HUAWEI TO GO

The Chi­nese smart­phone gi­ant’s lat­est range is some­thing spe­cial... and there are plenty of ac­ces­sories too

Llanelli Star - - TECH NOW - With Justin Con­nolly

IF YOU’RE a se­ri­ous smart­phone maker th­ese days, you can’t just make a phone – ac­ces­sories are ev­ery­thing. You’ve got to make some blue­tooth head­phones and a smart­watch, too. Huawei joined Ap­ple and Sam­sung (its clos­est ri­vals in the mar­ket) in do­ing just that when it launched a new range of flag­ship phones – the P30 and the P30 Pro.

The new de­vices are very much worth talk­ing about in their own right – Huawei has a part­ner­ship with Ger­man high-end cam­era­maker Le­ica that en­sures the cam­eras they put in their smart­phones are some­thing spe­cial.

The P30 se­ries is no ex­cep­tion. But there are also new watches, new ear­phones, and an in­trigu­ing new soft­ware fea­ture that aims to spot vis­ual im­pair­ment in chil­dren.

Here’s the lat­est from the Chi­nese smart­phone gi­ant – now the third-big­gest man­u­fac­turer of phones on the planet.

P30 AND P30 PRO

THE P30 line-up fea­tures two phones, a less-ex­pen­sive smaller phone, and a larger pre­mium de­vice – the P30 has 6.1in screen while the Pro’s comes in at 6.47in.

They come in five colours with ap­pro­pri­ately odd names – Breath­ing Crys­tal (blue), Am­ber Sun­rise

(red), Aurora (green), Pearl White, and Black. They look great – the front of the de­vice is al­most all screen with a tiny bezel and a small hole cut out for the cam­era at the top – there’s no face un­lock­ing, so that means the cam­era on the front needs no ex­tra bits.

Un­lock­ing is done by a fin­ger­print sen­sor un­der the screen on both de­vices.

Apart from the slight size dif­fer­ence, the big­gest up­grade on the Pro is in the cam­eras.

While on the front, both phones sport a 40mp sen­sor with a max f/2.0 aper­ture, on the back it’s a dif­fer­ent story. The P30 has a 40mp cam­era with a wide an­gle lens and a max f/1.8 aper­ture, plus a 16mp cam­era with an even wider lens and a f/2.2 max aper­ture, and an 8mp cam­era with a tele­photo lens with a f/2.4 max aper­ture and op­ti­cal im­age sta­bil­i­sa­tion.

That’s three cam­eras, all do­ing dif­fer­ent jobs, all work­ing to­gether to get the best im­age pos­si­ble.

On the back of the Pro model the set-up is broadly sim­i­lar – the wide cam­era is a bit faster and the tele­photo lens a bit slower – but the big dif­fer­ence is the ad­di­tion of a fourth cam­era, which Huawei is call­ing the Time Of Flight cam­era.

I’ve no idea why it’s called it that, suf­fice to say it ex­ists, broadly speak­ing, to cap­ture depth in­for­ma­tion so that the phone can pro­duce por­trait im­ages with a nicely blurred back­ground.

There are a lot of num­bers in Huawei’s cam­era specs, but the ones that jump out are the largest of the lot – Huawei says the Pro has a max­i­mum ISO of 409,600, while the P30 can cap­ture at a max­i­mum ISO 204,800. The ISO de­scribes the cam­era sen­sors sen­si­tiv­ity to light, and the higher the num­ber, the more light the sen­sors can cap­ture.

With num­bers like those, th­ese phones should be able to cap­ture solid im­ages al­most in the dark…

While it’s the cam­eras that make th­ese phones spe­cial, they’re also pretty well-specced in all other de­part­ments, too.

There’s USB-C con­nec­tiv­ity (no head­phone jack), big batteries with fast-charg­ing, pow­er­ful pro­ces­sors, ex­cel­lent wa­ter and dust re­sis­tance, and all the AI smarts you could want. Both run on Android 9.

As for price, they’re rea­son­ably com­pet­i­tive with sim­i­lar-stan­dard phones from Sam­sung and Ap­ple – the P30 with 128gb of mem­ory will cost £699, while the Pro with the same comes in at £899, but can be up­graded to 512gb for £1,099.

Some sellers are of­fer­ing a pretty sweet deal on launch, too – a free Sonos 1 smart speaker with ev­ery phone. Both phones are avail­able to or­der now.

FREELACE EAR­PHONES

HUAWEI’S new ear­phones look sus­pi­ciously like Beats

X – and the new su­per-sim­ple wired pair­ing sys­tem looks al­most iden­ti­cal to the one you see when pair­ing Beats or AirPods with your iPhone.

So no points at all for in­no­va­tion when it comes to looks.

But you do need a de­cent set of ear­phones if you like lis­ten­ing to mu­sic – the ones that come in the box never cut the mus­tard.

Given that the P30 and the Pro don’t have a head­phone jack, wire­less is clearly the way to go.

The com­pany says they sound great, and there’s a novel way of pair­ing and charg­ing the phone – you pull off one of the ear­buds and its cord to re­veal a USB-C plug that you can stick in your phone.

Five min­utes of charg­ing gives four hours of play­back time.

They come in a va­ri­ety of colours and will cost around £85 when they hit the mar­ket on April 11.

NEW EDI­TIONS OF THE WATCH GT

HUAWEI’S smart­watch came out last Oc­to­ber, and proved some­what un­der­whelm­ing. Two new ver­sions – the Ac­tive and the El­e­gant – hope to re­verse that.

They are by and large the same de­vices, though, with a slightly smaller ce­ramic bezel (42mm) on the El­e­gant.

The main ad­di­tion soft­ware-wise is a new “triathlon” mode which al­lows three dif­fer­ent types of ex­er­cise in one work­out ses­sion.

There’s the usual sleep and ac­tiv­ity track­ing on of­fer, and while the

Watch GT is a de­cent watch, it per­haps is not quite a smart as oth­ers, but is the ob­vi­ous choice if you’re pack­ing a Huawei phone.

Huawei hasn’t re­vealed a launch date for the new ver­sions, but they will cost around £199.

TRACK AI

THE fi­nal an­nounce­ment was an in­trigu­ing one – the launch of Track AI, which the com­pany has de­vel­oped in co-op­er­a­tion with two lead­ing med­i­cal re­search bod­ies.

Its goal is to help de­tect signs of vis­ual im­pair­ment in chil­dren early, so treat­ment can start as quickly as pos­si­ble.

The soft­ware works on two Huawei de­vices – a child’s gaze pat­tern is cap­tured on a lap­top, then pro­cessed by the P30’s smart artificial in­tel­li­gence to un­earth any­thing un­usual.

The sys­tem is in trial at the mo­ment, but promising re­sults could see wider adop­tion – it is at least one ex­am­ple of how artificial in­tel­li­gence can bring ben­e­fits be­yond cor­rectly ex­posed pho­tos.

The P30 is one of a pair of new de­vices from Chi­nese phone maker Huawei

No head­phone jack, no prob­lem: Huawei’s FreeLace ear­phones are wire­less

Up­grade: The cam­eras in the P30 Pro are a stand­out fea­ture

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