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One of last year's best phones is now available in the U.K. with free earbuds and a smartwatch


Under normal circumstances, the Huawei Mate 30 Pro would have been a strong contender for 2019's phone of the year title. But nothing about Huawei is normal these days. Because it is banned from its U.S. supply chain, the company cannot license the Google Mobile Services version of Android. As a result, the Mate 30 Pro is loaded with an open-source version of Android and cannot run Google's core apps like the Play Store, Search, Gmail, Drive, Maps and more. In China, where most of Google's apps are banned, this doesn't matter. But outside of the country, the lack of Google apps dampened global sales.
The Mate 30 Pro was released last September and did well inside China. Chinese consumers became defensive over the way that the U.S. treated Huawei and felt that the firm was being bullied by the Trump administration. During the calendar third quarter last year, which ran from July through September, Huawei saw its domestic smartphone shipments soar 66% on an annual basis giving it an unheard of 42.4% share of the smartphone market in China.

For the equivalent of $1,165 USD, the Mate 30 Pro can be purchased in the U.K.

Huawei didn't bother offering the phone in the U.K. back when the device was first launched. But now, it is being offered by Carphone Warehouse (via Android Police) and the British mobile device retailer is making it clear that those purchasing the phone are not getting the Google version of Android. On the retailer's website is an interesting notice that reads, "The new Mate 30 Pro comes with Android 10, EMUI 10 and the Huawei App Gallery. This device does not come with Google Mobile Services, so we have a dedicated VIP support team on hand for you once purchased."
In addition, Carphone Warehouse customers purchasing the handset will get a couple of free goodies such as the Huawei FreeBuds 3 and a Huawei Watch GT2. The FreeBuds 3 are AirPods Pro competitors with active noise cancellation and a wireless charging case. Together, these two extra goodies are valued at nearly $400.

The Mate 30 Pro carries a 6.5-inch waterfall display with a resolution of 1176 x 2400. Under the hood is the powerful home-grown Kirin 990 chipset paired with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. The quad-camera setup on the back includes a 40MP primary camera, an 8MP telephoto camera, and a 40MP ultra-wide camera. There is also a Time of Flight (ToF) sensor onboard. This measures the time it takes for a beam of infrared light to bounce off the subject and return to the phone. With this data, the Mate 30 Pro can deliver more natural-looking bokeh blurs on portraits, better AR capabilities and more. In the front you'll find a 32MP snapper and a ToF depth sensor. Keeping the lights on is a 4500mAh battery.

Even though the Mate 30 Pro is limited due to the lack of Google Mobile Services, it is priced at £899 ($1,165 USD at current exchange rates) so it is not cheap. Sure, you get the free earbuds and smartwatch but for the same price, you can get the Samsung Galaxy S20Plus with more memory (12GB), a free pair of Galaxy Buds Plus and a larger 6.7-inch display. And at a lower 1080p resolution, Samsung's phone has a 120Hz refresh rate.

Still, if you live in the U.K. and you're interested in using a phone that could be considered off the beaten path in the region, the Mate 30 Pro makes for a gutsy choice. Keep in mind that in the U.K., users will be able to use third-party app stores like Amazon's giving them access to Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp.


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