The amazing Huawei smartphone you can’t buy in South Africa – Hands-on

Huawei recently launched its new Mate 30 Series smartphones, and many South African customers expected the flagship Mate 30 Pro to become available for order soon after the announcement.

This was not the case, however, as Huawei has decided to postpone the launch of the device in South Africa until it is once again able to use Google apps and services or it has finished the development of its own ecosystem for the local market – whichever comes first.

The Mate 30 Pro still runs on Android, but it uses the open-source version of the operating system which does not include Google Mobile Services (GMS) or licensed Google apps.

Huawei said it hopes to have its own Huawei Mobile Services (HMS) ecosystem ready by the time its next P Series flagship launches.

Alternatively, if the company’s situation with Google and the US is resolved, it plans to roll out Google services to the Mate 30 Pro, which it said it would be able to do immediately.

Huawei provided MyBroadband with a Mate 30 Pro device to try out, and we were impressed with the device’s powerful camera and innovative design.


The Huawei Mate 30 Pro boasts some unique design elements, including an attractive new Horizon display and a circular housing for the larger camera system on the back of the smartphone.

The model we tested boasted 8GB of RAM with 256GB of internal storage, and it ran on Huawei’s EMUI 10 operating system.

Like the previous-generation Mate smartphone, the Huawei Mate 30 Pro includes a notch on its front face to house an advanced facial recognition system and front-facing camera array.

The display on the device curves around the side of the smartphone’s body, over where the volume and power buttons are traditionally positioned.

To accommodate this impressive display, Huawei has moved the power button further towards the back of the Mate 30 Pro, and it has removed its volume buttons entirely. Instead, users can simply double-tap the side of the smartphone’s display to bring up a volume slider that provides haptic feedback.

The notch at the top of the Mate 30 Pro also houses the hardware necessary to enable air gesture control, allowing you to navigate through apps and media by simply waving your hand in front of the display.

The Mate 30 Pro has great battery life, and it supports 40W wired charging and 27W wireless charging. Its battery life is further enhanced by the improved performance and power efficiency of the new Kirin 990 processor, which is built on a 7nm manufacturing process.

There is a version of the device which includes an integrated 5G modem, but we were given the 4G model of the Mate 30 Pro to test.

Below are the full specifications of the device which was supplied to us by Huawei.

Mate 30 Pro Review 6

Huawei Mate 30 Pro
OS Android 10 (EMUI 10)
Display 6.53-inch 1,176 x 2,400 OLED
Processor HiSilicon Kirin 990
Storage 256GB, NanoSD up to 256GB
Rear Camera 40MP + 16MP + 8MP + Laser Focus
Front Camera 32MP
Ports USB Type-C
Connectivity Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0
Cellular LTE/5G
Durability IP68
Biometrics In-screen fingerprint sensor, Face ID 2.0
Battery 4,500mAh

User experience

The lack of Google services is immediately apparent when booting up this device, although the basic EMUI environment remains identical to that of the P30 Pro, which features full Google support.

You are not prompted to log into a Google account upon startup – instead, you are asked to log into Huawei ID to set up your app store account and preferences.

The device was not pre-loaded with any apps such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Gmail, or YouTube, and there is no Google Play Store from which to download these applications.

Of course, these APKs can easily be sideloaded and there could even be ways to install Google services on this device.

The camera and gesture features on the Mate 30 Pro are extremely impressive, and the phone’s software is quick and responsive across the board, no matter how much multitasking we did.

Using the advanced camera system, you can take slow-motion video at 7,680 frames-per-second with a resolution of 720p. This is in addition to 30x digital zoom and all the great functionality first introduced in the Huawei P30 Pro’s camera system.

The gesture controls are remarkably responsive and are great for controlling your smartphone when reading or viewing media from a distance.

This smartphone might not be available in South Africa at the moment, but once Huawei ships it locally, it could be a great competitor to the Apple iPhone 11 Pro and Galaxy Note 10+ thanks to its great display design, improved camera, and 5G capabilities.

Huawei Mate 30 Pro

Now read: The iPhone 12 could come without a notch

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The amazing Huawei smartphone you can’t buy in South Africa – Hands-on