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Huawei Pura 70 Ultra review

We got our hands on the Huawei Pura 70 Ultra, the latest flagship from the Chinese brand that offers luxury and quality cameras at a cost.

Custom image for Huawei Pura 70 Ultra review showing the back of the phone with camera mount

Our Verdict

The Huawei Pura 70 Ultra is a truly impressive phone. The cameras are among the best around, the design is gorgeous, the display is fantastic and the battery is great. Unfortunately, US sanctions mean that the processor lags behind the competition, and there’s no support for Google apps, either. Combine this with a very high price tag, and it’s a tough sell for all but the most die-hard Huawei fans.

Reasons to buy
  • Exceptional camera system
  • Beautiful hardware
  • Bright, vibrant display
Reasons to avoid
  • No Google apps
  • Relatively weak processor
  • Expensive

Huawei’s P-series phones have a reputation for delivering innovative camera features and high-end specifications, and this year, the series celebrates its twelfth birthday. Rather than introducing the P70 series, as we all expected, Huawei has instead rebranded the models as Pura, signifying the start of a new chapter. Enter, the Huawei Pura 70 Ultra.

Huawei markets the Pura series as a fashion-forward option and it’s certainly good-looking. Especially the Pura 70 Ultra, which comes clad in faux leather with shiny metallic accents. Photography fans need not fear, though, as the cameras are still the real stars of the show. However, US sanctions mean that this flagship lacks the Google services that many of us rely on, and the processor is behind the competition, too. So, how does it rank compared to the big hitters on our list of the best 5G phones? Let’s find out.

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Custom image for Huawei Pura 70 Ultra review showing the phone in the reviewers hands

Price and availability

Huawei has launched the Pura 70 Ultra globally, but of course, that worldwide launch excludes the US. In Europe, the phone retails for a cool €1499, making it one of the priciest flagships on the market. It’s only available with 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage in this neck of the woods, with a 1TB model available to Chinese customers only.

At the time of writing, Huawei is yet to confirm UK pricing, but it’s available to pre-order in selected European markets, including Spain, Germany, and France. You can nab a pre-order from Huawei’s website and the phone begins shipping on May 22nd.


Battery 5,200 mAh, 100W wired charging, 88W wireless charging
Display 6.8-inch 120Hz LTPO OLED (1260 x 2844 pixels)
CPU Kirin 9010
Storage 512GB
Front camera 13MP f/2.4 ultrawide
Back cameras 50MP f/1.6-f/4.0 main, 50MP f/2.1 3.5x telephoto, 40MP f/2.2 ultrawide
Weight 226g
Dimensions 162.6 x 75.1 x 8.4mm
Colors Black, White, Brown, Green

Features and software

The Huawei Pura 70 Ultra runs a heavily skinned version of Android called EMUI 14.2. It’s sure to be divisive as it strays quite far from stock Android, taking a lot of influence from iOS instead. For example, your notifications shade and quick settings are separate and you access them with swipes from different sides of the display, just like an iPhone. Huawei disables the app drawer by default, too.

It takes some getting used to, but on the whole, I quite like it. It’s well-optimized, runs quickly and smoothly, and has some attractive styling options with lots of customization. There are some really unique themes here, too, including options with lock screens that react to your eye movement, changing the animation when you look at the top or bottom of the display. There’s no practical purpose, it’s just a bit of fun, but it is really fun.

Custom image for Huawei Pura 70 Ultra review showing the phone's lock screen

This is all well and good, but there’s a big problem on the software side. You can’t use Google services on a Huawei device. It’s no issue in the brand’s homeland, China, where customers don’t rely on Google’s apps, but in the West, most of us require Google for at least something. How many people do you know that don’t use Gmail or Chrome, for example?

Thankfully, there are plenty of workarounds that you can employ to get Google apps running. However, casual users aren’t going to want the hassle, and they’ll rarely give you as good of an experience as natively supported apps.

The best method I have found is the MicroG Project. I followed this tutorial and it allowed me to install Google apps that look and act almost identically to native apps. For the most part, it worked well, but it wasn’t perfect. I rarely got notifications from the YouTube app, and Chromecasting just seemed to be completely broken. Otherwise, everything worked as expected.


The Pura 70 Ulta is a fancy-looking phone, particularly in the green colorway I have for testing, but even the more subtle color options have a premium sheen to them. Every option comes with a faux-leather back panel embossed with a cross-hatched pattern and shiny metallic accents on the frame and logo.

Custom image for Huawei Pura 70 Ultra review showing the side profile of the phone

It makes me think of a designer belt or handbag, and it gives off a luxury vibe without looking tacky. The same is true of the complimentary cases, which have a leather effect rear in matching colors for each model. The cases have a repeating pattern printed across the back, which looks a little Louis Vuitton-inspired, adding to the fashionable aesthetic.

Huawei has arranged the cameras in a unique triangular layout, with the massive main camera taking center stage. It looks a bit like the letter P, which is almost certainly intentional. The standout feature is the retractable camera lens, which springs into action every time you open the camera app.

It only moves by a couple of millimeters, but there’s something exciting about a phone with moving parts. It makes a nice quiet whirring sound every time it’s activated which adds to the appeal. The idea here is purely to reduce the size of the camera bump, while still housing a massive 1-inch sensor. To be honest, it’s still a pretty big camera bump, but the phone is definitely easier to slide in and out of my pocket than something like the Oppo Find X7 Ultra, so I guess it works.

Custom image for Huawei Pura 70 Ultra review showing the phone next to its box and complimentary case

On the whole, though, this is still a pretty chunky phone, and it’s heavy too. I’m used to carrying a weighty camera-focused flagship around, so it didn’t bother me in the slightest, but those looking for a slimline smartphone should look elsewhere.

Despite having a moving camera module, the phone is still IP68 water and dust-resistant. The camera also tucks itself away if it detects that you have dropped your device as a safety precaution, which is good to know. In addition, you get Huawei’s Crystal Armor Kunlun glass covering the display, which apparently has three times the scratch resistance of previous generations. So, the phone should be well protected from daily wear and tear.


The Huawei Pura 70 Ultra has a 6.8-inch display that’s mostly flat, but the glass curves on all four sides to make swipe gestures feel smooth. I typically prefer flat displays, but this implementation is excellent, and might just cause me to change my mind.

Custom image for Huawei Pura 70 Ultra review showing the home screen for the phone

Most of the areas that you interact with are completely flat, and the curves mainly cover the bezel area, so you don’t get the phantom interactions and odd reflections that have irritated me on so many other curved phones. It’s a great middle-ground.

The spec sheet says this panel peaks at 2,500 nits, but after testing it side by side with the Honor Magic 6 Pro, which boasts 5000 nits, the difference is marginal. Whatever the case may be, it looks superb, and bright direct sunlight is no match for this dazzling display.

HDR content looks brilliant on YouTube and Prime Video, but I couldn’t get Netflix to display in HDR as the phone lacks the right DRM certification. However, this could easily be due to early firmware, and Huawei is likely to patch the issue in upcoming firmware.

If you like to adjust the colors of your display, you’re given some options in the settings menu, but they’re on the basic side. There are two main presets, standard and vivid, and you can adjust the color temperature and white balance of each. It looks great without any adjustment, in my opinion, though.


The camera performance is likely what draws most people towards this phone, and for good reason, it can take some stunning photos. The big hitter is the main camera, which has a 50MP 1-inch sensor with a mechanically variable aperture that can shift between f/1.6 and f/4.0. Similar to the main snapper of the Xiaomi 14 Ultra, however, this phone uses sensor-shift image stabilization, rather than the usual lens-based stabilization.

Also on the rear, you’ll find a 40MP f/2.2 ultrawide with autofocus and a 50MP f/2 3.5x periscope telephoto. On the front, you get a 13MP punch-hole selfie camera with autofocus and an extremely wide field of view.

The main camera delivers the most impressive results, closely followed by the telephoto. Both capture tonnes of detail, while large sensors and wide apertures create an authentic shallow depth of field effect, without needing an artificial portrait mode blur. The colors are lifelike, there’s a reasonable level of sharpening, and the dynamic range is exceptional.

Camera quality example image for Huawei Pura 70 Ultra review showing a biker with a long beard on a three-wheeled cruiser

Both of these cameras can shoot in snapshot mode, which is a new feature designed to capture fast-paced action shots. When active, the camera simultaneously captures a longer exposure and a quick exposure and blends them together with AI magic. The results are amazing, with zero motion blur and a well-balanced exposure. It’s great for shooting sports and fast-moving subjects like pets and kids.

Camera quality example image for Huawei Pura 70 Ultra review showing a cat laying out in the sun

The telephoto doubles up as a macro camera and has the shortest focusing distance of any phone I have tried. Seriously, this thing is like a microscope. If you’ve ever wanted to take a look at the individual fibers of your clothing, or if you’re a fan of tiny bugs, then this is the camera for you.

The ultrawide is the least impressive camera, but it’s still very good. It just can’t quite capture the same level of detail as the others, and it struggles in low-light situations. Still, it’s better than the ultrawide offerings of many of its competitors and provides a useful 13mm equivalent field of view.

Camera quality example image for Huawei Pura 70 Ultra review showing a crowded Chinese mall

The selfie camera sounds underwhelming on paper, with only a 13MP resolution, but it performs excellently. It’s incredibly wide, which makes it great for group shots, and the fact that it has autofocus means you always look sharp, no matter how far you are from the lens. Of course, for standard selfies, you can digitally crop into a normal focal length, and there’s not much of a drop in quality when you do.

Huawei’s portrait mode effects remain some of the most convincing and accurate around. No matter whether you’re using the selfie camera or the rear lenses, the software does an impressive job, it’s better than most at non-human subjects, too.

In video mode, you can capture clips at up to 4K 60fps on all cameras, and if you want to capture some slow-motion shots, it’ll boost up to 960fps at 1080p on the main lens. You can quickly and smoothly transition between all lenses while shooting, and the stabilization looks top-notch.


The Huawei Pura 70 Ultra uses Huawei’s own Kirin 9010 SoC. It’s a 7nm chip that’s not too dissimilar to the one found in last year’s Mate 60 Pro. US sanctions mean that Huawei isn’t allowed to stick a Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 in this device, and unfortunately, that means this phone lags behind the competition in benchmark scores.

In your normal daily use, though, you’d struggle to notice the difference. Huawei’s software is so well-optimized that it feels extremely quick. Swiping around the OS is perfectly smooth, apps open quickly and animations never stutter. The only giveaway is that photo processing takes a little longer than normal, and it gets a bit warmer than I’d like during extended camera use, too.

Custom image for Huawei Pura 70 Ultra review showing the settings menu on the phone

If you boot up a graphically intensive game, though, the difference is immediately noticeable. My usual reference game, Genshin Impact, was only able to run at 60fps on the low preset. Pushing it higher introduced lots of stuttering, and the phone got quite hot to the touch, even on the low preset.

Essentially, if you love mobile games with fancy graphics, this isn’t the phone for you. Even the affordable mid-range Poco X6 Pro offers a better experience. Of course, simpler games like Hearthstone and Marvel Snap will run perfectly well, but that’s true of most phones.


The Huawei Pura 70 Ultra has a 5,200 mAh battery capacity, a touch larger than most flagships, which tend to hover around the 5,000 mAh mark. In use, it never failed to see me through the day, even when I had lots of screen-on time and snapped a bunch of pictures.

Custom image for Huawei Pura 70 Ultra review showing the phone's charger and the device

On a more typical day, I’d find myself with 40% or so remaining when I went to bed. If you use your phone conservatively, you might be able to squeeze two days out of a single charge. It’s pretty great. With charging this speedy, though, you’re unlikely to be too worried about battery life. It can charge at up to 100W speeds, taking you from flat to full in less than an hour. The charger comes in the box, too, so you’re good to go straight away.

The phone also supports wireless charging at an astonishing 80W. I tried it with Honor’s 100W SuperCharge stand, and it worked a treat, quickly topping up my device without the need to fumble with cables. It’s really convenient, but keep in mind that most chargers won’t support such speeds, and you’re best picking up a Huawei charger to guarantee compatibility.

Should you buy the Huawei Pura 70 Ultra?

With a high price, a lackluster processor, and no Google services, the Huawei Pura 70 Ultra is a tough sell here in Europe. Despite these issues, though, I thoroughly enjoyed my time with this phone.

The camera system is incredible, it’s so good that you might even consider using it as a compact camera replacement. The display and speakers are also excellent, the battery lasts a long time and charges quickly, too. I even like the software, aside from the lack of Google app support.

It’s so close to being my favorite phone, but as things stand, most people are better off with a device from a different brand. This is especially true for gamers, as the performance here leaves a lot of room for improvement.


If the Huawei Pura 70 Ultra isn’t doing it for you, these alternatives might be the perfect pick.

Honor Magic 6 Pro

Honor’s latest flagship device has some software similarities to the Pura 70 Ultra, but it comes with full Google service support. It also boasts a great set of cameras that are brilliant at capturing action, but unlike the Huawei, it has Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 onboard, so it games with the best of them. If you’re interested, check out our full Honor Magic 6 Pro review.

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra

The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra is one of the most popular high-end Android phones, and there’s a reason for that. The design is top-notch, the performance is lightning-fast and the cameras deliver the goods. This phone offers the longest software support, too, so if you hold onto your phone for a long time, it’s a great choice. Read our full Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra review for more information.