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HUAWEI P30: UNBOXING, AND A LOT OF FIRST IMPRESSIONS; IS IT A BETTER OPTION THAN THE P30 PRO?

Today is a big day for Huawei as the new P30 flagship series is finally hits the market. We expect long lines at the claiming outlets especially at the Mega Fashion Hall of Megamall where Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach is expected to appear.

While most of the attention seems to “zoom” in on the P30 Pro and its almost unbelievable periscope camera, many are forgetting that there is also the vanilla P30– which unlike the P20 last year, is actually a much easier recommendation between the two!

Why?

Read on as we unbox and give our initial impressions of the Huawei P30!

Let’s start with the box. The P30 comes in the now trademark white box of the P Series (the Mate comes in a black box) elegant, clean and with just the P30 branding in front. 

Slip out the top cover to reveal the phone (be careful as the phone can easily slip with the cover). I got the Breathing Crystal color, which is the “Twilight” of this year,  and I must say it’s the most stunning color finish ever in a Huawei phone.  No wonder it’s the first color variant to go out of stock during the preorder period. 

The P30 Breathing Crystal v P20 Black

Case in point, my sister got herself a P30 just because of the Breathing Crystal color—no other questions asked—and my sister is one of the most meticulous people I know who scrutinizes every little detail. Oh she’s also an iPhone user for the longest time.

What’s Inside the box?

Other contents of the box include a clear protective case, a sim card ejector tool, the Huawei SuperCharge Wall Charger, USB-C cable, and the standard 3.5 mm headphones. Yes! The headphone jack makes a comeback in the P30! It’s one of the rare flagship spec’d smartphones to feature a headphone jack, which should be an instant boon for fans of wired audio.

The first time it enfolds in your hand, its hard not to fall in love with the P30. The metal frame feels solid as the curved sides shamelessly begs for your touch resting quite well in the hand. The P30 is actually much more comfortable to hold if you have small hands than the Pro version and has that certain heft that lets you know that you are holding a premium device. 

Examining the phone, up top, there’s the microphone, (but no IR blaster this time ) while on the opposite end is the single speaker grille, USB C- Port, and like I mentioned the returning 3.5mm headphone jack which was removed in the P20 series and still absent in the P30 Pro.

It may seem like such a small detail but when you are listening to music or watching a movie and you need to charge your phone, that’s the time you’ll appreciate having a headphone jack-and it’s still faster than bluetooth pairing.

Turn it to the right and you’ll see the clicky volume rocker and the red accented power button which is easily reachable and on the left you’ll find the dual SIM hybrid port. 

On its back is the triple camera, flash and Huawei + Leica branding. There is a slight camera bump though, which means it’ll wobble a bit when placed on a table so its better to use the plastic case to even it out.

The P30 Breathing Crystal v P20 Black

Finally, on the front is the 6.1-inch flat display and a tiny dewdrop notch which houses the front camera and earpiece speaker. 

NOW FOR THE QUICK SPECS:

The Huawei P30 features a 6.1-inch 2.5D curved OLED screen with FHD+ 2340 x 1080 resolution at 422 ppi. It measures 149.1 x 71.36 x 7.57 mm and only weighs 165 g.   It runs Huawei’s fastest Kirin 980 octa-core processor, same as the Mate 20 series. The one we have has an 8Gb 128 config but I the one that’s available in the PH market is the 6GB 128GB combo variant.

Comparing the P30 and the P30 Pro side by side, the most obvious differences is the size (P30 Pro is bigger) and its rear camera setup is also a bit different. The P30, as mentioned, has 3 cameras while the Pro version has a quad cam setup. 

Another difference between the two is that the P30 Pro has a curved edge front screen; while the P30 has the conventional flat screen—BUT— as I’ve realized while using the Mate 20 Pro (which also has a curved screen) is that I actually prefer a flat display especially when playing games like NBA2K19. My thumbs actually tend to slide down the curve when trying to control my player, so I prefer the flat display of the P30. 

The P30 also has a tiny (and hideable) Dewdrop Display notch, providing maximum display area. The near bezel-less front glass houses an In-Screen Fingerprint sensor for quick and secure identity authentication. 

Huawei says it derives inspiration from nature and technology to achieve a stunning design and those beautiful colors. The Huawei P30 Series is created with a nine-layer nano optical color finish, which is inspired by the unique color palette and pristine look of salt flats.


For those who want a more masculine color, there’s Aurora—starting out as a shade of metallic turquoise at the top, then morphs into a regal blue at the bottom. It’s also available in timeless black, and hopefully the Amber Sunrise will also make its way here in the Philippines. 

The P30 has a humble IP53 rating that makes it “splash resistant” so I don’t suggest you take it out in the water or attempt to take an underwater photo. 

LET’S LOOK AT THE CAMERA:

Huawei has been the king of smartphone photography according to DXOMark ratings and it continues its reign with the P30 Pro.

Take note the P30 PRO.

The P30 Pro’s DXOMark score was one of the highlights ofHuawei’s Executive Director and CEO, Richard Yu when it was launched in Paris. But there was actually no mention of the P30!

At first it seemed like DxOMark did not test it in time or something, but it seems like the phone was not listed on purpose. In an article from GizmoChina, Richard Yu said that the Huawei P30’s score is very close to the score of the Huawei P30 Pro, saying that is the reason why the P30 was not listed on DxOMark. 

If you look at the chart both the vanilla siblings of P20 Pro and Mate 20 Pro had separate DXO scores…So why not include the P30? Hmmm.

Is it because Huawei doesn’t want the P30 to steal the thunder from its more expensive “Pro” model?  Because if its just as high, it might drive more people to get the P30 instead and this might influence the P30 Pro’s sales. That seems to be the only logical explanation, as any company would be more than happy to share a high DXO score just to prove that even its more affordable variant still has an amazing camera.

So while there’s no doubt that the P30 Pro has the best camera on a smartphone,  there’s also very little to complain about with the P30.

In terms of specs, the P30’s main camera has a 40MP sensor and an f/1.8 lens. The same sensor is combined with an f/1.6 lens as well as OIS on the P30 Pro. The second, 3x zoom camera on the P30 sports an 8MP resolution and an f/2.4 aperture. In comparison to a 5x zoom, f/3.4 telephoto camera on the P30 Pro. Finally, there’s a 16MP, 17mm, f/2.2 ultrawide camera on the P30, vs the P30 Pro’s ultrawide is a touch wider at 16mm, and a higher resolution sensor at 20MP.

The P30 also lacks the TOF (Time of Flight) camera that helps the Pro garner more accurate depth information.

In real world use however, I’d say the P30 also has an excellent camera—comparable with the Mate 20 Pro and definitely better than the P20. Huawei’s camera app is probably the most feature rich among android phones, with all sorts of modes that you can just swipe to choose among Aperture, Night, Portrait, Photo, Video and Pro modes. Tap MORE and you’ll find Slow Mo, Panorama, Monochrome, AR Lens, Light Painting, HDR, Time Lapse, Moving Picture, Filter, stickers Documents and SuperMacropa as well as a few more hidden ones in the “More” option. 

Except for a split second difference in processing, I’d say the the P30 and the P30 Pro phones are very comparable except of course when it comes to zoom as well as in low light shots. 

Just as how Huawei made “bokeh” famous, it also is responsible for all other brands highlighting the wide angle feature. And if you are traveling and want to capture those scenic landscapes, wide angle is godsend. Experiment with angles and you’ll get the best shot of those mountains and buildings in no time. Oh and using wide angle can even make you look slim! 

In good lighting photos taken by the P30 are absolutely alacrifying—there’s plenty of details and the dynamic range is solid. I usually turn on the AI mode because I love how it enhances the sharpness and color, but if you know how to fiddle with the pro controls you can snap even more jaw-droppingly good snaps with blur and clarity.

With 3x zoom and 5x ‘lossless’ zoom on the other hand you can capture things even from far away. Yes you can zoom in up to 30x but it’s a bit difficult to get a clear shot and you have to hold the phone real steady to allow it time to focus.

But the star of the photography modes has to be night mode. The P30 has a mind-bendingly good low light performance. The Mate 20 Pro was good but Huawei takes it up another notch. Some call it an incredibly neat party trick but it’s actually very useful even when capturing daytime shots or when taking photos of people with a bright LED screen behind them. You just have to tell them to stay still for four to six seconds. 

With the Queen of the P Series Pia Wurtzbach

Moving onto selfies the P30 has a 32MP sensor coupled with an f/2.0 lens – identical to that found on the P30 Pro. Again it is a big improvement over the P20 and the AI beauty seems to be adjusted down a bit to make for more realistic looking selfies.

SOFTWARE AND EMUI:

The P30-series ships with the latest Android 9 OS with Huawei’s EMUI 9.1. EMUI experience varies, and although I have learned to love it, it could be further improved with better icons, an improved notification layout and a bit of fine tuning.  

Gesture controls are further introduced in the P30 and you can either choose from standard on screen navigation bar, go for a “Home” button ala IOS or remove all those and use gestures instead. Swipe left (or right) from the edge of the screen to go back, swipe and hold up to see the open apps, swipe up from the bottom edges to launch Google Assitant. It is a bit confusing at first and requires a bit of practice, but you’ll eventually master it in no time. 

If you have other Huawei devices, there’s Huawei Share, Huawei’s version of AirDrop, which allows you send photos, videos, etc to another Huawei phone in seconds!

So far everything has been running smoothly even though Im starting to install more apps and games. I expect it to remain that way as Huawei’s Kirin processor can definitely keep things speedy, so opening and switching from one app to another is snappy and quick. 

BATTERY IS LIFE

 The P30 has a 3650 mAh battery compared to the P30 Pro’s 4200 mAH. But don’t worry the P30 can easily last you a full day with regular use. And if you do need to add juice, it also supports fast charging and will be fully charged in a little over an hour. 

What it doesn’t support though is wireless charging unlike the Pro version. Honestly though its really not a deal breaker. I know wireless is more convenient BUT if you NEED to use your phone while charging, like texting or browsing, a wire attached to a powerbank is a more secure and stable option. Stable meaning that it wont easily slip or fall off. 

So unless you have qi charging pads scattered in your house and office, you wouldn’t miss wireless charging.

HUAWEI P30 VERDICT

Its been a looong first impression, and we still have a full review to do! But overall, after using the P30 for a few days, I’d say the Huawei P30 is definitely one, if not the best smartphone for its price range.  It fits great in the hand, costs less than an iPhone or  Samsung Galaxy S10, but delivers a flagship experience not to mention that it glistens like a unicorn (if you get the Breathing Crystal version) that will probably educe a lot of envious looks.

If you don’t need the x50 zoom, curved display, the waterproof rating, or mind the lack of of wireless charging, the P30 is absolutely a great choice.

What do you think about the Huawei P30? Did you join the preorder? What freebies did you get?

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