Huawei Mate 30 Pro
Cool factor 4/5

Usability 4/5

It’s been a long time since a smartphone launch involved so many questions about its operating system (OS). The ongoing trade war between the White House and China, and the controversial banning of Huawei from using US technology, has meant there has been confusion about whether the company would still use Android.

Take a breath ... the Mate 30 — Huawei’s flagship — will still use the latest Android OS, but the firm has opted for an open-source version of it. Though Android has always been freely available in this form, Google has made its own version for manufacturers that is closely tied to its Play Store for apps, games and music.

Apps are also still available to Mate 30 users from Huawei’s own app store, but because of the US ban Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and Twitter aren’t there. There is some expectation that these apps will ultimately be available, but the trade war means it’s uncertain when that may happen.

On the hardware front, the Mate 30 and Mate 30 Pro were built to impress — and that is what we’ve come to expect from the Chinese maker, which has climbed in a few short years to become the second-largest phone manufacturer both globally and in SA.

The standout feature, from the front, is the large edge-to-edge OLED screen (a 6.62-inch screen for the Mate 30 and a 6.53-inch one in the Mate Pro). On the back, four cameras are circled by a distinctive round bezel that bears the logo of lens manufacturer Leica.

This quad camera system has two 40-megapixel (MP) cameras as well as an 8MP telephoto camera and a 3D depth-sensing camera. The combination produces fantastic photographs and great video. The ultra-slow motion is particularly good, capturing 7,680 frames per second.

Huawei uses its own Kirin 990 series chipset, having introduced it previously in its Mate 20, and this 990 5G processor incorporates a 5G modem. This is the maker’s second generation of 5G handsets, as it introduced the folding Mate X earlier this year.

As usual, there are a range of new colours and colour effects — including a leather-backed model by Porsche Design — but Huawei is ahead of the curve with regard to a growing concern: two editions feature vegan leather (in orange and forest green).

The Mate 30 Pro (256GB) will sell for €1,099. Local pricing hasn’t been announced.