The big picture: The Chinese giant launched its new Mate 30 lineup at an event in Munich, with lots of improvements, but also no mention of Google-owned apps. Instead, as previously rumored, the handsets will come with an open source version of Android with EMUI10 that doesn't have Gmail, Maps, or YouTube pre-installed. Both phones have beefy specs, 5G connectivity, quad camera systems, and reverse wireless charging - pretty much everything you'd possibly want in a flagship phone.
Huawei's new Mate 30 lineup has a questionable future, but that didn't stop the company from proudly unveiling its alternative to Apple's iPhone 11 and Samsung's Galaxy Note 10 at a press event in Munich. The most recent leaks and renders have revealed several aspects ahead of the official launch, but now we know more details about the company's first non-Google-approved devices.
As expected, the new handsets come with no Google apps pre-installed, as a result of Huawei being on the US entity list - which means an effective ban has been placed on American companies dealing with it and its subsidiaries. Furthermore, Huawei had to ship the Mate 30 series with an open source version of Android 10 with the EMUI layer on top of it, and the company has an official website dedicated to explaining how these changes affect its customers.
On a more positive note, the Chinese company did prepare for this by honing its ecosystem of apps available in the Huawei App Gallery as well as building the Huawei Mobile Services Core into the phone software. This is meant to replace Google's services, and Huawei says it's already integrated with more than 45,000 apps. All of this is part of a $1 billion investment that is going into research and development, user growth, marketing, and software services.
All the services on the Mate 30 series will tie into a Huawei ID that will serve as the main key into the ecosystem. The company even went as far as to replace Google Chrome with its very own browser developed in-house. Other software features include dark mode, Air Gestures enabled by the sensors in the notch, and AI Rotate - which means the phone will look at your eyes to decide the screen orientation. Huawei says this will also adapt the notifications you receive so that you only see the full details if you're alone.
The Mate 30 series are 6+ inch devices with a screen that curves around the edges in the case of the Mate 30 Pro, while the standard variant has a flat screen. Both are powered by Huawei's new Kirin 990 chip that was announced at IFA earlier this month. That means there's plenty of processing power and also built-in 5G connectivity for certain markets. The SoC is backed by 8GB of RAM and there are two storage options - 128GB and 256GB, which you can expand using the company's proprietary microSD alternative.
The display of the Mate 30 Pro is a 6.53-inch, 2,400 by 1,176 "Horizon" panel that has a piezoelectric actuator speaker integrated into it. The notch hides plenty of technology for face unlock and augmented reality, as well as Air Gestures. There's also an in-screen fingerprint reader for those of you who prefer that option. The Mate 30 has a slightly larger screen with a teardrop notch that's supposed to emit 25 percent less blue light when compared to traditional OLED displays.
One of the more noticeable changes is on the back of the phones, with a quad camera system contained in a "Halo ring" cutout. The Mate 30 Pro has a main 40 megapixel shooter, a 40 megapixel ultrawide camera, an 8 megapixel telephoto one, and a depth sensor. The Mate 30 compromises on the ultrawide sensor with a 16 megapixel alternative and also forgoes the depth sensor in favor of a "laser focus" one.
In terms of video, both phones are able to shoot in up to 4K, but naturally the Mate 30 Pro features the ability to shoot slow-motion 720p video at up to 7,680 frames per second. Huawei is essentially taking the true 960 frames per second recording and applying computational smoothing techniques to get to that ridiculously high framerate result. Another thing worth noting is the ability to see the four camera feeds at the same times in a split-screen view, which is a boon for amateur cinematographers.
To power all those things, Huawei has equipped the Mate 30 with a 4,200 mAh battery and the Mate 30 Pro with a larger, 4,500 mAh one. However, both support fast-charging up to 40W when using the wired option and up to 27W if you're dropping them on a wireless charging mat. There's also reverse charging for those of you who want to charge your Qi-compatible gadgets.
There are four colors you can choose from - black, space silver, cosmic purple, and emerald green. All of them have a matte gradient finish that's supposed to keep them fingerprint-free, and you can also opt for either a green or an orange "vegan leather" back. Huawei also confirmed expectations for a Porsche Design variant of the Mate 30 Pro that comes with a slightly different camera design that is inside a strip instead of a ring, along with 12GB of RAM and 512GB of internal storage to boot.
In terms of pricing, the Mate 30 will start at €799 ($883) and the Mate 30 Pro will set you back €1099 ($1,215) for the 4G model, and €1199 ($1,325) for the 5G variant. The Porsche Design edition starts at €2095 ($2,315), which shouldn't surprise anyone. It's worth noting that while Huawei sold 16 million Mate 20 devices last year, it will be harder to do that with the Mate 30 lineup now that it no longer has the Google apps integration.