These are the Best Huawei Phones you can buy in 2022

These are the Best Huawei Phones you can buy in 2022

It’s hard to talk about Huawei smartphones without addressing the elephant in the room, so we might as well get it out of the way immediately. Any Huawei smartphone released in the last two and half years cannot run basic Google apps like YouTube and Google Docs out-of-the-box due to ongoing US sanctions. The accusations thrown Huawei’s way by the US government are pretty damning, so if you believe even 20% of them, you’d want nothing to do with a Huawei device. If you belong in that camp, go check out our Best Android phones or Best Smartphones list for a bunch of options from other brands instead.

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However, if you don’t believe the American assessment of Huawei — and the US government has not shown much in terms of hard evidence — or if you’re willing to take some risks in order to explore cutting edge smartphone hardware, then this guide is for you. We’ve tested every Huawei smartphone released in the last few years and this is our breakdown of which one to get depending on your wants and needs.

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Best Bleeding-Edge Hardware: Huawei Mate X2

Huawei Mate X2 unfolded and running Genshin Impact

The Huawei Mate X2 is a phone most of you reading this will not buy. It’s not just that it can’t run Google Mobile Services (GMS). It’s also the fact that it only sells officially in China and has an official retail price equivalent to $2,700 — but due to shortage of supply, it can only be bought at a marked up reseller price of $3,500.

Still, if you’re a mobile tech enthusiast with an interest in foldable tech, the Mate X2 is noteworthy because it’s clearly the best foldable hardware on the market right now. I’ve had the privilege of testing every mainstream foldable phone released so far, and the Huawei Mate X2’s hardware is just a generation ahead of other foldable phones on the market right now.

All the previous shortcomings that we saw in foldable phones like the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 and Xiaomi Mix Fold, such as the noticeable crease down the middle of the screen, a not-quite-flagship camera system, and a hinge that leaves a slight gap when folded, have all been eliminated in the Mate X2.

When it’s folded, the Mate X2 feels almost like a regular slab phone, just thicker and heavier. Unfolded, the screen is more seamless than the screens seen in the Galaxy Z Fold 2 and Xiaomi Mi Mix Fold. The camera system is mostly identical to the system seen in the Huawei P40 Pro Plus, so you’re getting a 10x optical zoom lens that just blows away the zoom lenses in other foldables.

Again, not having GMS and its wild pricing means this phone has almost zero mainstream appeal, but if you want the absolute most cutting edge smartphone hardware right now, the Huawei Mate X2 is it.

Also great: Huawei P50 Pocket

Huawei’s first clamshell foldable is also the newest phone on this list, having been announced just in early January. It brings many of the foldable breakthroughs that Huawei introduced with the Mate X2, such as a display with a much harder to notice crease, and a folded form that doesn’t leave a gap, unlike Samsung’s foldables.

Due to US sanctions preventing Huawei from developing its own chip (and apparently from acquiring 5G chips), the P50 Pocket runs on a Snapdragon 888 without 5G support. Still, this SoC is still capable today, and everything else about this phone is top notch: you have a 6.9-inch 120Hz OLED display, a triple camera system headlined by a 40MP, f/1.8 camera with a 13MP ultra-wide and a 32MP “Ultra Spectrum” camera for boosting colors profiles. The P50 Pocket also get the same XD Optics computational photography engine that powers the Huawei P50 Pro.

And just like the P50 Pocket, you can use the main camera system for selfies too because there’s a small display on the outside that can show the camera viewfinder, as well as other small widgets, when the device is folded. Despite the P50 Pocket’s thin (7.2mm) build, it houses a 4,000 mAh battery which should provide above average battery life.

    The Huawei P50 Pocket is a clamshell foldable just like Samusng's Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Motorola Razr, but it may have a better camera system thanks to Huawei's XD Optics.

Best with HMS: Huawei P50 Pro

There was a few years stretch, before the US sanctions, when Huawei smartphones were winning rave reviews from tech sites left and right, mostly because they had trend-setting cameras that outperformed everyone. If you want the absolute latest Huawei camera technology now, that would be the Huawei P50 Pro, which saw a release in late 2021 in China, but has recently been announced for the European and Southeast Asia market.

Featuring a 50MP f/1.8 main camera, 13MP ultra-wide camera, 64MP Periscope zoom lens and a 40MP monochrome sensor, the camera hardware is as impressive as ever, but what makes the P50 Pro’s cameras shine is the new XD Optics camera algorithm that debuted with this phone. Essentially, XD Optics is Huawei’s version of computational photography and it does a magnificent job of producing punchy colors that remain true to life.

The P50 Pro, unfortunately, is running on an outdated, 4G-only Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 SoC (this is due to sanctions) and while this puts the phone at a disadvantage compared to other 2021 flagships, it is still a very capable chipset with more than enough power for the average user.

Throw in the unique camera module design, a 120Hz OLED screen, and all day battery life, and the Huawei P50 Pro is another premium piece of Huawei hardware. If you’re okay with using Huawei’s Mobile Services instead of Google’s, this is the phone to get.

    The Huawei P50 Pro is Huawei's best slab offering right now.

Best with Google Apps: Huawei P30 Pro

huawei p30 pro new edition

If you really need Google Mobile Services and still want to use a Huawei phone, the P30 Pro is the one to get. Released two months before the announcement of the ban, it has full Google support even today. However, the P30 Pro is almost three years old now, so it’s starting to show its age, particularly that 60Hz OLED screen with a notch. But its camera system still holds up today because at the time of release, it was arguably the most groundbreaking camera system at the time. The P30 Pro was the first phone to offer a Periscope zoom lens, and its 40MP RYYB sensor could pull in light in dark scenes the way no other phone could at the time.

The Kirin 980 chip still performs fine today, and battery life still really good (especially since the screen is just 60Hz). Ultimately, it’s a bit hard to recommend buying a three year old phone, but if you must own a Huawei with Google, then this is it. Its $599 price now can be considered affordable.

    The Huawei P30 Pro has a Kirin 980 processor that, while an aging platform, is still a very capable SoC. It's also noteworthy for being one of the last Huawei smartphones to launch with Google apps, making it a compelling device even well into 2020.

Best Budget with HMS: Huawei P Smart 2021

Huawei P Smart 2021

The Huawei P Smart 2021 is a budget device powered by the Kirin 710A with up to 4GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage. You get a 6.7-inch IPS LCD panel that refreshes at 60Hz, and a camera system headlined by a 48MP main camera. Then there’s the 5,000mAh battery, which paired with the Kirin 710A should provide all-day battery life.

Of course, it doesn’t have Google apps so you’re subject to the same restrictions as some devices in this list. But if you’re curious about dipping your toes in the HMS ecosystem and you don’t have money to splurge on a flagship, this is your best bet.

    The Huawei P Smart 2021 is a budget device from Huawei that brings the HMS experience to the budget side of the spectrum, with a Kirin 710A, 4 GB of RAM, Android 10, and up to 128 GB of storage. It also has a 5,000 mAh battery as well as a 48MP quad rear camera.

Best Huge Huawei phone: Huawei Mate 20 X

Huawei Mate 20 X 5G

Featuring a 7.2-inch screen, the Huawei Mate X2 is a giant phone for those who want a large screen experience. While a bit unwieldy, I can confirm it still fits into my most adult male pant pockets and thanks to Huawei’s excellent one-hand mode, is not impossible to use one-handed. Elsewhere, you’re getting almost all the same features of the Huawei Mate 20 Pro, so expect a capable camera system covering wide, ultra-wide, and telephoto focal length, that Kirin 980 SoC, and really long battery life. This phone even support some 5G bands in the US so this would come in handy as a movie streaming, mobile gaming machine.

    The Huawei Mate 20 X has a massive 7.2-inch display that, while unwieldy, is a boon for consuming videos and other content. It also has most of the same internals as other Mate 20 devices do, and also features 5G connectivity.

Huawei phones have always offered exciting hardware, but the Google ban has made software a big problem for many users in the West. If you’re choosing a device that doesn’t support Google (like the P50 Pro), we suggest you do some research and understand what you can and can’t run before clicking buy.

However, if you’re buying an older Huawei phone with Google Mobile Services support, or if you’re okay with not using Google’s eco-system of apps, then the phones listed here offer great hardware and photography prowess at a lower price than Apple or Samsung products.

We personally think the Huawei P30 Pro is the best purchase here since it still runs Google Mobile Services perfectly and it was so ahead of its time when it was released that, even today, it doesn’t feel too outdated when compared to 2021 slab flagships. If you want a phablet, the Mate 20X is one of the largest phones around regardless of brands.

What do you think about our choices here? Let us know down in the comments.

About author

Ben Sin
Ben Sin

I'm a senior editor at XDA Developers. I have been a journalist for a decade, the last five years covering the mobile tech scene closely, reviewing just about every phone and attending trade shows and launches. I also run a gadget review channel on YouTube.

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