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[Review] Fantastic Camera System: The Huawei P50 Pro


Huawei P50 Pro

Price TBC

Pros

Cons

+ Sleek design

- No Google Mobile Services

+ Beautiful and vibrant display

​- Small battery capacity

+ 66W fast charging

+ Impressive cameras

The Huawei P50 Pro is certainly one of the best smartphones I have ever tried. Apparently, Huawei claimed that it has upgraded the cameras on a professional basis and users are sure to love them. It also has IP68 water and dust resistance rating. The ring camera module on the back looks very eye-catching, to begin with, but how well does it perform? Let's find out!

 

Unboxing and first impressions


Inside the box, we received a 66W charging unit, a corresponding USB-A to USB-C cable, a TPU case, as well as a SIM tray ejector.

If we hadn't just recently reviewed the Honor 50, I would say that it has a rather eye-catching design with two huge ring camera modules on the back. Opinions about the design are undivided in our office as some are not fans of the gigantic rings while some regard the rear camera module does remind them of a real camera, so it's either you like it or you don't.


The unit that I received comes in Golden Black, which features some golden accents on the glossy finish cover. Upon first glance, it certainly looks premium and classy, complete with a silver frame. Unfortunately, as beautiful as it is shiny, it's quite a fingerprint magnet and within minutes of usage, you'll be distracted by the "mess" on the back. If you're on the more adventurous team, there's another variant available in Cocoa Gold.

The left side of the P50 Pro is clean while the right side houses the volume rocker and power button. I'm also very happy to see the stereo speakers on the top and bottom of the device. You'll also find the SIM tray and a USB-C charging port on the bottom, align next to the speaker. Unlike the nova 8i that we tried out earlier this year, Huawei decided to ditch the headphone jack on this device.

Overall, the weight of the phone is just nice and the subtle curves towards the sides make it comfortable to hold.

 

Display and audio


The P50 Pro features a 6.6-inch OLED panel with a 2700 x 1228 resolution. I am particularly satisfied by how slim the bezels are, including its not-so-thick chin, giving you the impression that it's almost a full view display.

Thanks to the OLED panel, colour vibrance and brightness on the screen are excellent. Like many phones in the market today, it offers a dark mode, which can reduce strain on your eyes and likely go easy on the battery. You'll be able to further tweak the colour mode and temperature of the screen to suit your own comfort level in the settings too. Eye comfort mode is also available.

On top of the beautiful screen, it comes with a 120Hz refresh rate so you'll definitely love the buttery smooth scrolling and animation on this device. In the middle, you'll see a punch-hole cutout housing the selfie camera. If you don't like seeing the cutout, you can opt to hide it in the settings. The screen's refresh rate is adjustable depending on the content you're viewing. If you're only looking at social media, you can set it at 60Hz to save power but I'd definitely recommend you to set it at 120Hz when you're gaming. There's also a "dynamic" option that will do the work for you based on the content on your screen.

Huawei has integrated a fingerprint sensor at the bottom of the display, though I find it a little too far bottom. It is, however, very sensitive, allowing the phone to unlock instantly. Face recognition feature is also onboard.


In terms of audio, I would give the dual stereo speaker a round of applause because they are remarkably loud and clear using Huawei's proprietary Histen technology. Aside from the balanced audio, the bass is also pretty nice.


As mentioned above, gone is the headphone jack on this one so you'll have to share the USB-C charging port at the bottom with Type-C earphones. But since most of us are using wireless earbuds now, it shouldn't be a big concern even if you need to use the port for charging.

 

Cameras


For its camera department, we have a 13MP selfie camera. On the back, the top camera island houses a 50MP main camera, a 13MP ultra-wide angle camera, and a 40MP monochrome sensor. The bottom island locates a 64MP telephoto camera.

Huawei has definitely upped its game in this department as colours are more lively and the bokeh effect is also pretty convincing. During the day, pictures come out beautifully and even at night, the main camera works just nice even without night mode. However, I did notice some parts of the pictures came out blurred when it's completely dark at night. The night mode did help in reducing blurs but they are still visible.


Normal vs Night mode


The ultra-wide angle camera takes some visibly blurred pictures too, sadly, despite the sharpness.

Thanks to the SuperZoom Matrix technology, the phone is able to take pretty sharp and clear shots when zoom is applied. It also has a new AIS Pro zoom image stabilisation technology to keep subjects in focus when you zoom the lens and move the camera to find your subject.

1x vs 3.5x vs 10x zoom


For selfies, there is a built-in beauty filter for your daily Insta uploads. By default, it's set to level 5 and you can tone it all the way up to level 10 for an unblemished but rather unnatural look.

 

Performance


The P50 Pro is powered by the Snapdragon 888 4G chipset along with an Adreno 660 GPU. Apps launching and gaming are consistently smooth during the whole time I was using the phone.


For the Malaysian market, there will only be one variant available in terms of memory and storage. The one we have here is equipped with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of memory. This combination is sufficient for a certain extent of multitasking and videos that you'd like to download to watch while on the train.

With games like Asphalt 9, you'll be able to enjoy a very smooth racing experience while you're amazed by the beauty of the cars and race tracks in the background. You won't notice any lags or whatsoever even with the highest visual quality and 60fps enabled.


Unfortunately, the 4360mAh battery is less than desired coupled with the 66W Huawei SuperCharge. I could get through a day of usage when the 120Hz refresh rate is enabled but charging before sleep is inevitable. On lighter usage, it managed to go through the middle of the second day. Fortunately, if it runs out of battery in the evening, recharging is pretty satisfactory as it managed to fully charge from 42% in 36 minutes.


Here are some figures if you'd like to refer:



 

User Experience and UI


Instead of HarmonyOS, this one runs EMUI 12 with a noticeable change on the control panel. Swipe down from the top right and you'll access the quick controls such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Flashlight, and more. Swipe down from the top left and you'll see your notifications. It's tidier as you won't have the notifications and controls all displayed on a page but that would also mean if your fingers are not long enough, you'll have to use your second hand.


Google Mobile Services are still not available on this device so you won't be able to download apps from the Play Store. Huawei has its AppGallery instead for you to get access to apps you commonly use like TikTok, Shopee, Touch n' Go, and more.


For apps like Facebook or Instagram, you'll have to download their respective APK files which can be accessed via the Huawei Petal Search. The finding results will also appear in the AppGallery so you don't have to exit it.

As someone who is used to the Google ecosystem since I got my first Android device, I had some difficulties in getting used to the lack of Google services. It could be a little troublesome to get around for your favourite apps but if you have used a Huawei device for some time, this should be good.


Like I said, if you're liking the Huawei ecosystem, you can connect the phone with your MateBook or MatePad to enjoy a seamless connectivity across multiple platforms via Multi-Screen Collaboration. You'll be able to make calls, send messages, or browse photos in the phone on your tablet.

 

Buy or no buy?


The Huawei P50 Pro is definitely an excellent smartphone with its sleek design, beautiful and smooth 120Hz display, great performance, and quick charging. With a power-hungry 120Hz, I would be glad to see a 5000mAh battery instead since it's very common in most devices today.

The lack of 5G connectivity may be a bummer for some since the service is recently made available in our country. Without Google services, its mainstream appeal will be pretty limited.


Nevertheless, the Huawei P50 Pro will be a great upgrade if you're an existing Huawei user, you'll enjoy the benefits it has to offer in terms of hardware and features. Should it cost below RM4,000, this should be a great Huawei flagship choice!


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