Updated, 10:45 a.m. ET: Added additional information about the Mate 30 series.
Huawei's latest smartphone series, the Mate 30, has arrived today (Sept. 19). Coming in standard and Pro varieties, it’s looking to be a serious rival to the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus and the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max — at least, if you can get your hands on the Huawei handset.
Huawei Mate 30 and Mate 30 Pro release date and price
The standard Mate 30, with 8GB RAM and 128GB storage, costs €799. The Mate 30 Pro, with 8GB and 256GB RAM and storage, costs €1,099; a 5G version of Mate 30 Pro features the same specs, save for that 5G modem, and will cost €1,199.
We’ve yet to hear the exact dates for the official release, or where it will be available, but it’s safe to say that the Mate 30 won’t be coming to the U.S. given the government's ongoing trade feud with China and the restrictions the Trump administration has placed on the Chinese phone maker.
Another hurdle the Mate 30 will have to overcome: it's shipping without Google apps and services preinstalled, and there will be no Google Play store on the phones. For smartphone buyers outside of China, those are some pretty glaring omissions.
Huawei Mate 30 and Mate 30 Pro design
Starting with the Mate 30’s front, you’ll see that the front camera array is housed in a centeer notch.
The distinct circular back that we’ve seen in leaked images of the Mate 30 is officially dubbed the Halo Ring by Huawei, inspired by traditional cameras.
They’re water and dust proof too: the Mate 30 Pro is IP68 rated, while the standard Mate 30 is IP53 rated. That means the Pro model is better able to withstand dust and even dunks in water, while the standard Mate 30 can deal with water spray and isn't as dust-resistant.
You can get either Mate 30 in a choice of six colors. The first four — Black, Space Silver, Cosmic Purple and Emerald Green, come in a gloss to matte graded metal back, designed to be attractive and secure to hold. The other two options are the Vegan Leather Orange and Vegan Leather Forest Green, which as the name suggests gives you a faux-leather back for a softer, natural surface.
The Mate 30 and Mate 30 Pro don't have volume keys. They use virtual buttons to control the phone’s volume or camera shutter, from either side of the phone in the volume slider’s case, or anywhere you like with the Mate 30’s camera app’s repositionable shutter button.
Huawei Mate 30 and Mate 30 Pro display
We’ve seen Samsung’s Edge displays for a few years now, but Huawei’s equivalent, the Horizon Display, goes even further off the front of the phone, extending to almost 90 degree over either side. Not only does that curve give the Mate 30 Pro a very special look, but it also allows for a larger screen with a smaller width than its rivals.
The Mate 30 Pro has a curved 6.53 inch display with a 18.4:9 ratio and 2400 x 1176 resolution. The standard Mate 30 gets a flat 6.62 display with a 19.5:9 ratio. Both phones feature OLED panels, which should make for great brightness and high quality images.
Like the P30 Pro that launched earlier this year, Huawei’s added an acoustic display to the Mate 30 series, which replaces a top speaker with a vibrating screen to save space.
There’s a in-display fingerprint sensor for security too, if you need a backup as well as the Mate 30’s face unlock ability.
Huawei Mate 30 and Mate 30 Pro cameras
The Huawei Mate 30 comes with three cameras, while the Huawei Mate 30 Pro has four rear cameras powered by Leica.
On the regular Mate 30, you’ll find a 40-MP super-sensing wide camera (f/1.8), a 16-MP ultra-wide shooter (f/2.2) and a 8-MP telephoto camera with 3x optical zoom and 30x digital zoom (f/2.4)
The Huawei Mate 30 Pro steps things up by featuring a 3D depth sensing camera in addition to a 40-MP ultra-wide camera, 40-MP super-sensing wide camera and a 8-MP telephoto with the same 3x/30x optical and digital zooms.
When it comes to video, the Mate 30 Pro should be able to hang with the iPhone 11 and best Android phones. It supports not only 4K HDR+ recording at 60 fps but also super slow-motion and low-light video.
Huawei Mate 30 Kirin 990 and 5G
Both the Huawei Mate 30 and Mate 30 Pro are powered by Huawei’s Kirin 990 chipset, unveiled earlier this month at the IFA trade show in Berlin. The company says that this 7-nanometer chip incorporates a three-level power efficiency architecture for the CPU, as well as a a Da Vinci NPU and a 16-core GPU.
As for wireless performance, Huawei is calling the Mate 30 Series a 2nd generation 5G smartphone with 14 antennas for 5G connectivity.
Huawei Mate 30 battery and charging
The Huawei Mate 30 features a beefy 4,200 man battery, while the Mate 30 Pro packs an even bigger 4,500 mAh battery.
Huawei says both phones will ship with super-fast 40-watt wired chargers. And the two handsets will support fast wireless charging at 27W.
Huawei Mate 30 and Mate 30 software and gestures
While there will be no pre-installed Google apps on the Mate 30, there will be plenty of interesting other features you can use. This includes a Huawei-tuned Dark Mode that improves on the existing Android mode.
There’s also gesture controls like automatic rotating, or "private view" which hides your notifications when others peek over your shoulder, via the new front gesture sensor.
Other highlights include collaboration between the Mate 30 and other Huawei devices with multi-screen collaboration, and Hi-Car, which puts the power of your car keys into your phone.
The Huawei Mate 30 and Mate 30 Pro look like very capable phones. And Huawei has once again demonstrated its ability to innovate when it comes to cameras and performance. But we're not sure how comfortable users will be giving up physical volume controls, and the company still needs to reassure users that its phones will be worth buying without Google apps on board. There's also the small matter of which countries the Mate 30 lineup will be available in and when.
Stay tuned for our hands-on impressions of Huawei's Mate 30 Pro.