The best camera phone you can’t buy in the U.S.


– This is the Huawei P30
Pro, a €1000 smartphone that’s never gone on
sale in the United States and that should make
Americans very, very upset. (upbeat electronic music) Why am I hyped about this phone? Well, it’s not the phone
part, in fact before I proceed I should mention that I’m using the Nova Launcher and Reduze Icon Pack, both of them free on
the Google Play store. Because Huawei default
themes are not good. Anyway, the eye opening
thing about this device is it’s camera system, there’s
a lot to talk about with it, so let’s dive right in. First of all you get
three cameras on the rear. There’s an ultra wide
angle, a regular wide angle, and a telephoto lens, the last of which is the most interesting because it has the new periscope system. This uses a mirror which
reflects 90 degrees into the body of the
phone and then runs it through a series of lenses into a sensor which sits perpendicular to the phone. What that gives you is a 5x optical zoom. I’ve been shooting around
with it here in London, sometimes in bleak
conditions, sometimes in sunny conditions, and I’ve
been really impressed, it’s really crisp, really
sharp, 5x optical zoom, it beats anything else that you might get from digital alternatives out there. Huawei doubles down on that
zoom functionality literally by giving you a 10x
hyper zoom which combines the information from the telephoto and the main camera sensor. Huawei says it’s lossless I’m not so sure, I do see
a bit of a degradation in image quality, but it’s
only slight, it’s very slight, and it’s still super impressive
for 10 times optical zoom. You don’t even get that
with pocket cameras most of the time. I’ve also been messing
around and taking shots at 24x and 32x with this camera, and they are surprisingly decent. As far as zoom goes, the system
that Huawei’s put in here in the P30 Pro is the best
that there’s ever been in a smartphone, and
the shocking thing is, that all the zoom action
is just the appetizer. The thing that has me super
excited about this camera is actually the main sensor,
which is still 40 megapixels as before, it’s still one
of the largest sensors that you find on a smartphone, but it’s in a RYYB arrangement, getting rid of the green subpixel
for two yellow subpixels. Huawei says this allows
it to get as much as 40% more light in because the
yellow subpixel are sensitive both to red and green light,
as well as obviously yellow. Where this comes in
really handy and helpful is in nighttime photography. I have taken some low light
photos which have just blown me away with this phone. Google’s Night Sight was
a revolutionary upgrade for smartphone photography in low light, that came out at the
tail end of last year, but so far ahead of everything else, everything that Apple,
Samsung, LG and everybody else who’s doing it, and the P30 Pro just kicks Night Sight’s butt. Now in order for you to get a good shot with Google Night Sight, you need three or four seconds or steadiness. With this camera you it
takes a fraction of a second, it’s the default setting. It’s taking better night
photos than any other camera, any other mode on a smartphone camera, and is doing it by default, it’s a fraction of a
second, it’s effortless. Huawei has it’s own night
mode, it has a pro mode, it even has has a master
AI setting which tweaks the contrast and saturation and so on, and I don’t feel the need
to touch any of those, because this is a superb
camera by default. Now is the absolute best camera? I’m not so sure. Video is actually one of the
weaknesses of Huawei P30 Pro. A lot of the stabilization,
you’ve got optical stabilization on the main sensor and
the telephoto sensor, and a lot of the audio
recording those are great, but the actual detail on the video image that you get, not so great. Huawei does quite a lot
of softening to get rid of image grain and such,
and that’s a real downside with the video so iPhone,
Samsung Galaxy devices, those have the lead on video. I also prefer the Pixel’s image processing for the most part. It allows more grain into the image but that also means it gets more detail. Huawei does a little
bit too much processing, not as much as it did
on the P20 Pro last year which was over the top, but
still a little too much. I find that the default
Huawei P30 Pro photos tend to be a little unsaturated,
whereas if you use the master AI it tends to push them to oversaturated. Flats are also not quite as
dark as I prefer to see them, but that being said, even
though the P30 Pro by default tends to put out slightly flat images, they are perfect for image editing. You see if you just do a
little bit of tweaking, add a bit of contrast
and a bit of saturation, they become pretty much perfect. The 4th sensor that Huawei’s
put on the back of the P30 Pro is not technically a
camera it’s a depth sensor, it works pretty much on the
same principal as face ID on the iPhone, and what that helps with is three different things. Firstly, it’s part of
the auto focus system, so when I’m auto focusing
with the Huawei P30 Pro I can get it focus in pretty
much pitch black conditions. It’s something that no other
smartphone camera can achieve, none that I’ve tested in any case. Secondly, augmenting
reality applications so you can point this at
things and measure things like height, width, depth, even volume. And the third thing
which is pretty cool is it enhances this phone’s portrait mode. Firstly it helps it to nail
down even the fine details which include strands of
hair and things like that, but then it also affects the
bokeh that you can achieve. So the closer you are to the subject, the weaker the bokeh is,
and then it intensifies it grows softer the further away you get, and that’s achieved with the help of this extra depth sensor. Returning to the phone itself,
the P30 Pro is built around the same Kirin 980 processor
as Mate 20 Pro last year. That means it’s both familiar and fast. It really is one of the
most responsive smartphones that I’ve tested to date. It gets me great gaming performance, and with a 4200 milliamp
power battery it lasts for a heroic length of time. I can for a day and half
with this thing easily no matter if I’m gaming,
listening to music over Bluetooth, shooting a
bunch of photos, video etc. whatever, it’s an
absolute endurance champ. Huawei puts 8 gigabytes
of RAM on this device, you can get it with 128 gigs of storage or up to half a terabyte, all of which is kind of par for the course. You get wireless charging and
reverse wireless charging, you get super charge, 40
watt charging, we get to up to 70% of battery in just 30 minutes. So as usual for Huawei
it’s a spec sheet stuffer, all of these things are
great, but also as usual for Huawei, the software is a letdown. Beside being quite clunky
and clumsy in the design, I’ve come across a few
bugs, most notably with the Twitter application
which tends to turn into a jumble occasionally. Also the multitasking overview
which works pretty well most of the time, it’s
gesture based, which means you swipe up from the bottom to go home, swipe up and hold to multitasking, or swipe from the sides to get the equivalent of a back button. That works well most of the time, but then occasionally it
turns into a visual mess and I have to lock the
phone and then unlock it and just kind of try and
make my way out of that. Huawei EMUI software
has just a few too many little frustrations and
niggles, one of them is for example when I have the phone locked, I can’t swipe down the
quick settings in order to launch something like the flashlight, which I do quite often. Another reason and this is
a small thing, but it still bothers me, Huawei
doesn’t do the double tap or the power button to launch the camera which everybody else on Android does, and it’s a really handy physical shortcut. Huawei also has a bunch of Huawei services such as Huawei HiCare,
which tends to just nag me all the time and just
remind me about things which I don’t want to do,
so the setup with this phone involves a lot of wrestling
Huawei down and taming the software which you
shouldn’t really have to do. Unfortunately I feel like Huawei are still another year or two away
from doing something like Samsung did this year with One UI, which was just a major
overhaul, focusing on the user rather than the company trying
to promote its own services. So what don’t I like about this phone? Well one is the fingerprint
sensor is still embedded into the display, it’s an
upgrade over the Mate 20 Pro, it’s better, but it’s still
not good enough for me. I still prefer discrete
fingerprint sensors, they’re still so much faster,
it’s so much more reliable. This is slower than a
discrete fingerprint sensor, and not as accurate. The display on this, it’s a
1080p display, 6.47 inches. It’s a downgrade from the
Mate 20 Pro unfortunately. Any time you’re looking at a white screen, the curves on the side
tend to produce a shadow, it’s a bluish shadow,
which is a bit of spoiler, and comparing this to
the Samsung Galaxy s10, which is what the P30
Pro is going up against, this is an obvious downgrade,
which is unfortunate. It’s still a good screen, but it’s not as excellent as Samsung’s. The P30 Pro is a phone
that will be remember for the excellence and the
versatility of its cameras. It really is the best
zoom that we’ve ever had in a smartphone to date. This phone also has the
performance, for the most part setting aside the bugs,
and the industrial design to match any other flagship of 2019. For a full written review
of the Huawei P30 Pro, and all the sample photos
showing off its crazy zoom and night time photography
action, check out theverge.com and stay tuned to youtube.com/theverge.

Posts created 1380

84 thoughts on “The best camera phone you can’t buy in the U.S.

  1. Audio is toooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo…………………………….. baddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddd……….

  2. Desr Verge, this review is not upto the standard you all have set. There is way too much background noise to even pay attention to the review. Closed it in 1 mins.
    We need another review, a proper one.

  3. Doesn't matter how good the hardware is, Huewei cannot do software and that's an ABSOLUTE show stopper. Even with a skin it's absolutely terrible. I took this phone back just yesterday. This review REALLY understates just how bad it is. How do Huewei get it so wrong? Just put Android One on the phone with a customized camera app, job done. But they don't do that….they try to "fix" stuff that just isn't broken. Great phone let down by absolutely dreadful software. It's a 3/10 for me. Avoid.

  4. Swipe up from the left of the home screen to get your quick actions (torch, etc…) and double tap the volume down to launch the camera! A bit of research for this wouldn't go astray!

  5. Verge are based in America so the studios in America but he did the review in England so rather than renting a studio they just did it there simple maths logic

  6. Someone give Vlad a proper microphone. The sound of all his videos are the same, like he's always in "the field"..

  7. Vlad, I trust your analysis in the photo department but don't let The Verge do you like this. You deserve the same kind of high quality production as the other guys with their Samsung and Apple reviews. Tell them to pull out the big guns for your review as well.

  8. Here's some advice. If you want a camera, buy a camera. You want quality photos, buy a medium frame hasselblad 😉 no way in hell I'm rocking a Huawei phone

  9. All new phone today are good. American people will not get upset, if you get upset then buy a Samsung Galaxy s10 or something similar.

  10. You can still buy it in the US… Easily!! Go to gear best or aliexpress. Just make sure you're getting the global lte bands. Ours in particular b2, b4, are widest used

  11. Lmao man you don't even know what you are reviewing
    Double tap volume down to open camera and swipe up from home screen to access flash light and other stuff

  12. I am not "very very upset" that the US can't purchase this phone. It might have a great camera but your review basically said everything else is average or subpar. Additionally, I'm uncomfortable with my own government watching what I do on my phone let alone a foreign country. I see a lot of reviewers griping about not being able to solicit Huawei but most of you scath over the fact that they have been proven to observe your data and info.

  13. You can buy these on Amazon and they work on GSM networks in the US. Ya you can't buy it through the carrier but doesn't mean you can't buy it

  14. Just got the phone last week. To be honest as a camera is very disappointing.
    If you own a Pixel 2 or Pixel 3. Don't even think about it is rubbish. Bad color science, overexposed pictures with clipped highlights, bad dinamic range, digitally overstated pictures.
    Extremely poor skin tones colors.
    Only positive is the extremely good lowlight polerformance and the zoom. Everything else is very very disappointing.

  15. A lot of the software issues aren't really issues.. maybe spend 20 minutes in the settings and toggle or switch the settings to how you prefer it. Seems like the reviewer didn't make any effort to check out what can and can't be done

  16. Why the manufacturer are ao focus on camera like they will superb camera.. i care about super ai tool phone. As in helpling me thru machine learning with help of machine vision on camera.

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