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Huawei P50 series unveiled: Not one, but two camera bumps on these superphones

Surprisingly, the phones are 4G-only so far and use the company's own operating system, Harmony OS.

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Huawei/Screenshot by Sareena Dayaram/CNET

Huawei has taken the wraps off its latest superphone series. It unveiled the P50 and P50 Pro in an online event Thursday, each of which are getting a China-only release for now. 

The main superpower of Huawei's phones has long been their cameras -- and the P50 lineup is no exception. In fact, you can see the emphasis Huawei put on the cameras as soon as you look at the phones: Both the P50 and P50 Pro have not one but two camera bumps, which together take up more than a third of the phone's rear width. This wasn't entirely a surprise, since Huawei had teased images and videos of the lineup ahead of the event, but it does make for an eye-catching new design, which does away with the dual hole-punch design of the P40 series.

The P50 Pro has four cameras on its rear: a 50-megapixel main, a 64-megapixel telephoto, a 40-megapixel monochrome and a 13-megapixel ultrawide lens. The P50 has a similar camera bump, but it has one less lens. There's a 50-megapixel main camera, a 12-megapixel telephoto and a 13-megapixel ultrawide. Each has 13-megapixel selfie cameras.

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Huawei's P50 lineup was launched in China on Thursday.

Huawei

Beyond the camera, the P50 series stacks a range of enviable features, as expected (see the specs list below for more details). A crisp and smooth OLED display, a large battery, fast charging (66 watts) and powerful processors. The P50 series comes in two variants -- one powered by the company's own Kirin 9000 chipset and the other by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 888 4G CPU. Qualcomm was granted permission to sell chips to Huawei last year. These chipsets are backed up by 8GB of RAM and 256 or 512GB of flash storage. 

You may recall Huawei phones no longer feature Google apps -- a consequence of crippling US sanctions. But the P50 series is one of Huawei's first new lineups to debut the company's own operating system, Harmony OS, which the Chinese telecom had developed in-house to replace Google Mobile Services in its smartphones. When the P50 launches internationally, it should provide Huawei with the opportunity to gauge consumer response to the company's in-house software and whether it'll gain wider adoption among international shoppers amid the backdrop of Huawei's eroding smartphone market share.  

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Huawei's Richard Yu unveiled the company's P50 series in a virtual launch event.

Huawei/Screenshot by Sareena Dayaram

Huawei is starting out with a China release before the series gets an international rollout (if it ever does), though specs may vary slightly based on your country. The P50 Pro starts at 5,988 yuan (roughly $930, £665 or AU$1,256), while the P50 starts at 4,488 yuan (roughly $695, £500 or AU$940).

Key specs

Huawei P50 Pro 4G

  • Display: 6.6-inch OLED, 120Hz, 2,700x1,228 pixels, 450ppi
  • Dimensions: 158.8x72.8x8.5mm
  • Camera: 50-megapixel main, 64-megapixel telephoto, 40-megapixel monochrome, 13-megapixel ultrawide
  • Processor: Snapdragon 888 4G
  • Battery and charging: 4,360 mAH, 66-watt charging, 50-watt wireless
  • Water and dust resistance: IP68 rating

Huawei P50 4G

  • Display: 6.5-inch OLED, 90Hz, 2,700x1,224 pixels
  • Dimensions: 156.5x73.8x7.9mm 
  • Camera: 50-megapixel main, 13-megapixel ultrawide, 12-megapixel telephoto
  • Processor: Snapdragon 888 4G
  • Battery and charging: 4,100 mAh, 66-watt charging
  • Water and dust resistance: IP68 rating
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