Huawei P50 and P50 Pro buyer’s guide: Everything you need to know
Thanks to the Huawei ban, the company has fallen out of favor in the smartphone industry. After briefly hitting the top slot of worldwide manufacturers in 2020, the company has dropped so far down the list that it’s not even in the top five anymore. Still, Huawei hasn’t stopped launching phones, and the Huawei P50 series is the newest from the company.
Below, you’ll find everything you need to know about the P50 and P50 Pro. Be sure to bookmark this page as we will add more information when the phones eventually make their way out of China.
Huawei P50 series at a glance
Huawei officially launched the P50 series on July 29, 2021. It launched two main versions of the phone — a vanilla model and a Pro model — as well as a special edition variant. Here’s the basic info you need on each one.
The vanilla model is the cheapest of the three variants. It comes exclusively with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 chipset, although Huawei docked that CPU down so that it only supports 4G networks. It also has fewer rear camera lenses than the Pro models, a smaller battery, lacks wireless charging, and is limited to a 90Hz refresh rate.
See also: Huawei P40 Pro review
Don’t think that it’s not powerful, though. Its 50MP main camera sensor is a solid piece of hardware, and it comes with a minimum of 8GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage. It also features 66W wired charging, which should charge up its 4,100mAh battery from empty to full in around 30-40 minutes.
The P50 starts at 4,488 Chinese yuan (~$695) and costs 4,988 yuan (~$772) for the model with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage.
The Huawei P50 Pro is the true powerhouse 2021 flagship from the company. It comes in two flavors: one with a 4G-locked Snapdragon 888 and another with the 5G-capable Kirin 9000. The Kirin 9000 is a bit weaker than the Snapdragon 888, but some might prefer it for its 5G capabilities.
See also: Huawei P40 Pro Plus review
As usual, the star feature of the newest P-series Pro is the camera. It has a quad-lens system on the back with a 50MP main, a 13MP ultra-wide, a 64MP telephoto, and a 40MP monochrome sensor. Huawei is touting the color accuracy of this system as being one of its big selling points.
All in all, the P50 Pro is a better phone than the vanilla P50 in just about every way. Of course, it’s also more expensive. Check out pricing (all pricing in Chinese yuan):
- 5,988 — SD888 model with 8GB/128GB
- 6,488 — SD888 model with 8GB/256GB
- 7,488 — SD888 model with 8GB/512GB
- 6,488 — Kirin 9000 model with 8GB/256GB
- 7,488 — Kirin 9000 model with 8GB/512GB
- 7,988 — Kirin 9000 model with 12GB/512GB
Huawei P50 Pro Special Edition
In years prior, Huawei would launch a “Pro Plus” variant of its flagships. This year, though, the P50 Pro is the highest-end model for the general consumer. However, the company is launching a Special Edition model of the Huawei P50 Pro. It comes with the Kirin 9000, 12GB of RAM, and 512GB of storage. However, it is unclear what else sets this apart from the top-end P50 Pro.
The Special Edition is certainly more expensive than the top-of-the-line P50 Pro. The Special Edition model lands at 8,488 Chinese yuan (~$1,314), which is significantly more yuan than the spec-equivalent P50 Pro (7,988 Chinese yuan). We’ll need to wait and see what makes the Special Edition so special.
Are the Huawei P50 phones worth buying?
Unfortunately, the P50 series faces the same issues as most other new Huawei phones launched since May 2019. The Huawei ban prohibits the company from integrating any products from US-based firms, which includes Google. That means none of the phones in the P50 series will have Google apps, including the Google Play Store itself.
With this in mind, it is hard to recommend anyone outside of China buy this or any modern Huawei phone. That being said, the hardware here does seem to be quite interesting, and the designs of the phones are certainly unique. If you’re a die-hard Huawei fan, these might still be great options if you can live without Google apps.
If you can’t do without Google in your life, though, there are certainly other smartphones available with great cameras and powerful specs. Head down to our alternatives section to read more.
Huawei P50 series specs
As usual, the P50 series features some exemplary specs. Check out how each device compares in the table below.
|Huawei P50||Huawei P50 Pro|
2,700 x 1,224 resolution
90Hz refresh rate
300Hz touch sampling
2,700 x 1,228 resolution
120Hz refresh rate
300Hz touch sampling
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 (4G only)||Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 (4G only)
|RAM||8GB||8GB or 12GB|
|Storage||128GB or 256GB
No expandable storage
|128GB, 256GB, or 512GB
No expandable storage
66W wired charging
No wireless charging
66W wired charging
50W wireless charging
– 50MP main (ƒ1.8)
– 13MP ultra-wide (ƒ2.2)
– 12MP telephoto (ƒ3.4, OIS, AF)
– 50MP main (ƒ1.8, OIS)
– 13MP ultra-wide (ƒ2.2)
– 64MP telephoto (ƒ3.5, OIS, AF)
– 40MP monochrome (ƒ1.6)
|Durability||IP68 rated||IP68 rated|
|Software||Harmony OS 2.0||Harmony OS 2.0|
|Dimensions & weight||156.5 x 73.8 x 7.9mm
|158.8 x 72.8 x 8.5mm
Phone software and updates
Without access to Google’s services, Huawei was essentially forced to create its own operating system. This landed as Harmony OS. The software you’ll find pre-installed on the Huawei P50 series is Harmony OS 2.0.
Although Harmony OS is billed as a “new” operating system, its core code is based on Android 10. That means you’ll still be able to sideload many Android apps that you can’t find in Huawei’s app store, known as App Gallery. However, some of those sideloaded apps might rely on Google Play Services. If so, they won’t work properly, so proceed with caution.
Huawei has said that most of its modern devices will eventually get Harmony OS. The company also promises continuous software updates for Harmony OS devices. Since this is a “new” operating system, though, there’s not much history to back up Huawei’s claims here. For now, though, it’s very important to understand that the P50 series will not be like any other Android phone you’ve used if you live outside of China.
What are some good P50 alternatives?
Although the designs and camera systems of the Huawei P50 series are unique, there are plenty of premium flagship phones available that offer stellar imaging and high-end specs but also offer Google apps. Check some of them out below.
- Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra ($1,199): When it comes to capturing images with a smartphone, there aren’t too many 2021 devices that can compete with the mighty Galaxy S21 Ultra. Not only is it an imaging master, but it’s also a specs beast, with many of its features meeting or exceeding those of the Huawei P50 Pro. Unfortunately, you will need to give up fast wired and wireless charging with the S21 Ultra.
- OnePlus 9 Pro ($969): The OnePlus 9 Pro offers another stellar camera system, although not quite as good as that of the S21 Ultra. It does, however, offer equally fast wired and wireless charging standards when compared to the P50 Pro and similar specs across the board.
- Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra (€1,199): Like the Huawei P50 Pro, the Mi 11 Ultra has a very unique design. It also offers some great imaging and top-tier specs. However, the phone is tricky to get in the United States and some other countries and is still not quite as good of an overall phone as the Galaxy S21 Ultra.
- Asus ROG Phone 5 ($1,119): If imaging isn’t as important to you as raw power, check out the ROG Phone 5. Despite its reputation as a “gaming phone,” it could very easily operate as a day-to-day device for power users. You’re certainly not going to get the same high-quality images as you likely would from a P50 Pro, but you’ll get all the power.
Where to buy the Huawei P50 series
- SD888 Huawei P50 (8GB/128GB): 4,488 Chinese yuan (~$695)
- SD888 Huawei P50 Pro (8GB/128GB): 5,988 Chinese yuan (~$928)
- Kirin 9000 Huawei P50 Pro (8GB/256GB): 6,488 Chinese yuan (~$1,005)
For now, the Huawei P50 series is only available in China. Since the beginning of the Huawei ban, the company has taken its time pushing phones outside of its home country. As such, we expect the P50 family to hit other markets eventually, although there’s no telling when. There’s also no information yet on which model types we’ll see outside of China.
Once again, be aware that even if the Huawei P50 series comes to Western markets, they still won’t have Google apps on board.
That’s all the information we currently have on the Huawei P50 series. Be sure to bookmark this page as we will update it with more details as we receive them.