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 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.
However, if you don’t believe the American assessment of Huawei — and the US gov 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.
Navigate this guide:
- Best Bleeding-Edge Hardware: Huawei Mate X2
- Best with HMS: Huawei P50 Pro
- Best with Google Apps: Huawei P30 Pro
- Best for Most People: Huawei P30
- Best Mid-Range: Huawei Nova 9
- Best Budget with HMS: Huawei P Smart 2021
- Best Budget with Google Apps: Huawei P30 Lite
- Best Large: Huawei Mate 20 X
Best Bleeding-Edge Hardware: Huawei Mate X2
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.
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.
Best with Google Apps: Huawei P30 Pro
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. Even though the P30 Pro is over two years old now, it’s still capable today because it was pretty groundbreaking at the time of release. It had the world’s first Periscope zoom lens — beating the OPPO Reno to the market by a month — and had at-the-time unmatched low light capability thanks to the RYYB array.
The Kirin 980 chip still performs fine today and the rest of the specs don’t fall behind too much compared to 2021 flagships — except the OLED screen’s refresh rate is just 60Hz. But this phone can be had at some low prices right now, so if you want Google services on a Huawei phone, it’s definitely worth a look.
Best Budget with HMS: Huawei P Smart 2021
The Huawei P Smart 2021 is one of the newest devices on this list, and it actually has more in common with other devices than you might think. Looking at it from the front gives off strong Xiaomi/Samsung vibes with a centered punch-hole display, something that Huawei has yet to use on other devices. But it’s a decidedly budget smartphone. The device is powered by the Kirin 710A with up to 4 GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage. It fares better in other departments, such as the camera, providing an amazing (in budget terms) and versatile experience with a quad 48MP panel. You also get a 5,000 mAh 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.
Best Budget with Google Apps: Huawei P30 Lite
Again, yes this phone has had successors in the form of the Huawei Mate 30 Lite and the Huawei P40 Lite. But we’re again focusing on phones that can actually be used in the Western market — plus we’ve already mentioned a budget HMS alternative and the P30 Lite is as good as it gets. It features a Kirin 710 processor which performs pretty similarly to some devices in the lower-end segment of the Snapdragon 600 series. It also features up to 8 GB of RAM and up to 256 GB of storage for good measure. It has a 48MP rear-facing camera setup with both ultrawide as well as depth sensors and can be updated up to Android 10 with EMUI 10 on top.
It’s not an amazing device in terms of specifications, but you can easily grab one for under $200. It should be able to take on the most essential tasks and more, which is why it earns a spot on our list of best Huawei phones.
Best Huge Huawei phone: Huawei Mate 20 X
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.
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 P40 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.