It took them almost a year, but Huawei Philippines finally brought its latest flagship phone in the country, the Huawei P50.

A cheaper alternative to the P50 Pro and P50 Pocket, this one still offers a similar set of features for the full flagship feel, but with a more reasonable price tag. But the question is, is the vanilla model actually worth getting or are you better off spending more on the expensive models? We find out in our Huawei P50 full review.

Huawei P50 Specs

  • HarmonyOS 2.0
  • Dual SIM, Dual standby (Hybrid)
  • 6.5-inch flat FHD+ OLED display, 2700 x 1224 pixel resolution, HDR, 458ppi
  • 90Hz refresh rate, 300Hz touch sampling
  • 2.84GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 4G octa-core processor
  • Adreno 660 GPU
  • 8GB RAM
  • 256GB internal storage, expandable via NM card
  • 13-megapixel front camera
  • 50-megapixel (f/1.8, omnidirectional PDAF, OIS) + 13-megapixel (16mm ultra-wide, f/2.2) + 12-megapixel (periscope, 5x optical, OIS, PDAF) rear cameras, Laser AF, Leica optics, dual-LED flash
  • 10-channel color sensors
  • up to 4K video recording, 960fps slow-mo
  • IP68 water and dust resistant
  • In-display fingerprint scanner
  • Stereo speakers, No headphone jack
  • HSPA+, 4G LTE
  • WiFi 6, dual-band
  • Bluetooth 5.2
  • Tri-band GPS, A-GPS, GALILEO, QZSS, NavIC, BDS
  • NFC
  • USB Type-C
  • Dimensions: 156.5 x 73.8 x 7.9mm
  • Weight: 181g
  • Colors: Gold, Black
  • 4,100mAh non-removable battery, 66W wired, 50W wireless charging

Design and Build Quality

You can easily tell the Huawei P50 from the Pro model just by looking at the screen. Being the fancier model, the P50 Pro comes with fancy curves on the sides, while the standard has a traditional flat display. Don’t be fooled, though, as this one doesn’t feel less premium.

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The P50 has a shiny glass back panel that feels really soft to the touch. The metal chassis and curved rear make it really nice in the hands.

Huawei’s signature lens design is also here. There are two large circles that are aligned vertically. The one that we’re looking at here is the Golden Black color, which has gold accents in the dual camera rings and the Huawei branding.

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The device also comes in a Cocoa Gold color if you want something with a lighter color. Both colors have the same glass panel, which is really prone to fingerprint marks.

With that, you might want to use the included cover case, which doesn’t add too much bulk to the handset. Take note that it will make the Huawei P50 look and feel less premium, but it’s the price to pay for extra protection.

While it looks normal on paper, its 7.92mm thickness and 181g weight actually feels lighter and thinner in person — even with the protective case.

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Although it looks fancy and fragile, the P50 feels really sturdy. It even has an IP68 rating for being water and dust resistant.

On the front, we have the aforementioned flat display, which spans at 6.5-inches like most smartphones on the market today. This OLED panel has a punch-hole cutout in the middle for the selfie camera and has a fingerprint scanner underneath.

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On top, we have the grills for the secondary speaker for the stereo setup, two microphones, and the antennas for connectivity.

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At the bottom, it has a small SIM tray that can either hold two nano SIM cards or have the other accommodate an NM card for storage expansion. We also have the primary microphone, main speaker, and USB Type-C port.

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The left side is clean, while the right has the triggers for the volume controls and lock/power switch. The latter has a red accent to highlight itself. The physical buttons feel really tactile when pressed — so much so that they sometimes feel a little stiff until you get used to them.

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Well, it goes without saying that we’re really impressed with the premium design and sturdy build of the Huawei P50.

Display and Sound Quality

The Huawei P50 comes with a 6.5-inch FHD+ OLED display with a 2700 x 1224 pixel resolution, 458ppi, with up to 90Hz refresh rate, 300Hz touch sampling, and 1440Hz high-frequency PWM dimming.

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Huawei calls this a True-Chroma display as it can support P3 wide colour gamut. Being an OLED panel, it’s no surprise that the screen offers vibrant colors and really deep contrast, which makes movie watching really enjoyable on this device.

There’s also the 90Hz refresh rate, which you’d appreciate better with its flagship processor compared to midrange phones who claim to have the same refresh rate. That said, browsing through the interface feels really smooth — which is actually one of the few places you’d appreciate the 90Hz screen as not a lot of games support it yet.

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If you want to save battery, you can go to the settings and set the refresh rate to Standard, where it will be capped at 60Hz. On the flipside, you can set it to high, so it stays on 90Hz.

Personally, we left it to Dynamic, the default setting, which intelligently switches to 60Hz and 90Hz depending on the task on hand for better efficiency.

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There’s also the 1440Hz PWM dimming control. This feature essentially reduces eye strain, even in lowlight conditions.

The Huawei P50 also has dual speakers for a stereo setup. They offer surprisingly loud volume, balance between treble and base, and good stereo separation. Like a lot of flagship phones, the P50 didn’t have a headphone jack to give room for other components and to keep the overall profile more compact.

Hardware and Performance

The Huawei P50 is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor that’s been stripped off of 5G connectivity. It is paired with Adreno 660 GPU, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB of internal storage that’s expandable by Huawei’s proprietary NM card.

Huawei P50 benchmark scores

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Being a flagship phone, performance is obviously not an issue on this device. Paired with its fast display, everything on this device feels buttery smooth — from browsing the interface, browsing social media feeds, and doing other light tasks.

Gaming is also great on this device. After all, it is a Snapdragon 888 chip with an Adreno 660 GPU. It may not be the current best, but it is last generation’s most powerful.

Software and User Interface

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The Huawei P50 ships with EMUI 12.0.1. Probably the only caveat of owning a modern Huawei device is the lack of access to Google Play Services and its products. As long as you can live with Huawei’s alternatives, you should be fine.

GSpace lets users install and use Google and other apps not directly available on the P50. However, do note that it’s not the same as running it natively, which is quite cumbersome.

We also liked the AppGallery. When searching for an app not available on Huawei’s take on the Google Play Store, it will show you suggestions on where you can get it, thanks to Petal Search.

Huawei Mobile Services (HMS) has really improved over the years, but it’s still not enough as a replacement for the Google ecosystem for those who are used to it.

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Cameras

Like its cousins, the main highlight of the Huawei P50 is its cameras. The triple camera setup is led by a sharp 50-megapixel main shooter paired with optical image stabilization (OIS), f/1.8, and omnidirectional PDAF.

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The main camera is joined by a 12-megapixel sensor that sits behind a periscope-style lens that can do 5x optical zoom, which also has OIS. Lastly, we have a 13-megapixel ultra-wide lens with a 16mm equivalent. Also included are Laser AF, dual-LED flash, and of course, Leica optics.

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It goes without saying that the Huawei P50 takes great images. The 50-megapixel camera takes vibrant images in daylight with realistic colors. Also, thanks to OIS, low-light shots are also impressive.

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50-megapixel main camera
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50-megapixel main camera
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50-megapixel main camera
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50-megapixel main camera w/ Portrait Mode
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50-megapixel main camera | Low-light

The ultra-wide camera also takes equally impressive images. It may not be as sharp as the main one, but how good Huawei handles images is evident here. The processing is uniform on all cameras.

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13-megapixel ultra-wide
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13-megapixel ultra-wide
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13-megapixel ultra-wide

Lastly, we have the periscope-style telephoto lens. It’s like having a telescope right in your pocket all the time. It’s great for seeing faraway objects, but image quality is not as good when you start zooming in.

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1x zoom
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5x zoom
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20x
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50x zoom

Lastly, we have the 13-megapixel front-facing camera. It may not have the sharpest sensor, but the larger individual pixel size means that it captures light more, resulting in a brighter image with better fidelity.

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13-megapixel front camera
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13-megapixel front camera

The cameras on the Huawei P50 also come with True-Chroma Image Engine, Huawei XD optics and XD Fusion Pro, and more to assist the hardware in taking better images. The device can also shoot 4K videos.

Battery

To keep it light and compact, the Huawei P50 only comes with a 4,100mAh battery. For comparison, most phones in this price range have 4,500mAh to 5,000mAh capacity.

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It may not be the biggest, but the longevity we got is actually pretty decent. It got a screen-on time of 11 hours and 32 minutes on PCMark’s battery test. That’s after a loop of synthetic workload ’til the 100% charge drops to 20%. Both the WiFi and Bluetooth are turned off, with screen brightness and volume set to 50%.

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This means that the device can easily last you for an entire day or two of light to moderate use. Heavy users may need to reach for the charger before the day ends. Fortunately, it comes with a 66W charging, which can provide a full charge in under an hour.

Security

Inside the OLED panel, the Huawei P50 managed to have an in-display fingerprint scanner. Despite the small scanning area, it is actually fast and convenient to use.

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Since it only has a single selfie camera, it doesn’t have 3D face unlock. Still, the generic facial recognition works fine if you really want to use it.

Connectivity

Still, a big drawback of Huawei phones is the lack of 5G connectivity. So if you’re okay with that omission, you better skip this device altogether.

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Other than 5G, everything else is modern. It has the latest WiFi 6 standard, Bluetooth 5.2, tri-band GPS, NFC connectivity, and USB Type-C. All of which worked fine during our time with the device.

Conclusion

The Huawei P50 is undeniably a great device. It has premium looks, sleek build, smooth and colorful screen, reliable processor and battery, and fast charging.

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But the lack of 5G connectivity and Google Mobile Services continues to be a huge drawback for Huawei smartphones. If you want to purchase the Huawei P50, make sure you can live with it.

Huawei P50 price and availability in the Philippines

The Huawei P50 is available in the Philippines for a price of Php39,999. You can get it at Huawei stores both online and offline.

Pros

  • Sleek and premium design
  • Fast and vibrant screen
  • Fast processor
  • Great cameras
  • Decent battery life

Cons

  • No Google Mobile Services
  • No 5G connectivity
  • No headphone jack



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