Display Measurement

The display of the Mate 30 Pro is its most important feature (isn’t it for most phones?), and Huawei did some odd choices in terms of both design as well as hardware this year. I’ve covered the design choices in the introduction and fair to say I’m not too big a fan of the side curved display as it doesn’t work well ergonomically nor does it look well with Huawei’s choice of display panel. Although we weren’t able to confirm if the display is an LG or BOE panel, it’s definitely not a Samsung panel as it has issues in regards to colour shift on off-axis viewing angles.

Huawei this year also opted to downgrade the screen resolution from 1440p of the Mate 20 Pro to 1080p (well, 1176p), which does come with a notable reduction in screen sharpness, which is a pity given the device's price tag.

In terms of colour calibration and modes, we have the usual selection of a choice between a “Normal” sRGB target and a “Vivid” P3 gamut target, with three colour temperature presets which are fully customisable through a colour palette selector. Unfortunately, I didn’t see colour management working at all on the Mate 30 Pro, so Huawei is definitely behind other vendors this year (Android as a whole is quite far behind Apple to be honest).

We move on to the display calibration and fundamental display measurements of the Mate 30 Pro screen. As always, we thank X-Rite and SpecraCal, as our measurements are performed with an X-Rite i1Pro 2 spectrophotometer, with the exception of black levels which are measured with an i1Display Pro colorimeter. Data is collected and examined using Portrait Display's CalMAN software.

Display Measurement - Maximum Brightness

In terms of maximum brightness, the Mate 30 Pro is quite conservative and we don’t see brightness levels exceeding 437 nits. Unlike the Samsung panels in the P30 series, the Mate 30 Pro doesn’t look like it has any brightness boost mode when under adaptive brightness as the maximum doesn’t change no matter the ambient light.

Portrait Display CalMAN

Greyscale accuracy of the Mate 30 Pro isn’t too bad. Gamma is generally ok, with an ever so slight shift with too high gamma at the medium intensity levels, meaning shades are slightly darker. Colour temperature is a bit too warm on our unit, and this error actually increases the higher the brightness setting, with 6281K at 200nits and a low 6099K at maximum brightness. This results in the screen appearing to have a red tint.

Display Measurement - Greyscale Accuracy

Portrait Display CalMAN

The dE2000 results end up middle of the pack; the phone unfortunately ends up being quite worse than the Mate 20 Pro as well as slightly worse than the P30 Pro in terms of accuracy.

Portrait Display CalMAN

Display Measurement - Saturation Accuracy - sRGB dE2000

sRGB accuracy in the “Normal” mode isn’t very good. We’re seeing noticeable hue shits in the spectrum, especially in greens. The saturation and luminosity is also off-target as tones are too bright / undersaturated. The resulting dE2000 is quite bad, which sadly enough is in line with what we saw on the P30 Pro as well as the Mate 20’s.

Portrait Display CalMAN

Display Measurement - Saturation Accuracy - Display-P3

While the score of the Mate 30 Pro is really bad in the P3 measurements, most of the errors here is due to the wildly blue default colour temperature. Hues in this mode are actually more accurate than the sRGB mode, once of course you customize the colour temperature to more accurate levels.

Portrait Display CalMAN

Portrait Display CalMAN

Display Measurement - Gretag–Macbeth Colour Accuracy

In the GMB test in the Normal mode again the biggest errors are exhibited in the chromacity and hue of some tones, being a bit undersaturated as well as having hue issues in the green tones. The overall result is still acceptable and useable.

Screen Conclusion – Very Mediocre For a 1100€ Phone

The worse than usual viewing angles of the display, lower than expected resolution, low peak brightness, lower colour accuracy, no colour management all make this an extremely mediocre display for what is supposed to be a flagship device from Huawei. Unfortunately, we’ve seen the issue repeated again and again and frankly I don’t understand why vendors would opt to chose second-rate panels from LG or BOE in their flagship devices. If you’re going to build a 1100€ phone like the Mate 30 Pro, you should at least go all the way and source the highest quality panels you can get, as otherwise you’ll end up with a deal-breaker scenario for your product. The Mate 30 Pro’s screen is very underwhelming and given the phone’s price, is a deal breaker for me.

GPU Performance & Power Battery Life


View All Comments

  • psychobriggsy - Wednesday, November 27, 2019 - link

    After years on Android, and a set of Android Apps and Services that I own via the Play Store (or because they come with the phone), the lack of Google Services and the Play Store is a critical piece of missing functionality.

    Indeed I'd say that this is not Android at all, Android for most people being the combination of core operating system and Google Services.
  • imaheadcase - Wednesday, November 27, 2019 - link

    Exactly, the whole point of a android phone is to have google services. Anything else you are are developers whim in updates to OS and apps. Which if anyone who got burned by Samsung tablets know..its not pretty. Reply
  • prisonerX - Wednesday, November 27, 2019 - link

    There's something to be said for there being an alternative to the Google monopoly in that respect. Let's hope that something like that emerges from this fiasco. Reply
  • versesuvius - Thursday, November 28, 2019 - link

    Vendor lock-in does not even begin to describe what the US government is enforcing on the mobile phone users around the world. If at one time it was Apple or Microsoft or some other OS maker, now it is a political and economical system that the US government and Google want to lock the world in. That said, a mobile phone is nothing but Browser as OS. And the entire Google offering is nothing but open web technologies. The half hearthed attempts at something different from Google never added up to much because they always chose Google to fall back on from the get go. With Huawei on the one side and the general drift of the Western world towards Trumpism and the asinine single mindedness of what passes for American political and economical infrastructure, we are going to witness many wonderful shifts towards true freedom and innovation around the world and Huawei is just a very wonderful start. Reply
  • melgross - Sunday, December 1, 2019 - link

    I hope Huawei has problems. The Chinese have been stealing secrets for some time, and Huawei is benefiting from that. In fact, early this year, two Apple vendors in China stated that they had been approached by Huawei for just that purpose.

    I have no sympathy for them.
  • shabby - Wednesday, November 27, 2019 - link

    The round ring on this phone looks amazing, wish more phones had that kind of ring. Reply
  • yetanotherhuman - Thursday, November 28, 2019 - link

    Reminds me of my old Sony Ericsson P990, with the little selfie mirror :D Reply
  • yetanotherhuman - Thursday, November 28, 2019 - link

    oh, and the actual physical protection for the lens. Reply
  • s.yu - Thursday, November 28, 2019 - link

    ...are you being sarcastic? This looks so last-decade-compact sort of cliché.
    Also many are commenting that it looks like a stove.
  • Alistair - Wednesday, November 27, 2019 - link

    Can't me in the group that detests curved screens. Don't copy Samsung's mistakes. Every time I use a flat version, it feels and looks much better. Even the S10e vs the S10, or the Oneplus 7T vs 7 Pro, much better. Reply

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