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Huawei Pura 70 Pro review: Exceptional cameras but usability issues persist

Kyle Chua

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Huawei Pura 70 Pro review: Exceptional cameras but usability issues persist

PURA 70 PRO

Rappler

Huawei flagships have always had amazing cameras, and the 70 Pro is no different. But again, the lack of Google and 5G support, and a frustrating OS hinder it

Disclosure: Huawei lent a unit for this review. 

I don’t mean to beat on a dead horse, but it must be said that outside of China, Huawei’s phones are at a significant disadvantage, with them not having access to valuable tech. The new Pura 70 Pro, the middle child of the new Pura 70 series, is no different. 

Despite having exceptional imaging capabilities, its lack of Google support – something that is out of Huawei’s hand – and 5G network connectivity make it hard to recommend, especially when put against its highly competitive flagship counterparts. And it’s a shame because really, it has all the makings of a terrific flagship in terms of hardware and design.

Huawei diehards and hardcore mobile photography enthusiasts will love it, but at P59,990, many might find it hard to justify paying a premium for a phone that, despite Huawei’s efforts to fill the Google gap, will still require compromises and adjustments from the regular user.

Camera phone

To get back on a high note, let’s first take a look at the Pura 70 Pro’s cameras. It has a triple-rear system consisting of a 50 MP primary lens with variable aperture, a 48MP telephoto lens, and a 12.5MP ultra-wide lens. The retractable, one-inch primary sensor is reserved for the higher-end Ultra model, but that doesn’t take much away from how terrific the cameras here are. 

I love that you get a wide aperture range on the primary sensor – f/1.4 to 4.0 – enabling greater control of depth of field. That same feature also benefits low-light shots, letting the sensor open wider to take in more light when it needs to. It all works tremendously well here, with night shots delivering plenty of detail. Colors come out looking natural and don’t have that usual over-processed tinge you might get with some imaging software. 

Click on the sample photos below:

Architecture, Building, Office Building

Even for mindless, daily point-and-shoot photography, the Pura 70 Pro is capable of producing stunning snaps. You get excellent quality across the three lenses, making for a smooth and seamless photography experience. 

The Pura 70 Pro is also one good-looking phone. I’d say the design strikes a good balance between elegance and functionality. The rounded edges, for example, not only add more display real estate but they also help make for a comfortable grip. 

There’s a sense that Huawei’s maintaining some design language consistency here with previous releases, but it’s also not shying away from doing new and unique things like changing how the sensors are arranged.

Those sensors are no longer lined vertically like they are in the P60, and instead arranged in a triangular shape, housed in a fidget spinner-like array. I like the look since it’s so distinctive and different from others in the market. 

The Pura 70 Pro’s display is also very much at the level of other flagships. The 6.8-inch OLED panel is bright and gorgeous with an adaptive 120Hz refresh rate. It’s also protected by Huawei’s Kunlun Glass, making it resistant to scratches and other types of damage.

While I wasn’t able to test the panel’s durability myself, I can say that the build quality does indeed feel like it can withstand a good amount of physical stress. 

Inside, the phone is powered by a HiSilicon Kirin 9010 chipset. Benchmarks online claim it’s not as powerful as other flagship chipsets in the market, lagging behind in terms of gaming and overall performance. These benchmarks, however, shouldn’t matter all that much to you unless you plan to push the phone to its limits.

I didn’t observe any significant performance dips in my own day-to-day use, so you likely won’t too. 

Frustrations

For me, EMUI is what drags the whole package down. It’s perhaps the most frustrating operating system I’ve ever used. Again, I know it’s not Huawei’s fault that it doesn’t have access to Google services, but my issues with the software go beyond that. 

One, I can’t stand how the Huawei AppGallery and the default browser app serve you ads almost every time you open them. If you, say, find yourself wanting to search something quick on the browser, you’ll have to first sit through a three- or five-second ad before being able to do so. 

Two, a lot of non-Google apps and games aren’t available on the AppGallery, so you’ll have to resort to third-party APK downloaders to install them. Even then, they likely won’t be optimized on this particular phone, making them prone to crashing, among other issues. 

And three, there’s an ungodly amount of bloatware when you first boot the phone.

I know these can just be minor annoyances, but I also think they kill whatever premium experience the Pura 70 Pro is trying to sell you. Because when you pay a hefty sum for a phone, you, of course, expect to be spared from such annoyances. 

Oh, as mentioned earlier, the Pura 70 Pro doesn’t have 5G support, which puts a cap on your network download and upload speeds. 

That said, I think those who prioritize camera performance above all else and are tech-savvy enough to find workarounds to the lack of Google support might find lots to love about the Pura 70 Pro.

But if you’re spending P59,999 – the price of the phone – I’m sure you’d want to get as much value from your investment as possible, and in that regard, I’d argue there are better alternatives – chief of which is the Honor Magic6 Pro, which features similar specs, plus Google and 5G support, at exactly the same price as the Pura 70 Pro. – Rappler.com

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