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If you can't buy the Huawei P30 Pro, get these phones instead

Here are some worthy options to the P30 Pro for photos and video.

Angela Lang/CNET

The Huawei P30 Pro's amazing Leica quad-camera system makes it one of the best and most unique phones released this year. If you pride yourself as a phone camera enthusiast the P30 Pro is worth your consideration. But with the recent news that the White House banned US companies from doing business with Huawei, you might feel a little nervous dropping $900 on a phone even with Google promising to support Google Play and security updates. I know I would.

Even before the ban, buying a P30 Pro in the US was a challenge because it's officially not sold here. You had to get an international GSM version that lacked a US warranty and would only work with some GSM carriers like T-Mobile and AT&T. Currently the price on an international P30 Pro is on the rise. At the time this story published, a 256GB Huawei P30 Pro costs $969 on Amazon.

To quell your P30 Pro doubts, I gathered some photographic alternatives for your consideration.

Huawei P30 Pro camera specs vs. Oppo Reno, Pixel 3XL, iPhone XS Max, Galaxy S10 Plus

Huawei P30 Pro Oppo Reno Google Pixel 3 XL iPhone XS Max Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus
Number of rear cameras Four Three One Two Three
Wide-angle lens f/1.6 40 megapixels f/1.7 48 megapixels N/A f/1.8 12 megapixels f/1.5-2.4 12 megapixels
Ultra-wide angle lens f/2.2 20 megapixels f/2.2 16 megapixels N/A N/A f/2.2 16 megapixels
Telephoto lens f/3.4 8 megapixels periscope f/3 13 megapixels periscope f/1.8 12 megapixels f/2.4 12 megapixels f/2.4 12 megapixels
Time of flight camera Yes N/A N/A N/A N/A
Optical image stabilization Yes, except ultra-wide Yes, except ultra-wide Yes Yes both rear cameras Yes, except ultra-wide
4K video frame rate 30fps 30fps, 60fps 30fps 24fps, 30fps, 60fps 24fps, 30fps, 60fps

Google Pixel 3 XL for photos and low-light

In terms of taking photos, the best alternative to the Huawei P30 Pro is the Pixel 3 XL. Image quality from both is the absolute best you can currently get in a phone.


It doesn't have a zoom, but the Pixel 3 XL takes some of the best photos on any phone today.

Angela Lang/CNET

Each phone has a dedicated low-light mode: Night mode on the P30 Pro and Night Sight on the Pixel. Both yield jaw-dropping nighttime photos better than any phone you can buy today.

However, the place where the P30 Pro absolutely destroys the Pixel 3 XL, and pretty much any other phone, is its 3x optical zoom, 5x hybrid zoom.

The Pixel is normally $899 but can be found heavily discounted from time to time.

iPhone XS Max shoots the best video

The iPhone has always been ahead of every other phone when it comes to video. The P30 Pro excels in photos, but video looks less impressive. The video image quality on the P30 Pro appears oversaturated. The iPhone XS Max has a wider dynamic range and is capable of capturing greater detail.


The iPhone XS Max shoots the best video on any phone.

Angela Lang/CNET

The P30 Pro has a Night mode for photos which the iPhone lacks. But the iPhone has a low-light recording setting that automatically reduces the frame rate in darker conditions to gather more light. The results are phenomenal.

Read this camera comparison of the iPhone XS Max and Huawei P30 Pro for a deep dive into the photo and video capabilities of each.

Now playing: Watch this: Huawei P30 Pro vs. iPhone XS Max camera comparison

Oppo Reno has an insane 60x zoom

Currently, the only phone that can compete with the P30 Pro's 3x optical zoom, 5x hybrid zoom and 50x digital zoom is the brand new Oppo Reno, which has a 10x hybrid zoom and a 60x digital zoom. Like the P30 Pro, it's not sold in the US, but you can find an international version for sale through a third-party retailer on sites like Amazon for $800.


The Oppo Reno has an even more monster zoom than the Huawei P30 Pro and it has this crazy shark fin pop-up selfie camera.


I haven't had a chance to try the Oppo Reno out, but with 48 megapixels (the P30 Pro has 40 megapixels) the camera specs are impressive.

Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus for ultra-wide angle delight

Like the P30 Pro, the new Galaxy S10 Plus has an ultra-wide angle camera on it. What wows me about it on the Galaxy S10 Plus is how well Samsung matched the main and ultra-wide cameras.


The Galaxy S10 Plus makes the perfect ultra-wide angle phone camera replacement.

Juan Garzon / CNET

In his in-depth camera comparison between the Huawei P30 Pro and Galaxy S10 my colleague Andy Hoyle was impressed with the ultra-wide angle camera on both phones but gave the edge to the Samsung phone.

The Galaxy S10 Plus costs $999 but is currently discounted to $899 at T-Mobile.

Sony RX100 for better photos, video and zoom

OK, so I said four phones, but I had to add this in because it's better at photos and videos than the P30 Pro in every way. If you are looking for a powerful zoom in a tiny package, it's worth taking a look at the Sony RX100 series. It's not a phone, it's a compact camera that can fit in your jeans pocket.


The Sony RX100 iV has an electronic viewfinder that can retract so the camera can fit in your pocket.

Sarah Tew / CNET

What makes it shine is a 1-inch sensor and built-in zoom lens. The RX100 series is capable of fantastic-looking video and stunning photos that are leaps and bounds beyond what you can get on any phone. The downside: It doesn't make calls.

The RX100 series has been around since 2012. The newest model is the RX100 VI, which starts at $1,200. Luckily Sony still sells older models for as low as $449 new

Correction, June 11 at 6:10 p.m.: The US never banned any Huawei phones.