Huawei wants to overtake Samsung and become the biggest smartphone manufacturer in the world by the end of 2019. That’s a lofty goal, to say the least. This is especially true in markets like the United States, where Huawei is basically a non-factor. Where it does have a better shot is in Europe and Asia.
To achieve its ambitious goal, the company has to significantly increase sales. The best place to start is with its flagship phones, as they grab the most attention.
The company did a solid job with the Mate 20 Pro, delivering top-of-the-line specs, a great design, and extra bells and whistles like 3D facial recognition. The next high-end phone the company will announce will presumably be called the Huawei P30 Pro and will compete with the Galaxy S10 series — mainly the Plus model. Here are a few things the Huawei P30 Pro needs to outsell its predecessor and give Samsung’s upcoming flagship a run for its money.
An X factor
An X factor is a unique feature that makes a phone stand out. The P20 Pro had it — it was the first handset with a triple-camera setup (though others have done configurations like four cameras, including Samsung). Since its launch, a lot of other manufacturers have jumped on the bandwagon, like LG with the V40 ThinQ and Honor with the Magic 2. Even the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus is rumored to sport three cameras on the back. Now being the first to market doesn’t mean Huawei was the first to come up with the idea, but it clearly saw trending potential and got on board early.
The Huawei P30 Pro should come with a pop-up camera and a true bezel-less design.
So what kind of an x factor? My idea would be a mechanical pop-up selfie camera. I know we’ve already seen it on devices like the Vivo Nex and Oppo Find X, but the availability of these phones is much more limited than Huawei’s.
A pop-up camera has a number of benefits. Not only does it look cool and futuristic, it also allows for a full bezel-less display. That’s something the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus likely won’t have, according to the latest rumors. Instead, the Galaxy S10 may likely come with a hole in the screen that will house the front-facing cameras. It’s a new take on the notch and one of those things you’ll either love or hate — check it out below.
A pop-up camera would differentiate the Huawei P30 Pro from the Mate 20 Pro, allow for a larger display without increasing the overall footprint of the device, and give people worried about privacy peace of mind — the camera would be hidden from sight when not in use.
Wireless charging, expandable storage…
To compete with the Galaxy S10 Plus, the Huawei P30 Pro has to come with all the standard features expected from a high-end device. Wireless charging is one of them, which is missing on the P20 Pro. Most 2018 flagships like the Galaxy Note 9, LG V40, and Pixel 3 have the technology on board, while upcoming devices like the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus are expected to have it as well. The P30 Pro should join this list.
Like the Mate 20 Pro, the Huawei P30 Pro should also feature reverse wireless charging to get a leg up on the competition. In case you’re not familiar, a phone with this technology can charge any Qi-enabled handset if you place them back to back. It’s not a make-or-break feature, but it comes in handy many times. Yes, this is kind of a gimmick feature but it’s an extra little something that sets it apart from rivals.
The Huawei P30 Pro should come with wireless charging, expandable storage, an in-display fingerprint scanner, and an IP68 rating.
The next feature on the list is expandable storage. It can be hard to estimate how much storage one actually needs, so having a memory card slot on a phone is always a good idea. The P20 Pro doesn’t have it, but hopefully the P30 Pro will. But instead of Huawei’s new Nano Memory standard that made its debut on the Mate 20 Pro, I’d much rather see a classic microSD card slot on the device — which will likely be available on the Galaxy S10 Plus as well.
The reason why is because you can pick up a microSD card at just about any electronics retailer, while getting your hands on a Nano Memory card isn’t as easy. Also, Nano Memory has its limits, as it only comes in 128 and 256GB configurations for now.
To establish itself as one of the best phones on the market, the P30 Pro should also sport an in-display fingerprint scanner. We’ve already seen it on a number of phones this year, including the OnePlus 6T and Huawei’s own Mate 20 Pro. However, it’s expected to become standard on most flagships next year, including the Galaxy S10 Plus.
Additionally, I’d like to see Huawei bump up the water and dust resistance from IP67 to IP68 to keep up with the competition. Bringing the headphone jack back would also be a great idea, but I know the chance of that happening is slim to none.
An improved software experience
For me, the biggest drawback of Huawei devices is the EMUI Android skin. It has its upsides and has gotten a lot better over the years, but it’s not as good as the ones you get on competing phones from Samsung and OnePlus.
EMUI is a heavy skin. It changes the look and feel of Android quite a bit and comes with a lot of Huawei-made apps pre-installed that you’ll likely never use. It’s also not super original, as it imitates Apple’s iOS in more ways than one.
Huawei should focus more on improving its EMUI Android skin.
To make the Huawei P30 Pro stand out and grab more attention than its predecessor, Huawei should focus more on improving its software. And by improving I don’t mean adding a bunch of new features. I’d much rather see Huawei simplifying things, focusing more on creating an Android skin that offers a stock-like experience — which most people love — with the addition of unique and useful features you won’t find on competing phones.
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A good example of this is OnePlus with its OxygenOS, which is one of the best skins out there in my opinion. It looks and feels like stock Android but has a bunch of great features on board like off-screen gestures, Gaming mode, Shelf, and more.
Huawei has already simplified its software with the recent release of EMUI 9.0. Hopefully, we’ll see more of that from the company in the near future.
A step up in the camera department
The Huawei P20 Pro has a triple-camera setup on the back that takes great photos. It supports scene recognition, offers 3X optical zoom, and 5X hybrid zoom. However, Huawei shouldn’t rest on its laurels. The camera quality is one of the most important features of a smartphone for most users, so the company should improve it as much as possible with the P30 Pro.
Replacing the monochrome lens with a wide-angle shooter is the way to go.
The P20 Pro features a main 40MP sensor for capturing rich color, a 20MP secondary monochrome sensor for capturing additional details, and a third 8MP telephoto lens that’s used for zoom and additional focal length. To improve the setup, the first thing Huawei should do is replace the monochrome lens with a wide-angle shooter — just like on the Mate 20 Pro. This will offer more versatility when taking photos, allowing you to capture more in a shot.
Another area to focus on is making improvements to the Night mode, which is used for taking photos in low-light conditions. Although it works great on the P20 Pro — and the Mate 20 Pro — it’s not quite as good as Google’s Night Sight in my opinion.
And let’s not forget about the selfie camera. In his review, our very own Kris Carlon described the P20 Pro’s 24MP selfie camera as “an example of more megapixels not really translating to better photos.” The images come out too soft and artificial, and the camera’s portrait mode is a hit or miss. This is definitely something Huawei has to improve with the P30 Pro. It would also be great to see a dual-camera setup on the front to keep up with the competition. According to the latest rumors, you’ll find it on the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus.
An even bigger battery
Huawei has established itself as the leader in the battery department. The P20 Pro has a massive 4,000mAh battery, making it 500mAh larger than the S9 Plus’. But Samsung has made a massive step forward in this department with the Note 9 by equipping it with a 4,000mAh cell, and it will probably do the same with the upcoming Galaxy S10 Plus. This means that to stay ahead of the competition, the P30 Pro should come with an even larger battery.
Bumping the battery up to at least 4,200mAh is the way to go.
A bump from 4,000mAh to at least 4,200mAh is the way to go. A larger cell in combination with the more power-efficient Kirin 980 chipset should translate to a longer battery life, giving the phone an edge over most of the competition.
However, a larger battery could mean the P30 Pro would be a little thicker than its predecessor — but that’s something I’d be willing to live with.
A wider price gap with the Galaxy S series
Like most phone makers, Huawei has been increasing pricing of its flagship phones in the last few years. The P10 Plus started at 700 euros (~$795), while the P20 Pro initially went for 900 euros. That’s a 200 euro price hike! The Galaxy S9 Plus, on the other hand, retailed for 950 euros at launch, which means the price difference between Huawei’s and Samsung’s flagship was only 50 euros.
The price gap between the P30 Pro and Galaxy S10 Plus should be between 100 and 150 euros.
Despite being the second largest phone maker in the world, Huawei’s brand is still not nearly as strong as Samsung’s. Samsung has a reputation for innovation and a brand that resonates better with many buyers, and so Huawei has to rely on pricing more to grab attention and increase sales. The price gap between the upcoming Huawei P30 Pro and Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus should be bigger, somewhere in the range of 100 to 150 euros. With that kind of saving, a lot more consumers would be able to justify purchasing a Huawei flagship over a Samsung one.
It would be nice if Huawei took a page out of Samsung’s playbook and threw in some freebies for those who pre-order their devices. Samsung offered things like memory cards, headphones, and VR headsets in the past, while I haven’t seen Huawei do the same — at least not in Europe.
Pricing can make or break a phone. Huawei has to get it right with the P30 Pro if it wants the phone to outsell its predecessor and help the company reach its goal of overtaking Samsung in 2019.
Let’s not forget Samsung likely has a few tricks up its sleeves too
These are the top six things the Huawei P30 Pro needs to help steal a little of the Galaxy S10 Plus’ thunder in my opinion, though a few others come to mind. An upgrade from a Full HD+ to a Quad HD+ display is one of them. More color options — especially gradient ones — would be a great idea as well.
As briefly mentioned before, the lack of U.S. sales and carrier support is another major setback for Huawei. If Huawei ever really wants to compete on Samsung’s level, it needs to find a way into the U.S. market. Unfortunately, Huawei has tried and failed many times before due to alleged U.S. government privacy concerns.
But even if the P30 Pro does comes with all the features on my wishlist, we shouldn’t forget that the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus may also have a few tricks up its sleeve that could give it an advantage over Huawei’s flagship. The phone is rumored to sport a headphone jack, a sound-emitting screen, and a 3D sensor that would allow it to map the outside world in 3D and assist its augmented reality features.
We also expect to see a total of five cameras on the device (three on the back and two on the front), a curved display, and the new One UI skin. There’s even talk about an ultrasonic in-display fingerprint scanner, which should be a lot faster and reliable than optical scanners currently in use by other manufacturers. To learn more about the device, check out Samsung Galaxy S10 rumor roundup at the link.
Now it’s your turn. What features do you think the upcoming Huawei P30 Pro should have that would allow it to grab more attention than its predecessor and give the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus a run for its money? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!