Huawei launched the P50 to the market this month, stepping in the shadows of the Huawei P50 Pro. While there’s very little differences, including price, from its bigger and more popular brother, the P50 seems to be carving its own place in the upper-midrange segment. Will that place be too small or just right? Let’s find out in this review.
Both the P50 and P50 Pro are hinging on primarily one thing – creating detail-focused images and videos via its massively packed camera setup, which Huawei touts as a Dual-Matrix Camera design. It also uses Huawei XD Optics, despite the phone itself having the Leica branding. Coincidentally, it is the last phone series to co-brand with Leica, with Huawei opting to focus on their own technology.
Inside the Packaging
Inside the box, the Huawei P50 contains the main device, a charging cable, a Huawei SuperCharge charger, and a free TPU case.
External Build Quality
The Huawei P50 is solidly built, with smooth glassy textures accentuating its metallic sides. It is hefty as well for such a slim phone – 181g with a thickness of just 7.92mm. One of the key things that stands out is the mirrorlike glass back that envelops the dual matrix camera design setup. It is such a joy to hold but also a terrible fingerprint magnet.
It’s almost impossible not to talk about the P50 without realizing that the binocular-looking rear camera bump is just massive. Is it necessary on a functional point of view? Probably not. But it does make quite a statement, it’s a bold move from Huawei to just make it an unmistakeably retro-looking yet extremely fashionable. If anyone is looking for a sexy phone, this is definitely it.
While there’s no buttons on the right side of the phone, the left side houses the volume rocker and the power button which also doubles as a shortcut to Huawei’s AI Assistant. While the phone is locked, A long press automatically wakes up the screen as well as the AI assistant, while a short press just wakes up the phone for either face recognition login or fingerprint login.
The bottom part of the phone curiously houses the SIM card slot, which is usually found on the right side. There’s also a USB Type-C charger and the stereo speaker grill.
Not to be outdone with competitors, Huawei chose to load the P50 with the 5nm Snapdragon 888 4G SoC, which has an Octa-Core ARM CPU and an Adreno 660 GPU. Unfortunately, it’s also only limited to 4G connectivity, but it does have the similar performance with much, much more expensive competitors. It also has 8GB of RAM and 256GB ROM. Overall the package is quite attractive, and this already gives an indication that the P50 is indeed a performance powerhouse, although Huawei doesn’t really focus their branding on this part.
Unlike the P50 Pro which has curved sides, the P50 has a flatter, 6.5” Flex Curved OLED screen. It also has an HDR display that supports the full P3 color gamut and 1.07 billion colors. Huawei’s True-Chroma display is also supported, which accurately displays colors when watching videos or recording videos as well. It has a 90hz screen refresh rate and 300Hz touch sampling rate, both enabling faster display response time. Accordingly, it also has a very fast display adjustment for brightness depending on ambient light. It also has an eye comfort function to reduce fatigue when viewing the screen at night.
Overall, the display on the Huawei P50 is one of its strongest points, and beats almost all competitors on its level. Huawei likely focus on the display quality and refresh rates to keep up to pace with its other strength – which is its imaging capabilities.
OS, Software, App Performance
The Huawei P50 runs on EMUI 12, which is a complete redesign from its predecessors. Focusing smart collaboration with other Huawei devices, the OS focuses on being intuitive and intelligent, the downside of which it does mean it collects a lot more data on app usage.
Overall usage was quite smooth, and I encountered no hiccups throughout the time that we used the device. An annoying part was on a lot of the Huawei-related interfaces, particularly the search function, which still showed a ton of ads:
Another thing that was a little bit annoying was the amount of apps already pre-loaded in the phone. Although not yet really “installed”, Huawei will “highly recommend” certain apps in each app category, effectively pre-filling the entire screen with dozens of apps without asking you to install it. However, it will only be actually installed if you choose to, and you can remove the folders entirely anyway.
As usual, Huawei’s Appgallery will also recommend apps and run ads while running the app. While the AppGallery already does have a load of apps available, it will also connect you to specific websites just in case it doesn’t have it. in addition, since it still doesn’t have Google Play services, there are some apps that are unavailable unless GSpace is installed, but there were also some hiccups encountered with apps that do require cross-functionality due to the lack of Google Play services. Again, there is a way around this, but it does take a little bit more tinkering with the phone.
The Huawei P50 features a dual speaker stereo audio system, both found on the upper and bottom sides of the phone. Overall it was pretty loud and the quality was good, but not the best.
In addition, the Huawei P50 also has high-res audio recording, which greatly improved call quality. It can distinguish between human voice and ambient noise in the environment.
While overall performance for the Huawei P50 was great, the camera performance would be the highlight of everything. The rear camera has a 50MP main, 13MP ultra-wide, and 12MP telephoto lens setup. The front camera is a 13MP shooter.
Again, while the phone itself features the “Leica” branding, Huawei itself opts to shy away from this, and focuses on their Huawei XD Optics, which basically improves the details on the images produced by the camera. It’s a system that units the optical, mechanical, and electrical sensors, in addition to the software, to create much better photos and videos.
Aside from this, the camera setup also touts a bevy of features such as True Chroma Shot, Ultra Clear Images, AIS Pro, Focus Tracking, Telephoto portraits, and True-Focus Fast Capture.
The front camera is also quite unique: it features a 100-degree wide-angle True-Chrome front camera for large group selfies and landscape photos. Even at just 14cm away from the subject, the front camera knows how to get the best image possible.
Wide Angle vs 50x zoom
Simply put, the zoom feature on the camera is incredible, and produces photos that even my current flagship phone cannot do. Details are still very, very crisp and the camera itself helps keep track of where the zoom is within the shot.
Regular vs Portrait Photos
Portrait mode definitely makes the portrait photo subjects stand out more, with that added blurry bokeh effect. The blurring isn’t too much and the edges of the subject still are pretty concise, which is quite different from other portrait modes of other phones in which there tends to be an over-exaggeration of the effect. However, we can see as well that some details were also removed (the chains in the swing) due to the mode.
At low light, we can see that the rear cameras still performed very well – almost as if there was no lighting compensation difference. Portrait modes normally require higher lighting and contrast to perform their magic, and although the Huawei P50’s portrait mode seems to over-cut the subject, this is quite normal and already the same as what most other cameras would do, even on outdoor lighting setups. Overall, still a fantastic result from the P50.
Front camera samples (high vs low light scenarios)
Amazingly, even at low light, the front camera performed quite well and compensated pretty brilliantly for whatever light is available. Focusing was still a little difficult but not as slow as any other phone we’ve tried before. End result was pretty fantastic – details were still sharp and colors still pretty accurate, although there some over-smoothening of the skin.
Testing and Benchmarks
Overall performance for the Huawei P50 is quite good, although the Snapdragon888 Chipset is almost more than a year old, and is bogged down by its 4G configuration, which means not having 5G connectivity.
Games such as PUBG Mobile, Asphalt 9, Mobile Legends performed at the highest possible configuration, with minimal heating. It is still recommended to turn it down one notch to save on battery and also avoid future heating issues. However, the CPU and GPU configuration is already considered as overkill for most casual users, and using it on the Huawei P50 is considered a great value for money – a flagship processor for less than half of usual flagship phone costs.
Here are some benchmark results:
- AnTuTu v9.4.1 – 635,835
- PC Mark – 10,082 (Work 3.0), 31,976 (Storage 2.0)
- Geekbench 5 – 846 (Single-Core), 2,963 (Multi-Core), 4,651 (OpenCL), 4373 (Vulkan)
PCMark – Work 3.0
PCMark – Storage 2.0
The Huawei P50 has a 4100mah battery capacity although it does have 66W of fast charging, which only a few minutes to get to 50%, and a little over an hour to fully charge. Although battery life is a little bit more tricky to determine, the Huawei P50 has one of the strongest battery capacity and usage that we’ve seen on a mobile phone so far. We actually used the P50 for mobile phone tethering for an entire day, and it took around a whopping 9 hours before the battery almost fully died. On usual usage, with around 4 hours of casual browsing and around 3 hours of gaming, the Huawei P50 still had around 30% of juice left. That’s pretty promising.
The Huawei P50 has a magnificent camera system and an awesome screen, only bogged down by the lack of 5G connectivity and too many built-in ads in the UI. In addition, there are also some unsupported versions of games due to the lack of GMS, but it won’t be much of an issue for most users.
At Php39,999, the Huawei P50 is a fantastic option for anyone looking for the best shooters around with an overall great system performance, if you don’t mind not having 5G and GMS.
|156.5mm (H) x 73.8mm (W) x 7.92mm (D)|
|Weight||Approx. 181 grams (battery included)|
|Display||Type: OLED,up to 90Hz refresh rate, 1440Hz high frequency PWM dimming, 300Hz|
touch sampling rate
Screen size: 6.5-inches
Resolution: 2700 x 1224 Pixels
Colour: 1.07 billion colours
|Splash, Water, and Dust|
|Processor||Snapdragon 888 4G|
1Cortex-X1@2.84GHz + 3Cortex-A78@2.42GHz + 4*Cortex-A55@1.8GHz
|RAM + ROM||RAM + ROM|
8 GB RAM + 256 GB ROM
|Front camera||13 MP Selfie Camera (Wide Angle, f/2.4)|
|Rear camera||50 MP True-Chroma Camera (Color, f/1.8 aperture)|
13 MP Ultra-Wide Angle Camera (f/2.2 aperture)
12 MP Telephoto Camera (f/3.4 aperture, OIS), support AF
|Battery & Charging||4100 mAh (typical value)|
Max 66W Wired HUAWEI SuperCharge