When it comes to the best phones right now, Huawei is among the rarer names to surface. That's because the Chinese giant no longer delivers phones with Google Play Services, so you'll need to use the company's App Gallery and Petal Search instead.
But there's one thing that Huawei has been exceptional at delivering for years now: the best phone camera experiences on the planet. And having used the Huawei P60 Pro ahead of its European reveal, I can confirm that it's also an absolute sensation when it comes to snapping still images.
Like, sensational. I really think that the likes of Samsung, which makes some of the best Android phones, and Apple, which obviously makes some great iPhone models, could learn a thing or two from the Huawei P60 Pro. Sure, I love using the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra for its zoom and the Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max for its ease of use, but neither have one key feature that the Huawei P60 Pro offers...
'Telemacro' is mind-blowing
I'm talking about the Huawei P60 Pro's telephoto macro mode, which is unlike anything I've ever used in any phone to date. It's really untouchable and you'll not be able to grab an iPhone or Galaxy device and produce anything like the kind of shots that the Huawei can deliver.
That's because the P60 Pro features a periscope telephoto camera that's also able to shoot macro shots of close-up objects. Which means, as you can see from the gallery of images I've shot embedded above, that you can use the zoom lens to focus on things close-up and reveal mind-blowing amounts of detail.
Like, seriously, mind-blowing. I shot those fruits on plates just centimetres away. The level of detail is astonishing. That's thanks to the P60 Pro's 48-megapixel telephoto zoom lens, which is a 3.5x optical zoom, but can use digital zoom and processing to give a 10x equivalent. Plus, of course, the whole close-up angle, which is where this phone stands apart from anything else on the market today.
Quality cameras all round
- Main: 48MP Ultra Lighting, f/1.4-4.0 aperture, optical stabilisation (OIS)
- Tele: 48MP Ultra Lighting 3.5x, f/2.1, OIS
- Wide: 13MP Ultra-Wide Angle, f/2.2
Thing is, it's not just the telemacro that's impressive. Huawei has long been working with well-known optics brands. When the company's P9 launched back in 2016 it set the beginning of a six-year relationship with Leica. The P60 Pro is the first handset to arrive following that relationship, but Huawei's own XMAGE takes centre stage instead (just as it did in the earlier P50 Pro). The years of learning have clearly been adsorbed into Huawei's makeup though.
On the rear of the P60 Pro are three main cameras: a 48-megapixel 'Ultra Lighting' camera as the main; another 48-megapixel 'Ultra Lighting' camera as the 3.5x telephoto; and a 13-megapixel wide-angle. The whole 'Ultra Lighting' thing is all about a different structure compared to most competitors, resulting in very capable low-light potential – as you can see from my variety of snaps below.
In the above gallery I've explored the full spectrum of lenses, and in varying lighting conditions as the sun set, but what also really jumped out to me is just how strong the P60 Pro's artificial intelligence is. Stick on the AI mode and this Huawei's cameras are keener than Apple's and Samsung's equivalents to fancify your imagery – as the sunset shot in particular shows (you weren't there, of course, but the camera has intensified the colour to enhance the shot).
A flagship spec sheet too
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 processor, 8/12GB RAM
- 6.67-inch 120Hz OLED display, 1220 x 2700 resolution
- Rocco Pearl (as pictured) or Black finish options
While the obvious elephant in the room is that the P60 Pro can't access Google Play, there's otherwise no lack of flagship quality about what this handset offers. From the uniquely different finish of 'Rocco Pearl', to the high-end Qualcomm processor, this is one mean yet lean handset that really stands out.
Even with that distinctive finish, though, it's the cameras that I can't help but keep coming back to. I've seen all kinds of advances in phone photography over recent years – another competitor, the Xiaomi 13 Ultra, has also been bold with its camera features – but the P60 Pro really raises the bar with a photographic feature set that's in a world of its own.
Genuinely I think that the big guns of the phone market, namely Apple and Samsung, need to think how to bolster their products' camera feature sets. Because year on year it's been fairly flat, while the likes of an outsider, such as this Huawei P60 Pro, shows there's a lot of capability outside of the most popular brands. And I'm totally here for that – it keeps things fresh and exciting and we need more competition like it.
The Huawei P60 Pro is on sale now, priced from £1199.99 in the UK.