Should you buy the Huawei P30 Pro in the U.S.?

Best answer: Absolutely! The P30 Pro is a fantastic phone that pushes the boundaries for mobile photography. I'm not exaggerating when I say that it is the best camera phone I used this year, and I'm coming from the Mate 20 Pro and S10+. The 5x optical zoom is amazing, and the phone takes better photos than the Pixel 3 in low-light conditions.

The camera champion: Huawei P30 Pro ($899 at B&H)

A new standard for mobile photography

Photography has been a core area of focus for Huawei over the last three years, and the Chinese brand pioneered several breakthroughs in this space. With the P30 Pro, Huawei is offering a quad camera setup at the back, with an all-new 40MP SuperSpectrum primary sensor joined by a 20MP wide-angle lens and 8MP periscope lens that has 5x optical zoom and 10x hybrid zoom. There's also a time-of-flight camera that adds depth information.

Huawei was able to integrate a 5x optical zoom lens in a phone chassis by folding the optics — the lens itself lives inside the chassis, and a mirror reflects incoming light onto the sensor at a 90-degree angle.

Google has to come up with something truly spectacular to match Huawei this year.

With the sensor arranged in such a fashion, Huawei is offering 10x hybrid zoom, and digital zoom all the way up to 50x. The camera has four shooting modes in auto: wide, 1x, 5x, and 10x, and you can engage digital zoom by manually zooming into a subject from the viewfinder.

Aside from the new hardware, Huawei has also introduced a new RYYB color filter in the P30 Pro, switching out the RGB array that has been the standard in photography for over 40 years. Huawei says the RYYB array allows 30% more light to pass through, with the filter itself taking up a smaller size than conventional Bayer filters.

The switch to RYYB combined with a new f/1.6 lens — which has 10% more light intake — allows the P30 Pro to dominate when it comes to low-light photography. I've used the P30 Pro for just over a week now, and in that time it has managed to take some truly fantastic low-light shots, beating out the Pixel 3 XL every single time. What's more incredulous is that Huawei's default auto mode fared better than the Pixel's Night Sight, and I didn't have to use the dedicated night mode on the P30 Pro thus far.

Huawei has managed to change the dynamic for mobile photography with the P30 Pro, and Google has to come up with something truly spectacular to match what Huawei is doing in this space.

Performance worthy of a flagship

Should you import the Huawei P30 Pro to the U.S.?

In addition to a fantastic camera, the P30 Pro has robust internals that make it one of the fastest phones around. The Kirin 980 isn't brand new as we've already seen in on the Mate 20 Pro and the Honor View 20, but it is just as capable as the Snapdragon 855. The P30 Pro also comes with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, and there's IP68 dust and water resistance.

The screen up front is a 6.47-inch FHD+ OLED panel, and while it isn't quite as good as Samsung's AMOLED displays, it is perfectly serviceable. There's a tiny dewdrop notch at the top for the front camera, and Huawei is relying on bone conduction tech for calls, with the screen essentially acting as an earpiece.

There are enough features here to rival the Galaxy S10+.

Huawei is selling the P30 Pro in gorgeous new color options, but in the U.S. you're limited to Aurora, Brathing Crystal, or Black variants. I prefer the latter as it has a cool gradient pattern that shifts from various shades of blue as light reflects off its surface.

Huawei has also added a network of tubes underneath the back of the device to effectively dissipate the heat from the core components, allowing the P30 Pro to run at higher frequencies for longer. That makes a lot of difference when playing visually intensive games, and I was able to play PUBG for hours on end on the device without it getting too hot.

The P30 Pro has a 4200mAh battery that easily manages to last over a day and a half consistently. When you do need to top it up, Huawei's 40W SuperCharge tech ensures your phone charges up from flat to 100% in just over an hour. The 40W charger is bundled in the box.

The P30 Pro also has 15W wireless charging, and Huawei was the first to roll out reverse wireless charging with the Mate 20 Pro last year. The P30 Pro also gets the feature, allowing the phone to charge other devices just by placing them on the back. Overall, the P30 Pro is one of the most feature-rich phones you can get your hands on, and there really isn't a whole lot it misses out on.

Works great on global GSM networks

Although the P30 Pro isn't officially sold in the U.S., the global version has LTE bands that allow it to work on most GSM carriers around the world. It has LTE bands 1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9/12/17/18/19/20/26/28/32/34/38/39/40, and if you're interested in picking up the phone in the U.S., know that it will work on AT&T and T-Mobile but not Verizon or Sprint.

Harish Jonnalagadda
Senior Editor - Asia

Harish Jonnalagadda is Android Central's Senior Editor of Asia. In his current role, he oversees the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, networking products, and AV gear. He has been testing phones for over a decade, and has extensive experience in mobile hardware and the global semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.