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Why Huawei is the tech brand you need to be spending your money on

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Travelling through lands that are vibrantly different to our own (in our case through China’s Pearl River Delta and into the metropolis of Shanghai; a shiny and very futuristic experience in itself) is something that you’ll almost certainly want to capture on camera.

Shanghai, as seen from the Shanghai Tower // Credit: Lucy Miller

In the city of Shenzhen, a fishing village less than half a century ago and one of the world’s fastest growing metropolises, people (an estimated 20 million of them) and skyscrapers jostle for much-needed space.

Old meets very, very new here, with teenagers playing dice games and smoking shisha in outdoor bars, and visitors sipping negronis (ordered via iPads) in 104th floor lounges just a few hundred yards away.

We were lucky enough to undertake this journey with the Huawei P20 Pro, a smartphone that has been ubiquitous on UK billboards, buses and social feeds over the past few months. As it turns out, it’s a great bit of tech to have up your sleeve (or in your back pocket) for this kind of expedition.

(A note: the brand is pronounced wah-way. Not hoo-a-wey. Not ha-wey. Not who-are-we. Wah-way.)  

Visiting China’s eastern coast, we flew into Hong Kong and then travelled across the border to Shenzhen and later Shanghai - the first of which is home to the Huawei Campus, a sprawling tech behemoth that’s China’s version of Apple and the third largest smartphone-maker in the world (Samsung takes second place.)

Huawei, and in particular its highly reliant, AI-powered, high definition smartphones, might be borne from the boom of new China, but in recent years the west has been catching up - and that’s good news for everyone.

Spending almost $15 billion per year on research and development last year alone, Huawei is in ascendance - and with smartphone features that blow its rivals out of the water, it’s easy to see why.

Here’s why you need to consider Huawei next time you’re upgrading your phone - particularly if, like us, you’re invested in capturing every moment, and coming back from your travels with great quality photographs to show for it.

The quality of photograph

The three cameras that are built into the Huawei P20 Pro means that the bar has risen for smartphone photograph quality.

It’s the first smartphone to offer a triple camera, and promises to increase your creativity “x 3” (get it...?) It’s also got a 5X hybrid zoom, a 20MP black and white lens that offers “unrivalled depth”, and a 40MP lens with a Light Fusion sensor, which means high definition is guaranteed both in photography and film. And unlike with many smartphones, the quality of the Huawei Pro 20’s zoom means that you won’t sacrifice quality when you do want to hone in on a subject.

The camera offers immediate vibrancy and focus, even in low light. Here’s a filter-free snap we took in Shenzhen, right before we headed to the cocktail bar right at the top (gulp):




Artistic filters

For those looking to add a bit of a surreal aesthetic to their social feeds, the P20 Pro’s filters come up trumps - offering effects that turn your photograph into a sketchpad, a watercolour, a hazy dream, or entirely change the time of day:

Filter: Colour Pencil

Filter: Crayon:

Filter: Watercolour

Filter: Illusion

Filter: Dawn

There’s also a Demist filter, for super-high definition:




Want to add Snow? There’s a filter for that:




In fact, there are more than 40 filters across seven different themes (Mono, Nostalgia, Shadow, Classic, Paint, Weather and Chic), as well as effects that allow splashes of colour, graffiti, mosaic, and text a la an Instagram Story. All this means your creativity has a huge amount of free rein, and it’s great if you want to use effects to prep your photographs for film or animation, too.

Selfie function

You know when you flip to forward-facing camera and immediately realise how much your face looks like a thumb?

The P20 Pro has made this sad sad situation a thing of the past, with its 24-pixel selfie camera and ability to recognise your face, get rid of dark patches and automatically switch to selfie mode.

Here’s the result (filter-free) when we tested out the selfie function before we headed off on the China trip:



And another, after 14 hours on a plane:



Not a blemish/eye bag in sight, and for that we can all be thankful.

AI capability

This phone is clever (obviously) - and its camera, according to Huawei itself, “understands you and the picture you want to create”. That’s somewhat helpful, especially for those of us that aren’t exactly pros when it comes to the finer points of smartphone photography.

The phone’s portrait function focuses automatically and blurs the background, meaning you can guarantee that your subject will remain the focal point of your photograph.   

You can see this demonstrated clearly with this portrait of, erm, a tub of prawns at the Cheng Huang food market in Shanghai:




We also used the Huawei P20 Pro for our interviews with eatinldn's Bryony Palmer and iconic artist Diana Armfield RA - so check out those portraits if you want to see how the phone works with faces as well as with food. 

The stabilising technology that’s built into the phone means that the need for a tripod is negated, too - something that’s likely to be a massive positive if you’re taking photographs professionally. Because carrying bulky equipment around is definitely something we don’t need, especially when trying to travel light.

Video functionality

For bloggers and vloggers - both professional and aspiring - the fewer bits of extra kit that need to be carried around, the better.

The camera on the Huawei P20 Pro is film quality, which cuts out the need for a DSLR or heavy camera equipment. It also means you can shoot high definition video on the fly, wherever you are - something that’s highly useful if you’re travelling and want ease of movement (bye bye heavy camera bags) whilst sourcing your #content.

Battery life on the Huawei P20 Pro

You guessed it: the 4000 mAh battery on Huawei’s phone lasts just a little bit longer than that of other leading smartphone brands. It recharges more quickly that its competitors, too. Huawei predicts that (based on lab tests) it has around 25 hours of talk time (yes, really.)

So, no more charging your portable charger or fruitlessly searching for the plug socket with the Huawei, no matter how much video you shoot or how much snapping and filtering throughout the day. We charged the phone twice in five days, which was quite frankly mind-blowing after years of reluctantly switching to flight mode at 7pm. And you’ve seen how much time we spent playing with it.

Making the move  

A big fear that many of us have when moving between tech brands is the usability - i.e., we’ve got so used to one operating system; how will we possibly adapt to any other?

Actually, it’s not an issue. The lightness of the Huawei P20 Pro and the ease of use means that you’ll get used to the Android operating system within a matter of minutes - and in fact, you’ll wonder why you didn’t make the switch sooner. Especially when you see the Instagram likes rolling in…

Find out more via @HuaweiMobileUK and the hashtags #HuaweiTravels and #HuaweiP20Pro

The National Student was not paid for this content

Image credits: Lucy Miller

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