optical zoom, which has been stuck at 2X since Apple released the iPhone 7 Plus in 2016. "

    Both P20 Pro and Mate 20 Pro have 3x optical zoom.

  5. dontbe evil

    “Thanks for the warm up Tim,”

    love it ... apple as usual is million of years behind, but apple fan will keep buing next best iPhone evaaaaaaaaaaaaa, starting from only 1999$

  6. christian.hvid

    I find it difficult to understand why flagship phones have to be so huge - the P30 Pro is a massive 6.47 inches. This is somewhat discriminatory, since most women (and even some presidents) can't hold a phone that size comfortably. Two sizes, but equal specs, would make a lot more sense than making the smaller model technically inferior. If you want a cheaper phone, then buy last year's model instead.

  7. Illusive_Man

    Too bad we have 45 and the Grad Old White Nationalist Party screwing Huawei in a bid to create a fake war with China.

  8. red.radar

    neat. but doesn't matter:

    1. ecosystem lockin is in full effect. Even if the camera is just mindblowingly awesome, which it looks like is a real possibility. I can justify buying a cheap iphone and a compact point and shoot and come out "as good" because of sunk cost.
    2. Changing from ios to android and vice a versa is so complex and difficult for most users that only power users are going to embark on such a journey. This gives Apple time to catch up.

    The best thing to do as an iOS user is to extend congrats and appreciation for the effort and patiently wait for Apple to catch up. To jump platforms for a single feature is not smart when apple is not going to sit idle. I am not going throw my digital assets, and apple hardware in the trash just because of one feature.

    • Daekar

      In reply to red.radar:

      I was recently issued an iPhone for work. There was literally no transition to make... I installed the apps I like, which were all available on iOS, signed into my accounts, and I was up and running.

      Ok, I had to learn the completely insane way Apple handles settings, and THEN I was up and running.

    • Stooks

      In reply to red.radar:

      You make a great case to ONLY use vendor agnostic apps.

      I use the browser and Apple music on my iPhone. I could very easily move to Android because Apple music is on that platform. So are all of the Microsoft apps I use and of course Google maps.

      I guess the average iPhone user would have a hard time moving....but then again looking at my kids I think 99% of smartphones have a camera and it would be easy for them to move.

      Apple has jumped the ship and Tim needs to go. I have a iPhone X and honestly I wish it had touch ID and a audio jack, both of which I miss greatly.

    • skane2600

      In reply to red.radar:

      I get the lock-in factor, but for those who aren't locked in, there are better inexpensive phone and point and shoot camera options than what you can get with Apple.

  9. Polycrastinator

    I'm a bit afraid that US carriers are going to start blocking Huawei phones on their networks completely, but if that wasn't the case.. I'd be really interested in this thing. Really interested.

    • pargon

      In reply to Polycrastinator:

      Why are you afraid they might block a company that is of a communist country when China steals hundreds of Billions of dollars worth of Intellectual Property? This issue against Huawei is NOT new, NOT due to the Trump administration, it was brought up in Congress under Bush and Obama. Only now is everyone freaking out and saying "Oh, I am afraid they may block Huawei". Our nation is meant to protect our people from threats, China has killed millions of their own people under communism.

      Huawei official avoids the question numerous times that they have Communist Government Officials on the board of directors.

      Cell phones were not allowed on my submarine when I was in the Navy in 2013 due to surveillance from China. They would hack phones so that when you performed the normal power off routine that it would look normal, the screen would go black but the phone was on....and voice activated to record. As soon as a cell signal was re-established it would send off the recording back to China. Cellular espionage has been going on a very long time, and it makes no sense to allow a company with Chinese Party Members on the board of directors to sell critical infrastructure here. The US Navy has intelligence that China specifically was targeting sailors that had cell phones on in berthing near the Ward Room / aka. War Room during mission vital to national security.

    • Vladimir Carli

      In reply to Polycrastinator:

      is this possible from the technical point of view? I guess Huawei would have multiple ways around it. Of course they can be made illegal but not sure if they can be completely blocked.


  10. Daekar

    Would love to see the 10X zoom, especially if it has OIS. 40MP doesn't impress me unless they've managed that with excellent noise too. Otherwise I'd just shoot at lower resolution and higher quality.

    If this kind of hardware becomes standard on high end phones, it's going to be much harder for me to justify dragging a DSLR around when we visit other parts of the world.

    • wright_is

      In reply to Daekar:

      The Register is reporting 5x optical, 10x hybrid zoom...

      It is the lenses on the DSLR that make the difference. When the lenses cost more than the phone, you can't hope that the phone camera can keep up. They allow more light in and you are more flexible. I do a lot of nature photography and evne with a 250mm lens, a lot of shots are just too far away, I end up with a small image a couple of hundred pixels across of the subject; the smartphone camera doesn't even get a couple of pixels for the subject of the photo

      I also noticed that the Huawei imaging, for instance, increases the size of heads in photos! It looks really odd. I did a family group photo at a wedding and it looked like caracitures, with big heads on smaller bodies.

    • Polycrastinator

      In reply to Daekar:

      40MP is a bit misleading. The 40MP sensor takes 10MP pictures, and apparently has 3 different monocolor pixel sensors in it, so you only get something useful out of it if you compress the image down to a reasonable size anyway. Given the success Nokia had with this on the 1020 it seems like a good strategy though.

  11. lvthunder

    Who is asking for a 40MP image from a smartphone? Hope it comes with a TB of storage and an unlimited data plan if you want to back those photos up.

  12. rehooks47

    I would never consider Huawei . They have too many problems with legal issues and Europe is starting to have issues as well.

  13. hoomgar

    I can't wait to see your review Paul.  I'm also very curious about pricing.  My Icon is still holding me but the time is/has? come to really start being more aggressive about reviewing my next potential phone upgrade.  These guys have come a long way in just a few short years.  Honestly, their newest offerings are the first thing I've seen in years that actually excites me a bit.

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