Huawei P60 Pro Review: Captures What Others Can’t

In recent years when reviewing a Huawei smartphone, our scores have always come with a caveat or asterisk as regards the software on the devices.

That situation has not changed, and while the company has made some strides when it comes to HMS, the AppGallery, and workarounds for access to Google services, the experience may not be to everyone’s liking.

Regardless of this fact, Huawei has pushed on, launching new devices in South Africa across the various price segments. The latest comes from the once wildly popular P series, as the Huawei P60 Pro was officially unveiled locally this week.

We have spent the past couple of weeks with the Huawei P60 Pro, testing out its high-end features to find out if the software issues can be ignored in the face of overwhelming hardware.

Here’s what we find out.

A new aesthetic

If you have read one of our phone reviews before, you know that we start with the design aspect of the devices. Here Huawei is doing a lot of things right. Let’s talk colourways firstly, which is something that Huawei has been a bit of trend setter with when it comes to the P series.

For the P60 Pro the company has introduced two options for SA – Black and Rococo Pearl.

With hindsight our preference is actually for the former, as it is clean and sleek, along with featuring an anti-fingerprint coating on the back cover. The Rococo Pearl flavour, however, tells a more interesting story, and indeed looks like the gemstone it is designed to mimic.

Huawei also claims that each back cover of the Rococo Pearl is unique, with no two same in the world. Whether those claims are indeed true is unclear, but based on the models we’ve seen in the wild, at launch events, and in the hands of other media, it looks to be true.

As such, we would not be surprised to see other smartphone makers draw “inspiration” from Huawei’s new colourways for the P60 Pro.

The other key design elements to this phone include a return of a curved edge 6.67″ (2700×1220) display and a new camera array. If we’re perfectly honest the former does not interest us too much. It is executed well, but is not a defining characteristic of the phone.

The camera on the P60 Pro, however, is.

The camera to beat

It is a rather large housing that features three lenses, and when the phone is flipped onto its side for landscape photography is meant to look like a traditional DSLR.

While the P60 Pro is never going to replicate what a DSLR can (no current smartphone will), it does yield one of the best camera performances we have encountered in 2023 to date.

You may have already seen that DXOMARK ranked this phone as its top performing device with a score of 156. While we are not an industry leader like DXOMARK, we also put the P60 Pro through its paces during a Huawei media trip in Dubai.

Needless to say the P60 Pro impressed us immensely. The images we captured were rich and detailed in their nuance, and captured colour expertly. We also found the zoom capabilities solid too, but did not feel the need to north of 10x zoom as content becomes difficult to distinguish.

As such, it shows that more megapixels does not lead to better photography, with the 48MP wide-angle, 48MP telephoto, and 13MP ultra wide-angle options combining expertly.

If we are going to critique any element of the camera, it is that the top end of its video capabilities may not much other flagships in the market. That said, the 4K at 60fps video is quite solid and more than useable for those with content creation in mind.

Flagship qualities

Now that we’ve praised the camera experience on the Huawei P60 Pro, let’s look at some of the other aspects of the phone. Internally an octa-core Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 4G chipset is present, with 8GB RAM and 256GB onboard storage paired with it.

By flagship standards that mix ticks all the boxes, with the only exception being a lack of 5G support. It is well documented as to why this is the case, and for now Huawei can still get away with not featuring 5G connectivity on its flagship phones. How much longer that will be the case though remains to be seen.

In terms of the in-hand experience the P60 Pro is sufficiently rapid, handling multitasking well and showing no signs of lag while doing processor-intensive tasks.

In our benchmarking it maxed out all the usual media-related tests we run, along with scoring 2 804 on 3DMark’s WildeLife Extreme. It also scored 1 038 915 on v9.6.2 of AnTuTu (thanks to the AppGallery). For context, the better specced Xiaomi 12S Ultra scored only slightly better at 1 050 773.

As for the software side of things, it gets a little more complicated, as the aforementioned asterisks come into play.

We tried out GBox as a workaround for access to Google Mobile Services (like we did on the Mate 50 Pro), and while it got the job done, we still have some reservations for the extent of its permissions and what long-term impact it has on the 4 815mAh battery onboard. For now it mustered two days while GBox ran in the background before a trip to a charging point was needed.

Final verdict

At R24 999 (RRP) the Huawei P60 Pro is every inch a flagship phone.

There are some concessions, such as the lack of 5G support and the ongoing workarounds needed for accessing Google services. When weighed against the hardware, a lot of this is forgivable, but perhaps only for the type of person who is au fait with side loading apps, such a tech journalist.

As such, while the hardware is impressive and performance in a number of areas is top notch, the P60 Pro is not made for everyone, like its predecessors were.




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