The Huawei P60 Pro’s camera is one of the best around for low-light photography, but it’s only worth buying if the lack of Google services and awkward app installation isn’t a concern for you.
Huawei’s P60 Pro released in China back in March 2023, but it has finally landed in the UK and Europe.
The Pro version is currently the only P60 smartphone to get an international release, and this year Huawei is putting a focus on low light and zoom photography, aiming to best the cameras on phones from the likes of Apple, Google, and Samsung.
As it’s a Huawei phone, it does not support Google services or the Google Play Store, which has a big impact on the software front – especially if you’re used to the traditional Western Android experience. However, smartphone camera buffs may still be eyeing up this model as it can take some of best snaps possible on a phone.
Design & Build
Stunning Rococo Pearl finish
No headphone jack
The Huawei P60 Pro comes in a choice of two colours: Black and Rococo Pearl. I tested the latter, which has a marble-like pattern that is unique to your smartphone – my unit had different shapes compared to other models I saw. It’s got a lovely sheen to it and isn’t prone to catching fingerprints like some other models.
The Rococo Pearl model is £100/€200 more expensive than the standard black, so you’ll have to pay out for that stunning finish.
This looks and feels like a high-end, premium phone, with a curved shape that is easy to hold and use. That is aided by its light weight (200g), and slim build (8.3mm), and it isn’t humongous like other models such as the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra and the iPhone 14 Pro Max.
Hannah Cowton / Foundry
The camera module is on the left-hand side, with the main sensor dominating the design – a departure from the two big circular lenses seen on the Huawei P50 Pro. It does stick out, so the phone doesn’t fully sit flat when placed back-down but as you can see, it’s designed to look and shoot like a camera in landscape.
There is one USB-C port, and a dual-SIM slot that also takes Huawei’s proprietary nano-memory cards for more storage. There isn’t a headphone jack, but that is expected with a phone of this price point. The P60 Pro has an IP68 rating, so it has a decent level of water resistance. Huawei also throws in an accompanying clear case in the box, should you want some extra protection.
Overall, Huawei has once again produced a stunning flagship smartphone with the P60 Pro that stands out from the crowd.
Screen & Speakers
6.67in 1220p display
Kunlun glass protection
The Huawei P60 Pro comes kitted with a 6.67in curved glass display with a resolution of 2700 x 1220, which is high definition but has a higher pixel density than 1080p standard HD. The quality is similar to what you’ll find on the iPhone 14 Pro, but not quite as impressive as rivals such as the Galaxy S23+ which has a QHD+ panel.
It looks great. Colours are bold and bright, making it great for watching videos. There is a little bit of glare under direct sunlight, but not enough to make the display unreadable. The always-on display is enabled as default and shows the time and notifications when the screen is off, though you can turn this feature off if you’re concerned about battery life.
The under-display fingerprint sensor worked well, though face recognition did sometimes falter in low light, or if I was wearing glasses. Unlike the Huawei Mate 50 Pro, which has true 3D face scanning, the P60 Pro’s single selfie camera only has 2D face unlock, which is less secure (and similar to the majority of Android phones).
Hannah Cowton / Foundry
The phone comes with Kunlun glass, Huawei’s in-house alternative to industry favourite Corning Gorilla Glass. I accidentally tested this out when the phone slipped off the sofa and landed on a ceramic plate. Despite a terrifying loud clang, the phone came away unscathed.
The screen has an adaptive refresh rate that can display between 1- and 120Hz, which balances slick graphics with battery life. You can also have the phone on high (120Hz), or standard (60Hz) if you’re conscious of power. The P60 Pro also boasts 300Hz touch-sampling rate, meaning its fast and responsive for gaming.
Stereo speakers are fitted at the top and bottom of the phone. These are loud and punchy, with some music soundtracks having clearly defined bass, mids and highs. However, it does lack the same colour and punch that you’ll find on smartphones fitted with additional audio processing and beefier hardware such as the superlative Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate.
Specs & Performance
Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chip
8GB/12GB RAM and 256GB/512GB storage
No 5G support
The Huawei P60 Pro comes fitted with a Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 processor. This is the same chip seen in the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4, the Xiaomi 12s Ultra and the OnePlus 10T. This is paired with either 8GB RAM and 256GB storage, or 12GB RAM and 512GB.
This isn’t Qualcomm’s latest processor – that would be the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, which is seen on the Samsung S23 series, the OnePlus 11 and the Xiaomi 13 Pro. Nonetheless, the 8+ Gen 1 is a perfectly capable chip. I was able to multitask with ease, streaming videos on Twitch and browsing social media with no stuttering or lag.
But due to Huawei’s ongoing tensions with the US trade industry, there is no 5G support – you’ll have to make do with 4G. I did notice the difference when out and about, with web pages loading much slower than they usually do on my usual 5G phone.
Check out how the phone performed in comparison to rivals:
48Mp triple camera perfect for low-light zoomed in shots
Daylight images are equally stunning
Wide-angle lens not as impressive
Huawei aimed to impress with the P60 Pro camera, and it’s safe to say it has solidly delivered.
The phone has a triple camera set-up led by a 48Mp main lens that has the same physical variable aperture tech seen on the Mate 50 Pro. It has a moving part that allows you to choose four steps between f/1.4 and f/4.0 in a dedicated Aperture mode in the camera app. You can also go more granular with five steps of virtual aperture.
This makes the manual controls a little more akin to a DSLR camera. Being able to change the aperture on the P60 Pro lets you create a natural background blur on closer subjects without the use of software, or open up the lens to take in more of a landscape shot and keep all plains in focus. Being able to ramp up to f/4.0 also helps let in more light to get better shots when light is scarce.
This clever main lens is complimented by a 13Mp ultra-wide lens with an f/2.2 aperture, and perhaps most excitingly, a 48Mp telephoto camera with a f/2.1 aperture, and 3.5x optical zoom.
This camera set-up excels for zoomed-in low-light shots. I was able to capture this sunset shot of a giraffe at 3.5x zoom, with the camera handling the orange glow of the sun’s rays without blowing out the rest of the shot whilst balancing the shadows on the ground and retaining the detailed print on the animal. It’s certainly one of the most impressive photos I’ve ever taken on a smartphone camera – and I didn’t have to try too hard. The camera does a lot of the work for you, though note the expected lens flare that you’d see on any camera system when pointing directly at the sun.
Hannah Cowton / Foundry
Even in an almost pitch-black indoor room, the camera managed to produce a steady image using the software’s night mode, with colours lifted well without appearing too overblown or unnatural. The night mode boosts the light level of the room to give an image that is not true to life, but it’s impressive all the same.
The below left image on the slider is taken on the P60 Pro. You can see how a bunch of flowers compares to the right-side image taken on the Galaxy S23 Ultra, which struggled to focus in the low light setting. The Samsung’s image also has much murkier tones overall.
Zoomed in low-light shots aside, the P60 Pro’s main lens is an excellent snapper. It copes well with colours both indoors and outdoors and captures the fine details in textures like fur and clothes. The AI image enhancing (which is best turned on for the low light snaps) doesn’t overblow the colours like on some cheaper phones, and it still works a treat – no matter whether you’re shooting outdoors or indoors.
There is a Super Macro mode for taking super close-up shots, which hones in on ultra-fine textures with clarity. Focusing was mostly consistent – the phone only struggled when there were multiple objects in shot, such as numerous flowers.
If you prefer, you can also opt for the Aperture mode to manually adjust the focus to suit your tastes, but I found the automatic Super Macro mode to work pretty well for most tasks.
On top of the optical zoom lens, there’s also up to 100x digital zoom. There is a noticeable downgrade in quality when shooting anything further than 3.5x zoom, with lines slightly fuzzier and shades not as true to life.
The 13Mp wide-angle lens pales in comparison to the quality of the two other lens. Whilst its sufficient for landscape lots or big group photos, the colours become less natural looking, and the ultra-fine details are lost.
If you’re taking photos of people or animals, the portrait mode is the best to use – shades contrast much more dramatically than if you just use the normal photo mode. Plus, there is just the right amount of blur, with no errant strands of hair getting smudged into the background.
The 13Mp front camera has a wide-angle mode, making it useful for big group selfies. Oddly, the bokeh effect doesn’t seem to activate automatically on portrait mode, and you have to select an effect in the camera app.
Hannah Cowton / Foundry
Video recording is available in 4K, 1080p and 720p in both 30fps and 60fps. When shooting, the colour balancing isn’t quite as impressive as what you’ll find on still shots, with tones more washed out. There is also some jolting when zooming in and out – we saw these issues on the P50 Pro as well.
However, the microphones pick up a decent level of audio, and videos remain solidly steady if you’re moving about.
Battery Life & Charging
A day-and-a-half battery life
88W fast charging
Wireless and reverse wireless charging supported
There is a 4815mAh battery packed into the P60 Pro. As flagship phones go, the battery life is better than some rivals. I managed around a day and a half on average, streaming Twitch, taking photos and using Huawei’s Petal Maps.
If you’re snapping tons of photos and videos and have the brightness whacked all the way up, then the battery will naturally drain quicker.
Charging wise, the P60 Pro comes with an 88W brick and accompanying USB-C cable. This can juice the phone from flat to 89% in 30 minutes, so even a five-minute charge should get you a decent amount of usage before you head out of the door – just make sure you enable ‘turbo mode’ if you want the fastest charging speeds.
In addition, it also supports 50W wireless charging, and 7.5W reverse wireless charging. It’s worth noting that the phone got warm during fast charging, which is common for phones with this technology but something to keep in mind when it comes to the long-term battery health. You may want to keep the turbo mode turned off and charge the phone slower, which has been shown to put less wear on lithium-ion batteries over time than fast charging.
Hannah Cowton / Foundry
Software & Apps
No Google support
Lots of bloatware
And now for the big sticking point of this phone, the software. If you’re used to the Google ecosystem like me, then you’ll find the Huawei P60 Pro quite hard going – but that doesn’t make it completely unusable.
The P60 Pro runs on EMUI 13.1, an open-source skin based on Android. Rather than Google Play, Huawei uses its own AppGallery app store, which isn’t the most user-friendly – it’s chock full of ads and just doesn’t have the same clean finish that the Google equivalent boasts.
On top of that, it doesn’t include many of the standard Western apps like WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Netflix and PayPal. You can still search for these in the AppGallery or on Huawei’s search engine Petal Search, and the results sometimes link to APK versions of these apps that you can install from other websites.
This is known as sideloading, and doing so on Android is perfectly legal, but it can be confusing. Whilst Huawei does state that it scans apps before they are installed, there are still security concerns, as you’re not downloading something from the Google Play Store, but a third-party site.
I had a few issues with APKs, with the Geekbench benchmarking downloading but refusing to install until I went to another site. The links for downloading on the sites also aren’t clear to see. It’s a bad user experience.
Once they were downloaded and installed, apps worked as usual. I still got notifications and had no issues with apps crashing. But this is not suitable for anyone who isn’t super tech-savvy, or not familiar with how Huawei phones work.
Not all apps will work as intended, though. Google apps use Google servers, so whilst they can be installed, they won’t work as usual, so you can’t sync your Google calendar or sign into Google apps. You also can’t use the likes of Uber and Citymapper, as they base their data off Google Maps.
Huawei does include its own Google alternatives like Petal Maps, which I found to be accurate for getting around London when it came to buses and trains. If you use Google apps, then I suggest looking elsewhere.
App woes aside, the Huawei P60 Pro has a layout that reminds me of Xiaomi’s MIUI in some respects. It adopts Apple’s quick navigation of swiping down from the top of the screen for the notification shade, with a right swipe down from the top pulling up quick settings.
Hannah Cowton / Foundry
Huawei shares Xiaomi’s annoying habit of including bloatware, with tons of pre-installed apps taking up space and folders cluttering up the home screen – and some of these aren’t super easy to get rid of, either.
A Huawei spokesperson told us the phone will get two years of Android platform updates taking the phone to Android 15, and three years of security updates until 2026. This isn’t too bad, but Samsung offers four years of updates and five of security patches, meaning Huawei is lagging behind here considering the price of the phone.
To summarise, if the lack of Google services isn’t an issue for you, then the Huawei P60 Pro could still be a consideration. Otherwise, this phone is not easy to use, and rivals offer much more seamless experiences with the easy access to the apps you are used to using.
Price & Availability
The Huawei P60 Pro costs £1,199/€1,199 for the 8GB variant, and £1,299/€1,399 for the 12GB version. UK readers can only get the black version in 8GB, and the Rococo Pearl version in 12GB. In Europe, you can get either colour in both configurations.
It is available to buy from the Huawei Store in the UK and will release from other selected retailers from 22 May 2023. If you order before 5 June 2023, then you can also bag a free Huawei Watch GT 3, and a £100 voucher to use in the Huawei Store.
It should come as no surprise that the P60 Pro isn’t available in the US. However, American viewers may be able to get hold of one via AliExpress.
This is very expensive for a phone, let alone one without Google services, and whilst the camera hardware on the P60 Pro is extremely impressive, the software woes make it a much harder sell over rivals.
You can get stellar smartphone cameras from the Google Pixel 7 Pro, the Samsung S23 Ultra and the iPhone 14 Pro, among many others. Check out our chart of the best camera phones for more options.
Hannah Cowton / Foundry
There is no doubt the Huawei P60 Pro packs some serious camera technology, and if you’ve been searching for something that can take close-up shots in extremely dark conditions whilst retaining tons of detail, then this smartphone can’t really be beaten.
On top of that, it has a stunning durable design, excellent battery life with great fast-charging tech, and slick performance.
However, I’d only advise buying it if you’re planning on using this predominantly as a second smartphone camera in addition to your day-to-day phone, or if the lack of Google services isn’t a major concern to you.
If that’s not the case, then the Huawei P60 Pro is arduous to use, with many apps requiring sideloading and some services just outright missing. It’s a shame, as it does tar what could have been a real flagship contender.