Huawei P50 Pro review: Much better than you think
Am 29 July the Chinese manufacturer presented, among other things, the new Huawei P50 Pro officially for the Chinese market. A market launch here in Europe is still considered quite unlikely, since Huawei is gradually launching its own Kirin 9000 Processors run out and on the other because due to the Pro5G is not possible with the USA and, on top of that, Google services are still not supported. These things are now essential, especially in Europe, which is why the smartphone can hardly be recommended to anyone in this country, which I find extremely unfortunate, because the Huawei P50 actually has Pro There is a lot to offer in terms of hardware.
Above all, the new quad camera on the back, which was also developed this time in cooperation with the camera manufacturer Leica, is intended to be one of the highlights of the new flagship from Huawei. According to DXO mark, the smartphones, lenses and full-fledged cameras on "protest the cameras of the P50 Pro than the current one best in a smartphone. Even the Mi 11 Ultra from Xiaomi couldn't quite keep up, which is why it is in the Rankings dropped to 2nd place. The smartphone ranking list at DXO Mark is a nice reference point, but you should rather neglect it, since the rankings in the past often made no sense. For example, the cameras of the Galaxy S20 Ultra are rated better than the cameras of the S21 Ultra, which some tests on YouTube and our test report clearly refute. Not only with the cameras, but also with the 6,6-inch 120 Hertz OLED display, the 4.360 mAh battery, 66 watt fast charge and the powerful Kirin 9000 4G under the hood, the Huawei P50 Pro completely convincing on paper. In the following lines you will find out in detail whether this is also the case in everyday use, whether the new Leica quad camera is actually that good and surpasses all other competitors.
Jump to section
- 1 Haptics and design
- 2 Display - one of the best OLED panels
- 3 Software - not Android, but HarmonyOS
- 4 Performance - lightning fast, fluid and constant
- 5 Battery - satisfactory
- 6 Camera - much better than expected
- 6.1 Camera comparison
- 6.2 Comparison with the Apple iPhone 13 Pro
- 7 Others - great speakers, top notch vibration motor, and more
- 8 Summary
- 9 Huawei P50 Pro buy
Haptics and design
With dimensions of 158,8 mm in height and 72,8 mm in width, the Huawei P50 counts Pro Although one of the larger smartphones, it is surprisingly still relatively easy to use, which is also helped by the comparatively low weight of 195 grams. In addition, the thickness of only 8,5 mm makes the smartphone more comfortable to hold. Overall I have the P50 Pro very popular because it feels great in the hand thanks to the perfectly rounded front and back. At no time is a sharp-edged feeling conveyed. Huawei has done a great job here, although I really liked the predecessors in this regard.
The frame is made of aluminum with a high-gloss finish and therefore feels extremely high-quality and pleasant. In the color I tested Pearl White the frame is made of silver, which, paired with the completely black front, looks extremely beautiful and classy. The disadvantage, however, is that the frame is very susceptible to fingerprints due to its high-gloss finish and will also have minor scratches after some time of use. The back is made of glass, which looks extremely high quality. Unlike its predecessor, the glass is unfortunately no longer matt, but glossy, which makes fingerprints almost magical. With Golden Black, Cocao gold, Charm pink, Blue and Pearl White you have five colors to choose from. I tested the latter, which I really like because it always shimmers a little differently depending on the incidence of light. Every now and then it looks like a light blue, sometimes it shimmers slightly gold and when the light shines directly on the back, a rainbow appears.
Standalone camera design
In addition to the beautiful color, the new camera design immediately catches the eye. The manufacturer comes up with new designs year after year, which I think are beautifully implemented and stand out from the competition. With the new P50 Pro Huawei speaks of the so-called Dual matrix camera designwhich I have never seen in this way on any other smartphone:
There is space for four sensors in the top left, which are housed in two huge, black circles, which I think looks really good and I'm glad that the manufacturer has dared to do something new here. As a result, the recognition value is extremely high and anyone who is familiar with smartphones will recognize that this is the Huawei P50 even from a distance Pro acts. The camera bump protrudes slightly from the case, which means that the smartphone wobbles slightly when it is used lying on the table.
No more independent front, but ...
Last year, Huawei led the way with the P40 Pro Series introduces the so-called "quad-edge design", in which the glass on the front is slightly rounded on all four sides. On the one hand, it looks extremely impressive, but on the other hand, it also feels extremely high quality and pleasant, especially when gesture control is activated and you close an app by swiping from the bottom edge of the screen. At the P50 Pro However, the manufacturer decided to go back to a normal edge design, which I think is a shame since the front doesn't really stand out from the competition anymore. Only on the left and right is the glass rounded towards the frame, but not nearly as strong as on the Mate 40 Pro, but a bit stronger than its predecessor, which in my opinion has both advantages and disadvantages. On the one hand, it feels a little smoother when swiping from the left or right edge, but on the other hand, reflections are more visible than on the predecessor. Since the upper and lower glass are no longer rounded, it looks as if the display edges have become a bit thicker than on the predecessor, but that's actually not true. If you compare the two smartphones with each other, you can hardly see a difference on closer inspection. The bezels are still extremely thin, but the differences to the competition are no longer as obvious as they were last year.
Another innovation concerns the recess for the front camera. The predecessor had a very large recess with several sensors in the left corner and the predecessor had this recess in the form of a small hole for the front camera, which looks much more modern and is less annoying.
Overall, the front leaves me with mixed feelings. Since Huawei does without a quad-edge design, which was an absolute unique selling point last year, this is now possible with the P50 Pro a little lost but nonetheless the front still looks modern and beautiful.
I have absolutely no reason to criticize the workmanship. The smartphone makes a well-made, stable impression, the keys have an impeccable pressure point, sit firmly in the case and are still reasonably easy to reach with one hand.
Display - one of the best OLED panels
With a diagonal of 6,6 inches, the OLED panel has a resolution of 19,8 x 9 pixels in the elongated 2.700:1.228 aspect ratio, which gives us 450 pixels pro inches and brings about a pleasantly sharp display of the content. In everyday life, individual pixels can never be seen and even compared to one Galaxy s21 ultra or OnePlus 9 Pro with an even higher resolution, hardly any significant differences can be found.
One of my biggest criticisms of last year's predecessor was the 90 Hertz refresh rate, which displayed content considerably more smoothly than smartphones with only 60 Hertz, but for a flagship in 2020 I simply expected 120 Hertz like Samsung, OPPO and OnePlus. Fortunately, this point of criticism has finally been eliminated, because the screen of the P50 Pro supports a smooth refresh rate of 120 Hertz, which means that the panel can display 120 frames per second. As a result, all animations and scrolling look buttery smooth, which ensures a great user experience.
The display is also convincing across the board in the remaining points, such as brightness and color reproduction. Thanks to the OLED technology, we are dealing with perfect black and contrast values and even the white value is excellent, even if the S21 Ultra leaves all the others behind in this respect. However, the difference is not big. Colors are reproduced extremely faithfully in the "Natural" mode, which is pretty much my favorite of all the flagships so far. Samsung and OPPO can't quite keep up here. On the other hand, if you like it a little more colourful, you can adjust the color rendering in the settings under "Display & Brightness". proeasily adapt to your own taste.
The brightness is also first class, which is what you can expect for the price offered. In manual mode it is even visibly brighter than the S21 Ultra, My 11 Ultra or your own predecessor. However, if you switch to automatic mode, both Samsung and Xiaomi outperform the P50 Pro visible. Even so, I've never had it in direct sunlight Proproblems with readability and compared to P40 Pro+ it is also slightly brighter in automatic mode, which is extremely commendable. The viewing angle stability is completely okay, even if there is still a bit of room for improvement here. When tilted to the side, the display turns yellow - especially with white content - which is not the case with the predecessor. To be fair, however, it must also be said that Samsung, Sony and OnePlus also have slight weaknesses in this regard, but these are almost never noticeable in everyday life.
Software - not Android, but HarmonyOS
The software has a special feature, because what at first glance is very reminiscent of Android turns out to be the Chinese manufacturer's own operating system, namely HarmonyOS, on closer inspection. The biggest difference compared to EMUI is the changed control panel and notification bar. Here you probably got a little inspiration from Apple, because the idea is very similar to IOS. If you wipe down at the top right, you get to the so-called "control panel", which is referred to as the "control center" in IOS. All the necessary controls, such as WLAN, Bluetooth and the flashlight, are displayed here, and you can also control your music and display smart devices. If you swipe down from the left, you get to the notification bar, where all incoming notifications are displayed. Personally, I like the look of this solution very much because it makes everything look a little tidier than before, but I find it less practical because I have to constantly change my grip or use my second hand when I want to swipe down from the top left to get mine to see notifications. The P50 Pro is just a bit too big to be able to use it properly with one hand.
Otherwise everything is actually like EMUI. The software is nicely clear, decorated with beautiful animations and equipped with some useful additional functions. For example, you can change the animation when unlocking using the fingerprint sensor integrated in the display, adapt the app symbols to your own taste and much more. There is also an excellent night mode and a first-class always-on display, which only appears when you look at the display, which works great and is an ingenious feature.
As you should have noticed, the current Huawei smartphones since the Mate 30 Pro However, there is an unavoidable disadvantage, as they are delivered without pre-installed Google services. Most applications, apart from those from Google, can be downloaded from alternative app stores, the AppGallery or Petal Search. ProHowever, there are problems with banking apps and push notifications in apps such as eBay or Twitter.
Performance - lightning fast, fluid and constant
The Huawei P50 Pro There are two versions, each with different Processors. Under the hood of my test device is the in-house Kirin 9000 4G, which is manufactured using the energy-saving 5-nanometer process and is undoubtedly one of the strongest Proprocessors in a smartphone counts. Already in the Mate 40 Pro This SoC was used at the end of last year, but still with 5G. The Kirin 9000 in the P50 Pro no longer supports 5G because Huawei Proproblems with the USA is not otherwise possible. The version with the Snapdragon 888, which will only be available in China from December, does not support 5G either. Along with the lack of Google services, the lack of 5G connectivity is the biggest point of criticism and the reason why this actually great smartphone is of little interest to anyone in Europe, which I can absolutely understand.
The Kirin 9000 is available with either 8 or 12 GB of RAM and 256 or 512 GB of internal memory, which can be expanded using an in-house NM card. A version with 128 GB is also available, but only with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888. The RAM management is at a very high level.
One of the greatest strengths of the last high-end smartphones from Huawei was the extremely good performance, which now ensures an even better user experience with 120 Hertz. The animations in gesture control in particular run so smoothly and consistently on hardly any other smartphone. Apps are launched extremely quickly and you won't find any major stutters or delays here. Complex games don't bother the smartphone either Probleme, the good cooling is particularly noticeable here, which with the efficient Kirin 9000 ensures that the P50 Pro warmer than average.
Battery - satisfactory
A few years ago, Huawei was still known for installing the largest possible batteries in their smartphones and thus ensuring outstanding battery life. Although the P40 series also offered really good runtimes, the capacity of only 4.200 mAh left a little to be desired, especially in view of Samsung, which installed batteries with up to 5.000 mAh. A few months later the Mate turned 40 Pro published, which unfortunately delivered a noticeably worse battery life in our test report despite the larger battery and more efficient Kirin 9000.
In the P50 Pro With 4.360 mAh, there is even an infinitesimally smaller battery that delivers similarly decent runtimes. With activated 120 Hertz I always got through a day easily and even 1,5 days were often not Proproblem At the end of the day, with a screen-on-time of 4 to 6 hours, I usually still had 10 to 40 Procent battery left, which is better than expected for the capacity and the power-guzzling 120 Hertz display. A OnePlus 9 Pro for example, has to be connected to the power much earlier despite the larger battery. At the P50 Pro While it's by no means a long-distance runner, and heavy users will definitely be able to drain it in a day, the battery life is more than enough for most people proeasily get through a day without a charge.
If the P50 Pro If you run out of breath in the evening, luckily it can be recharged very quickly. Wireless charging is possible with up to 50 watts and wired charging is supported with up to 66 watts. It only takes about 50 minutes for the smartphone to be fully charged. However, OnePlus and OPPO charge a little faster with 65 watts, since the battery is divided into two and both halves of the battery are therefore charged with 32,5 watts each. Nonetheless, the charging time of the P50 Pro absolutely satisfactory. On the other hand, what is rather disappointing is the lack of a power adapter in the box, which I think is ridiculous for a flagship. After all, the device can be charged quite quickly with my 40 watt power supply from the predecessor.
Camera - much better than expected
Huawei's P series has been known for its impressive camera innovations for years. That was the P20 Pro the first smartphone with a triple camera, a 5x hybrid zoom, a high-resolution camera with an enormous sensor size and an innovative night mode that you see on all the competition these days. The P30 followed a year later Pro, which took the zoom even further to the top and, with the new RYYB technology, ensured even better results in low light. With the P40 series, the manufacturer introduced the first 10x optical zoom in a smartphone and the largest main sensor at the time.
So Huawei focused on installing the best possible hardware year after year in order to beat the competition. They had the largest sensor, the widest zoom and new innovations such as RYYB technology. With the P50 Pro However, Huawei takes a slightly different approach, because on paper you even have to step back a bit compared to the predecessor, which is first and foremost noticeable with the main camera. Although it still has a resolution of 50 megapixels, it does without RYYB and, at 1/1.56 inches, is significantly smaller than its predecessor, which has a 1/1.28 inch sensor. The biggest compromises on paper, on the other hand, have to be made with the ultra-wide-angle camera. While the predecessor was still equipped with a 1/1.54 inch 40 megapixel sensor, the P50 comes Pro with a 13 megapixel camera that is only 1/3 inch in size. Even with the zoom you have to accept regression. Objects can only be optically enlarged 64 times with the 3,5 megapixel telephoto camera. After all, the sensor has become larger with 1/2 inch. This setup is supplemented by a monochrome camera with a resolution of 40 megapixels and a size of 1/1.74 inch. A 13 megapixel front camera is responsible for selfies.
Is the final picture quality now synonymous worse? In short: no, not really. Starting with the main camera, which delivers extremely detailed photos with excellent dynamic range. It is precisely in these two points that I like it best of the current flagships. Only the Mi 11 Ultra and P40 Pro+ can keep up well on these points, but a Galaxy S21 Ultra takes visibly blurry photos despite the higher resolution. In addition, colors are finally reproduced more naturally than with the predecessor, which makes me extremely happy. Images still look a bit unnatural from time to time, but Huawei has definitely made a significant step forward here. The absolute highlight, however, concerns the performance in poor lighting conditions. Huawei smartphones have been leaders here for years and I had serious doubts whether the P50 Pro due to the smaller sensor can continue down this path and yes it can. I didn't think so, but the Huawei P50 did Pro currently delivers the best results in poor light conditions, even if the difference to a Mi 11 Ultra and its predecessor is not huge. But I like it best when it comes to sharpness and there are also very beautiful and mostly natural colors here. A Galaxy S21 Ultra cannot really keep up on these points. When there is almost no light left, produces the P50 Pro sogar without night mode by far the best results, which is extremely impressive. The monochrome camera helps here, so to speak, in order to be able to record enough light.
In conclusion, I can say that this is, in my opinion, the best main camera in a smartphone. The difference to a Mi 11 Ultra is not huge, but it is definitely there. I just wonder why Huawei installed a smaller sensor that is worse on paper. With the sensor of the P40 Pro more could certainly have been possible.
Compared to its predecessor, the ultra-wide-angle camera unfortunately takes visibly blurred pictures, which I think is a shame. Nevertheless, the sharpness is perfectly fine. An S21 Ultra, Mi 11 Ultra and, surprisingly, one too OPPO Find X3 are no better here. The dynamic range is at the usual high level and colors are now reproduced visibly more realistically than with the predecessor. The P50 even delivers in low light Pro still decent shots. Although I see the OnePlus 9 here Pro, Find X3 and the predecessor are a bit further ahead, but it doesn't have to hide from Samsung, Apple and Xiaomi. The sharpness is okay and the brightness and color reproduction are at flagship level, which I would never have expected from such a small sensor. Nevertheless, I still don't understand why Huawei doesn't have the same sensor as in the Mate 40 Pro built in, because a lot more could have been possible with it.
Zoom shots from 3,5x to 9,9x magnification are unparalleled. No other smartphone proproduces such sharp shots. In addition, there are beautiful colors that are no longer displayed as yellowish as in the predecessor. Contrast is a bit lacking here and there, but Huawei still has it compared to the P40 Pro some things improved. From 10x magnification, in good lighting conditions, both the S21 Ultra and the P40 Pro+ keep up very well and are maybe even slightly better in some situations, but the P50 also wins every now and then Pro, especially in terms of color reproduction. However, no other smartphone can keep up in poor lighting conditions. The stabilization has also improved significantly and is almost on par with the S21 Ultra. Is this the best zoom camera in a smartphone? Yes and no. I would say that along with the one in the P40 Pro+ and S21 Ultra is currently the best, as each of these zoom cameras has strengths: The P50 Pro wins in low light/artificial light and color rendering, the P40 Pro+ on the other hand in sharpness and the S21 Ultra scores with the best stabilization.
Both the 40 megapixel monochrome and the 50 megapixel main camera work together for black and white recordings. So if you keep one of the two sensors covered with your finger, no more sensible photos are possible. The final image quality is characterized by very good sharpness and good dynamic range. To be fair, however, it must also be clearly stated that even smartphones without a dedicated monochrome camera deliver similarly good results.
Selfies succeed with great sharpness, good color reproduction and an excellent dynamic range. Thanks to the wide field of view, group selfies aren't even possible Prostated problems.
Videos can be recorded in 4K with up to 60 FPS and look really good. However, the quality does not come close to the current iPhones.
Next we want the cameras of the P50 Pro in different situations with the similarly priced competition. Here, the Huawei P40 Pro, P40 Pro+, Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra and the OPPO Find X3.
Let's start with the main camera first. Here Xiaomi is clearly ahead on paper due to the largest sensor. The P50 Pro even has the smallest sensor.
Comparison with the S21 Ultra, Mi 11 Ultra & P40 Pro
In good lighting conditions, all four smartphones take beautiful pictures that only differ in nuances. The Galaxy S21 Ultra tends towards strong colors, the Mi 11 Ultra towards warmer ones and the P50 Pro to mostly natural colors. In terms of sharpness, Samsung can no longer really keep up and has to compete with the Mi 11 Ultra and P50 in particular Pro clearly defeated. On the other hand, the differences are greater in lowlight. Here, the HarmonyOS smartphone delivers the sharpest photos with great color reproduction, which was still the case with its predecessor Proproblem. However, Xiaomi can keep up very well, whereas the S21 Ultra can no longer keep up.
Ultra wide angle camera
Now let's take a closer look at the ultra wide-angle camera. Here the differences are huge on paper, because Huawei built them into the new P50 Pro unfortunately only a very small sensor from OmniVision, which with a sensor size of 1/3 inch is even significantly smaller than the 1/1.54 inch sensor in the P40 Pro+ is. The S21 Ultra uses a 12 megapixel sensor with an average size of 1/2.55 inch and the Mi 11 Ultra uses the IMX586 with a sensor size of 1/2.0 inch. The Find X3 has the IMX766 as an ultra-wide-angle sensor, which the P50 Pro used as the main sensor. It is larger than average at 1/1.56 inch and is described by OPPO as the best ultra wide-angle camera in a smartphone.
Comparison with the S21 Ultra, Mi 11 Ultra, Find X3 & P40 Pro+
The comparison shows quite well that Huawei can keep up very well with the current high-end competition despite poor hardware. In good light conditions there are between P50 Pro, Find X3, S21 Ultra and Mi 11 Ultra when it comes to sharpness, there are almost no differences, which is remarkable. I would have expected a lot more from OPPO and Xiaomi here. As soon as it gets darker, the Find X3 can usually convince across the board and delivers the sharpest results. The P40 is right behind it Pro+ which though ProProblems with the color reproduction, but still delivers sharp results. The P50 Pro I see it in 3rd place. I like the color rendering and the brightness one of the best, but you have to make slight compromises when it comes to sharpness, but for such a small sensor I find the low-light performance much better than I thought. The S21 Ultra is still okay and I'm a little disappointed with the Mi 11 Ultra.
Finally, let's take a closer look at the zoom. Last year's predecessors and then the S21 Ultra and the Mi 11 Ultra compete first. In these tests, it's important to note that the P50 Pro has the shortest focal length with a 3,5x optical zoom. The P40 Pro and Mi 11 Ultra can optically magnify objects up to 5x, and the S21 Ultra and P40 Pro+ go one step further with a 10x optical magnification.
Comparison with the P40 Pro & P40 Pro+
Although with the P50 Pro "Only" a 3,5x optical zoom is used, it can be compared to the P40 in terms of sharpness Pro+ keep up very well and I like it even better, especially in bad light conditions. Huawei usually did a better job with the colors as well. They are reproduced a little warmer and no longer appear as pale as they did on the P40 Pro+, although there is a little lack of contrast here and there. The regular P40 Pro can no longer really keep up in terms of sharpness, but usually displays colors well.
Comparison with the S21 Ultra & Mi 11 Ultra
It's extremely impressive how good the Huawei P50 is Pro can compete with the S21 Ultra. Although this is slightly ahead, especially at higher zoom levels, the P3,5 wins from 9,9x to 50x magnification Pro and with low light and indoor shots, the difference is greater than expected. The Mi 11 Ultra can still keep up relatively well, but has to admit defeat to the other smartphones from 10x magnification. On the other hand, the differences in color reproduction are smaller. There's no clear winner here for me in good lighting conditions, but once you're shooting indoors or with less available light, Samsung can't keep up.
Comparison with the Apple iPhone 13 Pro
I also have the cameras of the Huawei P50 Pro in a detailed comparison on that HUAWEI.Blog against the cameras of the Apple iPhone 13 Pro compete. If you are interested, you are welcome to take a look:
Others - great speakers, top notch vibration motor, and more
The symmetrical stereo speakers get extremely loud and sound really good. They provide a very full, balanced sound with nice depths. Along with the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra and iPhone 13 Pro Max, we are dealing with the currently best loudspeakers of this year's flagships.
The built-in vibration motor is also one of the best on the market, as it conveys a high-quality feel in the hand and never sounds annoying. The Mi 11 Ultra and OnePlus 9 Pro I like it a little better due to better optimization, but that doesn't prevent the P50 Pro through clean, short vibrations clearly in front of a S21 Ultra, OPPO Find X3 Pro or Huawei P40 Pro positioned.
Huawei installs a fingerprint sensor in the display, which is positioned a little too far down for my taste. In terms of reliability and speed, however, it is at a high level. Often just a quick tap is enough to unlock the device. 2D face recognition is also on board, which works extremely quickly, but not too safely.
In addition, the Huawei P50 supports Pro of course the latest standards, such as an IP68 certification against the ingress of water and dust, a USB-C 3.1 connection for fast transfer speeds and WiFi 6+. Although this is a China smartphone, which is not intended for the European market, I had with the P50 Pro actually mostly better cell phone reception than with other devices.
The Huawei P50 Pro is an excellent smartphone that does not have any major weaknesses in terms of hardware. The feel, the high-quality design, the great 120 Hertz display, the impressive performance, the satisfactory battery life including great charging times, the powerful cameras, the first-class speakers and the vibration motor are at an extremely high level. When it comes to cameras, I like the P50 Pro overall even the best, even if a few steps backwards were made on paper.
Unfortunately, the smartphone does not come with Google Play services, which is why Google apps and some other apps, such as Twitter or eBay, do not work at all or only partially. In addition, there is the very poor availability and the lack of 5G connectivity, which is becoming increasingly relevant even in Germany. All of these trade-offs make me recommend the Huawei P50 Pro Unfortunately I wouldn't recommend it to anyone, not even to those who place great value on an excellent camera, because even if the P50 Pro here in my opinion the leader is there with a Mi 11 Ultra, iPhone 13 Pro, S21 Ultra and P40 Pro+ great alternatives.
However, if you can do without Google apps, if you are a Huawei fan and not ProIf you have problems importing a smartphone from China, you are very welcome to go to the Huawei P50 Pro and will certainly be very happy with it, but unfortunately this smartphone is not an option for the general public.