I used the Huawei P30 Pro for 3 weeks – these are the features Gen Zs like myself will love, and the ones that will turn us away

I used both the P30 Pro and the standard P30, and didn’t find any striking differences between the two versions, except for the superior camera on the Pro.
Business Insider / Rachel Tay

I belong to a generation whose first phone call was probably made on a smartphone. Many of us have probably never even used a payphone.

Gen Zs – those born in the late 1990s to the early 2000s – like myself are often comfortable with new technology, and are up to date with all the latest gadget trends.

One of these latest trends comes in the form of the Huawei P30 phones. With so much hype surrounding the P30 series (especially its insane 50x zoom camera), I was curious to see if Huawei managed to really zoom in to meet the changing needs of Gen Zs like myself.

During the three weeks that I tested out the P30 Pro, I found it had a number of unbeatable features. But there were also things that were disappointing and would have me turning my back on this much-raved about phone.

Read more: This is how much it’ll cost in Singapore to buy Huawei’s P30 phones, which have 4 camera lenses, and let you hear calls via vibrating screen

Colours like magic

A study conducted with 100 Gen Zs by Business Insider found that Gen Zs are less brand-conscious than millenials. They want to have a unique identity they can call their own, and I think the P30 series offers a phone cover that meets that need without compromising on the trendiness.

The P30 Pro comes in five colours but only three are available in Singapore. The one I had was in “breathing crystal”, which I was attracted to almost immediately. The splashes of blue and purple brought out a slight holographic effect that looked like magic.

Business Insider / Rachel Tay

My P30, which is the standard version of this series, came in “Aurora”, which is a turquoise green and dark blue colour mix that resembles the mysterious northern lights.

Business Insider / Rachel Tay

Personally, I liked both colours. But if I had to pick one, “breathing crystal” definitely stands out more, and I would get a clear case to show off its mystical colours.

Screens and display

The P30 Pro has a slightly bigger screen than the P30 (6.47-inch versus 6.1-inch), but it didn’t make much of a difference for me. Instead, what stood out was how the screen filled the phones up to its edges, save for a small notch where the front camera sits.

Business Insider / Rachel Tay

The phones were light and easy to use, and especially so when one-handed mode was activated.

Business Insider / Rachel Tay

There are only two buttons on the phone, the power button and another one for volume and brightness. Both were easy to toggle with one hand.

Business Insider / Rachel Tay

AI cameras took over the jobs of my editing apps

Carrying Huawei P30 phones around means what’s in my hands is going to get more attention that anything else I’m wearing. “Is that the phone that has a 50x zoom?” was the question I was asked most when I flashed my fancy new phones.

Everyone has heard and seen those viral videos of what the P30 series cameras can do (30x digital zoom on P30 and 50x digital zoom on P30 Pro), so of course I had to test them out.

This was a picture taken of the building from across the road without zooming in.

Taken on a Huawei P30 Pro.
Business Insider / Rachel Tay

This was the result after using the 50x zoom on the P30 Pro. I could even see into other people’s houses, which was both shocking and kind of creepy.

Taken on a Huawei P30 Pro.
Business Insider / Rachel Tay

The zoom was easy to use. Instead of having to pinch the screen to zoom in and out, I only had to slide my finger up and down to adjust the zoom capacity.  However, I found that the more that I zoomed in, the camera became increasingly sensitive to slight movements. The shakiness of my hands in turn affected the sharpness of the resulting photo.

While the zoom camera was great party trick to impress my friends, I couldn’t see myself using a 30x – and much less a 50x zoom – in my daily life.

Read also: This video of the camera zoom on a purported Huawei P30 Pro has left internet users stunned – in a good way

Instead, I preferred playing with the wide-angle feature over the zoom. It allowed me to capture a lot more within the frame, and despite a slight fish-eye distortion, the feature made my pictures of skylines “pop” in a way that a normal picture wouldn’t, and gave buildings a futuristic look.

Taken on a Huawei P30 Pro.
Business Insider / Rachel Tay

What impressed me most was the artificial intelligence (AI) fitted cameras which could automatically detect when I was taking pictures of food or a performance, and would adjust the camera settings accordingly.

It added colour and depth to my food pictures, so I wouldn’t have to edit it in a third party application like I usually do.

The pictures came out sharp and clear.

Taken on a Huawei P30 Pro.
Business Insider / Rachel Tay

It also enhanced the colour of the food.

Taken on a Huawei P30 Pro.
Business Insider / Rachel Tay

The HSBC Rain Vortex, detected by the AI as a “performance” looked stunning even when photographed at night.

Taken on a Huawei P30 Pro.
Business Insider / Rachel Tay

When used in night mode, the camera brightened up areas that would usually be too dark to be captured in a picture.

Taken on a Huawei P30 Pro.
Business Insider / Rachel Tay

My friend and I took pictures of each other in a dark area, and the pictures still came out well-lit. The camera also automatically blurred out the background and focused on the subject instead.

Taken on a Huawei P30 Pro.
Business Insider / Rachel Tay

My only problem with the night mode? It took too long to adjust and left me pointing the camera at my friend for almost five seconds before the picture could develop.

Food photography and selfies litter my Instagram feed everyday, so I think Gen Zs like me who want to capture all the important moments in life are going to like what the P30 cameras can do.

Read also: Huawei just unveiled a dual-view camera mode which will let you capture videos in panoramic and close up angles at the same time

Super charging helped me stay connected

The phones lasted about seven hours on normal usage (scrolling through social media, texting, taking photos) before I had to charge them, and I was also notified if I had any open background applications that were draining my battery.

What most impressed me though, was the “super charging” function, which allowed my dying phone with 22 per cent battery to become fully charged in just 50 minutes.

Business Insider / Rachel Tay

In comparison, my two-year-old Samsung S8’s “fast charging” function takes more than an hour to fully charge a phone with 20 per cent battery.

However, I was disappointed to find out that the super charging function only worked when the phones were plugged into the charger head that came with the Huawei phones.

When I tried to charge the phone on my portable charger, the super charging function disappeared and was replaced with a standard charge which was slower.

While the P30 series has a great design that will set me apart from my friends and a versatile camera that can do (almost) anything, there were still some faults that I found with this seemingly perfect smartphone.

The P30 Pro has no headphone jack

I’m constantly on my phone, both for work and play, so the battery drains relatively quickly. I’m also always on the move, and I need something to keep me occupied, whether it be bingeing Netflix originals or listening to music.

For some reason, Huawei designed the phone with just one USB-C port to connect headphones and chargers. This means that I was unable to do both at the same time.

For me, it is important that I can charge and use my phone simultaneously, so the absence of a headphone jack on the Huawei P30 Pro comes as an inconvenience to me.

Business Insider / Rachel Tay

Even though it seems like a minor issue that can be solved by having a fully-charged phone, it still bothers me that I won’t be able to watch videos and charge my phone at the same time on the Pro. The standard P30 does have a headphone jack, however.

Steep pricing

I’ll have to admit, the Huawei P30 Series phones are beautiful, but it’s way out of my price range for a smartphone.

According to Huawei, the P30 Pro with a storage capacity of 512GB + 8GB costs S$1,698, while one with a storage capacity of 256GB + 8GB costs S$1,398.

For the standard P30, the storage capacity of 128GB + 8GB costs S$998.

As much as I liked the premium cameras and features, I don’t know if I’d be willing to pay such a high price for them.

Did it pass my Gen Z test?

I had high expectations before reviewing the P30 series due to its much raved-about features, and for the most part, they were met.

I used both the P30 Pro and the standard P30, and didn’t find any striking differences between the two versions, except for the superior camera on the Pro.

The unique breathing crystal and aurora colours of the series definitely stood out, and the cameras fulfilled all my needs to post pretty pictures of everything I came across in my life.

The phones were easy to use and navigate, and I never had to feel like I was ever out of the social loop because of the its long-lasting battery life and super fast charging feature.

Overall, I do think Gen Zs are going to have a field day with this phone.

The hefty pricetag attached does make me hesitate about purchasing this phone for myself, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there are plenty of Gen Zs who are willing to pay top dollar for the ultimate Instagram shots.

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