Huawei Mate 30 Pro: why a Google-less smartphone is not recommended

Huawei presented the Mate 30 Pro in September, but has only recently been selling the smartphone in the Netherlands. Because Huawei is burdened by a US trade ban, the Chinese manufacturer is not allowed to do business with Google and the Mate 30 Pro comes without Google certification. In this Huawei Mate 30 Pro review we explain what you notice and why you should ignore the phone.

Huawei Mate 30 Pro

MSRP € 999,-

Colors Black and purple/silver

OS Android 10

Screen 6.5 inch OLED (2400 x 1176)

Processor 2.86GHz octa-core (Huawei Kirin 990)


Storage 256GB (expandable)

Battery 4,500 mAh

Camera 40, 40 + 8 megapixel + depth sensor (rear), 32 megapixel (front)

Connectivity 4G (LTE), Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi, GPS,

Format 15.8 x 7.3 x 0.88 cm

Weight 198 grams

Other Waterproof and dustproof, 3D face protection, wireless charging

Website 4 Score 40

  • Pros
  • Excellent hardware
  • Negatives
  • Smartphone design
  • Uncertain update policy
  • AppGallery is a mess
  • Most apps are not officially usable
  • No Google certification

In September, I traveled to Munich for Computer!Totaal, where Huawei announced the Mate 30 Pro at a major event. Everyone knew then that the smartphone was not certified by Google, but otherwise there were mainly questions. Would the trade ban still apply when the Mate 30 Pro reaches the shops, how many and which apps are in Huawei's AppGallery store and how would the manufacturer promote its latest premium smartphone to the general public? I made a first impression in Munich and came to the conclusion that the Mate 30 Pro was absolutely not recommended due to its flawed software.

Mate 30 Pro now for sale: this stands out

Almost half a year after the controversial presentation (the word 'Google' was only used at the very end), three things stand out. The trade ban is still in place, which means that Huawei is still unable to have the Mate 30 Pro certified by Google. So the software has not changed in this area. Then Huawei's AppGallery, its own app store as an alternative to the Play Store. When the Mate 30 Pro was announced, the number of popular apps in the AppGallery could be counted on one hand. That would change, according to the manufacturer. We haven't heard anything about this for the past few months. How is the app store doing?

Finally, Huawei's sales strategy of the Mate 30 Pro is very different from previous top smartphones. While the Mate 20 and P30 series became available quickly and widely across Europe, the Mate 30 Pro has been released slowly and on a small scale in a limited number of European countries. Huawei sells the smartphone here after a long wait without significant marketing and only in one store. In Belgium it is not much different. It seems as if Huawei does not want to sell the Mate 30 Pro.

But we as Computer!Totaal are of course very curious about how you like a (Huawei) smartphone without Google certification, and luckily Huawei wanted to lend a Mate 30 Pro. Over the past few weeks I could feel it extensively.

Installing Huawei Mate 30 Pro

To start at the beginning: setting up the Mate 30 Pro is already different, because logging in with your Google account is not possible. Simply copying your contacts, text messages, recent calls, apps and passwords is not possible. Huawei offers alternative options via 'move data from another device' and 'restore from Huawei Cloud backup'. The first works fine from Android, but can't match Google's solution. The Huawei Cloud backup function is intended for those who already use a Huawei phone and goes via PhoneClone. Interestingly, you can transfer most Android apps this way. Later, however, it will become apparent that not all apps can be transferred, and the apps that do, cannot be updated automatically or at all. So that doesn't work.

At the end of the installation, Huawei strongly asks you to log in with your Huawei ID or to create such an account. With this account you can find the phone if you have lost it, but also store data in Huawei's cloud environment, for example. More importantly, you need a Huawei ID to use the AppGallery app store.

After installation, the Mate 30 Pro shows a start screen with all apps. And they are all from Huawei. Google apps are missing; a strange sight for someone who has been constantly testing Android smartphones for years. Google is also absent from the Mate 30 Pro's settings menu.

No Google apps

For someone who has been an avid user of a lot of Google software for years, it takes a lot of getting used to. I can use Gmail via Huawei's mail app, but the manufacturer does not (yet) have a solution for other Google apps. How do I access Google Photos, which contains my complete photo and video gallery? The Google Assistant? Google Maps? YouTube? The Home app, to control my home automation? These are issues that Huawei developers have undoubtedly been working on for months.

At the moment I can use Maps via the website, but without properly functioning navigation. Watching YouTube videos via the website works but instinctively throws me back twelve years in time. And because I have all my contacts stored in Google Contacts, my Mate 30 Pro shows an empty address book. I'll have to figure out how to import those contacts first. Another devaju from years ago. The Google Play Store is also missing. You normally install all apps and games on your device from this app store, but that kite does not work now.

'Don't install apps as apk'

A possible solution is to install the Google apps and the Play Store as an apk file. But don't, both Google and Huawei warn on social media and their websites. Google apps are not intended to work on a smartphone without Google certification, a statement said. Moreover, with an apk file you never know what you are getting. An app, from Google or another developer, may look legitimate but contain a virus underneath. Keep your phone safe by installing apps and games only through the AppGallery app store, Huawei says. You have to, because Netflix doesn't work via the website at all. Would it be in the AppGallery store?

AppGallery store is a mess

Time to dive into that app store, I mentioned it earlier. What is immediately noticeable is the plethora of questionable apps that have anything to do with WhatsApp. I wonder why these apps are allowed in this app store, why Huawei lists them as 'new fun apps' and why the real WhatsApp app is not in it. When I search for WhatsApp, the AppGallery recommends me a link to the WhatsApp site. From there I can install the app as an apk file. But huh, according to the same Huawei, that is actually not the intention? Okay, WhatsApp is working properly. However, the app does not update automatically, so I have to go back to the website. The same applies to Facebook. Google apps are not in the app store at all. And Netflix? No, neither.

After some browsing and searching in the AppGallery I come to the conclusion that the app store is missing almost all my apps. From 1Password and Spotify to the NS Travel Planner and the banking apps of all major banks: I couldn't find them.

Apps can't determine your location

Present: Aliexpress, TikTok, Todoist, Microsoft Office and above all many, many unknown apps and games. I install a few well-known apps that Huawei promoted during a recent media session, namely Buienalarm, 9292, Albert Heijn, and Much to my surprise, none of these apps can determine my location. Very inconvenient if you want to know the local weather, plan a route or find an AH store or hotel in the area. I submit the shortcoming to Huawei, which gives the following response;

“The reason that location determination within apps on an HMS (Huawei Mobile Service) phone does not work at the moment is because these apps use the GPS location determination, shared via GMS (Google Mobile Service). HMS devices are not allowed to support these services and therefore this kind of information cannot be loaded in the mentioned apps. This can be done as soon as the apps are made suitable for HMS. With this, Huawei is currently busy with various parties.”

Long story short: the AppGallery is full of unknown apps, most of the popular apps are missing, and the few useful apps you find there aren't working properly yet. There is no official way to install Google apps on the Mate 30 Pro and the web versions are unfriendly to use.

Update Policy

The Mate 30 Pro uses the open version of Android 10 with Huawei's EMUI 10 shell on top. Apart from the app problems and the lack of a Google certification, the software works fine. Huawei says it has and keeps access to security updates to keep the smartphone up to date. Practice will show whether this will work. Android 11 will be released later this year. Google makes the update available to certified manufacturers with its release and Huawei does not belong there. The company will only get access to Android 11 via the AOSP program later. It is therefore expected that the Mate 30 Pro will receive an Android 11 update later than the competition.

The incomplete software and the resulting poor user experience prevents me from recommending the Huawei Mate 30 Pro and that is a shame. The Mate 30 Pro itself is an excellent smartphone.

Huawei Mate 30 Pro review as a smartphone

The glass design is luxurious and solid, the large OLED screen looks great and the large battery lasts a long day effortlessly. Also nice are the lightning-fast charging via the USB-C connection or wireless charging station, the powerful processor and the versatile triple camera on the back. With the primary camera, you can take beautiful photos during the day and in the dark. The wide-angle lens shoots wide images and there is a telephoto lens for zooming with relatively little loss of quality. The Mate 30 Pro also impresses with its advanced and well-functioning 3D face protection, a technique you may know from the iPhone X and newer.

The Mate 30 Pro isn't perfect

However, the phone is not perfect. A 3.5 mm headphone jack is missing, the internal storage memory can only be expanded with a different NM card and in my opinion Huawei has gone too far with the curvature of the screen edges. According to the manufacturer, the so-called waterfall display is one of the advantages of the device because the screen edges largely continue over the vertical sides of the housing. And yes, that looks really cool. In practice, this design choice means that light reflects annoyingly on these edges, it is less comfortable to hold the smartphone and there are no physical volume buttons. There was no room for that. You adjust the volume by pressing a side twice and then swiping up or down. Even after two weeks of use, I still find this method less user-friendly than pressing physical buttons, which you can find and use by touch.

Conclusion: Buy Huawei Mate 30 Pro?

If you have read this review (for the most part), you know that I will hardly recommend the Huawei Mate 30 Pro to anyone. You can't – officially – use Google apps on the Mate 30 Pro, the Huawei AppGallery app store doesn't offer anything yet and the few apps that you can use on the phone may not even work properly. Add to that a vague update policy and you have plenty of reasons to ignore the Mate 30 Pro. A bitter pill for Huawei, because the device itself impresses with its design and specifications and would therefore have been a (pricey) recommendation with a Google certification. Now the Mate 30 Pro is simply only interesting for diehard Huawei fans and people who want a smartphone without Google software, and there are few of them.

Computer!Totaal has asked Huawei whether anything will change for the Mate 30 Pro if the trade ban ends, for example in terms of Google certification and update policy. As soon as we have a response, we'll post it here.

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