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Apr 05

Huawei P30 Series Rewrite The Rules of Smartphone Photography
Huawei’s P30 Series Rewrite The Rules of Smartphone Photography

On March 26th in the Paris Convention Centre, Huawei, the world’s largest networking equipment maker promised to Rewrite The Rules in smartphone photography, with their new flagship P30 series. The worldwide live unveiling began with remarks from Executive Vice President of Consumer Equipment at Orange, a leading wireless carrier in France. He enjoys working with Huawei because of their openness and technological resources, which he can in turn offer to Orange’s customers. Finally, Huawei had one more stylish thing to introduce. They partnered with Luxury Eyewear Company Gentle Monster.

Disclosure: Huawei sponsored my travel to cover the event. I was provided a loaner review device. I have not been compensated for the coverage. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Huawei P30 Series Hands-on in Paris.

Richard Yu, CEO, Huawei Consumer Business Group, greeted and welcomed everyone to Paris. He began the P30 series launch by discussing Huawei’s Leading Innovation mantra for a Better Connected Life. This includes Photography, A.I., Computing, Connectivity, Battery & Charging, and Interaction.

The technology company is continually working towards DSLR-like photography in a smartphone. The P30 series comes with Master A.I. for automatic scene selection, A.I. S for stabilization correction, A.I. HDR+, and machine learning for photocomposition.

They want to build a better community together by creating A.I. technology like StorySign. It is a free app that reads selected children’s books and translates them into sign language. It simply helps hearing-impaired children to read.

There are 19 million children worldwide that are visually impaired. 70-90% are preventable and curable. Track A.I. technology can be used on the P30 to help improve the screening process. Even in children that cannot communicate, Track A.I. evaluates how their eyes work and can properly diagnose them faster.

Huawei P9 Smartphone Unboxing

Mr. Yu wants the P series to have pro level photography and videography hardware. Throughout the recent past of the P series, such as the P9, Huawei introduced a rear dual-camera design and a partnership with Leica, who co-engineered the technology. Then, the P10 added the world’s fastest Leica selfie camera for artistic portraits. Most recently, the P20 was the world’s first Leica triple camera for master photography.

Huawei Mate 20 Pro Unboxing

During his presentation, he revealed the P30 in Amber Sunrise and P30 Pro in Breathing Crystal. The three rear cameras on the P30 and four rear cameras on the P30 Pro are arranged vertically, unlike the Mate 20 Pro’s square camera layout. But there is so much more than meets the eye to these new Android next generation smartphones.

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Hands on ???? with Huawei’s P30 Pro ???? in Aurora ????, a captivating color shift finish. - Screen: 6.47" 1080 x 2340 Curved OLED - Android v9.0 (Pie), EMUI 9.1 - Octa core (2.6 GHz, Dual core, Cortex A76 + 1.92 GHz, Dual core, Cortex A76 + 1.8 GHz, Quad core, Cortex A55) CPU + Dual NPU - 8 GB of RAM - Battery ???? is 4200 mAh at 40W SuperCharge & 15W Wireless Charging - Rear Cameras 40MP + 20MP + 8MP with 5x Optical Zoom + ToF time-of-flight camera - 32MP Front facing camera - Fingerprint optical sensor is embedded in the screen & is 30% faster - Graphics CPU: Mali-G76 MP10 - Storage is 128 GB, 256 GB or 512GB - 8.4 mm slim DxOMark Score: Photo score of 119 and a video score of 97, they combine in an overall score of 112. ad

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Rewrite the rules of photography with the Huawei P30 series, which was accomplished by an exquisite design, rule-breaking photography and powerful videography with a SuperSpectrum Sensor, a SuperZoom Lens, and ultimate performance in a smartphone.

For the design aspects of the P30 series, they have made a slightly curved 3D glass front, a symmetric ultra small notch for maximum viewing area, and its beauty relates to nature. The colors offered are not solid, but are now ombre pearlescent. Ombre is a color gradient shift from a lighter color to a darker one.

The P30 and P30 Pro have ultra narrow bezels. Compared to the bezels on the iPhone XS 5.50mm and iPhone XS Max 4.06mm to a maximum of 4.26mm, the Huawei P30 has 3.17mm to a maximum of 3.68mm and the P30 Pro 2.20mm to a maximum of 3.36mm bezels.

What do these numbers mean? The new P30 series offers a compact design for an easier to hold smartphone. This is important as consumers use their phones for more hours per day than their computers. The 3D curvature results in an easier to grip smartphone. It is clear that the company wanted to make the P30 series taller, not wider, so that it fits conveniently in the palm of the hand.

Making a smartphone longer with smaller bezels gave them a unique design opportunity to engineer a bigger battery in a lighter frame. The P30 weights 165g with a 3650 mAh battery and the P30 Pro weighs 192g with a 4200 mAh battery. The larger phone batteries are important and come into play with other design aspects of the devices.

Super slim bezels added another engineering opportunity with the P30 series. Its earpiece-less design required the addition of a magnetically levitated screen. The acoustic display technology emits sound by vibrating the screen. The screen is also home to a new generation of in-screen fingerprint scanning. Huawei claims an unlock speed up to 30% faster over the P20.

The P30 features consist of a 6.1” FHD+ (2340 x 1080) OLED, 19.5:9 DCI-P3 HDR display, with a high contrast ratio and lower power consumption. OLED screens this nice make colors pop without them looking unnatural. The P30 Pro features are 6.47” FHD+ (2340 x 1080), a curved OLED at 19.5:9 DCI-P3 HDR display, a high contrast ratio, and low power consumption.

During a briefing after the unveiling, a question was asked why Huawei has not yet introduced a 4K screen in their flagship devices. Their answer included multiple reasons like price, engineering requirements for necessary underlying technologies, panel power requirements, sourcing and availability. This is a company that shipped over 200 million smartphones in 2018.

The graphics processor in the P30 series should be able to handle a 4K screen. However, under high loads, a significant amount of heat can be produced with ultra high-resolution screens, which become uncomfortable to hold. I have come to find this when testing other flagship phones, along with faster battery drain.

The P30 Pro is IP68 rated and the P30 is IP53 rated for water and dust resistance. These ratings relate to how much they are protected from the elements. Going further into the technological design, 9 layers of nano optical color finishing was used in each P30. Each layer is an incredible thickness of only 1/100 of a piece of paper.

One of the colors is sky-blue Breathing Crystal. The salt lakes inspired the color design of the P30 series. I have seen the salt lakes in Utah, from sunrise to sunset. The ombre color gradient was a great decision for each color offered. Taking a chance beyond a solid color helps Huawei to stand out at this level and price range.

Rule breaking smartphone photography includes night, range, width, depth, and pro video capabilities beyond the range of human vision.

Entering a new chapter of mobile photography with the P30 includes a SuperSensing 40MP Leica Triple Camera. The top camera in line has an 8MP 3X telephoto lens (80mm) f2.4, its middle camera is 16MP ultra wide-angle lens (17mm) f2.2, and finally the 40MP wide-angle lens is (27mm) f1.8. Below the cameras is an LED flash, color temperature & flicker sensors, laser transmitter, and a laser receiver. Optical image stabilization OIS is included with this model.

Want more? The P30 Pro has the SuperSensing 40MP Leica Quad Camera System. The top camera in line has a 20MP ultra wide lens (16mm) f2.2, 40MP wide-angle lens (27mm) f1.6, and a 8MP 5X telephoto lens periscope (125mm) f3.4. The fourth camera and ToF depth-sensing sensor is to the right and below the LED flash, color temperature & flicker sensors.

The SuperSensing 40MP camera has the world’s first RYYB sensor. Huawei is redefining digital sensor tenets that were set 40+ years ago. Going from a RGGB to a RYYB Huawei SuperSpectrum Sensor takes in a whopping 40% more light. How it does this is that the yellow filter in the sensor can take in both green and red light. An ultra sophisticated set of ISP algorithms is required for image processing with this type of sensor.

Comparing other sensors available from top smartphones, the P30 Pro’s 40MP RYYB is 1/1.7”, P30’s 40MP RYYB is 1/1.7”, Galaxy S10 Plus’s 12MP RGGB 1/2.55”, and the iPhone XS Max’s 12MP RGGB 1/2.55”. Huawei’s industry leading sensor size is 125% larger than the iPhone XS Max and Galaxy S10 Plus.

Upgrading from an f1.8 of the P20 Pro to an f1.6 of the P30 Pro increased the light intake by 25%. Going even further, Huawei added dual OIS stabilization on the main and telephone lenses. These features make low light performance even better for the P30 series.

The highest light sensitivity in the P30 and P30 Pro is professional grade at 204800 ISO and 409600 ISO respectively. In comparison, the Canon 5D Mark IV has a 102400 ISO and Huawei’s own P20 Pro is 102400 ISO. The Galaxy S10 Plus and iPhone XS Max both only offer less than 6400 ISO.

Full frame camera sensors are always preferred, however Huawei is doing amazing things with their smaller versions. Extreme low light photography at 1 lux of light with the P30 Pro is incredible.

I tried the low light performance of the P30 Pro by taking night shots with varying lighting conditions on the Las Vegas Strip and at home. With all lights off and windows closed, the smartphone was able to correctly render a backlit LCD screen on an alarm clock across the room.

Long exposure photos can create some amazing effects and make it possible to see the Galaxy at night. Huawei’s industry leading A.I. S. can capture those silky water photos without a tripod. These can be made with the P30 Pro in about 3.3 seconds.

A.I. HDR+ uses machine learning of photocomposition to offer pro color and exposure adjustments. Taking photos of people against the light at sunset used to over expose the sunlight, while underexposing the subject. With this new technology the P30’s sensor and A.I. HDR+ can create properly lit subjects in extreme lighting conditions while balancing the background exposure. I tried A.I. HDR+ many times, while touring around Paris, during the day. It properly recognized the scene each time and took noticeably better photo than my iPhone.

Zooming in on subjects with a smartphone used to enable a digital interpretation that made photos look blocky and gray. Huawei’s P30 has 3x optical zoom combined with a highly advanced digital zoom to offer 30x and the hybrid zoom comes in at 5x.

For the P30 Pro, the optical zoom is 5x, its hybrid zoom is 5x and its combined digital zoom is an incredible 50x in a slim-line device design. It has the SuperZoom lens technology with a super wide focal range of 16mm to 1343mm. That is combined with advanced two dimensions multi-lens OIS. That means the prism and lenses are stabilized inside of the periscope.

Does Huawei’s digital zoom look blocky and gray? No, it looks quite good with a minuscule amount of artifacts.

Testing the P30 Pro in real life situations in my home city, the 5x zoom is too much. I have to pull it back to about 2.75x to 3x to frame hotels on the Las Vegas Strip. The most impressive tests Huawei showed for low light performance and zoom are photos of the Milky Way and the Moon without a tripod. I will be trying these scenarios soon.

What makes the P30 Pro amazing is its ToF or Time of Flight camera that captures depth information for next level photos. It produces multi-level pro-bokeh effects. Pro-bokeh portrait shots produced by this phone show sharp hair strand details, where the S10 Plus and iPhone XS Max show blurred hair strands.

The ToF camera can also be used as a sensor for a new 3D modeling experience. It supports Google ARCore for better accuracy and can calculate an object’s volume.

The iPhone’s camera can calculate the length of an object. Huawei’s P30 Pro can calculate the volume of a box, as was shown at the unveiling.

Its 16mm ultra wide-angle lens took spectacular shots and made me a believer at the Palace of Versailles and Arc de Triomphe. I was able to capture all of the buildings and gardens at Versailles in one shot. The wide-angle lens fit the entire Arc de Triomphe in one shot with the P30 Pro. My iPhone camera was not able to do that at either location.

Selfies are important and Huawei engineers are listening. Each P30 series smartphone includes a 32MP front facing camera with A.I. HDR+ support. This is a big upgrade from the P20 Pro’s 24MP selfie camera.

Video is extremely important for what I do. Video recording and sharing is on the rise with YouTube and other social media platforms like Instagram. The pain points for videography on smartphones are low light, stabilization, and range. Huawei’s P30 SuperSpectrum sensor can pickup subjects in a scene even when they are dimly lit by candlelight. The other top flagship phones in the demo could not pickup the subjects after the candlelight went out. The SuperSpectrum RYYB sensor really can take in 40% more light.

The OIS and Huawei A.I. S. technologies makes for recording skiing video look like it was captured with a popular action camera. Also introduced was a dual-view video mode, which incorporates a wide-angle and close up views simultaneously. Imagine recording video of a sporting event with the entire field and the close up of a player.

Smartphone DxOMark scores are the industry standard and Huawei’s scores the highest out of the four phones it displayed. The P30 Pro achieved an overall score of 112 with a photo score of 119 and a video score of 97. In comparison, the P20 Pro received an overall score of 109, the Mate 20 Pro 109, and the Galaxy S10 Plus 109.

Performance of any smartphone is key for video and photo editing, gaming, and consuming streaming video. The P30 Pro has received speed bumps for CPU at 75% higher than the P20 Pro, 46% for GPU, and a whopping 226% increase in NPU performance over the last generation of P series devices.

They did not stop there to increase performance. The Huawei Extendable Read-Only File System or EROFS is 20%+ faster in random read speed. This is in comparison to the EXT4 file system. Advanced compression algorithms make this possible, which also saves 2GB in ROM space.

Launching apps can take up valuable time, which I notice every time I use my iPhone. Huawei’s P30 Pro is 1100+ms faster than the iPhone XS Max based upon tests with the top 15 apps such as WhatsApp, Instagram, Messenger, Snapchat, YouTube, Waze, and Facebook. Imagine saving more than a second when launching these apps on a P30 Pro many times a day.

Both fortunately and unfortunately, the Huawei P30 series has dual unlocked SIM card support. Unfortunately, this means that a standard microSD card will not fit. Huawei makes a Nano memory card in multiple storage sizes. Fortunately, both SIM slots offer VoLTE calls and 4G data speeds. I asked Huawei if they have licensed the Nano memory design to other makers and they have not yet.

Smartphone battery life helps to get through the day when streaming video and listening to streaming music. The P30 comes with a 3650 mAh battery and the P30 Pro has a 4200 mAh battery. These stats represent a 27% improvement from the P20 Pro, 11% longer lasting than the Galaxy S10 Plus and 37% longer than the iPhone XS Max.

Recent tests with multiple iOS versions, on the same iPhone, with brand new internal batteries, result in lower battery life in newer iOS versions with each following update. While this could be the start of a new battery gate, it makes sense. New battery intensive features are added to each iOS update, while Apple releases newer iPhone models each year with hardware that uses less energy.

Charging these amazing mobile devices is as important as their battery size. The P30 Pro and P30 power up with Super Fast 40W SuperCharge. This is 440% faster than the iPhone XS Max and in 30 minutes, a P30 can be charged to 70%. The SuperCharge hardware has been evaluated and certified by TUV.

Wireless charging has been evolving over the last three years and with the P30 series, Huawei has engineered 15W wireless quick charge. This is 140% faster than the iPhone XS Max’s standard wired charge and 70% faster when charging the iPhone XS Max wirelessly. Wireless reverse charging can power up other devices like wireless headphones, toothbrushes, gaming mice, and more. The company has upgraded their EMUI software too.

Huawei did a nice job with EMUI 9.1 by keeping the interface from Android 9 minimally changed. They have optimized it for speed and it does not slow down the P30 Pro. It offers gestures to control apps out of the box or it can be customized to the old control method, with the three Android control widgets.

There are three buttons on the one side of the P30 Pro. Pressing the power button for one second will conveniently launch the Google Assistant. Most importantly, Huawei’s Share OneHop technology has been integrated for use with their new MateBooks and MateBook X Pro. A single tap shares photos, videos, clipboard data and Microsoft documents. RFID technology evolves with the P30 series.

An intelligent digital car key can conveniently unlock, lock, and start your car with the P30 series. It includes CC and EVMCo security authentication, which currently works with seven Audi car models, in over 20+ countries, with more to come.

One of my favorite announcements during the presentation was their 12000 mAh 40W SuperCharge power bank. It provides a bi-directional 40W of power; high- grade lithium-ion polymer cells, same as the P20 Pro, and is the world’s first power bank safety certified by TUV. I like that it can charge other gadgets like a MacBook Pro, Nintendo Switch, and the iPhone XS Max.

Wireless headphones are popular among mobile phone users. Take a look around when traveling on a bus or an airplane next time. Huawei has the highest growth YoY in wearables and is third in overall worldwide market share, according to Mr. Yu.

Huawei is tapping into this market once again with the FreeLace wireless headphones. It can plug into a smartphone via USB-C for immediate pairing and charging. They offer 4 hours of playback after five minutes of charging and 18 hours of continuous playback when fully charged. I like their interesting design and am excited to test them.

FreeBuds Lite from Huawei are true wireless earphones with an in-ear stereo sound design, 12 hours of battery life with battery case, and an IPX4 rating for water and dust resistance. The FreeLace come in four colors and the FreeBuds Lite come in two colors.

Wearable announcements also included Huawei’s Watch GT. The newest models have a 46mm size, and come in a new titanium grey color. To complete the new look and feature set, a new bezel pattern color has been added along with two weeks of battery life. For those looking for something smaller, the newest Watch GT elegant edition comes in a 42mm size. The ceramic colors include white and black and one week battery life. The smaller watches come with comfortable and reliable fluoroelastomer, synthetic rubber straps. These watches run a proprietary Huawei OS so do not expect a large number of apps. However, they do have a watch face market to download third party designs.

One more stylish thing from Huawei was smart eyewear. They have partnered with Gentle Monster to produce multiple different pairs. The smart eyewear has dual microphones with beam forming and A.I. noise reducing technology, speakers, and they connect wirelessly. Mr. Yu said they are easier to find than totally wireless earbuds in a pocket and provide some privacy when listening to voicemail in a busy space. I definitely cannot wait to try them.

Paris provided a perfect backdrop to launch a new line of smartphones. The rich history and fashion forward city is home to innovation and design. This was no more evident than at Eureka Park during CES and Paris Fashion Week.

Eureka Park is where startups from around the world showcase their ideas and consumer electronics. I saw first hand how many of those most innovative startups were from France. The designs of the gadgets are as important as their functionality.

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Hands on ???? with Huawei’s P30 Pro ???? in Amber Sunrise ????, probably their most popular color. - Screen: 6.47" 1080 x 2340 Curved OLED - Android v9.0 (Pie) - Octa core (2.6 GHz, Dual core, Cortex A76 + 1.92 GHz, Dual core, Cortex A76 + 1.8 GHz, Quad core, Cortex A55) CPU + Dual NPU - 8 GB of RAM - Battery ???? is 4200 mAh at 40W SuperCharge & 15W Wireless Charging - Rear Cameras 40MP + 20MP + 8MP with 5x Optical Zoom + ToF time-of-flight camera - 32MP Front facing camera - Fingerprint sensor is embedded in the screen & is 30% faster - Graphics CPU: Mali-G76 MP10 - Storage is 128 GB, 256 GB or 512GB - 8.4 mm slim DxOMark Score: Photo score of 119 and a video score of 97, which combines in an overall score of 112. ad

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2019 is the year that the features people want most in a smartphone will have been engineered. While other companies spend billions and years researching and developing, like Huawei does, they also need to come to market with captivating technologies. Likely, those most requested features would have already been included in a Huawei smartphone, such as the P30 Pro. It was an exciting event in Paris with many WOWs, from Huawei.

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