Despite facing a lot of hurdles and backlash due to the US-China trade war, Huawei has finally unveiled their latest premium flagship Mate series of phones on September 19th in an event in Munich, Germany, and oh boy, these pack some real punch, and a major flaw!
The lineup includes 3 variants: regular LTE+ Mate 30 & Mate 30 Pro, Mate 30 5G & Mate 30 Pro 5G, and a super-luxurious Mate 30 RS Porsche Design (we’ll call this RS for the rest of this post). Here’s all you need to know about this year’s most innovative phones (yes, we said that).
The Mate 30 series is touted to be built upon last year’s Mate 20 design. While the Mate 30 and Mate 30 Pro sport Huawei’s new “Halo-ring design” rear camera housing which basically consists of a thick circular bezel with a radial gradient finish that houses 4 cameras inside it, the RS goes for a rather traditional ring-less camera setup on a vertical strip of rectangular glass, flanked by leather surrounding it. Other than that, following are other notable specs, features & prices of the phones:
Starting from the front, the Mate 30 houses a 6.62″ FHD+ OLED display with a resolution of 2340 x 1080 pixels with rounded corners, narrow bezels, and a notch. The Mate 30 Pro houses a narrower 6.53″ FHD+ OLED panel with a resolution of 2400 x 1176 pixels.
While the Mate 30 has a traditional flat-display with narrow bezels, the Mate 30 Pro & RS come with an 88-degree extended-curved “Endless” Horizon display, similar to the one on the Vivo Nex 3, making the phones look bezel-less from the front. Displays on all the three phones retain support for HDR10 and DCI-P3. The notch on both the phones houses the earpiece, regular sensors, the selfie camera, a 3D depth-sensing camera, and a gesture sensor.
With the Mate 30 Pro and RS, Huawei has added some software tricks to make the curved edges of the display more useful and productive. You can, for example, use the curve to control volumes, or as the shutter button for the camera. The software also handles the curve so as to eliminate accidental touches and swipes.
All three of the phones feature in-screen fingerprint sensors.
Talking about cameras, the Mate 30 has a 24 MP f/2.0 camera for selfies; while the rear camera arrangement includes a cinema-grade 40 MP f/1.8 “SuperSensing” camera, a 16 MP f/2.2 ultra-wide-angle camera & an 8 MP f/2.4 telephoto camera with OIS.
On the Mate 30 Pro and RS, there’s a 32 MP f/2.0 lens on the front. On the rear, there are two SuperSensing cameras; one being a 40 MP f/1.6 (RYYB) main camera with OIS, and the other being a 40 MP f/1.8 (RGGB) ultra-wide Cine-camera (no OIS). The third camera is an 8 MP f/2.4 telephoto camera equipped with OIS.
There’s a 3D depth-sensing Time of Flight (ToF) sensor on both models that helps with advanced depth-data collection and background blur manipulation. These 4 sensors are accompanied by a color-adjusted Xenon flash and a color temperature sensor outside the Halo Ring.
The telephoto camera on all of the phones is capable of 3x optical zoom, 5x hybrid zoom, and 30x digital zoom, which is down from the P30 Pro’s 5x optical zoom.
But wait, what are these fancy terms: ‘SuperSensing’, ‘Cine’, RYYB, & RGGB?
The 40 MP lenses on both the models are called ‘SuperSensing’ sensors. These sensors feature a completely different RYYB (Red-Yellow-Yellow-Blue) color pattern, as opposed to the conventional RGGB (Red-Green-Green-Blue) array. Yellow is way more sensitive to certain light frequencies, which is why the RYYB pattern is great for low-light photos and videos alike. This is the same sensor as that of the P30 Pro. This sensor is 1/1.7″ in size, has a 4;3 aspect ratio, and can go up to ISO 406,900 max.
The second 40 MP sensor on the Mate 30 Pro (and RS) that’s 1/1.54″ in size, has a 3:2 aspect ratio, and can go up to a max ISO of 51,200 is dubbed the ‘Cine’ sensor. This sensor uses the traditional RGGB color array, unlike the RYYB array of the SuperSensing sensors. Not only this sensor can shoot 4K 60fps HDR+ video, but it also sports a crazy 7680fps super slow-motion video and even real-time bokeh (thanks to that ToF sensor). There’s no OIS for the Cine-sensor, but we expect Huawei’s AI-assisted stabilization does a decent job at stabilizing videos shot on this sensor.
We’ll have to wait to find out how the cameras perform in real-life, but going by the specs, they sure look very good. There are some slow-motion samples on the internet already, and though we expect the resolution of those super-slo-mo videos to be capped at 480p or 720p, they do look awesome. Even the regular camera samples shared by Huawei and reviewers do look really good.
The new phone’s pack Huawei’s latest Kirin 990 octa-core SoC (a variant of which has 5G modems built into the SoC itself, making it the first SoC to have 5G natively) paired with the 16-core Mali G76 GPU and Huawei’s own NPU for stuff like AR and gesture system. Both the Mate 30 and Mate 30 Pro have 8 Gigs of RAM. The Mate 30 has 128 Gigs of internal memory, whereas the Mate 30 Pro has 256 Gigs, which is expandable to 256 Gigs with the company’s NM SD cards. The RS model maxes out the RAM to 12 Gigs and the internal storage to 512 Gigs.
All of this is powered by a 4200 mAh cell on the Mate 30, and a 4500 mAh cell on the Mate 30 Pro and RS. All three phones sport Huawei’s super-fast 40W SuperCharge and 27W wireless SuperCharge.
For connectivity, the phones have Dual-SIM support, LTE+, dual-band Wi-Fi 5 (why no Wi-Fi 6 though?), Bluetooth 5.1, USB 3.1 Type-C (which also acts as the audio-out port) & NFC. The phones will also have 5G variants (the RS would be 5G ready already), which will have slightly over-clocked CPUs (called Kirin 990 5G) and some optimizations for the CPU and battery.
Remember the ‘major flaw’ we mentioned at the beginning of this post? Well, here’s where it falls. Both phones run on Android 10 with Huawei’s EMUI10 skin on top. While Huawei still uses Android, there’s no inclusion of Google apps and services out of the box, at least for now. That means no Play Services, which a lot of apps depend on for functioning in Android. Naturally, this means you can’t have the Play Store, YouTube, or any other Google app on the phone.
To compensate, Huawei has included their own App Store, which is like light-years behind the Play Store, at the moment, in terms of the number of apps and games. Huawei does say that they are roping-in more developers to populate their app store, but as of now, there are less than 5 popular apps, including TikTok and Amazon Shopping. No, there isn’t even a media streaming app (neither music nor video) yet, but that’s not the dead end.
Huawei will actually let users unlock the phone’s bootloader and flash Google apps and services (Gapps) separately [CC: Flashmaniacs]. This is still a workaround and not a solution, because of this the majority of people would just want to skip these otherwise awesome phones and settle for something else. However, we are also hearing insider reports of Huawei selling these phones in Europe with Gapps included in the system. We guess we’ll have to wait and see what comes Huawei’s route, but yeah, no Gapps officially, for now.
In terms of features, EMUI features a system-wide dark mode, a re-organized settings app, simple and modern camera UI, support for themes and icons on the stock launcher and more. You can check all of EMUI 10’s features on our site if you’re interested. The RS spices the UI up with some dark wallpapers, icons, and themes to match it with the look of the phone.
The new phones have this new gesture-system that lets users do stuff like take screenshots, unlock the screen, scroll pages and sections and more using the 3D depth and gesture sensors present in the notch. Other than this, the phones shall come in 4 colors, namely Cosmic Purple, Space Silver, Emerald Green & Black. The 5G variant shall have a special Vegan Leather back instead of Glass and shall come in Orange and Forest Green. The RS variant shall come in black and red leather finishes only.
Additionally, the Mate30 Pro and RS come equipped with IP68 certification, while the Mate 30 is IP53 certified.
Price & Availability
The Mate 20 comes at €799 (~ USD 880 / INR 63,000), while the Mate 30 Pro comes at €1099 (~ USD 1200 / INR 86,000). The Mate 30 Pro 5G shall cost you €1199 (~ USD 1300 / INR 94,000). The Mate 30 RS Porsche Design shall set you back €2095 (~ USD 2300 / INR 1,65,000). Availability details weren’t shared at the launch event, we’ll update this section as we receive the said details.
What else? Huawei also launched the Huawei Watch GT2 smartwatch and a Huawei Vision smart-TV line alongside the Mate 30 series. That’s basically it.