Even with ongoing regulatory problems in the US, the launch of phones like the Huawei P20 Pro and the Huawei Mate 20 Pro ensured that the Chinese company had a very impressive 2018. Is it going to be able to follow it with an even better year in 2019?
Key to answering that question might lie in the Huawei P30 and Huawei P30 Pro phones. We're expecting them to be the first flagship handsets that Huawei unveils this year, and here we've pulled together all the rumours and speculation we've seen appear so far.
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Huawei P30 and P30 Pro: release date and price
To truly understand the future, you must first understand the past... that's not an ancient Chinese proverb, that's our way of saying that the Huawei P20 and P20 Pro launched in March 2018, and so March 2019 is a good bet for the Huawei P30 and P30 Pro. There's no guarantee Huawei will stick to last year's schedule, but it gives us a rough idea.
If Huawei does want to show off the phones earlier, the MWC 2019 mobile show at the end of February is the perfect opportunity. We know that the Galaxy S10 is arriving earlier than last year, and that means other companies might follow suit.
How much will the Huawei P30 and P30 Pro cost you? Well the Pro model will be more expensive, that much is clear. Last year's phones started at £599 (about $765) for the P20 and £799 (about $1,020) for the P20 Pro – don't expect this year's flagship Huawei phones to be any cheaper, and they might even be a touch more expensive.
Huawei P30 and P30 Pro: design
We also have the Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro to look to for clues about the Huawei P30 and P30 Pro, and with that in mind we'd expect the new phones to go for a small, teardrop notch on the front – as apparently confirmed by leaked renders – and an in-screen fingerprint sensor on the front. We really like this concept video from Concept Creator that pulls a lot of the rumours together.
Design-wise that would free up more space on the back. The most recent photo leaks of the P30, from reputable sources that have been proved right in the past, show a very sleek-looking device with a two-tone, gradient backing and a triple-lens camera. There's even room to include a 3.5mm headphone jack – a feature that wasn't included on the P20 or P20 Pro, but was present on the Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro launched in October.
Other rumours back up the theory that the P30 and P30 Pro will keep the notch and ignore the 2019 trend for pinhole cut-outs that house the front-facing camera in one of the corners. The display size is rumoured to be in the region of 6 inches for the P30 phone, and slightly larger for the P30 Pro.
Huawei P30 and P30 Pro: specs and features
Now we're getting to the nitty gritty. Huawei CEO Richard Yu has confirmed the P30 and P30 Pro will be "even better" than their predecessors, but we could have probably worked that out for ourselves – improved internals are a must, and will most likely involve the latest Huawei Kirin 980 processor (the same one that's in the Mate 20 phones).
We know Huawei loves its phone cameras, and it sounds like both the P30 and the P30 Pro will get one additional lens compared with the phone models that went before them – so that'll be a triple-lens rear camera on the Huawei P30 and a quad-lens rear camera on the Huawei P30 Pro, if the speculation turns out to be true.
In fact Walter Ji from Huawei's Europe division has himself put forward the idea of four lenses in a rear-facing camera. This is typically an area Huawei likes to innovate and improve in, so it's almost certain we'll see photo-taking upgrades – look out for more fancy effects and greater optical zoom.
One of the lenses, in the Huawei P30 Pro at least, is set to use a state-of-the-art 38-megapixel sensor made by Sony. While this will actually mean a drop in terms of megapixels from the 2018 phones, the sensor is said to excel at low-light illumination, helping Huawei keep up with the Google Pixels of this world.
It sounds like Huawei wants to keep pace with Apple in the animated emoji stakes too, with a more advanced version of its 3D pictures heading to Huawei's version of Android, EMUI. The P30 and P30 Pro should come rocking a version of EMUI based on the latest Android 9 Pie, we would've thought.
We also know for sure that Huawei is very keen on 5G. The company confirmed exclusively to T3 that Huawei 5G phones would appear in 2019 – so the tech is going to appear in either the P30 and P30 Pro handsets, or the Mate 30 and Mate 30 Pro devices that should launch later in the year (if that's what they end up being called).
Huawei P30 and P30 Pro: what we want to see
After all the rumours and speculation we've mentioned, there's not much left to add about the Huawei P30 and the Huawei P30 Pro phones. All the indications are that these handsets are set to arrive with top-end specs and stunning looks sometime during February or March 2019.
With internal upgrades and camera improvements, they'll be able to challenge the best phones of 2019. If we could make some requests direct to Huawei, we'd make them the usual ones: better battery life and an Android skin that's a little easier to get around. OnePlus is leading the way when it comes to manufacturer variations on stock Android, so Huawei has some catching up to do.
Otherwise we're pretty impressed with what Huawei has got coming down the line and how the leaks are looking – if the P30 phones are as well designed as the Mate 20 ones, Huawei will be on to a winner. Knowing Huawei, there will probably be a few more surprises at launch as well.
Header image: Concept Creator