These days, it seems like everyone and their dog is into photography. Instagram continues to grow from strength-to-strength and more people are sharing photographs online than ever before. With that in mind, it’s no surprise that smartphone manufacturers are putting better and better built-in cameras into both their mid-range and flagship devices. As far as smartphone cameras are concerned, Huawei’s P30 Pro is widely regarded as boasting one of the best cameras in a smart device. While the device is packed with impressive features you would usually come to expect from a flagship release, it’s that new camera system that really helps the Huawei P30 Pro stand out from the crowd.

But, even knowing all that, in the back of my mind, I still wasn’t tempted to invest in a Huawei P30 Pro. Truth be told, I stopped buying flagship smartphones a few years ago. I used to be one of those people who would obsess over getting the latest and best Android smartphone as soon as it landed in South Africa. But then mid-range phones got more and more advanced and before I knew it, I could no longer justify paying a premium price for slightly better features. It just didn’t seem worth it to me. But then the Huawei P30 Pro landed on my desk…

After a few weeks of playing around with the device, it’s clear that Huawei P30 Pro lives up to the hype. Here’s why I’m ready to splurge a month’s rent on a cellphone again:

It has the best smartphone camera I have ever used:

Huawei P30 Pro

If I’m being honest, I wish I had never reviewed this phone. Because then I could live my life blissfully ignorant to the revelation that is the Huawei P30 Pro. I also wouldn’t be a couple of thousand Rand poorer. Of course, as a lifestyle journalist, the feature that most appeals to me with the P30 Pro is the built-in Leica quad-camera. Featuring a seriously powerful digital zoom, superb low-light performance, and 4 cameras, Huawei has outdone itself with the P30 Pro.

The 40-megapixel wide-angle and 20-megapixel ultra-wide-angle cameras are joined by a brand new 8-megapixel telephoto camera that uses a prism to direct light sideways into the body of the phone for a 5x optical zoom lens. The fourth camera is a 3D depth-sensing system called a time of flight (ToF) camera used for portrait effects and other fun bits.

Huawei P30 Pro

Unedited images shot with P30 Pro, in low-light at a restaurant review.

When it comes to low-light photography, the P30 Pro is a beast. The P30 Pro features a new camera sensor system that ditches green for yellow pixels, thereby dramatically improving light absorption. I took the device to shoot a night-time restaurant launch and was shocked at how good the images were and easy the camera was to use. While fancy camera features can often take a little getting used to, with the P30 Pro you can point the camera at almost anything and get a good image thanks to some great camera AI. It can all but turn night into day, with illuminating full detail and colour in scenes where most cameras struggle.

But the wildly impressive low-light performance isn’t the P30 Pro’s only party trick, the camera performs like a boss no matter what you’re photographing. You can point it at a stick and get the best picture of stick you could have ever imagined.

Huawei P30 Pro

Unedited images shot with P30 Pro, indoors during daylight hours.

It’s packed with (actual) usual features:

The P30 Pro isn’t just a smartphone camera than happens to make calls and browse the internet, it’s also an incredibly device packed with features you’ll most definitely use and come to love. The P30 Pro offers excellent battery life, especially for such a high-performance phone. While I was testing it, the battery easily carried me through two days of moderate use without me getting energy anxious. This, coupled with fast-wired and fast-wireless charging, made the P30 Pro a dream to have in my pocket. You can get an almost full charge in just 30-minutes, making it a winner for people who are always on the go. The device also offers reverse wireless charging, but unless you convince all your mates to invest in a P30 Pro, that feature seems a bit gimmicky to me at this stage.

Snapping, editing, and viewing photographs is a real pleasure on the P30 Pro’s 6.47-inch OLED display, which also makes watching videos, and browsing the internet a thing of beauty. Despite the phone’s huge screen, the P30 Pro is still fairly manageable thanks to its narrow width. The device comes packed with 8GB of RAM, making sure every task you attempt to perform carries out smoothly, and on-board storage of 128 or 512 GB with a nano memory card slot if you run out of space. A must-have for me these days is a fingerprint scanner and while some people used to scanners on the back of their devices will take a moment to get used to it, the P30 Pro’s in-screen fingerprint sensor is quick and easy-to-use. There’s also face unlock and the usual touch screen code unlock for those who can’t be bothered with a fingerprint unlock system.

Huawei P30 Pro

Ticking all the boxes

There are, of course, a few gimmicky features about the device that bother me. There’s no earpiece speaker. Instead, the whole screen vibrates to produce your call audio, which is indistinguishable from a regular speaker and seems like an unnecessary addition to save the tiniest of screen-space. Small for some but the P30 Pro is also missing an audio jack – call me old school, but I would prefer if my smartphone choice didn’t force me to buy wireless earbud headphones.

Other than a few small irritations, the P30 Pro ticked all the boxes for me. Huawei’s P30 Pro has me excited about the flagship smartphones again. While photography is the Huawei P30 Pro’s forte, it still excels at everything that you’d need from a modern smartphone — design, screen, performance and gaming, even battery life. It may not be without its faults, but those are much easier to forgive when you have that many strengths.

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