Despite its troubled history with the US, Huawei has been producing consistently good devices that rank among the best smartphones for years now and the flagship Huawei P50 Pro and P50 Pocket are no exception, replacing the P40 Pro.
We're on the verge of getting the Samsung Galaxy S22 and there are so many other fantastic Android phones out there that Huawei is competing in a difficult field but the P50 Pro and P50 Pocket, a foldable, offer some interesting features.
The main thing to know going into looking at the P50 series is that they don't come with Google services, despite running Android, thanks to US sanctions on the company for allegedly working as part of the Chinese state, especially when it comes to networking equipment used by Western countries.
Huawei has been working to solve this conundrum, however, and while the results are... spotty, the company has made some progress.
So, let's jump into the three things to know about the Huawei P50 Pro and P50 Pocket as they arrive in Europe.
Huawei P50 Pro and P50 Pocket specs are impressive
Huawei has pushed the boat out with the P50 Pro and P50 Pocket and we'll quickly detail some of the key specs for the devices, starting with the P50 Pro.
The more conventional of the two smartphones, the P50 Pro has a 6.6-inch display (1228 x 2700), IP68, four rear cameras (50MP, 64MP, 13MP, and 40MP), USB-C, either a Kirin 9000 or Snapdragon 888, up to 512GB, 8GB or 12GB RAM, and runs Huawei-made HarmonyOS 2.0 in China and EMUI 12 in Europe.
The P50 Pocket is a foldable, meaning it is automatically more daring and exciting than a traditional smartphone. For its part, the Pocket has a 6.9-inch display (1188 x 2790) and a 1.04-inch (340 x 340) circular cover display, which are paired with Snapdragon 888, three rear cameras (40MP, 13MP, and 32MP), USB-C, up to 512GB, 8GB or 12GB RAM, and the Huawei-made HarmonyOS 2.0 in China and EMUI 12 in Europe.
The two devices are fairly similar specs-wise, except for the displays, which makes sense given they're both part of the P50 family.
But there is no Google services
That was the good news so let's get onto the bad news: neither the P50 Pro or P50 Pocket come with Google services including due to the aforementioned US sanctions on Huawei.
This means that the P50 Pro and Pocket will be without Gmail, Maps, Chrome, and so many other useful tools that are, most likely, deeply ingrained in your life as an Android users. Other apps and services are available, and Huawei has worked to replace many of them, but the results are mixed.
It's most likely a dealbreaker for many and we can totally understand why: not being able to link up with your email, calendar, messages, and so much more without annoying and fiddly workarounds is difficult, especially with Samsung, Google, and others continued to produce such high-quality handsets.
And there's no 5G, either
Huawei has also had to leave out 5G from both of the devices which, given they're going to cost upwards of £1,000, is a pretty indefensible move, aside from the fact that procuring the components was made impossible by the sanctions.
While 5G coverage is only in its infancy, the omission is a seriously liability for a high-end device and it might be the final nail in the coffin for the P50 Pro and P50 Pocket.