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HUAWEI Pura 70 Pro: The rebirth of a flagship with new Google solutions, Kirin chipset, and ultra-fast cameras

As a tech journalist I have had a long career following HUAWEI and the products it has launched in the country. I remember how they made the first LTE dongle for SMART when it debuted 4G in the Philippines back in 2011. I was there when they released the most affordable Windows Mobile phone ‘Ascend‘ for less than P10,000 in 2013. In 2018 I got to experience HUAWEI’s Innovation Lab summit which also coincided with the launch of the P20 series. I got that phone for myself that same year and it has lasted me through the pandemic. The P20 was amazing because this was the time when phone manufacturers were fiddling with improved night mode photography and the P20 was at least one year ahead of the competition with impressive low-noise night shots. 

Fast forward to 2024, six years have passed and HUAWEI has gone through enormous change. The rigors of time (six years is a lifetime in tech) have done a number on HUAWEI, especially with the challenges of having Google loaded on their phones. But 2024 is a year of rebirth for the global company, and this is symbolized by the arrival of the Pura series. For fans of HUAWEI’s P series, the Pura 70 line is a continuation of the much beloved P60. On every Pura 70 series phone is a forward symbol that houses the new camera system. This deliberate design represents HUAWEI’s drive towards better tech, innovation, and yes, fashion. We see better tech with the exciting new Kirin 9010 chipset, a huge move from Snapdragon! We see huge innovations with AppGallery allowing native Google apps to be easily installed. We see fashion forward functionality and style with the Pura 70 being super light, with a great camera system.

A true flagship experience

It is no secret that consumers in the Philippines have some hesitation with HUAWEI due to the unavailability of Google apps. As a true sign of rebirth, the Pura 70 series (in my case the Pura 70 Pro) has a rather seamless Google integration, which I was pleasantly surprised to experience. As someone who sets up and evaluates phones for a living, setting up the Pura 70 Pro was no different from other phone brands. Instead of Google Play Store, users simply need to create or login to their HUAWEI ID account (it’s pretty straightforward to create) and from there, download favorite Google apps such as YouTube, GMail, YouTube Music, Google Photos, and Google Drive. It even supports GBoard, which is Google’s native keyboard app. 

AppGallery has all the standard Google apps you need including Chrome, Drive, YouTube, YT Music, GMail, Photos, and even the more obscure apps like GBoard and Google Authenticator.

The Pura 70 Pro comes with a stunning 100W SuperCharge fast charger and also supports 80W wireless charging. To put this into perspective, the closest competitor’s maximum fast charge is “only” at 80W for wired and 66W for wireless. This is mind blowing because it means that the Pura 70 Pro’s wireless charging is just as fast as the competition’s wired fast charge!

Despite its thin size, the Pura 70 Pro’s screen is protected by an upgraded Kunlun Glass screen, which is 20x more drop resistant than regular glass.. For those unfamiliar, Kunlun Glass technology was the world’s first 5-star Swiss SGS anti-fall certification. This tech was available with the HUAWEI Mate 50 and has been much improved with the Pura series.

Camera System

The Pura 70 Pro and the other phones in its series are the successors to the HUAWEI P60 series, which, up till now, continues to be in the top 5 DXOMARK smartphone cameras despite being released in 2023. For reference, the Pura 70 Ultra, the biggest sibling in the current series, claims the top spot. The Pura 70 Pro thus hails from smartphone camera royalty and you will see why from the sample shots.

It’s no secret that I am a fan of collecting fountain pens. As a hobby, I enjoy dabbling with different types of ink, pens, and paper. Part of this hobby entails inspecting the nibs of my pens for maintenance, and taking super macro shots of the ink pigmentation and how it reacts to paper. This helps me determine whether the paper I’m using is fountain-pen friendly – no ghosting, feathering, or bleeding.

At 10x super macro, I can inspect my TWSBI Iris’ nib and admire the craftsmanship of the purple coloring on the tines. I can also inspect for damage to the tipping material (the point at the end that touches the paper). Fortunately, this pen, like the Pura 70 Pro, is a durable workhorse.

And this is at 35x zoom. I’m really enjoying this as I can see the sheening glitter component that is not obvious to the naked eye. The Pura 70 Pro is a boon to fountain pen enthusiasts like me because I can share close up shots of ink pigmentation which my fellow “penheads” love to scrutinize and admire in Facebook groups.

As someone with kids and pets, I love taking everyone to the park to run around. I must say, portrait mode on the Pura 70 Pro is a joy to use. I’ve been able to capture portrait shots of my dogs (meet the bea-girls!) while they sit still and drool on treats. Portrait mode has a very subtle drop off transition for high aperture shots at f/2 so as you can see the blurring effect in the background transitions well with the subject. Other phones tend to have a harsher transition, making the image look heavily edited.

I love it when I have my dogs run around the field. They both have really long leashes which gives them the freedom to run around but still be near me for safety. I mean look at that shot – with ultra snapshot mode turned on, I was able to capture my bea-girls mid stride running towards a treat I was holding. Ultra snapshot mode is a better version of the traditional “sports mode” as the shots can be taken in rapid succession allowing you to choose the best version. This is something that I highly appreciate with the Pura 70 Pro, giving you more chances to get that perfect shot. I love this photo because both heads are very clear. The watermark shows a f/1.4 aperture and a very high shutter speed at around 5:30PM which is super impressive given that there isn’t a lot of light available when this was taken.

Ease of Use

I really have to give huge props to HUAWEI for the strides they have made with AppGallery. It has become a seamless replacement to the Play Store with the “Google experience” built right in. As I wrote at the start of this review, all your popular Google apps including Chrome, GMail and YouTube are all present. If you own a HUAWEI wearable, you can simply download the HUAWEI Health app and sync without worry. I can say convincingly that this refreshed experience is seamless and should not worry consumers who need their basic Google apps.

As an aside, I’ve been rather fond of HUAWEI’s use of Petal Search and partnerships with Taboola for their newsfeed. Modern HUAWEI devices feature Taboola News, which many local and regional sites have integrated with. If you’re a fan of Google News being directly available on other phones, you can get the same experience with HUAWEI devices. And yes, as part of The Philippine Star, our sites have been added to the news navigation screen on HUAWEI devices for quite some time now.

The Fun Stuff

HUAWEI has added a bunch of fun features that bring a bit of color to the Pura 70 experience courtesy of the new EMUI 14.2 OS. Interactive Themes is a fun add-on that allows you to control certain parts of your screen with eye-tracking. In my case, I’ve kept my phone’s background to a tennis theme and the ball actually moves back and forth, tracking your eye movement. 

Air Gestures is an interesting feature that allows you to control parts of the phone with hand gestures. This is very useful if you’re cooking or baking or really have your hands full and cannot touch the screen. Air Gestures lets you scroll through a website by simply waving your hand.

The rebirth of a flagship

The Pura 70 Pro is really the physical manifestation of HUAWEI’s push for innovation. It’s not just a rebrand by name, but an opening of a new chapter amidst the past challenges it faced. Foregoing Snapdragon for the Kirin processor, huge investment into XMAGE camera technology, and a seamless HUAWEI AppGallery experience are the main features that push innovation, tech, and fashion forward.

Pre-order details

The Pura 70 Pro is available in both black and white models and can be pre-ordered now for P59,999. The Pura 70 Ultra can be preordered for P79,999 while the Pura 70 sells for P47,999. The pre-order period is from May 17-30 2024. Orders made will come with a free DJI OSMO Mobile 6 worth P7,999 and HUAWEI Freebuds Pro 2 worth P9,999. Details can be found at the HUAWEI website. The Pura 70 and Pura 70 Pro will have a trade in token worth P8,000 while the Pura 70 Ultra will have a trade in token worth P10,000.

For those buying from Electroworld and Abenson, the device comes with a FREE DJI Osmo 6 and HUAWEI Freebuds Pro 2 for all Pura 70, Pura 70 Pro, and Pura 70 Ultra orders till June 15 2024.

To make payment easier for buyers, HUAWEI also partnered with Home Credit and selected credit cards for installment options. Credit card holders can have up to 24 months installment, while those who wish to avail it through Home Credit, can have up to 18 months of installment.

Globe, on the other hand, will help you create wonderful memories with the HUAWEI Pura 70 Series with GPlan offers starting from GPlan 2499 with DJI and FreeBuds Pro 2 freebies, with cashout.