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Huawei P30 Series First Impressions: Industry-leading zoom and low-light camera performance
Huawei P30 Series brings forward some impressive camera features, OLED screens, new EMUI 9 and Kirin 980 flagship CPU.
Huawei has finally put an end to all the leaks and rumors by unveiling the successor to P20 flagship smartphone in an exclusive launch event at Paris, France. The company has announced the new P30 series, which offers two new smartphones- P30 and P30 Pro. Huawei P30 Series devices are touted as the company's most advanced camera smartphones to date and bring forward some never before seen camera technologies to the mobile platform.
The company says that the new smartphones in P30 series have the caliber to rival professional cameras as they come equipped with the innovative HUAWEI SuperSpectrum Sensor, an extreme optical HUAWEI SuperZoom lens and a new Time of Flight (TOF) camera sensor. Huawei also claims to have improved the OIS and AIS image stabilization technology to enhance the picture and video output on new P30 smartphones.
The launch presentation of Huawei P30 and P30 Pro showed some crazy results in terms of details, low-light photography and zoom capabilities. The comparison with Samsung Galaxy S10+ and iPhone XS Max took us by surprise as the Huawei P30 Pro clearly blown away the competition. We couldn't wait to test the claims in person and here's what we found out in our brief testing of the new P30 series smartphones at the global launch event in Paris, France.
Camera Hardware- Huawei P30 Pro
Before talking about the camera performance, let's understand the camera hardware on both smartphones. Huawei has engineered a new Leica powered Quad Camera system for the P30 Pro. The four-lens camera setup comprises of 40MP Wide-angle camera (27mm) working on f/1.6 aperture powered by the new SuperSpectrum Sensor technology It is accompanied by a 20MP ultra-wide angle camera (16mm) working on f/2.2 aperture, an 8MP Telephoto camera with f/3.4 aperture lens and the new Time-of-Flight (TOF) sensor. The P30 Pro also features a big 32MP front-facing camera.
The most interesting part of the 4-lens camera setup is the new 40 MP camera that uses the world's first RYYB sensor. The 40MP camera uses a 1/1.7-inch SuperSpectrum sensor which follows a different approach towards the incoming light to frame the shots. It is essentially an RYYB Sensor that unlike the traditional RGBG Bayer filter replaces the green pixels with yellow pixels. The yellow filter takes in both green and red light and allows for 40 % more light intake for brighter images. The sensor size on P30 Pro is 125% larger as compared to Apple iPhone Xs Max and Galaxy S10+. The gradient shift in the pixels creates a high maximum ISO rating of 204,800 and 409,600 on the HUAWEI P30 and HUAWEI P30 Pro, respectively. The P30 Pro also supports Dual OIS stabilization for better low-light results. Additionally, the camera system also uses larger pixels to further enhance the photography experience across a wide range of scenarios and lighting conditions.
Camera Hardware-Huawei P30
Coming onto the camera hardware of Huawei P30, the Smartphone offers a triple-lens camera setup featuring 8MP 3X Telephoto lens (80mm) working on f/2.4 aperture, 16MP ultra-wide angle lens (17mm) working on f/2.2 aperture and the 40MP (27mm) Leica Powered Wide-angle camera that works on f/1.8 aperture. The 8MP telephoto lens supports OIS for 3X optical zoom, 5X hybrid zoom, and 30X digital zoom. All three lenses support PDAF.
Crazy Zoom capabilities
The new SuperZoom feature on the new P30 series handsets is super impressive for smartphone ecosystem. The company has engineered a new periscope lens design in the sleek body of the P30 Pro that offers some serious zoom capabilities. I have never seen a smartphone touch such a high level of zoom and that too without compromising much on the picture quality. Both the handsets offer a combination of optical, hybrid and digital zoom that makes it possible to capture a subject placed very far from the phone.
The iPhones, Pixels and even the most recent Galaxy handsets do not have the caliber to compare with the zoom capabilities of the new P30 series smartphones from Huawei. In theory, a prism element has been placed in the telephoto camera that bends light at a right angle to maximize focal length while minimizing camera height and without disrupting device design. Overall, the zoom power on both the devices is way ahead of what the rival flagship smartphones have to offer. It will be interesting to compare the picture quality and zoom capabilities of P30 series smartphones with that of Apple, Google and Samsung smartphones.
How’s the Image Quality?
We took some shots at the demo zone and noticed impressive detailing and contrast ratio. Images shot by both the handsets looked life like on the OLED screens of the devices. The use of ultra-wide angle lenses really captures a lot of data in one frame. The large RYYB sensor combined with AIS + OIS is the reason behind the super brighter images in any light condition. The new sensor is also said to offer better color accuracy than the standard RGB sensor used by all other smartphones in the industry. The hardware also gets some benefits from the AI algorithms applied by the camera's software by Huawei. We are yet to get more clarity from Huawei on the software part of the cameras on Huawei P30 series smartphones. As far as low-light camera performance is concerned, the smartphones capture mindblowing details even in extreme low-light conditions. The low-light camera performance on new P30 series handsets is far better than Galaxy S10+, iPhone XS Max and even the company's Mate 20 Pro and Google Pixel 3 XL.
New Super Portrait mode for better bokeh shots
As far as bokeh shots are concerned, the company has integrated a new Time-of-Flight (TOF) Camera that captures depth-of-field information to achieve impressive image segmentation. Huawei P30 and P30 Pro's cameras can create multiple levels of bokeh from a focused background to a creamy, Leica-style blur-highlighting the subject in the frame. Both the phones come with Super Portrait Mode that seemed good in recognizing the main subject and did not create any artificial bokeh effect during our short testing.The Super Portrait mode on P30 series smartphones combines depth information, 4-in-1 pixel binning and AI algorithms to achieve the pleasing bokeh effect.
On the software side, Huawei has added AI HDR+ mode that enables the front and rear cameras to combine multiple photos taken in quick succession to optimize overexposed and backlit selfies. Besides, there are some notable upgrades in the video department as well which are as follows.
Improvements in Videography
Huawei claims that the camera setups on the P30 series smartphones come with cinematic capabilities to deliver studio-grade videography. Once again the new SuperSpectrum Sensor plays a big role to improve the video performance of the devices in low light situations. It is also worth mentioning that the P30 series smartphones support Huawei's AIS and OIS stabilization for all video capture settings - including 4K videos at 60fps. Besides, the new handsets come with built-in AI Movie Editor that as per Huawei automatically identifies action highlights and gives users the tools to add background music and special effects, such as time-lapse and slow motion, to produce engaging video content.
The newly added ‘Dual-View mode' in P30 series is quite thoughtful and can add a new perspective to videos. The feature allows you to use two of the rear cameras to record different videos simultaneously. While shooting videos in Dual-View mode, you can capture both an ultra-wide angle clip and a zoom shot - offering a panorama on the right and a close-up on the left of the screen. We tried this feature and it really works as said. If you record a lot of videos for social media channels, you can create some interesting content with P30 series handsets.
Huawei P30 Series Design and Display
As far as the design of the new P30 series is concerned, the smartphones are built on the signature P Series design. Both the handsets look premium and come with striking gradient shades. The P30 Pro will come in classic Black, Pearl White and three new gradient finishes-Amber Sunrise, Breathing Crystal, and Aurora that looks strikingly appealing. The new gradient shades are created with a new high-yield inkjet process. Inspired by nature, the handsets do not feature any sharp edges and rest easily in the palm. The P30 is quite compact and can be easily used with one hand for almost every task. The P30 Pro demands both the hands for a comfortable grip. Huawei P30 sports a 6.1-inches OLED screen whereas the P30 Pro boasts a massive 6.47-inch curved OLED display. Both the handsets sport FHD+ (2340x1080) displays with a Dewdrop notch at the top. The screens on P30 and P30 Pro come in 19.5:9 ratio and are DCI-P3 HDR screens. The displays are vibrant and very touch responsive.
Hardware and Software
Huawei P30 Series also comes with all the bells and whistles of flagship smartphones. The P30 Series is powered by the company's in-house Kirin 980 processor, which we have already tested on Mate 20 Pro. The 7nm Kirin 980 boast Dual-NPUs for faster image recognition. The chipset is aided by 6GBRAM to support multitasking. The Huawei P30 series also integrates a graphene film cooling system to effectively manage heat dissipation during power-intensive tasks. What this means is that you can expect lag-free gaming, multitasking and computing performance on the new handsets. However, we would recommend you to wait until we thoroughly test the new devices under extreme conditions for an overall performance overview.
You also get an In-Screen Fingerprint Sensor and 'Acoustic Display Technology' which makes display a sounding unit for audio tasks. The company has added an in-screen maglev speaker under the screen which will work as an earpiece for in-call audio jobs. We have previously tested the same technology on Vivo Nex smartphone and the results were not very pleasing. We still need to test how Huawei has implemented the acoustic display technology and is it any better than Vivo Nex or falls in the same category. The P30 Pro is backed by a massive 4.200 mAh battery unit that supports the company's 40W super charge technology. Huawei P30, on the other hand, draws power from a 3,650 mAh battery unit. As far as connectivity is concerned, both devices support Dual SIM and Dual VoLTE connectivity, NFC, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi.
For software, the P30 series is shipped with EMUI 9.1, based on Android 9.0. The EMUI on the new P30 series introduces an Extendable Read-Only File System (EROFS) that as per company greatly improves the read speed of the storage device. What impressed us in the new EMUI is the new icons design that looked refreshing and more intuitive.
Price and Availability
Huawei P30 will sell at EUR 799 (Approx. 62,000) in the European markets. The P30 Pro will sell at a starting price of Eur 999 (78,000) for 8GB + 128GB variant, EUR 1099 (85,500) for 8GB + 256GB and at EUR 1, 249 (97,000) for the 8GB + 512GB variant. The company plans to announce the new smartphones in India in mid-April 2019. The pricing seems quite high and it will be interesting to see how Huawei prices the phones in the price-conscious market like India.
Huawei P30 series comes with some mind-blowing camera upgrades. The new sensor, 10X hybrid zoom, and new videography features seem really promising and will please consumers who keep photography in their highest regards. Both the smartphones also offer flagship features, the latest software, and premium design. We will wait for Huawei to launch the new handsets in the Indian market so that we can thoroughly test the camera, processing, battery and multitasking performance of P30 and P30 Pro. Stay tuned for comprehensive reviews of P30 series smartphones from Huawei on GizBot.com.