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Huawei P50 Pro Selfie review: Super selfies

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106
selfie

Powered by a Kirin 9000 chipset, the Huawei P50 Pro is the latest flagship device in the Chinese manufacturer’s smartphone lineup.

In terms of the front camera, the specifications are very close to the Mate 40 Pro from last year. A 13 MP Sony IMX688 sensor is coupled with a f/2.4-aperture lens with an 18 mm-equivalent focal length. However, the new model adds a phase-detection autofocus (PDAF) system, making it the first Huawei front camera with that technology. Like previous Huawei cameras, the P50 Pro front camera also makes use of artificial intelligence to optimize image quality.

On the video side of things, staggered HDR processing improves image quality in especially challenging lighting conditions and the stabilization system benefits from new slightly wider lenses and improved EIS (electronic image stabilization) which help with cropping. Let’s see how the Huawei P50 Pro front camera performs in DXOMARK’s Selfie tests.

Key front camera specifications:

  • 13 MP 1/2.8″ sensor with 1.22µm pixel size
  • 18 mm-equivalent lens with f/2.4 aperture
  • PDAF, EIS
  • 4K video, 2160p/60 fps, (2160p/30 fps tested)

About DXOMARK Selfie tests: For scoring and analysis in our smartphone front camera reviews, DXOMARK engineers capture and evaluate over 1500 test images and more than 2 hours of video both in controlled lab environments and in natural indoor and outdoor scenes, using the camera’s default settings. This article is designed to highlight the most important results of our testing. For more information about the DXOMARK Selfie test protocol, click here. 

Test summary


Huawei P50 Pro
106
selfie
112
photo

96
video

Pros

  • Good face exposure in photos and videos
  • Wide dynamic range in photos
  • Accurate white balance in photos
  • Wide focus range
  • Low noise levels in photos
  • Good detail in indoor and daylight photos
  • Effective video stabilization
  • Good focus for video group shots indoors and in daylight

Cons

  • Loss of fine detail in low-light photos
  • Occasional autofocus failures in photo mode
  • Occasionally inaccurate skin tone rendering in photos
  • Limited dynamic range in low-light videos
  • Noise on faces in indoor and low-light videos

With an overall Selfie score of 106, the Huawei P50 Pro beats its stablemate Mate 40 Pro and catapults to the top of the DXOMARK front camera ranking.

The Photo score of 112 is two points higher than the Mate 40 Pro, thanks to outstanding performance in pretty much all test areas. The P50 Pro front camera is the best or close to the best for all Photo sub-attributes except artifacts, where its score is slightly lower than some competitors due to color quantization, which appears especially frequently in low light.

For video, the P50 Pro ties the Mate 40 Pro and the Asus Zenfone 7 Pro for the top spot in the category and is an excellent choice overall for shooting selfie videos, with outstanding results in most areas, including focus and color. The texture/noise trade-off is not quite up there with the very best, though.

Photo

The Huawei P50 Pro achieves a Selfie Photo score of 112. In this section, we take a closer look at each sub-attribute and compare image quality against competitors.

Exposure and Contrast

Huawei P50 Pro

90

Highest Score

In these tests we analyze target exposure, contrast, and dynamic range, including repeatability across a series of images. Tests are undertaken in a wide range of light conditions, including backlit scenes and low light down to 1 lux. The score is derived from a number of objective measurements in the lab and perceptual analysis of real-life images.

This graph shows the Huawei P50 Pro’s exposure performance across different light levels.

Exposure comparison: The P50 Pro manages good exposure even in extremely low light of 1 lux.

These samples show the Huawei P50 Pro’s exposure performance in an outdoor scene.

Huawei P50 Pro, accurate target exposure, wide dynamic range
Huawei Mate 40 Pro, accurate target exposure, slightly less dynamic range
Asus Zenfone 7 Pro, limited dynamic range, highlight clipping

Color

Huawei P50 Pro

99

Highest Score

In these tests we analyze color rendering, skin tones, white balance, and color shading, including repeatability across a series of images. The score is derived from a number of objective measurements in the lab and perceptual analysis of real-life images.

These samples show the Huawei P50 Pro’s color performance in daylight.

Huawei P50 Pro, accurate white balance and color rendering, neutral skin tones, among the very best for color
Huawei Mate 40 Pro, slightly inaccurate color rendering (reds), yellowish skin tones
Asus Zenfone 7 Pro, accurate white balance and color rendering, natural skin tones

Focus

Huawei P50 Pro

97

Highest Score

In these tests we analyze autofocus accuracy and shooting time, including repeatability, in the lab. We test focus failures, depth of field, and tracking of moving subjects using perceptual analysis of real-life images.

These samples show the Huawei P50 Pro’s focus performance in daylight.

Huawei P50 Pro, depth of field
Huawei P50 Pro, crop: very accurate focus, wide depth of field, good detail on background
Huawei Mate 40 Pro, depth of field
Huawei Mate 40 Pro, crop: stable focus (fixed focus), lack of detail on background
Asus Zenfone 7 Pro, depth of field
Asus Zenfone 7 Pro, crop: stable autofocus, narrow depth of field and lack of detail on background

Texture

Huawei P50 Pro

75

79

Asus ZenFone 7 Pro
Best: Asus ZenFone 7 Pro (79)

In these tests we analyze texture on faces and objects, including objects in motion, in a range of light conditions, using several lab test setups and perceptual analysis of real-life images.

This graph shows the Huawei P50 Pro’s texture performance in the lab across different light levels.

Texture comparison: Huawei P50 Pro shows a lot of detail in indoor and outdoor conditions but struggles slightly to maintain high levels of detail in low light.

These samples show the Huawei P50 Pro’s texture performance at a light level of 100 lux and a shooting distance of 55 cm.

Huawei P50 Pro, texture, 55 cm
Huawei P50 Pro, crop: good detail on the face
Huawei Mate 40 Pro, texture, 55 cm
Huawei Mate 40 Pro, crop: slightly better detail
Asus Zenfone 7 Pro, 55 cm
Asus Zenfone 7 Pro, crop: better detail than competitors

Noise

Huawei P50 Pro

89

90

Huawei P40 Pro
Best: Huawei P40 Pro (90)

In these tests we analyze noise on faces and objects, including objects in motion, in a range of light conditions, using several lab test setups and perceptual analysis of real-life images.

This graph shows the Huawei P50 Pro’s noise performance in the lab across different light levels.

Visual noise is a metric that measures noise as perceived by end-users. It takes into account the sensitivity of the human eye to different spatial frequencies under different viewing conditions.

Noise comparison: Despite its fairly small sensor, the Huawei P50 Pro keeps noise levels very low, even in low light.

Bokeh

Huawei P50 Pro

70

75

Huawei P40 Pro
Best: Huawei P40 Pro (75)

For these tests we switch to the camera’s bokeh or portrait mode and analyze depth estimation, bokeh shape, blur gradient, and repeatability, as well as all other general image quality attributes mentioned above. The score is derived from perceptual analysis of real-life images.

These samples show the Huawei P50 Pro’s bokeh mode performance in an indoor scene.

Huawei P50 Pro, few depth estimation artifacts but no blur gradient
Huawei Mate 40 Pro, few depth estimation artifacts, blur gradient with slightly abrupt transitions
Asus Zenfone 7 Pro, few depth estimation artifacts, very natural blur gradient

Artifacts

Huawei P50 Pro

77

86

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G (Exynos)
Best: Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G (Exynos) (86)

In these tests we check images for optical artifacts such as vignetting, flare, lens softness in the corners, distortion, and chromatic aberrations, as well as for processing artifacts such as ghosting and fusion errors, hue shift, and ringing.

This sample shows unnatural texture artifacts in low light.

Huawei P50 Pro, artifacts
Huawei P50 Pro, crop: unnatural texture rendering on skin and facial hair

Video

In our Video tests we analyze the same image quality attributes as for still images, such as exposure, color, texture or noise, but we also include such temporal aspects as speed, and smoothness and stability of exposure, white balance, and autofocus transitions.

NOTE: The sample video clips in this section are best viewed at 4K resolution

The Huawei P50 Pro achieves a Selfie Video score of 96. A device’s overall Video score is derived from its performance and results across a range of attributes in the same way as the Photo score. In this section, we take a closer look at these sub-scores and compare video image quality against competitors.

Exposure and Contrast

Huawei P50 Pro

79

90

Huawei P50 Pro
Best: Huawei P50 Pro (90)

These video stills show the Huawei P50 Pro’s video exposure performance in indoor light conditions.

Huawei P50 Pro, video still, good exposure and wide dynamic range even in this challenging backlit scene
Huawei Mate 40 Pro, video still, occasional underexposure in high-contrast scenes

Color

Huawei P50 Pro

85

99

Huawei P50 Pro
Best: Huawei P50 Pro (99)

These video stills show the Huawei P50 Pro’s video color in a lab scene.

Huawei P50 Pro, video still, fairly natural skin tones, but red tones can be slightly inaccurate
Huawei Mate 40 Pro, video still, fairly accurate color rendering and skin tones
Asus Zenfone 7 Pro, video still, accurate color rendering and skin tones

Focus

Huawei P50 Pro

90

97

Huawei P50 Pro
Best: Huawei P50 Pro (97)

This video still show the Huawei P50 Pro’s focus autofocus performance in daylight.

Huawei P50 Pro, video still, depth of field
Huawei P50 Pro, crop: accurate and stable focus with wide depth of field, faces in background are in focus with good detail

Texture

Huawei P50 Pro

74

79

Asus ZenFone 7 Pro
Best: Asus ZenFone 7 Pro (79)

Texture preservation in video is good, but slightly surpassed by the other devices in this comparison.

This graph shows the Huawei P50 Pro’s detail preservation under different light conditions.

Video texture comparison: The P50 Pro does not deliver the same levels of detail as the Zenfone 7 Pro (which has a bigger sensor), but outperforms the Mate 40 Pro in low light.

These video stills show the Huawei P50 Pro’s video texture performance in low light.

Huawei P50 Pro, video texture
Huawei P50 Pro, crop: not as much detail as on Asus Zenfone 7 Pro
Huawei Mate 40 Pro, video texture
Huawei Mate 40 Pro, crop: similar detail to P50 Pro
Asus Zenfone 7 Pro, video texture
Asus Zenfone 7 Pro, better detail

Noise

Huawei P50 Pro

70

90

Huawei P40 Pro
Best: Huawei P40 Pro (90)

These video stills show the Huawei P50 Pro’s video noise performance in indoor light conditions.

Huawei P50 Pro, video noise
Huawei P50 Pro, crop: noise is visible in indoor and low-light conditions
Huawei Mate 40 Pro, video noise
Huawei Mate 40 Pro, crop: very low noise
Asus Zenfone 7 Pro, video noise
Asus Zenfone 7 Pro, crop: well-controlled noise in most conditions

Artifacts

Huawei P50 Pro

87

Highest Score

For video artifacts, we check for the same kinds of artifacts mentioned in the Photo section, along with such video-specific artifacts as frame rate variation in different light conditions, judder effect, and moving artifacts (artifacts such as aliasing, color quantization, and flare can often be more intrusive when moving than in a still image).

This graph shows the Huawei P50 Pro’s ringing video output. This curve displays the normalized edge profile of the maximum ringing in the field.

Ringing: the P50 Pro controls ringing noticeably better than the Mate 40 Pro and the Zenfone 7 Pro.

Stabilization

Huawei P50 Pro

81

In these tests we analyze residual motion when handholding the camera during recording, as well as when walking and running with the camera. We also look for stabilization artifacts such as jello effect, sharpness differences between frames, and frame shift (abrupt changes of framing).

This sample clip shows the Huawei P50 Pro’s video stabilization in outdoor conditions.

Stabilization on Huawei P50 Pro is very efficient with almost no frame shifts and very little difference in sharpness between frames.

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