A year on from the US trade ban, the Huawei P30 Pro New Edition is the ultimate protest phone
Having launched the P30 Pro in March 2019, Huawei revised its flagship handset with new designs in September 2019 – and now there’s a New Edition for May 2020, as the Chinese company keeps this iconic handset rolling.
In the smartphone world, technology dates fast. Some manufacturers can’t get their devices on shelves before a new iteration of a core component has been updated and replaced by some new piece of hardware. So why is Huawei flogging the same old phone? Well, it’s not quite the same.
On 15 May 2019, the US Department of Commerce added Huawei to its Entity List, thereby banning pretty much all US trade with Huawei. One of the biggest outcomes of that ruling was that Huawei could no longer use Google’s products and services – like the Play store, Google Maps and Gmail.
One year on, Trump has extended that ruling for another year, meaning that the ban stays in place until at least May 2021. That’s where the Huawei P30 Pro New Edition comes in.
The Huawei P30 Pro was the last flagship phone from Huawei to be certified with Google before that US ban came into effect, meaning that it wasn’t affected by the ruling. Subsequent devices – the Mate 30 and P40 – haven’t been able to offer those core Google services.
So what does Huawei do? It just re-releases the same approved handset, not once, but twice, effectively giving the ruling two fingers. It’s the ultimate protest phone, a sidestep around what many see as Trump’s trade war with China and crucially, it gives Europeans a refreshed Google-powered Huawei smartphone to buy. We invited Huawei to comment on the moves, but the company politely declined.
We’ve broken down exactly what’s changed between the original and the “new” version of this phone, but essentially there’s a new finish to the phone, along with a boost in RAM and storage. At the same time, the price of this phone has been dropped, making it an appealing package overall – it’s good value for money.
It runs Android 10 and the latest version of EMUI – as well as having one of the best cameras on the market. Yes, it’s a year old, but 2020 flagship rivals haven’t really changed the game since the P30 Pro and they cost hundreds more. We’re still using the Huawei P30 Pro on a regular basis here at Pocket-lint and it can more than hold its own against the latest handsets in terms of power and performance.
Some might see this the final leg jerk of a bug being squashed underfoot, but to us, it looks more like barefaced defiance in the face of adversity – and there’s something admirable about that.