Combining two cameras with OIS and AI-assisted digital stabilization, the P30 Pro has even more chances to glean detail for video, too. That said, we had some performance issues with video in less favorable lighting. At night, while scenes appeared detailed and contrasty, things got a little jumpy, and all the image stabilization adds a jittery effect to the movie, which is not great to watch. Very bright subjects often leave a red neon halo on both video and images, something Huawei can hopefully tweak in software updates in the future.
Shoot video in the daytime, however, and it is rarely a problem. For a phone, the P30 Pro has some incredibly impressive focus tracking. On 10X hybrid zoom, the camera was able to keep pace with this scooter, dashing across a busy intersection, regardless of traffic interrupting the view. Face tracking also offered a way for the phone to keep things focused on subjects far away.
I have terrible selfie game. But here we are, and so I have to take selfies for the sake of my job. I might not like taking them, but I know what makes a bad one, duck-face aside.
Huawei has added some AI smarts to its selfie camera, which it calls Super HDR shot. That translates to pictures where, even if the background is very well lit, it will strike a balance between that and your face, ensuring it's nicely lit. It's a smart touch. And means less forced grimaces for the sake of a selfie.
While it doesn't really have anything to do with the camera, the P30 Pro has surprisingly beefy battery life. A day of intensive shooting brought the battery down to around 60 percent. It's something worth mentioning.
24 hours later, and I'm surprised to admit that the P30 Pro is another incredible camera phone that pushes mobile imaging further. I think it's a sign that even high-end compact cameras are going to be replaced by phones. My main takeaway was that Huawei has learned how to make its cameras a little easier to use (the Portrait mode is a great example of hardware and software working in tandem for simple, impressive photos). It's even easier to deliver great photos without having to read a manual or peruse a grid of photography options.
Huawei could have gone further, though. There are still a few UI hassles: The zoom control, with hard stops for 10X Hybrid zoom 5X optical zoom, standard mode and wide angle, is often hard to get to while shooting and is a little difficult to see on the screen. There are still a lot of shooting options hidden away on a mode screen, and the camera settings (given all those lenses interplaying with each other) menu is a complicated mess. Yes, you can shoot video in 4K, but be ready to dive into the menus.
Put in the effort, though -- and I know a lot of you are power users looking for the best camera phone, regardless of unwieldy menus or temperamental results -- and no smartphone camera comes close to what the P30 is capable of. In 2019, camera phones are making another leap forward, and it's a mix of class-leading hardware and smarter software.