The Huawei P50 Pro: An In-Depth Review
The Huawei P50 Pro is the Chinese manufacturer’s latest P-series high-end smartphone. The camera setup combines a large-sensor primary camera with a 13 mm ultra-wide, a 90 mm tele, a monochrome sensor, and a multispectral color temperature sensor for optimizing white balance and color rendering. It also revives the concept of using a monochrome sensor alongside the primary sensor, something last seen in the P20 Pro from 2018. The monochrome sensor improves fine detail rendering and reduces noise, especially in low light. It also helps with depth estimation for the simulated bokeh effect. The primary shooter features a 20 MP RGB sensor with an f/1.8 aperture, a 3-in-1 hybrid autofocus sensor, phase detection autofocus, and support for EIS. It also features a dedicated 1/1.
The Huawei P50 Pro features a 6.1-inch OLED display with an aspect ratio of 19.5:9 and a resolution of 1080 x 3120 pixels. It is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 5. There is a notch at the top of the display, with a Huawei branding above it. The notch has a resolution of 720 x 1520 pixels, which makes it larger than that of the Essential Phone. The display is covered by an OLED panel that curves around at the edges, giving the phone an almost bezel-less look. The notch houses the front-facing camera, a speaker, and a flood illuminator. The P50 Pro features the Kirin 980, the first commercially available 7nm mobile processor from Huawei. It also includes a variant of the NPU (neural processing unit) from the Kirin 970.
There are two processors powering the Huawei P50 Pro, with the smaller one offering the more competitive performance. It’s Huawei’s own Kirin 970 SoC paired with the Mali-G72 GPU and 6 GB RAM. We spent the first two days using the P50 Pro with the Snapdragon 710, before jumping to the Kirin 970. The latter has an advantage over the Snapdragon SoC due to a much faster GPU. The Mi Mix 3 is the first smartphone to offer the Snapdragon 710. It’s also the first smartphone to utilize Samsung’s Exynos 9810 SoC. So, the result is subjective. But the P50 Pro is fast, smooth and responsive even with 6 GB RAM and the smoothness of performance appears consistent. Using the Huawei P50 Pro is an absolute pleasure and there is virtually no sign of lag.
The rear camera setup on the P50 Pro consists of a 40 MP RGB sensor and a 20 MP monochrome sensor. The company says the output is enhanced by computer vision algorithms for better dynamic range and performance. This setup is known as a hybrid one, which means both a color and a monochrome sensor are combined in the same lens. The AI camera feature also has a 12-megapixel sensor with a 3X optical zoom, which is paired with a 2X tele zoom. There’s an 8 MP selfie camera with a soft light filter. The P50 Pro can also take portrait mode shots with a single camera. In the beta version of the software, Huawei has made the AI camera more effective. There are a number of image processing algorithms and scene recognition features.
Huawei is dominating the Chinese smartphone market with a huge 65% market share (as of Q3 2018) thanks to its extensive portfolio of devices. But the main driver behind its growth is its ultra-competitive, aggressive pricing. This includes both low-end and high-end devices. Most notably is its P-series, which features flagship specifications, but at the cost of the marketing budget that comes with them. The P20 Pro and the P20, for example, cost only a fraction of what Samsung charges for their respective flagships. So even if the latest Mate 20 Pro does come at a higher price point (about $1,000), it will be a significantly more enticing proposition for buyers.