Huawei P30 Pro vs Apple iPhone XS Max
Apple's flagship iPhone XS Max or Huawei's new P30 Pro – which should you pick?
Huawei P30 Pro vs Apple iPhone XS Max: What to look for
Australians love their iPhones, and the Apple iPhone XS Max is the current flagship iPhone of choice. In the smartphone space, there's plenty of competition, and Huawei is the latest to take it directly to Apple with its camera-centric Huawei P30 Pro.
While there's undeniably plenty of die-hard Apple fans who would never consider stepping away from iOS to the world of Android smartphones, if you're happy in either world and looking for a new premium handset, it's worth considering more than just their respective cameras when making your buying decision.
Huawei P30 Pro vs Apple iPhone XS Max: Power
The Huawei P30 Pro runs on Huawei's own Kirin 980 processor, first seen in the Huawei Mate 20 and Huawei Mate 20 Pro. Within the Android space, it's a powerful competitor, exceeding the performance we've seen out of the Snapdragon 845 and Samsung's Exynos 8920, although we've yet to pit it against the newer Snapdragon 855.
Huawei pairs the Kirin 980 with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of onboard storage. Like many Android phones, you can expand that memory, but you can't use microSD cards with Huawei phones. Instead, Huawei has its own proprietary nano memory cards. It's neat technology, but the unfortunate side of a custom format is that it's nowhere near as commonly available, and it's only available in Australia in 128GB capacities at a much higher price point than comparable microSD cards.
Apple also has its own processor in its iPhone lines in the form of the Apple A12 Bionic. It's an absolute powerhouse with benchmark performance that easily outpaces the Kirin 980, despite a much lower RAM count on the iPhone XS Max at 3GB.
Conversely, the Apple iPhone XS Max is available in 128GB/256/512GB variants, but as with every single iOS device ever, there's no facility to expand that storage. Apple will naturally sell you an iCloud subscription for online data storage, but it's inflexible on pumping up the storage on any iPhone.
Apple's tight integration makes iOS a joy to use if you want a heavily guided experience. It does mean that you absolutely have to manage your app choices Apple's way. While recent iOS upgrades have enabled you to delete system apps, you can only do that to save space, not replace them with favoured equivalents. So for example, you can uninstall the Safari browser if you really must, but you can't then tell iOS to replace web links with another iOS compatible browser. Hit a link, and it'll just ask you to reinstall Safari again!
The Android 9 base of the Huawei P30 Pro gives it more flexibility if you like your choices in app defaults, along with Huawei's own EMUI launcher. This does enable some additional features, but it's a somewhat inconsistent interface that fans of pure Android don't always appreciate.
Huawei P30 Pro vs Apple iPhone XS Max: Camera
It's a simple fact that an astonishing quantity of camera shots taken worldwide are done on iPhones because Apple has long been able to associate its phones with camera quality. The dual lenses on the Apple iPhone XS Max are the company's best, with pleasing and predictably very guided camera experiences with the default camera app. It offers a superior level of photo focus post-processing, making it easy to get the level of bokeh or lighting you want on a shot just right.
However, it simply doesn't compare to the incredible camera on the Huawei P30 Pro. While we've only had a small amount of time with Huawei's new camera phone, its triple camera system, insanely good low-light performance and variety of camera modes make taking shots with it a genuine joy as well as make it a good prospect for more professional photographers. With a combination of wide, ultra-wide and zoom lenses that can push up to 10x hybrid zoom, it easily bests the iPhone XS Max's already impressive camera array.
Huawei P30 Pro vs Apple iPhone XS Max: Battery
We haven't yet had the opportunity to fully test the battery capabilities of the Huawei P30 Pro's 4,200mAh battery. However, we have been able to test a phone that's very similar in the Huawei Mate 20 Pro, which features the same battery capacity and processor. It's also the single best phone for battery endurance in the premium space we've tested to date. That does mean that the Huawei P30 Pro has big shoes to fill, but we're hopeful.
Conversely, virtually nobody has ever said "good battery life" and "iPhone" in the same sentence in any serious way. It's long been the Achilles heel of the iPhone experience because while Apple has pushed hard for thinner and lighter phones, it has done so at the expense of not having all that much space for battery capacity. Apple doesn't officially publish battery specifications for its iPhone models, but disassembly of the iPhone XS Max by third parties has shown that it's packing only a 3,179 mAh battery. In our tests, that's made it capable of a day's usage as long as you're not a heavy user, but only just.
Huawei P30 Pro vs Apple iPhone XS Max: Pricing
There's only one variant of the Huawei P30 Pro officially on sale in Australia, with 128GB of storage and 8GB of RAM. It'll go on sale for $1,599 outright.
The Apple iPhone XS Max is available with either 128GB, 256GB or 512GB of storage.
Those phones will cost you $1,799, $2,049 and $2,369 respectively.
It's the most expensive regularly available handset in Australia right now – possibly up until its successor arrives – and is in line with Apple's positioning of itself as a premium brand.
The Apple iPhone XS Max is available on contract through Telstra, Vodafone and Optus for the 128GB and 256GB models. If you fancy the top tier 512GB model, you'll have to buy it outright.
The Huawei P30 Pro is available on contract terms through Telstra, Vodafone and Optus. There is a slight carrier difference here, with Optus providing a fully dual-SIM compatible version of the Huawei P30 Pro, while the Telstra and Vodafone versions are single-SIM compatible only.
Here's what you'll pay for the P30 Pro on contract with local telcos:
And here's what those telcos charge for the Apple iPhone XS Max: