In Review

Huawei Mate 30 Pro vs. iPhone 11 Pro Max: which is the best flagship smartphone?

Tech giants unveil their latest devices within a week of each other - here’s how they compare

The start of autumn is a popular time for the world’s major tech firms to unveil their latest smartphones - and this year has proved to be no exception.

Huawei unveiled its new flagship handset, the Mate 30 Pro, at a company product event in Munich, Germany, last Thursday. The device, which had been extensively leaked in the run-up to its launch, debuts a new quad-lens camera system and support for the new, ultra-fast 5G mobile networks that are cropping up across the UK.

A week earlier, Apple’s highly-anticipated iPhone 11 series, including a new flagship 11 Pro Max device sporting a triple-lens camera system and a revamped OLED panel. 

Both will be vying for a spot at the top of the flagship smartphone pile, with Apple’s iPhone getting a head start having hit store shelves last Friday. The Mate 30 Pro, on the other hand, won’t release is Europe until October - and there are doubts over whether it will launch in the UK at all.

While we wait for an official word from Huawei on the Mate 30 Pro’s release, here’s how the two rival flagships stack up against each other:

Price

Prices for the iPhone 11 Pro Max kick off at £1,049 for a 64GB model. That figure rises to £1,299 and £1,499 for 256GB and 512GB versions respectively.

Huawei has yet to release UK pricing - or confirm a release date - for the Mate 30 Pro. The company has, however, announced that the phone, complete with 8GB of ram and 256GB of storage, will cost €1,099 (£970) on the Continent. 

Display
  • Mate 30 Pro - 6.53in OLED display with a resolution of 2,400x1,176
  • iPhone 11 Pro Max - 6.5in OLED panel with 2,436x1,125 resolution

Although the Mate 30 Pro’s OLED display is the same size as its predecessor at 6.53in, the panel’s design has been lightly tweaked. Mobile news site GSMArena describes the new screen as having “wildly curved sides”, which slope downwards at an angle of 88 degrees. 

Now that the panel covers the sides of the phone, Huawei has ditched the Mate 20 Pro’s physical buttons in favour of several “virtual buttons”, the tech site says. These include the volume rocker and shutter key for the camera.

The iPhone 11 Pro Max’s display, meanwhile, isn’t drastically different to the panel on the previous-generation model, the XS Max. The 6.5in OLED screen is the same size as the outgoing model, although Apple has upped the resolution and improved the panel’s brightness, The Guardian reports.

While the changes are minimal, the Daily Express hails the updated panel as “the best to ever ship inside an iPhone”. The resolution increase means the panel looks “pin-sharp”, while colours and images “pop” from the screen.  

Cameras
  • Mate 30 Pro - 40-megapixel wide-angle lens, 40-megapixel ultra-wide, 8-megapixel telephoto and a 3D depth sensor
  • iPhone 11 Pro Max - 12-megapixel wide, 12-megapixel ultra-wide and 12-megapixel telephoto camera

Nestled in the “Halo Ring” camera module at the back of the Mate 30 Pro is a quad-lens system, which has been developed in conduction with German photography firm Leica, says Engadget

The system boasts a new slow motion mode that records video at 7,680fps, while the phone’s new Kirin 990 processor helps cut image noise - a grainy effect that often occurs in low-light conditions - by around 30%.  

There’s also a 3D-depth sensor at the back, which improves depth-of-field effects when taking images in portrait mode, the tech site says.

The iPhone 11 Pro may have gained an extra lens over last year’s model, upping the rear-facing camera count to three, but it’s one sensor shy of the Mate 30 Pro’s quad-lens system.

With that said, CNet argues that the new iPhone sports a camera setup that’s more appealing to use everyday. This is especially true now that Apple has included a “Night Mode” feature, delivering “amazing low-light effects”, as well as an ultra-wide lens that makes the rear-facing camera system more versatile than before. 

5G support

There’s a clear winner here - and it’s the Huawei Mate 30 Pro [pictured above, right]. 

Those who pay an extra €100 (£88) on top of the Mate 30 Pro’s price tag will get a model that supports the new, ultra-fast mobile connection.

It’s worth noting, however, that buyers will still need to take out a 5G contract to make use of the network and only a select number of cities across the UK have been equipped with the next-generation connection.

Meanwhile, the iPhone 11 Pro Max, along with the rest of the iPhone 11 range, doesn’t support the new connection. That’s because Apple and Qualcomm were, until April, locked in a legal battle, preventing the Cupertino-based tech firm from installing the chipmaker’s 5G receivers into its iPhone 11 range, according to CNet

Verdict

At first blush, the two phones seem evenly matched. Both have complex multi-lens camera systems, advanced photography software and punchy OLED displays, making them both worthy of their flagship status. 

But the big question on everyone’s lips at the moment is: will the Mate 30 Pro even launch in the UK?

Owing to Google revoking Huawei’s licence to use its Android mobile software in May, the Chinese tech giant will not be shipping its Mate 30 Pro with the search firm’s app suite - including the Play Store and Gmail service. Huawei will instead offer its own range of apps.

While Huawei’s mobile chief, Richard Yu, is adamant that the mobile will launch in Europe, Wired argues that it’s “hard to imagine” British mobile networks being keen to sell a device that are devoid of “core software components of an Android phone.”

Fans will have to wait a bit longer for Huawei to confirm when, or if, the Mate 30 Pro will arrive in the UK. For now, it seems, the iPhone 11 Pro Max is the one to go for.

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