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10X Zoom Comparison: Huawei P30 Pro Vs. iPhone XS Vs. Samsung Galaxy S10 Vs. Mate 20 Pro

The Huawei P30 Pro (right) next to the Samsung Galaxy S10+ (middle) and Huawei Mate 20 Pro. Photo: Ben Sin

So Huawei has a new phone, and if you follow smartphone news — you wouldn’t be on this site if not — you already know that the biggest selling point of the P30 Pro is a periscope-like telephoto lens that can shoot 5X lossless optical zoom, 10X “hybrid” zoom, and 50X digital zoom. I haven’t tried the 50X zoom much yet (I don’t see much use for that other than for pervy-ass dudes to creep on girls across the street), but I’ve tried the 10X zoom extensively over the last 24 hours.

And damn, it is legit.

I’ll show you some samples of the P30 Pro’s 10X zoom images next to same shots captured with the iPhone XS, Samsung Galaxy S10+ and Huawei Mate 20 Pro soon, but first let me get some specs out of the way and explain how the lens work.

So the periscope telephoto lens, as you can see from the photo above, looks a bit different from conventional smartphone cameras. It’s square-shaped, and if you look closely you’ll see that the lens is recessed further into the body. That’s because the lens actually pulls in light source and then bounces that through a series of mirrors and lenses before it hits an L-shaped image sensor that sits perpendicular to the phone’s body — see the official produce render from Huawei below for a better idea.

Photo: Huawei

So this set-up, along with Huawei’s image processing software also pulling additional image information from that 40-megapixel main lens, gives the P30 Pro enough image information to produce an extra sharp zoom image. I mean, don’t just take my word (or Huawei’s word) for it. Look at the samples below (all shot with 10X zoom). They speak for themselves — the P30 Pro’s images are crisp as hell compared to the other phones.

Now keep in mind that 10X zoom is just one aspect of the smartphone camera. So while the P30 Pro wipes the floor with everyone else in this department, this doesn’t necessarily mean the P30 Pro is the new smartphone camera king. There are bunch of other factors such as video recording, wide-angle shots, and of course, non-zooming photos.

From my brief testing, I can already say that P30 Pro’s video capabilities will likely fall short … again. There’s no 4K/60fps mode and footage appears a bit finnicky. I must say my P30 Pro is running very early software, so the final consumer device will probably fix some of this. But I doubt the P30 Pro’s video capabilities will be able to match the goat (LeBron), the iPhone XS, and the second best (Jordan), the Samsung Galaxy S10+.

I am confident, however, that the P30 Pro should be the best low-light camera, however. I have used enough Huawei phones over the last few years and have seen enough so far to make that call.

But that’s not the point of this piece, which is to show off the P30 Pro’s legit periscope telephoto lens. I must add that Oppo actually teased this tech first, but Huawei beat them to putting such a system into an actual phone.

I’ll have a lot more on this phone in the coming days. Stay tuned. In the meantime if you want to learn more about the P30 Pro, I made a YouTube video, which can be seen below.