Huawei unveils the Mate 30 series with the Kirin 990 and Android 10
At an event in Munich, Germany, Huawei officially announced its latest Mate series of flagship smartphones. The new Mate devices are the Huawei Mate 30, Mate 30 Pro, and the Mate 30 Porsche Design. The Porsche Design, once again, is an ultra-premium model that’s more of a luxury product. In between those two are the Mate 30 and the Mate 30 Pro, but the Pro model is where most of the attention will be because it’s Huawei’s direct competitor against the Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ and Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max.
In 2018, Huawei became a dominant force in the smartphone industry. Despite an early setback preventing the company from gaining a foothold in the U.S., Huawei quickly grew its presence in Europe. They proved that they were not only able to compete against Samsung in the budget and mid-range segment but also in the flagship space. The Huawei P20 Pro brought best-in-class low-light photography to smartphone cameras in early 2018, while the Huawei Mate 20 Pro trounced its late 2018 competition with its incredible feature set. The early 2019 Huawei P30 Pro is still unmatched in camera zoom and low-light photography, and the late 2019 Huawei Mate 30 Pro is looking to continue Huawei’s dominance in smartphone camera hardware.
However, the U.S. Government’s trade ban on Huawei threatens the company’s smartphone business. The trade ban has caused Google to revoke Huawei’s Android license for new products; similarly, hardware suppliers, chip designers, and standards organizations have off-and-on pulled ties with Huawei so they can remain compliant with the U.S. regulation. Despite these challenges, Huawei is pushing forward with the Mate 30 launch and committing to providing timely Android updates for its existing products. The success of the Mate 30 series could make or break Huawei’s international smartphone business, so we’re especially interested in seeing what Huawei has up its sleeve.
Here’s what you need to know about Huawei’s new smartphones.
Huawei Mate 30 Pro – Curved Display, Quad Cameras
While the jump from the Mate 20 Pro to the Mate 30 Pro may not be as dramatic as the jump from the Mate 10 Pro to the Mate 20 Pro, Huawei has demonstrably improved upon the Mate 20 Pro in almost every aspect.
What you’ll first notice is the new design. The Mate 30 Pro has dramatic curves in its display and a large, round camera module. The curved display actually seems like it’s a new industry trend. Both Vivo and OPPO have their own smartphones with dramatically curved screens, in what the tech media has started to call a “waterfall” display. Compared to the Vivo Nex 3, however, the Mate 30 Pro doesn’t have a pop-up selfie camera, instead opting for a wide display notch like the Mate 20 Pro from last year.
Huawei says the Mate 30 Pro has a 6.53-inch 1176 x 2400 18.4:9, 88° curved OLED panel, called Flex OLED, that wraps almost entirely around the side. There’s room for a small power button on the right-hand side, but there aren’t any physical volume buttons—like Vivo, Huawei is detecting presses on the curved part of the display to adjust the volume. The curved part can also be used to simulate extra buttons. The display also comes with DCI-P3 HDR coverage.
The Huawei Mate 30 Pro is IP68 rated for dust and water protection, the same as the Mate 20 Pro. There’s a bottom-firing mono speaker and an under-display earpiece speaker, but no 3.5mm headphone jack. At least it retains an IR blaster, a feature which is a rarity in smartphones these days. The phone’s dimensions measure 158.1 x 73.1 x 8.8mm and it weighs 198g. The Mate 30 Pro also comes with a Gloss-to-Matte gradient finish on the back, making it more resistant to fingerprints and slipping.
The notch on the Huawei Mate 30 Pro houses the gesture sensor, the 3D Depth Cameras, the ambient light and proximity sensor, and the front camera.
Huawei is known to pack crazy camera hardware in its flagship smartphones, and the Mate 30 Pro is of course no different in that regard. The highlight of the quad-camera system is the dual 40MP sensors. One is a 40MP f/1.8 Super Wide Angle movie camera while the other is a 40MP f/1.6 Wide Angle camera with high ISO (ISO409600) for low-light photography. The third camera is an 8MP f/2.4 telephoto sensor with OIS for 3X optical zoom/5X hybrid zoom, while the fourth camera is a 3D depth-sensing camera. On the front, there’s a 32MP f/2.0 camera and a 3D depth-sensing camera.
Huawei says the Mate 30 Pro is capable of recording super slow-motion videos at [email protected] or [email protected], but there’s no word yet on how much of that is from interpolation. The rear camera can capture 4K (3840×2160) videos with Huawei’s AIS anti-shake technology, while the front camera can capture 1080p videos. Additionally, the phone supports 30X digital zoom and has a Xenon flash and a color temperature sensor.
Other notable camera features include 4K time-lapses support and real-time video motion blur effects thanks to the depth-sensing camera.
Secure facial recognition is available on the Huawei Mate 30 Pro thanks to an array of components. You can add more than one face for face unlock and thanks to an update to the BiometricPrompt API in Android 10, you’ll be able to use face unlock for apps that support it.
Unlike Google or Apple, Huawei is offering fingerprint unlock as an option on the Mate 30 Pro. The device has an optical under-display fingerprint scanner like its predecessor.
SoC, RAM, Storage
The Huawei Mate 30 Pro is powered by Huawei’s new HiSilicon Kirin 990 SoC. The Kirin 990 is fabricated on a 7nm manufacturing process like the Kirin 980, but the version with the integrated 5G modem also benefits from Extreme Ultra-Violet (EUV) lithography in its manufacturing process. The Kirin 990 has a 2x2x4 configuration with the two high-performance A76 cores clocked at 2.86GHz, the two performance A76 cores clocked at 2.36GHz, and the four efficiency A55 cores clocked at 1.95GHz. The Mali-G76 GPU in the Kirin 990 also has an extra six cores for a total of sixteen cores compared to the deca-core GPU in the Kirin 980. Furthermore, the new SoC features an improved ISP that promises better noise-reduction and real-time video post-processing and rendering. Lastly, the NPU is using Huawei’s Da Vinci architecture to pair 1 Big Core (or 2 in the 5G SoC) with 1 Tiny Core.
The Mate 30 Pro will be available with 8GB of RAM with 256GB of internal storage. You’ll be able to expand the storage using Huawei’s proprietary NM Card that fits into a nanoSIM slot.
Battery and Charging
The Huawei Mate 30 Pro has a 4500mAh battery. It supports 40W fast wired charging via the USB Type-C port. It also supports 27W fast wireless charging. The phone can be used to wirelessly charge other devices, a feature that is known as reverse wireless charging.
The Huawei Mate 30 Pro can detect your hand movement to scroll pages. Whereas Google is employing its advanced Soli radar for gesture detection, Huawei seems to be using the front-facing 3D depth-sensing camera and the NPU to determine the gesture.
The Huawei Mate 30 Pro 5G model supports 5G Non-Standalone (NSA) and StandAlone (SA) modes, along with 2G/3G/4G network, as well as dual SIM, Dual Standby and FDD/TDD full frequency band compatibility for seamless network connectivity. Needless to say, the 5G variant will have the Kirin 990 5G, while the regular 4G-only variant will come with the Kirin 990. The 5G variants support eight 5G bands, as against Samsung’s support for three bands.
Huawei has manufactured the device in Space Silver, Cosmic Purple, Black, and Emerald Green colors in the glass back. Here’s an image showing all 4 colors:
Huawei Mate 30 – Triple Cameras, Flagship Specs
While the Huawei Mate 30 Pro features a strong display curve, the Huawei Mate 30 comes with a regular flat display, but a similar round camera module. The 6.62-inch AMOLED FHD+ (1080 x 2340; 19.5:9) flat display still comes with thin bezels, rounded corners and a notch for the front camera and 3D depth sensors. The display also comes with DCI-P3 HDR coverage.
The Huawei Mate 30 is IP53 rated for dust and water resistance, essentially meaning it is only splash resistant. Unlike the Pro variant, the regular Mate 30 gets a 3.5mm headphone jack, in addition to the bottom-firing mono speaker, under-display earpiece speaker, and IR blaster. The phone measures 160.8 x 76.1 x 8.4 mm and it weighs 196g.
The Mate 30 retains the back design from the Mate 30 Pro. The primary camera is a 40MP f/1.8 Wide Angle camera with OIS. The second camera is a 16MP f/2.2 Super Wide Angle camera, while the third camera is an 8MP f/2.4 telephoto sensor with OIS for 3X optical zoom/5X hybrid zoom. The fourth camera spot is actually for laser autofocus. On the front, there is a 24MP f/2.0 camera and a 3D depth-sensing camera.
The Mate 30 is capable of recording slow-motion videos at [email protected] The rear camera can capture 4K (3840×2160) videos with Huawei’s AIS anti-shake technology, while the front camera can capture 1080p videos. Additionally, the phone supports 30X digital zoom and has a Xenon flash and a color temperature sensor.
SoC, RAM, Storage
The Huawei Mate 30 is powered by Huawei’s new HiSilicon Kirin 990 SoC. The Kirin 990 is fabricated on a 7nm manufacturing process like the Kirin 980, and comes with a 2x2x4 configuration with the two high-performance A76 cores clocked at 2.86GHz, the two performance A76 cores clocked at 2.09GHz, and the four efficiency A55 cores clocked at 1.86GHz. You also get the Mali-G76 GPU, improved ISP, and the NPU as seen on the Mate 30 Pro.
The Mate 30 will be available with 8GB of RAM with 128GB of internal storage. You’ll be able to expand the storage using Huawei’s proprietary NM Card that fits into a nanoSIM slot.
Battery and Charging
The Huawei Mate 30 has a 4200mAh battery. It supports 40W fast wired charging via the USB Type-C port. It also supports 27W fast wireless charging. The phone also supports reverse wireless charging.
Huawei has manufactured the Mate 30 in Space Silver, Cosmic Purple, Black, and Emerald Green colors, along with the two Vegan Leather color options of Orange and Forest Green.
Huawei Mate 30 RS Porsche Design – For the Luxurious
The Huawei Mate 30 RS Porsche Design takes the Huawei Mate 30 Pro 5G’s high-end hardware package and adds a layer of luxury to it. The most notable change on the phone is the new design on the back, as the phone drops out the circular camera housing, and opts for a quad-camera setup sitting within a vertical strip of glass that is flanked by leather on its sides. The Porsche Design logo also occupies the central spot, while the Huawei logo finds space towards the bottom of the glass strip.
The Huawei Mate 30 RS Porsche Design also gets a strong bump in RAM to 12GB, and in storage to 512GB.
The Mate 30 RS Porsche Design comes with a matching color case with a built-in kickstand and strap for slotting your finger in. The kickstand will aid in consuming multimedia on the phone in landscape, while also providing a more secure grip for holding the phone.
Software – EMUI 10 with Android 10
Huawei has developed the Mate 30, Mate 30 Pro, and Mate 30 Porsche Design to run Android 10 with EMUI 10 customizations. Google uploaded the Android 10 source code to AOSP on September 3rd, 2019, so Huawei is already well ahead of the pack when it comes to developing its Android 10-based software. In fact, the company is technically the first to launch a new phone with Android 10, which would be impressive if it weren’t for the looming U.S. trade ban threat.
Android 10 brings major user-facing features such as a system-wide dark mode, a new location privacy setting, and revamped gestural navigation controls, but there are also significant under-the-hood changes such as Project Mainline, Dynamic System Updates, and other security and privacy features. There’s also support for a desktop mode, but EMUI Easy Projection is more robust than what Google provides in Android 10.
We’ve already seen what features EMUI 10 adds on top of Android 10 when Huawei showed us an early beta last month, but to recap some of the changes, they tied the system-wide dark mode toggle with forced dark for third-party apps, they simplified and reorganized the settings, they redesigned the camera UI and the notification panel/Quick Settings, they added a swipe up gesture for the app drawer, and they tweaked the animations to feel more fluid. Lastly, there’s also a new one-touch share function that uses NFC to quickly connect to your Huawei laptop running Windows; with this feature, you can seamlessly share content between your smartphone and PC while seeing your smartphone’s screen on your PC.
A lot of the smaller features haven’t seen many changes since EMUI 9, so if you’re interested in learning everything there is to know about Huawei’s Android software, then I recommend you read my two-part review.
Pricing and Availability
The Huawei Mate 30 comes at a price of €799 for 8GB+128GB. The Huawei Mate 30 Pro comes at a price of €1099 for 8GB+256GB, while the Huawei Mate 30 Pro 5G comes in at €1199 for 8GB+256GB. The Huawei Mate 30 RS Porsche Design comes in at a cool €2095 for 12GB+512GB. Availability details were not shared at this stage.
Huawei has mentioned that the Mate 30 series does not come with GMS Core pre-installed, which means that there are no Google Apps to be found on the phone. The Mate 30 series instead relies on Huawei Mobile Services to enable similar functionality, but developers would need to adapt their apps to integrate the same.
Along with the Mate 30 series, Huawei also announced the Huawei Watch GT 2 smartwatch, a new Huawei Band fitness tracker, and a television running the company’s in-house OS. At IFA 2019, the company announced the FreeBuds 3 truly wireless earbuds with active noise cancellation and wireless charging.