P30 Pro vs Pixel 3 vs Honor 20 Pro

The Huawei P30 Pro launched back in March and has been our go-to Android flagship ever since (Image: Huawei • Honor • Google • Express Newspapers)

The Huawei P30 Pro launched back in March and has been our go-to Android flagship ever since.

One of the biggest reasons for this is the device’s quad camera array that incites experimentation and can capture scenes with immense levels of detail.

Express.co.uk recently attended Huawei’s Developer Conference in the industrial city of Dongguan, China.

Afterwards, this outlet made the most of our time in the Asian nation by travelling to some of its bustling cities and remote beauty spots.

During our trip, the P30 Pro was in our pocket as always – but we also decided to pit it against two other capable smartphone camera systems to see if it still reigned supreme.

We chose to have Huawei’s latest and greatest face off against Google’s esteemed Pixel 3 and the new Honor 20 Pro.

For those unfamiliar, here are the camera specifications for the three phones tested:

Huawei P30 Pro

Primary camera – 40-megapixels at f/1.6

Telephoto camera – 8-megapixels at f/3.4, offering a five-times optical zoom

Ultra wide-angle camera – 20-megapixels at f/2.2

Time-of-flight camera – Yes

Honor 20 Pro

Primary camera – 48-megapixels at f/1.4

Telephoto camera – 8-megapixels at f/2.4, offering a three-times optical zoom

Ultra wide-angle camera – 16-megapixels at f/2.2

Time-of-flight camera – No, the device has a 2-megapixel dedicated macro camera instead

Google Pixel 3

Primary camera – 12.2-megapixels at f/1.8

Telephoto camera – No

Ultra wide-angle camera – No

Time-of-flight camera – No

During our time in China, Express.co.uk took various shots that fiercely tested the capabilities of each device.

To make things easier to digest we have split our camera comparison into five categories: primary shots, portrait mode, zoom, video and extras.

A winner will be awarded for each area – the device with the most victories will be crowned the overall photography champion.

So without further ado, here is Express.co.uk’s camera comparison between the Huawei P30 Pro, Honor 20 Pro and Google Pixel 3.

Huawei P30 Pro

The P30 Pro continues to be our first choice for mobile photography (Image: Huawei)

Primary shots

The Huawei P30 Pro, Google Pixel 3 and Honor 20 Pro all take sublime photos in day and night conditions with their primary sensors – you will not be disappointed with any of these flagships.

With that said, during our extensive testing with the trio we can confirm the P30 Pro is the most reliable and produced the best snaps in the greatest number of instances.

The P30 Pro’s main camera is most notable for its HDR capabilities that are truly sublime – the phone manages to tame harsh sunlight in shots where the Honor 20 Pro and Pixel 3 are more blown out.

Moreover, when taking a photo indoors with a window in the background – objects on the other side of the glass are usually well exposed where its two rivals occasionally struggle.

For most daylight shots, we generally found ourselves torn between the Pixel 3 and Huawei’s P30 Pro – it really cannot be understated just how good both of these phones are in this regard.

Here, the Honor 20 Pro typically placed third – the device shares a similar colour science to the P30 Pro but produces shots with marginally less detail and slightly worse dynamic range overall.

P30 Pro camera test

Huawei P30 Pro camera sample (Image: Express Newspapers)

Pixel 3

Google Pixel 3 camera sample (Image: Express Newspapers)

Honor 20 Pro

Honor 20 Pro camera sample (Image: Express Newspapers)

P30 Pro

Huawei P30 Pro camera sample (Image: Express Newspapers)

Pixel 3

Google Pixel 3 camera sample (Image: Express Newspapers)

Honor 20 Pro

Honor 20 Pro camera sample (Image: Express Newspapers)

P30 Pro

Huawei P30 Pro camera sample (Image: Express Newspapers)

Pixel 3

Google Pixel 3 camera sample (Image: Express Newspapers)

Honor 20 Pro

Honor 20 Pro camera sample (Image: Express Newspapers)

P30 Pro

Huawei P30 Pro camera sample (Image: Express Newspapers)

Google Pixel 3

Google Pixel 3 camera sample (Image: Express Newspapers)

Honor 20 Pro

Honor 20 Pro camera sample (Image: Express Newspapers)

P30 Pro

Huawei P30 Pro camera sample (Image: Express Newspapers)

Pixel 3

Google Pixel 3 camera sample (Image: Express Newspapers)

Honor 20 Pro

Honor 20 Pro camera sample (Image: Express Newspapers)

At night the P30 Pro comes into its own – the hardware is able to brighten up the darkest of shots to produce a useable image.

With that said, we found the device could occasionally over sharpen in situations where numerous lights are on show, such as a cityscape.

The Google Pixel 3 generally produces the most striking images in these particular circumstances – subjects are not sharpened too much and it exaggerates the amount of light in the photo to great effect.

While the Honor 20 Pro still performs well here, we did notice the level of detail in its photos dip dramatically once the sun had set – many subjects within a particular image were usually more blurry and lacked clarity.

Winner – Huawei P30 Pro

Huawei P30 Pro

Huawei P30 Pro camera sample (Image: Express Newspapers)

Google Pixel 3

Google Pixel 3 camera sample (Image: Express Newspapers)

Honor 20 Pro

Honor 20 Pro camera sample (Image: Express Newspapers)

Portrait mode

Portrait mode has become extremely popular in recent years and devices are now so much better at being able to apply bokeh to photos.

The Huawei P30 Pro takes the crown here – we found the phone’s added time-of-flight (TOF) camera allowed for the most accurate background blur.

The TOF system works in unison with the phone’s main sensor, meaning photos are typically bursting with detail and dynamic range.

Google’s Pixel 3 and the Honor 20 Pro are both great alternatives though – the former especially needs to be credited for delivering accurate blur with only a single lens.

Winner – Huawei P30 Pro

P30 Pro

Huawei P30 Pro camera sample (Image: Express Newspapers)

Honor 20 Pro

Honor 20 Pro camera sample (Image: Express Newspapers)

Google Pixel 3

Google Pixel 3 camera sample (Image: Express Newspapers)

Zoom

The Huawei P30 Pro was specifically engineered to deliver industry leading zoom – the phone totes a periscope camera that can deliver a whopping five-times optical zoom.

Moreover, the handset’s telephoto module can also combine with the phone’s primary sensor to deliver a ten-times hybrid zoom.

While not as good as pure optical, Huawei’s hybrid zoom does preserve noticeably more details than digital methods.

The P30 Pro’s zoom sounds great on paper but is even better in practise – the device can get incredibly close to far away subjects while preserving laudable levels of detail.

Huawei’s telephoto sensor also encourages the user to experiment with their shots and has resulted in Express.co.uk capturing images that are not possible on the Pixel 3 or Honor 20 Pro.

Google and Honor simply can’t come close to the P30 Pro here.

With that said, Honor’s flagship is certainly better than the American offering in this area – the device comes with a dedicated telephoto camera that offers a three-times optical zoom.

The Pixel 3 certainly isn’t awful where zooming is concerned, but often it does not produce images anyone would want to share on social media.

Winner – Huawei P30 Pro

Huawei P30 Pro

Huawei P30 Pro camera sample (Image: Express Newspapers)

Huawei P30 Pro

Huawei P30 Pro camera sample (Image: Express Newspapers)

Video

Simply put, none of these phones are first-in-class when it comes to video.

Not a single one is able to record 4K footage at 60-frames-per-second – instead only allowing the user to record in the high resolution at 30-frames per second.

To be expected, each handset does support 1080p recording at 60-frames-per-second.

Stabilisation is great on all three handsets, too.

We personally opt to use the Pixel 3 when it comes to video recording, simply for its colour science – the P30 Pro and Honor 20 Pro both capture footage that is far too warm.

This results in clips that do not look realistic – the Pixel 3 is much better in this regard.

Winner – Google Pixel 3

Extras

The Google Pixel 3 is certainly hamstrung by its single lens – it does not offer a diverse camera system, especially in a market dominated by smartphones with two, three or even four rear cameras in many cases.

Both the P30 Pro and Honor 20 Pro present owners with an array of different lenses that can each be deployed in various scenarios.

The P30 Pro and Honor 20 Pro’s biggest advantage over the Pixel 3 comes from each’s ultra wide-angle lens.

This allows the duo to fit more items in a single frame – something that became essential during our time surrounded by China’s towering skyscrapers.

We personally prefer the P30 Pro’s ultra wide-angle module – the phone takes more detailed pictures with this lens and also handles HDR scenarios better.

P30 Pro

Huawei P30 Pro camera sample (Image: Express Newspapers)

P30 Pro

Huawei P30 Pro camera sample (Image: Express Newspapers)

The Honor 20 Pro also comes with a somewhat unique dedicated macro camera that is 2-megapixels.

In theory, this should allow the hardware to take great close-up shots of subjects.

While the lens does work to an extent, it requires commendable lighting conditions to work as intended.

If light is low, photos will come out with noticeable amounts of grain.

Winner – Huawei P30 Pro

Honor 20 Pro

Honor 20 Pro camera sample (Image: Express Newspapers)

Honor 20 Pro

Honor 20 Pro camera sample (Image: Express Newspapers)

Verdict

The Huawei P30 Pro is Express.co.uk’s camera champion – the device takes outstanding shots in all scenarios and is commendably versatile.

While the Honor 20 Pro and Pixel 3 are still appealing options, especially when the former is priced around £350 cheaper than Huawei’s offering, they simply cannot compete with the P30 Pro in terms of camera quality or diversity.

Most importantly though, the P30 Pro is the most reliable smartphone camera system around – it takes the best shots in the greatest number of scenarios.

For those reasons, the P30 Pro continues to be our first choice for mobile photography.