Smartphone review Huawei Mate 30 Pro: special

A couple of weeks ago, Huawei announced its most powerful smartphone, and we wrote about it in a timely manner. In the bottom line, after numerous rumors and speculation, we have the first gadget based on the fresh Kirin 990 platform with an unprecedentedly curved OLED display, a very serious four-camera, in which special emphasis is placed on the video function (where Huawei smartphones used to lag far behind) – and still on Android with the EMUI 10 shell. But without Google services and any understandable way to install them.

Huawei Mate 30 Pro

Huawei Mate 30 Pro

Today we’ll talk about the Chinese version of the smartphone – technically identical to the European one, but with the still underdeveloped infrastructure of Huawei Mobile Services. One more thing – it will be about the version of Huawei Mate 30 Pro 4G. As it is easy to understand, it differs from the 5G version in the absence of a corresponding modem, but not only. It also uses a slightly truncated version of the Kirin 990 platform – it is made according to a simpler process technology (FinFET, not FinFET Plus EUV) and is equipped with a slightly weaker processor for neural network computing, and also received truncated frequencies.

⇡ #Specifications

Huawei Mate 30 Pro – information about the filling according to the CPU-Z application

⇡ #Design, ergonomics and software

To release a flagship smartphone without any subluxation in the design is the rule of bad taste. The “regular” Huawei Mate 30 did, however, without it – a flat screen, a small cutout, a glass back cover with an unusual, but generally not causing any serious emotions, arrangement of the rear cameras (in a black circle with a mirror ring). There is even a mini jack!

But the Pro version, which we got for the test – with the same backrest and very similar stuffing – still stands out against the general background. The point is the screen, which is not just bent here, as in the same Huawei P30 Pro, but highly bent. In fact, its edges cover the edges of the smartphone, smoothly flowing into that very back. In my preliminary gadget review, I wrote that it looks good, but it does not particularly affect the user experience. After a week with the Mate 30 Pro, I can say that it does. It’s not very convenient to take this smartphone from the table, and because of the lateral edge shifted to the rear panel, you have to slightly change the usual way of holding the device – otherwise it tries to slip out of the palm of your hand.

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Huawei Mate 30 Pro

I would not say that this is a big sin – today almost all serious smartphones do not differ in tenacity. Curved glass panels easily get dirty and tend to crawl away – both from the hand and from any surface. The Huawei Mate 30 Pro is no exception, it just adds an additional minor inconvenience. But, despite the 6.53-inch display, the Mate 30 Pro turned out to be quite narrow – and if it weren’t for the increased soiling and slippery edges, it would be convenient to hold it.

Huawei Mate 30 Pro, front panel: one continuous screen with a cutout, on which the front camera and various sensors are located

Huawei Mate 30 Pro comes with a glass back of black, silver, green and purple colors, as well as with a back panel made of artificial (as representatives of Huawei, "vegan" said at the presentation) leather – orange and green. All these versions have, of course, beautiful names, but I, perhaps, will not give them here. You can say for sure that the colors are nice, especially for the “leather” versions. However, ours, with glass shimmering in violet and silver, is very good.

Despite the fact that we are not far from the finish line in 2019, notches for the selfie camera and various sensors are still relevant: as they have not disappeared from the new iPhone, so the Huawei Mate 30 / Mate 30 Pro got their “monobrow” – to come up with a more elegant way to accommodate the entire frontal machinery failed. The Mate 30 Pro has a very impressive one, which is not surprising: it has a front camera, a 3D camera with a depth sensor, an proximity / lighting sensor, and a gesture recognition sensor.

Smartphone review Huawei Mate 30 Pro: special

Huawei Mate 30 Pro, rear panel: in the circle there are four cameras, on the side of the circle there is a dual LED flash and a laser autofocus assistant

Huawei Mate 30 Pro is one of the first smartphones lacking a hardware volume key. There is only one physical key – it is responsible for locking / turning on / restarting the gadget and is located almost on the back of the device. The volume control key is made virtual, its role is given to the side of the display, and any one, left or right: you have to double-tap the edge of the smartphone with your finger and the familiar slider will appear for a short while. This is not as convenient as the classic key, to be honest, but you have a choice where to press – the right-handed and left-handed people are equal in rights. Spurious keystrokes are excluded due to the need for this double-click – the rest of the time the “key” is inactive and does not interfere with the usual interaction with the smartphone. However, other functions are also provided for it: for example, you can “hang” special game trigger keys, like on an ASUS ROG Phone, and when taking a selfie there appears a special icon for releasing the shutter.

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Huawei Mate 30 Pro, the left side is devoid of functional elements

Huawei Mate 30 Pro, on the right side is the lock / power key

Another control feature of the Huawei Mate 30 Pro is the ability to scroll through text and take screenshots without touching the screen. To do this, activate the item in the settings "Quick access and gestures → Gestures in the air." After that, you show the palm of your smartphone at a distance of 20-40 cm from the screen, it responds with the corresponding icon – and you can wind the text in the browser or messenger with the brush or take screenshots, clenching your hand into a fist. For recognition of gestures, the Mate 30 Pro has a special sensor – it responds to movements quite adequately and quickly, but in general this way of control seems more cumbersome than the usual interaction with the touch panel – so, I think, this sensor will go down in Huawei history together with the Mate 30 Pro.

Huawei Mate 30 Pro, upper side: microphone and infrared

Huawei Mate 30 Pro, bottom: SIM card slot and memory card, microphone, USB Type-C port, main speaker

And here is another feature declared in advance – that the smartphone “sees” the position of your head and does not change the orientation of the display if, for example, you read something while lying on your side, and it looked useful on paper, and in reality turns out to be irreplaceable . You no longer need to go into the settings and disable the annoying often auto-rotate – everything works perfectly.

The rest is a typical modern flagship smartphone – without a mini-jack (it didn’t get the Pro version), with a USB Type-C port on the bottom and an IR port on the top.

The fingerprint scanner is hidden under the screen. According to what technology the sensor is made, the manufacturer does not specify, but, most likely, it is optical – it does not respond to a wet finger. In general, the speed and accuracy of fingerprint recognition are significantly improved compared to what was in the P30 Pro, and significantly improved compared to the weak performance of the Mate 20 Pro. Together with the fingerprint sensor, a system for identifying a user by face works, not just using the front camera, but using a depth sensor – that is, cheating on a smartphone with a photograph is excluded. It works very quickly, the error rate is low. But there is a problem – in the dark it does not really work, you need to duplicate the smartphone’s lock with either a fingerprint sensor, or a password / pin code.

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Huawei App Gallery App Store

Google Mobile Services Installer in action

But, as is usually the case with Chinese gadgets on which Google services are blocked – and these are all smartphones released specifically for the Chinese domestic market, Huawei Mate 30 is just the first with such a problem for the outside world – a workaround was quickly found. In order for Google services to work, it is not even necessary to “root” the gadget and try to install alternative firmware. Androidcentral colleagues found a special app available on We open the site in any browser, download the apk from the link, install the file on the smartphone and give the application administrator rights – well, then with it we put all the necessary services with the crown in the form of Google Play. After that, we use the Huawei Mate 30 Pro as a regular Android smartphone, and select the admin rights from the pirated application and remove it from harm’s way. Another thing is that we do not know exactly what still it puts in the memory of the smartphone, in addition to Google Mobile Services, bypassing the protection of the device. Using such things is always a certain risk. For me, in particular, these services disappeared after the first reboot – I needed to download this bootloader again and install them again. The second attempt was more successful, and they still hold on. And everything works, even the Google Pay service.

However, Huawei claims that it will return Google Mobile Services to the device with the latest firmware within 24 hours after a warming relationship with the US government. This can happen even before the start of official sales of the Huawei Mate 30/30 Pro. Or it may not happen. Then you have to use crutches like this – well, or look at what Huawei will come up with in addition to this.

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