What you need to know
- There are two new colors for the Huawei P30 Pro, each with a Pixel-style two-tone finish on the back.
- The new colors coincide with the P30 Pro's EMUI 10 software update, based on Android 10.
- We're still expecting the new Mate 30 series from Huawei in late September.
One the best Android phones of the moment is getting a big update — both on the outside and the inside. Today at IFA 2019, Huawei has taken the wraps off what it's calling the "new" Huawei P30 Pro. It comes in two new colors, and is being announced at the Berlin-based trade show today alongside Huawei's very latest Android software.
The two new color options, Mystic Blue and Misty Lavender, feature Google Pixel-style two-tone finishes in a striking departure from the existing P30 Pro colors. The area up top around the camera module has a glossy polished finish; down below that's contrasted with a brushed, matte texture to the glass panel. As a result, the in-hand feel is less slippery, and also far less prone to getting gunked up with finger grease. What's more, the new colors are a bit more understated than the ostentatious "Breathing Crystal" P30 variant featuring in Huawei's ads for the phone, which should make it a good fit if you want a less flashy-looking handset.
Specs for the two "new P30 Pro" models I played with in Berlin lined up with the base model P30 Pro — 8GB of RAM + 128GB of storage, along with a familiar spec sheet built around the Kirin 980 chipset. So it may be a new P30 Pro in terms of the design and the branding, but it's the same on the inside.
Same specs on the inside; new Pixel-like finish on the outside.
Also new on these phones is Huawei's EMUI 10 software, based on the freshly minted Android 10. This update will be landing on all P30s in due course, but it's being showcased today on these new colors. (It's also significant, and highly unusual, that Huawei's promotional branding for the "new" P30 here at IFA 2019 gives Android 10 a major name-drop.)
EMUI 10 has advanced quite a bit since we got our first sneaky peek at it back in June. Huawei's latest software takes all the features you'd expect from the new version of Android, like new location and privacy improvements, and blends them with Huawei's refreshed UI. The most immediate visual change is the new notification shade, which features new quick settings and a blurred background alongside Pixel-style circular controls.
Sprinklings of visual changes are also found in the launcher, where you can now swipe up to see the app drawer, and the Weather widgets and apps, which have been re-tooled with new icons. Same too with Huawei's own apps, which introduce subtle plastel colors and bolder title fonts. And meanwhile, big circular icons with more vibrant colors dominate other areas of the system UI, like the Settings app and the aforementioned quick settings deck.
Huawei's Android 10-based software is almost ready to go.
Huawei's own gesture navigation system from EMUI 9 returns, with improved physics and animations. This is incredibly similar to the gesture nav Google's built into stock Android 10, albeit without the status bar down below. Functionally, it's identical to what P30 Pro owners will be familiar with, and of course Android's legacy three-button controls continue to be supported.
Part of the jump to Android 10 involves a system-wide Dark Theme, and while Huawei already had this option for its phones on EMUI 9, there's a big change: The new darker hues can now be applied not just to apps designed for Android 10, but forced upon older apps too. That's a big deal for fans of the darker aesthetic, as well as anyone looking to save power through use of true OLED blacks in the user interface.
Finally, Huawei's Leica-themed camera app has gone through a major overhaul in EMUI 10. As well as most of the chrome being tweaked and relocated for a flatter look, there's a new wheel of filters that lets you choose between the three Lieca presets — normal, vivid and smooth — along with a large selection of original creations.
EMUI 10 will be released in beta form in the next few days, with a public launch expected somewhere around the time the new Mate 30 launches. And while Huawei's next flagship will surely bring some further changes to what we see here, it's a good primer for what to expect in this front.
The P30 Pro is one of the best phones you'll find today, and that's in large part because of its cameras. The 40MP camera takes great photos in its own right, but you also get an 8MP shooter that delivers 5x zoom, and a 20MP wide-angle lens. Combine that with the best hardware available today and it's easy to see why the device is an easy recommendation.
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