HUAWEI Pura 70 Ultra: Flagship Performance and Photography Powerhouse

The HUAWEI Pura 70 Ultra impresses with its innovative retractable camera, powerful Kirin 9010 processor, stunning display, and long-lasting battery.

HUAWEI Pura 70 Ultra Review: The Best Mobile Camera?

The "Ultra" in a smartphone's name usually implies two things: a gigantic body with impressive weight, and an equally hefty price tag. HUAWEI challenges these stereotypes with the Pura 70 Ultra, boasting reasonable dimensions and a moderate price. But how does the rest of the package hold up?

HUAWEI Pura 70 Ultra

Designed for Humans

The Pura 70 Ultra shares its dimensions with the Pura 70 Pro. This means it's not the easiest phone to use one-handed, and its weight (over 220 grams) is noticeable. However, the engineers have gone to great lengths to make using this large device as comfortable as possible. The side edges are rounded, and the back panel is covered in a textured leatherette material that provides a secure grip. The included case protects the corners and edges, leaving the long sides exposed while adding minimal bulk. The phone boasts stereo speakers: one on the bottom edge and another integrated into the earpiece, both delivering loud and clear audio.

The screen is a masterpiece of engineering. It lacks any unsightly notches or curves, featuring subtly rounded edges that seamlessly blend into the side frame. The content display area itself remains perfectly flat.

HUAWEI Pura 70 Ultra

This design eliminates issues with applying screen protectors while avoiding sharp edges that dig into your hand while typing.

Underneath lies an LTPO OLED panel with HDR support (peaking at 2500 nits) and a variable refresh rate (10-120Hz). Its resolution is a crisp 1260x2844 pixels (~460 ppi), making it one of the best displays in any smartphone. Colors are natural, the PWM dimming is imperceptible and doesn't cause eye strain even at low brightness, and outdoor readability is excellent. It's all protected by HUAWEI's Kulun Glass with an additional Basalt Tempering layer for enhanced scratch resistance. A pre-applied screen protector eliminates the need for additional protection right out of the box.

The camera module is the most noticeable difference from the Pro version. While still triangular, the sensor arrangement has changed. In the regular Pura 70 and Pura 70 Pro, the main and wide-angle sensors sit on the same level, with the telephoto lens below in the largest circle. The Ultra, however, houses a large one-inch main camera sensor that requires a larger lens, necessitating its relocation to the bottom. To avoid making the phone too thick or compromising the optics, the lens is now retractable. Activate the camera, and it pops out in a fraction of a second, ready to capture the moment.

The mechanism is robust and powerful, capable of lifting up to 350 grams. When encountering significant resistance, it displays a warning message, preventing users from attempting foolish feats. In normal use and unforeseen circumstances, it performs flawlessly. While it might be possible to break it with deliberate effort, who would benefit from that? Importantly, the mechanism doesn't compromise water resistance: the camera operates underwater without issues and doesn't fog up afterward. Take that, Elon Musk Lei Jun!

The Best Camera According to DxO?

We've all heard jokes about suitcases of cash being delivered to DxO in exchange for the "best mobile camera" title. Let's analyze the situation ourselves, starting with the technical specifications and then moving on to image quality.

HUAWEI Pura 70 Ultra

The main camera features a custom 1-inch mobile sensor with stabilization, paired with a retractable lens (23mm equivalent focal length, f/1.6/4.0) offering adjustable aperture, macro capabilities, and all the autofocus bells and whistles. This includes phase detection, laser autofocus, and advanced AI for scene recognition and object tracking. In short, cutting-edge technology at its finest.

Instead of the traditional RGGB sensor, it utilizes an RYYB array with enhanced light sensitivity.

This approach has a drawback: accurately separating green and red hues is challenging. This issue is addressed through a custom image processing chip and extensive software optimization. HUAWEI's engineers deserve credit for their work. The red color cast issues present in previous Huawei devices with Snapdragon processors are gone, and the processor now effectively handles the unique characteristics of this sensor.

The wide-angle camera might seem underwhelming at first glance. It features a 40MP sensor, a bright lens (13mm equivalent focal length, f/2.2) with autofocus and macro capabilities, and can record 4K video at 60fps. However, comparing it to the competition reveals that HUAWEI's offering still surpasses most smartphones on the market. It's just that after the impressive specs of the main camera, it doesn't elicit the same excitement.

HUAWEI Pura 70 Ultra

The telephoto lens is where things get interesting. It's a 50MP sensor with 3.5x optical zoom compared to the main camera (90mm equivalent focal length, f/2.1). This periscope lens offers close-up focusing (from about 10cm) and optical image stabilization.

All three sensors employ pixel binning (combining adjacent pixels to reduce noise). The 2x and 10x zoom levels are achieved through cropping the central portion of the image from the respective cameras, followed by AI-based detail reconstruction.

That's the theory covered. We're undoubtedly dealing with one of the most capable camera systems on the market. However, we all know that software plays a crucial role in mobile photography today. So, let's see how the images turn out.

XMAGE and the Unstoppable Neural Networks

The first thing that stands out is color reproduction. While Korean flagships tend to transform mundane scenes into an "Alice in Wonderland" with oversaturated hues and an almost aggressive cheerfulness, the Pura renders images honestly. Cloudy skies appear gray, dust-covered trees by the roadside retain their muted tones, and a gentle sunrise in pastel shades doesn't morph into a retro-wave screensaver.

Image 1 Image 2 Image 3 Image 4 Image 5 Image 6 Image 7 Image 8 Image 9 Image 10

Extensive effort has gone into achieving accurate white balance and color rendition, especially considering the unconventional sensor. Simply adopting an existing solution wouldn't have worked; the software had to be tailored specifically for these cameras. One minor gripe is the occasional over-processing of scene contrast. While these images might look striking, they lack the subtle charm of the real-life experience. Slightly less aggressive processing would have been welcome, enhancing the overall photographic experience.

The wide-angle camera is a solid performer, delivering consistent results with good dynamic range and acceptable distortion levels. It's important to remember that a good wide-angle lens with high resolution requires a complex lens design and numerous additional elements within the lens assembly to control distortion and enhance sharpness. Cramming all that into a smartphone is no easy feat. On the plus side, this module boasts autofocus, 4K video recording at 60fps, and excellent automatic mode performance.

The Pura 70 Ultra's telephoto lens is practically indistinguishable from the one in the Pura 70 Pro. Despite using a different sensor and a slightly modified lens, image quality is comparable.

Take two identical photos from the same spot, and you'd be hard-pressed to tell which one came from the "Ultra" and which from the "Pro." They share the same strengths and weaknesses: while the periscope design allows for a larger sensor compared to traditional telephoto lenses, it introduces a slight soft-focus effect (known as "black mist filter") and characteristic colored flares in backlit conditions.

About the Author

Owner of Technetbook | 10+ Years of Expertise in Technology | Seasoned Writer, Designer, and Programmer | Specialist in In-Depth Tech Reviews and Industry Insights | Passionate about Driving Innovation and Educating the Tech Community Technetbook

Post a Comment

Cookie Consent
We serve cookies on this site to analyze traffic, remember your preferences, and optimize your experience.
It seems there is something wrong with your internet connection. Please connect to the internet and start browsing again.
AdBlock Detected!
We have detected that you are using adblocking plugin in your browser.
The revenue we earn by the advertisements is used to manage this website, we request you to whitelist our website in your adblocking plugin.
Site is Blocked
Sorry! This site is not available in your country.