Huawei Pura 70: Kirin 9010 & Zoom Lens! Which to Buy?

As hinted at by Richard Yu’s statement about “good news in a couple of days,” April 18 marks the official launch of Huawei’s Pura 70 series as part of the trailblazing “Pioneer Program.” On this date, the Huawei Pura 70 Pro and Huawei Pura 70 Ultra were made available for sale, with the Huawei Pura 70 Pro+ and the standard Pura 70 slated to hit the market on April 22. The announcement aligns with the twelfth anniversary of the first P series smartphone’s debut, imbuing the event with a sense of tradition.

The new Huawei Pura 70 series features four models, with the original Art model evolving into the Ultra, and a new Pro+ model being introduced. The standard Pura 70 is equipped with a Kirin 9000S chip (which might be a downclocked version), while the other models boast the brand-new Kirin 9010.

The Kirin 9010 indicates a slight upgrade, with its prime core reduced to 2.3GHz on a new model, a modest increase in medium-frequency performance, and improved energy efficiency and heat control. It offers an 11% improvement in single-core and 8.5% in multi-core performance over the Kirin 9000S. The series also features domestically produced memory chips.

On the specs front, the top-end Huawei Pura 70 Ultra is outfitted with a 6.8-inch quad-curved screen (2844 x 1260 resolution), a centrally positioned punch-hole, an LTPO display with a 1-120Hz refresh rate, 1440Hz high-frequency PWM dimming, and a 300Hz touch sampling rate, protected by kunlun glass. Considering its high-end status (and weight considerations), like other premium brands, the Ultra opts for a vegan leather back with a unique starburst pattern, and the camera module features the XMAGE logo to offset the protrusion of the periscopic zoom lens. The whole device is kept to a weight of 226 grams.

In terms of imaging, the Huawei Pura 70 Ultra steps up with a 1-inch main sensor (the IMX989, which might be a custom RYYB version with exclusive sensor shift stabilization, with the others offering OIS optical stabilization) and supports an adjustable aperture from F1.6-F4.0 across the series.

The primary camera also features a retractable structure to minimize the overall protrusion on the back. During photography, the main camera automatically rises (similar to the pop-up front cameras of the past), is designed for 300,000 trouble-free actuations, and is IP68 dust and water-resistant. The camera retracts automatically to protect itself from impacts or drops when extended.

Other lenses include a 40MP ultra-wide-angle sensor (F2.2) and a 50MP periscopic long-focus lens with 3.5X optical zoom, OIS optical stabilization, and long-focus macro capabilities (F2.1). Moreover, the Pura 70 Ultra also comes with IP68 certification, supports dual satellite positioning with BeiDou and Tiantong, Wi-Fi 6, infrared remote control, NFC, USB3.1 Gen 1, runs HarmonyOS 4.2, and has a short-focus fingerprint sensor. The battery is a robust 5200mAh unit that supports 100W wired and 80W wireless charging.

The Huawei Pura 70 Pro+ and Pro have some reductions and changes compared to the Ultra. Both Pro+ and Pro models (as well as the standard 70) come with glass backs, with the Pro+ featuring a frosted glass finish and a woven pattern, while the Pro offers a pure frosted glass. The main camera is replaced with a 50MP Howei OV50H sensor (1/1.3 inches, adjustable aperture from F1.4-F4.0), a 12.5MP ultra-wide-angle (F2.2), and a 48MP periscopic long-focus camera (F2.1, 3.5X optical zoom).

Both models are lighter at 220 grams, house a 5050mAh battery, and share the same fast-charging specs as the Ultra. The primary difference between the two lies in the screen protection – the Pro is covered with a second-generation kunlun glass, while the Pro+ flaunts the latest kunlun glass; the Pro only supports BeiDou satellite communication.

The standard Huawei Pura 70 differs significantly in form factor from the other models, featuring a 6.6-inch 2.5D flat screen (2760 x 1256 resolution) with a straight-sided frame reminiscent of the iPhone. For imaging, the Huawei Pura 70’s ultra-wide lens is a 13MP unit (F2.2) paired with a 12MP periscopic long-focus lens (F3.4, 5X optical zoom). The device lightens to 207 grams due to the smaller size, includes a 4900mAh battery, and supports only 66W wired and 50W wireless fast charging, omitting satellite communications and infrared capabilities.

Price-wise, the Huawei Pura 70 starts at 5499 yuan for the 12GB+256GB version, 5999 yuan for 12GB+512GB, and 6999 yuan for 12GB+1TB. The Huawei Pura 70 Pro’s base 12GB+256GB model goes for 6499 yuan, the 12GB+512GB for 6999 yuan, and the 12GB+1TB for 7999 yuan.

The higher-spec Huawei Pura70 Pro+ and Huawei Pura70 Ultra come in two configurations: 16GB+512GB and 16GB+1TB. The former are priced at 7999 and 8999 yuan, respectively, while the latter come at 9999 and 10999 yuan. It’s worth noting again that the Huawei Pura 70 and Huawei Pura 70 Pro+ will not be available until April 22.

Lastly, for those deciding which model to choose, the Ultra naturally stands out if you’re seeking the top configurations, with the Chanson Green and Mocha Brown colors being personal recommendations due to their premium feel that befits a flagship model.

Deciding between the Pro and Pro+? If satellite communication isn’t a priority for you, then the Huawei Pura 70 Pro could be a better value, as the differences are limited to single/dual satellite communication and the type of screen glass. Color-wise, the Pro+ is suggested in Weave Silver and Symphony White, while the Pro looks best in Roland Purple and Glacial White. The standard Huawei Pura 70 is less recommended as it resembles a stripped-down “E” model counterpart.

For purchasing strategies, it’s advisable to watch online for the best chance at snagging one. However, based on the first day’s sales, there seems to be ample stock in Huawei’s physical stores, so an in-store purchase is suggested. The Ultra model saw prices drop on the first afternoon, indicating a more abundant stock than last year’s Mate 60 series, meaning that securing a Pura 70 should be less challenging compared to last year.

Tech Comment: The Huawei Pura 70 series has finally caught up in imaging specs. Coupled with XMAGE, the imaging capabilities of the Pura 70 series are expected to return to the forefront.

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