Reviews

Huawei Mate 30 Pro review: The best Android smartphone in an ideal world

It’s got everything you need plus a few gimmicks that might be useful every now and then

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We’ll get straight to the point. The Huawei Mate 30 Pro is a great smartphone. It’s got everything you could possibly need in a flagship device. Or does it?

Undeniably premium

The Huawei Mate 30 Pro screams premium in every aspect. It’s got this gorgeous curved display that wraps around the sides. Huawei calls it the Horizon display. It’s like the Galaxy Note 10 Plus, only more curved. It actually resembles the Vivo NEX 3 more which we reviewed just recently.

While curved screens are undeniably aesthetically pleasing, we still prefer flat displays over them. What Huawei does differently though is it added functionality to that curved display.

If you haven’t noticed by now, the Mate 30 Pro is missing volume buttons that’s usually placed on the right or left side of the phone. You adjust volume by tapping on either side of the phone, whichever is more comfortable for you.

Do we like it? Let’s just say we like that the curved display isn’t all purely for aesthetic but this functionality is far from perfect and needs a lot of work.

You need to reach for and tap the upper half edges of the phone, right above the power button to adjust volume. If you have small hands, this would be a struggle with one hand use.

Speaking of the power button, we like that Huawei retained the red accent from the Mate 20 Pro. It’s a small thing but a really nice touch.

Port placements are usual. There’s a USB-C port at the bottom, and a single loud speaker, but no headphone jack.

The SIM tray can house two nano SIM cards, or one nano SIM card and Huawei’s proprietary nano memory card. Yes, storage is expandable if you can get a nano memory card where you are.

Up top there’s still a huge notch but for good reason. Notches, punch holes — these things don’t really bother us as much. They’re not that big of an issue as others make them out to be.

“If you ever find yourself incredibly lucky to score tickets to watch your favorite football team or artist on stage, would you really rather spend half of the time trying to take a decent picture, or being present and just enjoying every moment?”

Apart from the selfie camera, there are a bunch of sensors here that allow two things: a more secure face unlock, and air gestures.

This could be handy in certain situations like when you’re eating with your hands and you want to keep scrolling  through your feed. In such situations though, shouldn’t you just be more present instead of using your phone constantly?

Another thing missing on the Mate 30 Pro is an earpiece. Instead, sound comes from the display. Huawei calls this electromagnetic levitation.

Apart from face unlock, you also get an underdisplay fingerprint scanner. It’s fast, but because face unlock is so much faster, you’ll end up not using the fingerprint scanner as much.

At the back you get Huawei’s signature color shifting glass back. It’s beautiful but our unit didn’t come with a case so it easily picked up grime and fingerprints.

The color we have is space silver but it also comes in other colors and finishes depending on where you are. This one looks like a very faint lavender that shifts to a faint blue under most lighting conditions.

Another design decision that Huawei made on the Mate 30 Pro is to drop the square camera module that we actually liked on the Mate 20 Pro. It was unique and distinctly Huawei that even the new iPhone and Pixel phones adopted this design.

On the Mate 30 Pro, you get a round one, reminiscent of old Lumia phones. There’s a “halo” surrounding it, making it look a little different from other round camera modules like those found on the One Plus 7T and Vivo NEX 3.

Battery king

Battery life on Huawei flagship smartphones is something truly commendable. Both the P30 Pro and Mate 20 Pro have some of the longest lasting batteries we’ve tried on a smartphone in the past year.

The Mate 30 Pro is no exception. Huawei also increased the capacity to 4500 mAh from 4200 on last year’s Mate 20 Pro. It can get you a day and a half of heavy use or 2 full days on moderate use.

The only other phone that lasts this long that I can think of is the ROG Phone 2, but that one has a massive 6000 mAh battery.

Another favorite feature of ours that hasn’t changed on the Mate 30 Pro is Huawei’s 40W wired charging. With it you get to 100% in just a little over an hour. If you’re in a hurry, a 15-minute top up will get you to around 40%.

Wireless charging is also faster now at 27W, and Huawei sells its own wireless charger that supports this.

Reverse wireless charging is also much improved — now 3x faster than before.

Versatile cameras

Apart from battery life, Huawei has carved a name for itself in the camera department. The cameras on the P20 Pro, Mate 20 Pro, and P30 Pro are some of the best that we’ve used by far. The Mate 30 Pro, again, is no exception.

It’s got the same large 40MP RYYB sensor found on the P30 Pro, which makes it one of the best low light shooters around. It’s so good that you don’t even need to switch to night mode to get good results.

The ultrawide lens is much improved. It’s now called the 40MP Cine Camera. It’s more consistent with the main lens, and shoots better photos especially when light starts to dip.

One major difference between this and the P30 Pro is zoom. On the P30 Pro you get 5x optical zoom, while on the Mate 30 Pro, you only get 3x. This really isn’t an issue because the only time it’s practical to zoom in that close is when we’re watching either a sports game or concerts.

The Mate 30 Pro can sure take pretty good photos given how far and dark the stage was at Carly Rae Jepsen’s Dedicated Tour, but it also took several ugly takes, and after several songs, before we got any usable shots.

If you ever find yourself incredibly lucky to score tickets to watch your favorite football team or artist on stage, would you really rather spend half of the time trying to take a decent picture, or being present and just enjoying every moment? That, of course, doesn’t take away from how good these cameras are. They’re reliable when taking photos during the day and at night.

After using the P30 Pro extensively to shoot video back in March, we expect the Mate 30 Pro to be just as good if not better. Video stabilization is just as impressive. The phone shoots 7,680fps super slow mo video, too. It’s another feature that neither I nor you will use on a regular basis, but it’s there if and when you need it.

Is the Huawei Mate 30 Pro your GadgetMatch?

I said it at the start of this review and I’ll say it again: the Huawei Mate 30 Pro has everything you could possibly need in a flagship device. It’s got a premium build, great design, gorgeous display, secure biometrics, long-lasting battery life, reliable cameras for photos and videos, and a few gimmicks that might be useful every now and then. It’s the complete package.

The lack of the Google Play Services on a phone this good is really unfortunate. It makes it hard to recommend it to anyone who doesn’t live in China or don’t use Chinese apps.

In Europe it starts with a steep price tag of EUR 1,099. It comes out much cheaper in Singapore at SG$ 1,298, as well as in the Philippines at PhP 50,990.

In an ideal world, the Huawei Mate 30 Pro would get the GadgetMatch seal of approval but in the reality we live in, it’s sadly the best Android smartphone that you shouldn’t buy.

Reviews

Apple Watch Series 6 Review

Is it worth every penny?

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The Apple Watch Series 6 offers more than just being a “luxurious timepiece”. Over the years, they’ve pioneered in what a true smartwatch can offer. From the ability to track your runs, cycles, and swims, as far as reading heart rate and even ECG. This year, the Watch Series 6 has a new SpO2 sensor that can read blood oxygen levels within the reach of your wrists.

But does all of that make up for a fancy price tag? Why is the Apple Watch a worthy investment for your health?

You can head on to our Apple Watch Series 6 review by clicking the link here.

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Reviews

Huawei Mate 40 Pro Unboxing and Review: Last of its Kind

Hopefully not

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Every year, Huawei’s Mate series dominate the smartphone world with hosts of new features.

This October, the Huawei Mate 40 Pro finally made its way out of the limousine. As usual, it’s packed with the latest and greatest internals minus the full Android experience. Albeit, you still get support for AppGallery and other existing Huawei services.

With all that mind, is it still worthy to invest your money just to buy this smartphone?

You can watch our Huawei Mate 40 Pro review by clicking this link.

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Reviews

Infinix Note 7: Best underrated budget phone?

Does size matter?

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The underrated brand, Infinix, is coming in with a perfect phone for when you’re strapped for cash. Infinix has consistently released great phones that deliver every bang for your buck and their recent release is no exception. What’s the latest addition to their great line-up? The Infinix Note 7

Show us what its got

The Infinix Note 7 is a dual-sim budget smartphone with a 6.95-inch HD+ and Corning Gorilla Glass display. It’s decked out in three different colors: Forest Green, Aether Black, and Bolivia Blue. Despite being encased in plastic, the Infinix Note 7 looks and feels premium. Just be more forgiving when the phone looks heavily smeared with your fingerprints — most phones tend to do so.

The phone features and specifications aren’t necessarily what people would view as technologically new or revolutionary. But, with phones on the same price range, this one delivers on all fronts of functionality, affordability, and durability. The phone has loud dual speakers, a great battery life, and reliable performance that makes it a stand-out in with its price tag.

Bang for your buck

The Infinix Note 7 is powered by a Helio G70 Processor paired with 6GB RAM and 128GB storage. If you’re worried about storage, the phone has a dedicated microSD card slot. But, note that the phone has more than enough space to run apps on the Google Play Store without much of a hitch.

The Infinix Note 7 doesn’t falter on features when tested. The phone didn’t stutter or struggle when putting it through the stress test of scrolling, unlocking, and opening and closing multiple apps. On top of that, the Infinix Note7 has a 5000mAh battery that makes your daily grind of work and play look easy.

For gaming, the phone didn’t seem at all bothered with Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, Genshin Impact, and Among Us. And, with the amount of storage the phone had, I’d downloaded all the games I wanted with reckless abandon. The phone held up to its dependable battery life too, despite a full day of work and play.

Does size really matter?

The Infinix Note 7 is big for a phone. Facts. If anything, it’s a love child of a phone and a tablet. With its 6.95-inch HD+ display and dual speakers, the phone makes watching Netflix or playing games an overall immersive experience. Despite Infinix sticking to HD+ on a bigger display, it doesn’t really impose on all the great features the phone has.

Remember: the Infinix Note 7 has a good price tag of PhP 7,990. If you’re asking it to feature 2k or 4k resolution, that good price tag isn’t even remotely ideal on top of the other features the phone comes with.

Is the cake a lie?

No, just misunderstood. Hear me out here: The Infinix Note 7 features a quad-camera set-up with a 48MP primary shooter, a 2MP macro lens, 2MP depth lens, and a 2MP dedicated video camera. On the front, the phone has a 16MP selfie camera. These specs can sometimes come misunderstood since Infinix does say the phone features a quad rear camera set-up. The phone technically features three with the fourth as its dedicated video recording camera.

Sunset view

Boop the snoot

The Inifinix Note 7 performed really well even with little lighting. I tried to photograph a dim sunset and most phones would often scrap some details in photos to compensate with the lack of lighting. That wasn’t the case for this phone. With a phone at its price point, it greatly outperforms phones in the same category quite easily. The phone delivers on detailed selfies with it 16MP in-display front camera and doesn’t struggle to focus using either rear or front cameras.

Strawberry and granola on yoghurt

it me

The phone doesn’t seem at all bothered with taking detailed photos. Sometimes the contrast can be a bit much but again, seeing a budget phone like the Infinix Note 7 perform well under tough circumstances that can just be from being nit-picky.

Is this your BudgetMatch?

If you need a phone to get you good shots and get you through a long day of non-stop work and play while delivering good photos overall, this is the phone for you. There’s nothing to complain about with this phone besides Infinix being utterly underrated for the quality of phones they put out. The Infinix Note 7 is a great phone for your daily grind if you’re looking for a phone that delivers on functionality, efficiency, and durability. It even delivers on good quality shots!

The Infinix Note 7 costs PhP 7,990 (US$ 165).

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