When I had the opportunity to try Huawei Mate 30 Pro I was very excited, but I have to be honest: my curiosity was not dictated so much by being able to test a "Mate 30 Pro" as such, I wanted to touch with my hand – after years that I didn't – what life is like without Google Mobile Services. It was from the time of smartphones imported directly from China (without optimization for the international market) that I did not happen to face such a situation. In a few years things have changed radically.
I didn't want to resort to various guides and tutorials for install GMS unofficially (Google Mobile Services), Huawei is investing heavily in the development of its HMS (Huawei Mobile Services) and they deserved to be tested thoroughly: I survived and I gained some awareness that, as a convinced "Androidian", made me think a lot.
I anticipate that this it's not the review of the flagship, that is available within the technical data sheet of Huawei Mate 30 Pro, this is the story of my experience of using a flagship Android smartphone, which however does not have Google Mobile Services on board.
Huawei Mate 30 Pro: what the world is like without GMS
I decided to divide my story into three key steps, because I want to allow you to understand what you could go through if you decide to buy this smartphone, which from the technical and aesthetic point of view is among the best of 2019.
The initial configuration
On December 24, I started the day with a bit of laziness, not having to work. I had received the device a couple of days before, but I hadn't had the material time to devote to hers initial configurationbut now the moment was perfect. Cup of coffee by the side, eyes that sparkle and go: quick unpacking, SIM on board and I'm ready to go.
After the first, hasty consideration of the type "well, without having to log in with the Gmail address, the configuration is much faster!", I also realized that I risked having to download all the applications from scratch. Soon after the same Mate 30 Pro reminded me that I could take advantage of the application "Phone Clone”To restore all the applications I had on the old one on the new smartphone. Well, I start the procedure, but I had in mind that several applications I would not find them because the apps transferred would have been only those present on Huawei App Gallery. Not only that, with Phone Clone it was also possible to move the photos (I could avoid it, but I wanted to try thoroughly), the messages and the call log. I appreciated the speed with which the operation was performed (and I guarantee you that there was a lot of material to be transported).
Phone Clone also copies i contacts in the address book and here the first problem arose: I have always saved my contacts in the cloud on my Google account. Not bad, starting from the old smartphone, I make a copy of the same in format VCF, I auto-send it to Mate 30 Pro and recover the entire phone book. A few minutes and the problem has been resolved.
Once the configuration is complete, it's time to log in on the various social services and instant messaging platforms. From a quick check, I realize that the apps of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp they have not been copied: it is obvious, they are not present on the Huawei App Gallery. Well, quick tour to find the APK from reliable sources, download and installation of the same. Another few minutes and this obstacle has also been overcome.
I leave Whatsapp as the last platform on which to log in, the procedure is always a little longer and – above all there is the backup to restore. The backup, yes, that backup that I have been doing for years now Google Drive and, guess what? I can't restore. Panic: this time it does not resolve in a few minutes, I have to find a solution because I am fond of those conversations. By now, I am so projected towards the cloud that I don't even think about the possibility of physically extracting the backup and restoring it. It comes to mind after a few minutes, but by now I have decided that – after all – what I am very attached to are the conversations that are years old: a handful of days of using WhatsApp I can make it end up in the porthole, it will mean that I will not have trace of my Christmas and New Year 2020 greetings. Patience!
Well, now the smartphone has been configured and the major difficulties encountered were:
- application recovery;
- importing contacts;
- moving the WhatsApp account from one device to another.
My experience of use
Had we decreed the initial configuration phase as finished? Well no! I was sure because, by now, when I configure a smartphone I tend to take it for granted that, immediately afterwards, I will be able to check the emails arrive on my Gmail address. In the case of Mate 30 Pro, until then I had not entered any email address, so I had nothing to control. I had to find a client, an alternative to the Gmail application, that satisfied me enough.
I remember "Blue Mail", which didn't disappoint me in the past. I rely on it, download it (from the Web) and configure it. After recovering all the emails, I receive a error message from the app, relating to the inability to guarantee the push of incoming mail due to the lack of "Google Play Services": I could only ignore the message, being an unsolvable problem. Despite the error notice, the emails – from which point on – I continued to receive them without any difficulty.
Finally, I can dedicate myself to exploring this smartphone, which – basically – I liked a lot. As anticipated, I have no intention of reviewing it here, so I will limit myself to highlighting the difficulties encountered during daily use.
In the days, I had to find a viable alternative to Google Maps, but I quickly did: Waze ran to my aid, but let Big G pretend not to know. I use often Google Drive, especially for sharing large documents: finding it among the quick upload suggestions, it is easy to get a shareable link. Again, I had to find alternative solutions: it is not complicated to do it, but habits are hard to change.
For the rest, I have not found other major difficulties, except when changing the smartphone again. Huawei Mate 30 Pro it is an excellent camera phone and I have taken many photographs: even the fastest point and shoot can give great satisfaction. Changing a large amount of smartphones if I didn't Google Photos with backup always active, it would be a big problem, but there is not here. Patience, the fastest way is only one: USB C cable, a PC (or an external memory, but it is a little more cumbersome) and download images locally realized.
Well, the main difficulties of use are – summing up – they have been:
- find an alternative to Google Maps and the Gmail app;
- having to realize that the fastest way to save photos, at least for now, is to resort to local backup of the same;
- little trouble every time I needed to download a new application not available on the App Gallery or Amazon App Store (which is still an excellent source).
In conclusion: I owe an apology to Apple users
You read that right. I must apologize to Apple users, who live daily in what I call a "golden cage", Made up of the ecosystem of Apple services, which revolve around the iPhone.
I was convinced, very convinced, to take advantage of Google services, but not be dependent on it: I stop when I want. The experience of using the Huawei Mate 30 Pro has taught me instead of mine use of Android smartphones is highly contaminated by GMS: I don't notice it just because the Android smartphone models to choose from are many more than the "few" iPhone models. A wider golden cage, but still a cage.
Therefore, I depend on it as much as an iOS user depends on Apple's cloud services. I can do without just trudging, looking for alternative solutions and, be honest: all of you, Android users, and supporters of the free operating system, are in my same position.
Awareness (quite obvious, after all) aside, let's move on to the analysis of the specific case of Huawei Mobile Services: the potential is there, but the road is still quite long. Moreover, Huawei's partial unpreparedness from this point of view is understandable: until a few months ago, it was not strictly necessary that HMSs could meet the needs of European users, leading them not to miss the GMS. Applications available on App Gallery they are still few, although the situation is destined to improve, and the backup system offered is not currently to be taken into consideration because it is limited to the devices of the Chinese giant (and always will be).
However, with a little organization, I didn't miss the GMS daily, probably because of my desire to get involved and understand how far I would have managed without the invisible support of Big G's services. In short, without GMS you can survive using your Android smartphone, but if there is an edge, it is much better.