Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei's consumer business group, launches the Mate 30 smartphone range in Munich
Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei's consumer business group, launches the Mate 30 smartphone range in Munich

Is there life after Google? Huawei Mate 30 Pro seems to have the answers

By Viasen Soobramoney Time of article published Feb 7, 2020

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CAPE TOWN -   Huawei made the news for all the wrong reasons last year when the US instituted a trade ban on the company in May, prohibiting any US entities from doing business with them. 

This meant that any new devices Huawei created could not make use of Google Mobile Services, the essential ecosystem underlying the Android platform. 

It was quite a blow to a company that had been so strong in the global smartphone market over the past few years.

Huawei began building its own ecosystem so that it could develop devices that didn’t need Google Mobile Services to run.  Huawei would now use Huawei Mobile Services (HMS) with Android open source, as well as its recognisable EMUI as the device interface. 

So when I was recently given the Huawei Mate 30 Pro to test for a week, I wanted to find out for myself whether this new flagship –with a brand new ecosystem is even worth a second look’. After a week, I have to say, we were pleasantly surprised.

Because there are real user concerns about Huawei’s new interface and the availability of certain must-have apps on its new phones, We thought we would take you through a step-by-step setup of the Huawei Mate 30 Pro, as well as take a look at this smartphone’s most noteworthy features.

1. Can I still use Insta, FB and Twitter?

Thanks to Huawei’s 40W Supercharge, the Huawei Mate 30 Pro was ready to use in just 30 minutes. The next step, of course, was to transfer all my data from my Apple device to this Huawei smartphone, which I thought would be a bit hit and miss. But it was easy enough to do via the Huawei Phone Clone app, which I found on Apples App store ( theMate 30 Pro has this pre-installed), . The Huawei Phone Clone app works with all makes of smartphones and transfer all of your data including Apps, images, contacts, music etc

I did find a stumbling block, though, in the phone cloning process when my Facebook app didn’t pull through. So I went into Huawei AppGallery, searched for Facebook, and found a jump link to install it directly from facebook. The installation was simple enough and, once downloaded, the app functioned as normal. I was able to do this with most commonly used apps such as Twitter, Waze and even Whatsapp. For those that didn’t have a jump link, I had to download them from third party stores like Aptoide. ( Iknow you are thinking, what about security and Malware? More on that in my security review below).

Insta was fine, too, although I had to log in with my FB details and not my Google account, which wasn’t a problem for me as I am an FB user. This might not suit everyone, though. 

By the way, the Huawei AppGallery is a goldmine of local apps you’ve most likely never seen before and didn’t know you needed. It’s definitely commendable that Huawei is investing time, money and services into local app development. But I was a bit annoyed that the FNB app was not on the Huawei AppGallery, even though Standard Bank and ABSA were there. According to Huawei they still in discussions with all other banking institutions but in the meantime I was able to transfer the FNB app from my old phone and use it as normal.

2. But isn’t downloading apps from other sources a security risk?

Phone viruses are a real concern for everyone, and I was a bit worried that downloading apps from other sources would have dire consequences for the security of my data and the operations of the phone. However, I was surprised by Huawei’s enhanced security measures. Unlike other Android phone manufacturers who tend to wash their hands of any responsibility when it comes to third party app downloads, Huawei runs a thorough scan of everything that you download, and warns you if a file is a security risk. This was a nice touch, and very necessary if you are having to get apps from other sources.

3. What about Whatsapp? 

This was a real dealbreaker for me. I mean, who can survive without this messaging service? It’s our lifeline for personal and business interactions, to people near and far. Downloading and using Whatsapp was simple enough on the Huawei Mate 30 Pro. However, I did have an issue when transferring my chat backups from my Apple device to this smartphone, which makes sense as these chats are automatically backed up onto your Google Drive. 

I reached out to Huawei about this concern and they mentioned that Whatsapp also has a native saving option where it backs up onto your device instead. After I’d done this backup on my Apple device, I ran phone clone again and the chats were transferred to the Huawei Mate 30 Pro.

4. What are the phone’s most impressive features?

Huawei puts Samsung to shame with its new slow motion video, boasting a whopping 7680 frames per second, compared to its competitor’s flagship of just 960. Although Samsung was undoubtedly the market leader with this feature for a while, it seems that Huawei has now overtaken them. These videos are really impressive, and loads of fun to make and watch. 

The Huawei Mate 30’s horizon display, which spills over the sides of the phone, is beautiful to look at and gives you more screen real estate.

My favourite feature, though, was the AI privacy feature. When a notification pops up, and the device detects someone else in the vicinity of your phone screen, the Huawei Mate 30 then quickly hides the message, keeping your privacy intact.

5. How was the overall user experience?

Overall, my experience with the Huawei Mate 30 Pro was a positive one, and certainly didn’t confirm the doom and gloom predictions. Admittedly it was a bit painful to not have one central point for all of my apps, but it wasn’t too much of a sacrifice once I got through the setup process. I got to have my favourite apps, I could still use google search and google maps(though without being able to login with my account), even gmail worked just by configuring my account details with Huawei’s email client.

Let’s make it clear, the experience is far from perfect, but Considering it took google more than decade to create such a mature ecosystem, Huawei has done one heck of a job to pull this off in a matter of a few months. There’s no dispute when it comes to Huawei’s strength in building powerful and beautiful hardware and if you can live with a few minor stumbles on the software side, it may be a fair trade-off.

Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei's consumer business group, launches the Mate 30 smartphone range in Munich


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