Finally, we have a Huawei P50 series even though this is still limited to the Chinese smartphone market at the moment and doesn’t come with a 5G network, it’s still a premium smartphone with some pretty cool specifications based on what the company’s consumer CEO Richard Yu presented last month, July 29th.
Its also going to be the first premium Huawei smartphone to ship with the HarmonyOS out of the box which further shows Huawei moving farther away from its reliance on Google services even though the sanction placed on the company has ruined a lot of its mobile business operations.
For a device worth over U$1000 yet lack, 5G might not be very appealing to many audiences around the globe even though there are still some great hardware specs such as featuring the Snapdragon 888/Kirin 9000 chipset as well as a power 120Hz display and so much more.
During the keynote, Richard Yu showcased the Huawei P50 series which consists of the base model, the P50, and then the P50 Pro, and there is supposed to be a P50 Pro Plus which we don’t have an idea when it’ll debut. Even the base model will not be released until September while the variant that will be powered by the Snapdragon 888 chipset will not be released until the end of the year as the current versions that will be released this month of August are those powered by the Kirin 9000 chip.
So what’s going wrong with Huawei? Well, the brand has lost so much this year alone that it got toppled by its fellow Chinese smartphone brand Xiaomi and it’s as though Huawei has lost its relevance due to the ban but that’s not why we’re here.
Let’s talk about the cool and the not-so-cool stuff about the newly announced P50 Pro which offers some pretty decent features and interesting hardware specifications putting it in the premium flagship arena just as the likes of the Galaxy S21 Ultra or the Mi 11 Ultra.
Hardware of the P50 Pro
- 6.6-inch OLED display
- Snapdragon 888/Kirin 9000 chipset
- IP68 Water/dust resistance
Huawei excels when it comes to hardware specifications and the company has done it again with the newly announced P50 Pro. The new smartphone comes bundled with GSM / CDMA / HSPA / CDMA2000 / LTE and you might notice that there is no 5G inclusion. That’s because, in the words of Richard Yu, the Chinese company had to pull the 5G module from the device’s processor due to the sanction.
Despite the fact that 5G isn’t global yet, the fact that Huawei’s first market is its home market, China – a country whose 5G’s deployment is far ahead of other regions across the globe might come at a disadvantage especially with the phone being priced within the range of a 5G smartphone such as the Mi 11 Ultra or the OnePlus 9 Pro.
Though 4G LTE seems to be its max, the fact that the device will be using the high-end Kirin 9000/Snapdragon 888 chipset means that you’ll be getting a pretty fast device that can access the internet as fast as possible.
The Huawei P50 Pro is slightly bigger than the previously announced P40 Pro which was announced last year and this time around, there have been some redesigns going on with the smartphone in every sense possible. For example, the dimension is about 158.8 x 72.8 x 8.5 mm (6.25 x 2.87 x 0.33 in) and weighs just 195 grams (6.88 oz) making it similar to other devices made with similar chassis.
It’s rated IP68 which makes it water and dust resistant of up to 1.5m underwater for about 30 minutes. The device’s front and back are made of glass with a metallic frame in the middle to complement the sandwich. One thing that might not be pleasing to consumers is the fact that Huawei didn’t tell us whether it’s using its own in-house glass or a Gorilla for protection since the sanction restricts the Chinese brand from working with any US companies or using US technologies.
Now let’s talk about the display of the Huawei P50 Pro because this part is also another cool thing that’ll interest potential buyers. You’ll be getting a cool 6.6-inch OLED panel with 1 billion colors and most of all, a 120Hz refresh rate which is pretty awesome. The resolution of the screen is 1228 x 2700 pixels which are about 450 PPI density.
If we’re to compare the design of the P40 Pro with the P50 Pro, there are some obvious differences as Huawei has shifted away from the wrap-around display found on its devices since 2019 to just a simple curved display. The device has a 91.2% screen-to-body ratio.
The overall solid build quality of the device is pretty awesome and it looked and feels premium when held. Did I also mention that it’ll be shipped in Black, Gold, White, Pink, Blue colors. I personally prefer the black color because I love black colors.
Moving on to the chipset powering this thing, Huawei has partnered with Qualcomm to use its Snapdragon chipset because both were granted business relationships last year which is one of the reasons Huawei is still able to make the P50 series for real.
The variant which will be powered with the Snapdragon 888 chipset will not be shipped on August 12th and that might give the hint that Huawei is trying to sell the Snapdragon variant to its international consumers while reserving the Kirin 9000 variant for its local market.
Both chipsets use the 5nm nodes and the CPU specifications are:
- Kirin 9000 (5nm) Octa-core (1×3.13 GHz Cortex-A77 & 3×2.54 GHz Cortex-A77 & 4×2.05 GHz Cortex-A55)
- Snapdragon 888 4G (5nm) Octa-core (1×2.84 GHz Kryo 680 & 3×2.42 GHz Kryo 680 & 4×1.80 GHz Kryo 680)
While the GPU of the Kirin 9000 chipset is a Mali-G78 MP24, the Snapdragon 888 GPU is an Adreno 660 both of which will give this device the strength required for graphic-intense activities such as gaming or large media consumption such as 4K videos and so forth.
Trust me, Huawei never disappoint when it comes to the hardware parts on its device and that’s something to give them a credit for even though its current mess of not being able to use a Google service is its biggest disadvantage but we’ll talk about that later on in this hands-on overview of the Huawei P50 Pro specs post.
Software of the Huawei P50 Pro
- Still no Google Mobile Service support
- HarmonyOS 2.0
- Huawei App Gallery
- Huawei Mobile Service
It’s no longer news because we’ve spoken about it here on Brumpost endlessly that Google and Huawei were forced to cut ties by the US government after the Chinese brand was placed on the entity list over its ties with the Chinese government as well as allegations of being a trojan horse to spy on US citizens and steal sensitive information.
Although Huawei has denied this endlessly, the company knew the fate that befell it as it was only a matter of time before the ban catches up with them, and yeah, it has because the majority of its international users will have problems using the P50 Pro due to its lack of Google Mobile Service GMS.
Huawei found a solution though which directly cloning everything on the GMS which includes Maps, Mails, Web Browser, Photo app, cloud storage, cloud accounts, calendar, Video, Music even the App Store.
In a nutshell, Huawei is self-sufficient as its own Huawei Mobile Service or HMS has everything its consumers will need in place of the GMS and that makes sense. However, the HMS isn’t anywhere yet as close as the GMS in terms of popularity even though HMS has more than 50 million users across the globe, the company plan to bring more people to the platform.
The P50 Pro will be the first device or should I say the first premium smartphone from Huawei to be powered by the HarmonyOS 2.0 out of the box and Huawei has planned to bring more smartphones to the service before the year ends and that will give the company more control over its software and hardware.
This is a good thing for the smartphone market for real since there will now be three competing mobile operating systems on the market – Android, iOS, and HarmonyOS however, many still fear whether the route will benefit Huawei.
The HarmonyOS can run Android applications and that will give developers the advantage of just building their apps once and deploying them on HarmonyOS without changing much from their codebase.
The HarmonyOS 2.0 looked and behaves similarly to the EMUI 11 which is a themed Android operating system. The fact that Huawei can pull this off is a good thing for starting. The operating system is also portable and pretty fast so I think it’s going to be successful.
Huawei P50 Pro camera
- Quad rear camera setup
- 50MP main sensor
- 13MP front-facing selfie camera
- Can record 4K videos at 60 FPS
The camera is one of the most exciting things about the device and Huawei never disappoints in this department. The P50 Pro comes with a quad rear camera setup which includes a 50MP primary sensor with features such as an f/1.8 aperture, 23mm (wide), 1/1.28″, 1.22µm, omnidirectional PDAF, Laser AF, and OIS.
Then there is the second sensor which is a 64 MP camera with an f/3.5 aperture, a 90mm (periscope telephoto) lens, PDAF, OIS, with support for 3.5x optical zoom. The third camera is a 13MP sensor with an f/2.2 aperture, 13mm (ultrawide) camera. It doesn’t come with too many features or add-ons. The last sensor is a big 40MP camera with an f/1.6 aperture, 23mm (b/w).
With the camera system already, you’d be expecting nothing but some pretty awesome features and that’s exactly what you’ll be getting with this setup. It also uses the Leica optics technology with features like dual-LED flash, panorama, and HDR and is able to record 4K@30/60fps, 1080p@30/60fps, 1080p@960fps; and has gyro-EIS.
Though I’ve not been able to try out the camera capacity myself, these specifications are worth looking forward to and thanks to Huawei’s image processing, there should be something amazing about the camera system when I try it out.
Upfront, you now have a single hole-punch selfie camera instead of the pill-shaped camera module on the previous P40 Pro last year. The selfie camera is a 13MP wide-angle sensor with an f/2.4 aperture and is able to record 4K@30fps, 1080p@30/60/240fps while also having features such as panorama and HDR.
Other cool things about the P50 Pro
- 4,360 mAh Li-Po battery
- 66W fast wired charging
- 50W fast wireless charging
Lacking Google Mobile Service and 5G doesn’t entirely render the Huawei P50 Pro useless – at least not from my own point of view. The reality is that the device is pretty much polarizing at the moment and while consumers living in China won’t have any issue using the device, the fact that the majority of us outside of the country relies heavily on Google services to get through the day might just relegate the P50 Pro from being a daily driver to a support-smartphone.
You still get cool things like the Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/6, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, hotspot, and also Bluetooth 5.2, A2DP, LE. While all that is the standard you get from a premium smartphone, other cool things you get include A-GPS quad-band Glonass, BDS, Galileo, QZSS and NaviC all for the navigation system.
There is infrared port support but lacks radio and also lacks 3.5mm headphone jack because that’s what is trendy now thanks to Apple. There is also support SUB Type-C 3.1 and USB on-the-go with other cool sensors like fingerprint (under display, optical) scanner, accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer, color spectrum.
Huawei also copied Samsung and Apple by yanking off the device’s power brick – for the review unit and that might be included in the retail units but we’re not sure about that yet. So you might want to look elsewhere to get a charger for your P50 Pro.
In terms of the battery, you get a 4,360mAh Li-Po battery which can be recharged using a 66W charger or a 50W wireless charging. The EMUI is known for being power efficient in every sense and who knows whether the same will go on with the HarmonyOS 2.0 as well considering its over similarity with the Android-based EMUI.
Huawei P50 vs P50 Pro Specs
|Huawei P50||Huawei P50 Pro|
|Dimensions and Weight||156.5 x 73.8 x 7.92 mm||158.8 x 72.8 x 8.5 mm|
|Screen||6.5 inch OLED 90 Hz, FHD+||6.6 inch OLED 120 Hz, FHD+|
|Processor||Snapdragon 888 4G||Kirin 9000 / Snapdragon 888 4G|
|RAM||8 GB||8/12 GB|
|Storage||128/256 GB||128/256/512 GB|
|Rear Cameras||50 megapixels f/1.8
13 megapixels wide angle f/2.2
Telephoto: 12 megapixels f/3.4 OIS, 5x optical zoom
|50 megapixels f/1.8
Monochrome camera 40 megapixels f/1.6
13 megapixels wide-angle f/2.2
Telephoto: 64 megapixels f/3.5 OIS, 3.5x optical zoom, 100x digital zoom
|Front Camera||13 megapixels f/2.4||13 megapixels f/2.4|
66W fast charge
66W fast charge
50W wireless charge
|Operating System||HarmonyOS 2.0||HarmonyOS 2.0|
USB C 3.1
USB C 3.1
|Others||IP68, under-screen fingerprint reader, stereo sound||IP68, under-screen fingerprint reader, stereo sound|
|Price||From $695 at the exchange rate (4,488 yuan)||From $925 at the exchange rate (5,988 yuan)|
Should you get one?
The answer to that question is based on your wants and needs as well as your location. The price of the base model with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage is CN¥5,988 (about US$927) and the price for the high-end model with 12GB of RAM and 512GB of storage will reach about CN¥7000 (US$1,099) or more. Also, we don’t know whether the Snapdragon 888 variant will be more expensive or cheaper than the Kirin 9000 variant all of which could play into the price tag of the device when it finally ships this month.
The Huawei App Gallery is growing really fast and that’s good news however, services that are common outside of China such as Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and so forth are not available on the App Gallery and while the Huawei Petal Search seems to be a solution that can help you sideload these applications to your device, you’ll still be required to install GMS to use services like Google Maps which other map-reliant services such as Uber needs to function properly on your device.
In short, you’re just giving up the plethora of applications and services on Google Play Service if you decide to roll with the HMS and that might be fine if you’re one of the few people who hates Google services but trust Huawei instead.
Overall, this should be a brilliant smartphone but until we actually use it and see how tough it is, then we can talk about the scores and whether to recommend it for those who just don’t care but needs a solid smartphone with cool features.