Did you ever find yourself at the end of a phone contract with a device that had been through the wars, was cracked or not working right and you were just counting the days until you could use a phone camera correctly or have a phone that didn’t require you to press the unlock button 46 times just to get the chance to the home screen as it was flickering to bejaysus and spent all night flashing like a possessed flashlight?
That happened to my most recent phone – the Samsung S8, for about six months. So I was really keen to get a new device that didn’t involve this time-wasting rigamarole.
Enter the Huawei P30 Pro, one of the most-lauded smartphones of the year (A P30 Pro phone was provided for use for this review feature by Huawei). Like with every exalted new handset that arrives with its marketing chest beating, it talks a big game but really, apart from all the tech spec stuff, you want to know, a) is the camera any good? b) does the battery last a day of heavy use? c) does it make a call d) does it have loads of space included?
Firstly, for all of those wondering how you pronounce Huawei it’s “Wah-Way” so i just saved you 4 months of mispronunciation.
Secondly, you may have heard a lot about the Chinese manufacturer of late, because the US is threatened by Huawei’s growing influence on the global mobile communications market (the company is a leading provider of 5G ) and an executive order signed by President Trump lead to Google banning the company from using its Android OS in future. Huawei have said they will replace the OS with their own version soon but that’s still a while away yet and Google and Facebook apps are currently still operational as is the Play Store and the various Google apps like Photos, Sheets, Docs etc. For now, nothing is changing.
Leaving aside this mostly political development for now, the answer to all those questions above regarding the P30 Pro, is a) oh yes b) it lasts longer than a day c) indeed d) 256GB of space.
There are plenty of reviews and specs of the phone on tech sites and so I won’t repeat them verbatim. This is intended to be a practical overview of the phone for a normal person who wants a phone that works really well, is fast, easy to operate, lasts long with heavy use and works well with all the apps you use every day and the P30 Pro certainly fulfills all that.
It’s not too physically big in your hand, it’s got a great screen (just get a case ASAP), it’s got easy-to-use fingerprint scanning, 8GB of RAM, a superfast charger, the P30 Pro is a superb device.
The only drawback I’ve experienced really is the one that feeds into the trends by other manufacturers – which is particularly relevant to someone who listens to music or podcasts a lot, it doesn’t have a headphone socket built-in, you either need an adaptor or a pair of Bluetooth headphones.
Practically, for DJ situations, that means that if you were stuck at any point DJing for example, you can’t use the phone as backup if anything fails or if you need background tunes at a gig for example.
What I’m interested in is how the device’s FOUR cameras work for photos and videos, as someone who attends lots of gigs and festivals, that’s what I use a phone for a lot. Well, that and dog photos.
Here’s the blurby specs on on the camera:
It has a Leica Quad Camera system with a 40MP Superspectrum Lens, 20MP Ultra-Wide angle Lens and an 8MP Periscope x5 Optical Zoom Lens.
It’s got a dual-view camera mode, which offers split-screen videos using two different camera perspectives at once that is gimmicky but pretty sweet all the same.
Put simply, it’s got lots of options for taking all sorts of photos and is supposedly very good at low-light situations. So here are some examples of photos and videos I’ve taken in the last month to show you practically what the average person will get out of this high-spec.
In Vicar Street, at the Big Thief gig, the camera’s ability in wide-view was immediately apparent, as in this photo captured from a seating position three-quarters of the way back in the venue.
Click any photo to enlarge.
The wide-view is a feature that’s very useful for live photos in particular (or for taking an almost-panoramic of a room for example).
Here’s one I took at our recent Future Proof gig in Bello Bar of the band Ehco. The venue is small and that’s one of the best things about the space, and here the P30 Pro is able to take in all of the wide stage and its performers.
It’s the video feature that I use the most for sharing on Instagram stories mostly so here’s some portrait-sized and landscape-sized videos captured at It Takes A Village Festival in May and uploaded to Youtube (so choose highest streaming quality 1080p HD to see the closest to the original capture).
Here’s Eddie Kay’s Big Gay Disco from the Arcade on the Sunday in Portrait:
Dundalk band TPM performing at the house party:
Kojaque on the main stage:
Le Boom and AE MAK doing Dancing Bug:
Here’s the split screen video:
From Lumo Club in June:
Photos from the new Jam Park venue in Swords:
Here’s a shot from Inishturk at dusk at low-light.
Plus some obligatory general shots:
An outdoor photo taken in Baltimore, West Cork
A pic taken at a recent dinner event I DJed at:
Poet Lewis Kenny on Inishturk at Turkfest.
And yes, a picture of Daffo the dog in IMMA, which is worth a zoom in.
I tend to take photos and videos quickly and sporadically at gigs so as not to annoy people, and so I don’t end up looking at the screen for the whole duration. The Huawei P30 Pro has a great adaptable camera for someone like myself, who doesn’t want to be fiddling too much with details like ISO and white balance, and it has a Pro setting for those more comfortable with manual settings.
The P30 Pro is available to buy from Vodafone, Three, eir, Carphone Warehouse, Harvey Normans, Virgin and Tescomobile. The SIM FREE price is €999.99 and available on bill pay from €79.99 upfront.
A P30 Pro phone was provided for use for this review feature by Huawei.