Huawei Mate 30 Pro Review – Hands on With Huawei’s Crown Jewel

09/25/2019     Author: Billy Gray

The day is finally upon us and Huawei’s Mate 30 Pro has hit the market. We take a look at the phone and gather whether it’s worth buying without Google services.


Huawei has been officially suspended from the Google Play Store thanks to an executive order passed by President Trump in May of this year. That means that the Chinese company’s smartphones will no longer be able to download any apps from Google or use any of their services like Google Maps, Gmail, or Google Drive.


For many people, that will make the Huawei Mate 30 Pro something to look at but not touch. It’s obvious that not having access to essential Google services is going to dampen the release of this phone. That’s a shame, because it’s one of the best smartphones we’ve ever seen.

A monster smartphone

The Mate 30 Pro can only be described as a serious piece of kit. On paper it can easily beat most of its rivals, and the four-lens rear camera setup will be enough to please even the most picking mobile photographer.

The phone’s design is stunning. It instantly feels like a premium handset, with a curved screen that wraps around the edges of the device in a ‘waterfall’ fashion, and a stunning AMOLED screen that makes everything look incredible.

The rear of the device has a glass finish, although there is also a leather version of the phone which can be purchased for a bit extra called the Porsche edition. Whichever Mate 30 Pro you look at, this is clearly a top-of-the-range smartphone and nothing less.

Four-lens camera

The rear of the device is sporting a meaty four-lens camera setup with a 40MP main lens supported by a 40MP ultra-wide angle lens, an 8MP telephoto lens and a 3D depth sensor. All of this makes for one of the best camera setups on the market right now – at least on paper.

We’ve only managed to have a quick play with the camera on the Mate 30 Pro, but it looks stunning so far and if the Huawei P30 Pro camera is anything to go by then it’ll likely be the best on the market right now (at least, until the Google Pixel 4 hits the shelves).

On the front of the device sits a 32MP selfie camera – yes 32MP! That’s more than we’ve ever seen on any device before and it means you’ll be able to look great in all your vanity shots as well as when you’re video calling your family.

In terms of camera strength, the Huawei Mate 30 Pro is absolutely on form. The Chinese smartphone manufacturer knows what customers want right now and it’s not shying away from giving it to them.

What’s on the inside?

Well, what isn’t? The Mate 30 Pro isn’t just a pretty face, that’s for sure. The smartphone comes with 8GB of RAM and 256GB internal storage – enough to keep all the data you could possibly need in a world where most stuff is moving to cloud anyway.


The phone is also rocking a HiSilicon Kirin 990 chipset from Huawei, which is enough to match up to the Exynos and Snapdragon chipsets being used by their rivals, although it likely won’t stand up to the A13 Bionic being used by Apple – which is considered to be the fastest chipset in the world right now.

Still, the Huawei Mate 30 Pro is more than able to handle any intense task that you throw at it. It’s basically a full-blown workhorse.

The default version of the Mate 30 Pro comes with 4G, although, if you shell out around an extra $100, you’ll have 5G compatibility – something which will be of great use in the coming months and years as the new generation of mobile internet is rolled out across the world.

All Huawei and no Google makes Jack a dull boy?

There really isn’t any two ways about it: The Mate 30 Pro is one of the best smartphones that you can buy right now – possibly even the best, although we’d need to play around with it for a while longer to confirm that. The Chinese firm have absolutely outdone themselves this time around. BUT…


Without access to essential Google services like Gmail, Google Maps, and of course, the Play Store and all the apps that come with it, you’ll have to make do with Huawei’s alternatives. For the busy working Westerner, this likely won’t do. You’d have to be a real anti-Google consumer to consider buying this phone outside of China (where Google already doesn’t really exist).

Sure, you’ll be able to use Huawei’s app store, and you’ll probably be able to find most of what you need on there – especially as developers start to realize that they’ll be losing out on Huawei’s customers if they don’t use it – but it won’t be as comprehensive.

Will the Google suspension last?

It’s obvious that the Huawei ban is part of a wider US-China trade war and to be honest, it looks increasingly like the main motivation for Trump administration was to put a spanner in Huawei’s global sales so that they wouldn’t be competing with US-based tech giant Apple.


Huawei overtook Apple as the world’s second biggest supplier of smartphones behind Samsung right before the US ban on Huawei products – and with slowing global sales for Apple and Huawei’s rise in Europe, it doesn’t look like that trend was going to slow down any time soon.

It could well be that the move was predicated on protecting the market share of Apple, which was, and technically still is, under massive threat from the emergence of Chinese smartphone manufacturers who offer higher specs at a cheaper price.

It’s unlikely that the ban will last forever. If a democrat is elected into the White House in 2020, then it’s likely that it’ll be overturned pretty soon and then Huawei can continue business as usual with Google and the Play Store.

The verdict

Overall, it’s quite hard to recommend that you buy a phone that won’t allow you to use many of the essential services that you rely on day-to-day. If you don’t use Google services much, then you will be happy to use the Mate 30 Pro. It’s an incredible piece of hardware – it just doesn’t have the software access to complete it right now. Hopefully that pesky ban gets lifted soon!

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