The Huawei P20 Pro has entered the list of the top high-end smartphones. The release of this handset rival to Samsung Galaxy S9 and iPhone X is a daring attempt on the company’s part. Huawei may be the least popular among these top-notched brands but its specifications say something else.
Huawei P20 Pro Review
- Good battery life
- Incredible camera
- Nicely Built and shiny outlook
- Fast Face Unlock
- No wireless charging
- No headphone jack
- Offered low PPI compared to competitors
- A bit pricey
Huawei may have copied off some unique features that iPhone X is offering but the design and software is something that does make it stand out more than any phone the company has ever created. The amount of investment that went into creating the Huawei P20 Pro’s camera is apparent. It is so far the most versatile phone camera in the market. Whether you’re a photographer enthusiast or a professional who can’t bother to carry your heavy photography equipment just to capture a picture of your coffee, this phone is sure to impress. Have a look!
Huawei P20 Pro Price and Availability
The Huawei P20 Pro has been available in the market since April 6 at a cost of £799. That is US $1,100 or AU$1,500. Almost equal to an Apple iPhone X.
What makes it stand out?
- 40MP rear camera with 3x Optical Zoom
If you’ve heard of the Huawei P20 Pro, the camera has got to be one of the reasons that have gotten this handset the hype. For a good reason too. There are three cameras on the back, one 40MP main sensor, second 20MP black and white one and 3x zoom 8MP camera.
- Bigger and better battery
Huawei has clearly invested a lot of time and effort to make it a top class phone. It has a much larger battery compared to other Huawei smartphones. With a capacity of 4,000mAh, the battery life is impressive, long lasting and does not add any extra weight to the overall weight of the handset.
Anyone who has seen the Huawei P20 Pro, the majority chances are they won’t forget to describe just how ‘shiny’ it is. That’s right. It’s big. It has a notch and the body’s sheer reflectiveness makes it stand out.
Huawei P20 Pro features two big plates of Gorilla spread to the sides with the metal finish on the borders. The metal is aluminum yet looks more like steel because of the polished finish. The frame is durable and has proven to be scratch free. But the problem of fingerprints or dust stains remains, just as often witnessed in iPhone X.
The Huawei P20 Pro is available in colors black and blue. There’s also a third color that is more attractive, an eye-catching gradient violet green. It is Violet to purple at the top and sheen changes to greenish blue by the bottom. It’s definitely flashy as compared to the other two colors.
Dimensions & Screen: The phone is slim and light despite the heavy battery. In fact, it is lighter than Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus with a width of 7.8mm. But Samsung’s screen is better as Huawei P20 Pro’s screen does not curve at the sides, only the glass does. It also may be the first Huawei phone that has a notch, something the iPhone X is famous for. The notch is smaller and may seem unnecessary as it only holds the front camera.
Headphone jack & water resistant: Another iPhone trend Huawei has followed, the absence of a headphone jack. But the box does contain a 3.5mm adaptor or one can simply use wireless headphones. Huawei P20 Pro is water resistant as per IP67 up to a depth of one meter for 30 minutes.
Face & Fingerprint: As for the security, the fingerprint scanner is efficient and similar to previous high-end Huawei phones, unlocks with nano-seconds. The face unlock is just as good and works well in lower light as well. The fun part is where the Huawei P20 Pro’s gyroscope sensors pick up signals whenever the phone is picked up or taken out of pocket, it automatically starts scanning for a face.
Huawei P20 Pro feels comfortable to hold and gives off a high-end look. While looks may not be the only thing that will get this phone in the upper-phone league, it sure has done a commendable job in trying for it.
The Huawei P20 Pro screen features:
- 6.1-inch AMOLED display
- 1080 x 2244 resolution
- Customizable screen character
Input resolution: This isn’t the biggest screen Huawei has offered nor the highest display resolution in its class. The 1080 x 2244 resolution’s number sound offhand. That’s because the screen is a Full HD stretched out in an 18:7:9 aspect ratio. It’s pretty wide. The pixel density of 408ppi does not even come close to LG G7 ThinQ’s 1000ppi. Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus comes with 529ppi.
The display quality of Huawei P20 Pro is excellent though. Blacks are perfectly balanced and the blue cast is minimal when the phone is moved which is often a discomfort in less advanced OLED displays. Then there’s the choice of color profiles. The standard one may be distasteful to some although the default setting is pleasant. Like other Huawei phones, one can tune the color temperature to their preference.
Another thing noticeable is that Huawei P20 Pro comes with a pre-fitted screen protector, giving the user the best chance of avoiding any scratches or tiny damages. A drawback is the plastic screen does attract fingerprints. It will have to be swiped clean from time to time.
The Huawei P20 Pro has a 4,000 mAh battery. As compared to Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus’s battery, that is a solid 500 mAh more. It is longlasting and has a great stamina. You can multi-task your day away on Huawei P20 Pro and you’ll still have quite enough of the battery left at the end of the day. It has an impressively fast charging speed of about 90 minutes.
Since it has the similar basic hardware and battery capacity as that of Mate 10 Pro, the results are same. Huawei P20 Pro although does not support wireless charging as compared to Samsung Galaxy S9 and iPhone X who both offer this feature.
Since the camera is one of the reasons this phone has gotten this much hype, we’ll get into details about exactly why.
3 Cameras to focus: The Huawei P20 Pro has three cameras all arranged across its back. The main camera has an ultra-high resolution 40MP sensor. It is supported by a 20MP black and white sensor that aids in processing, increasing or decreasing image noise and increasing dynamic range. The third camera has an 8MP sensor and 3x zoom lens, which allows zooming into a scene without utilizing digital zoom. It is a pretty impressive setup.
Night mode/Low light: The real winning factor here is the low light camera quality. Standard night shooting is equivalent to the current best phone cameras but a special night mode setting lets you take low light shots equipped with a dynamic range to rival an APS-C DSLR. You can also take a fine quality picture at 3x without digital zoom and even better at 5x.
The front camera on Huawei P20 Pro has a high-resolution 24MP for amazing selfies and efficient face unlocking.
- Kirin 970 CPU with AI smarts
We witnessed the use of Kirin 970 CPU first in Huawei Mate 10 with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage space. So Huawei has kept it the same in P20 Pro as well.
Zoom Capabilities: Normally the Huawei P20 Pro shoots 10MP photos. 40MP ones can be shot when using the Pro mode which saves as 76MB DNG RAW files. Its JPEG sustenance is very good that when zoomed to a 100% in a 10MP photo, it appears sharper than a 40MP one, however, the 40MP one is far more detailed.
There’s also the Hybrid Zoom mode, where one can shoot at 5x zoom. It makes faraway texts and details clearer and somehow the pictures look proportioned as compared to a simple digital zoom. Another feature called the AIS, Huawei’s software version of optical image stabilization (OIS) uses smart management to get rid of mechanical stabilization. The resulting images taken on night mode are just as impressive as that of iPhone X. But it takes a lead on with its AI image processing that can make shots taken in dark to turn out far detailed than any other brand has been able to.
AI Integrated Camera: The AI’s scene selection can require adjustment. It constantly analyzes the camera feed to recognize food images, nature shots with great accuracy. However, what it does to the pictures on its own may not be in accordance with the photographic taste of the user. Good thing is that it can be turned off completely.
As for the front camera, it brags a high-resolution 24MP sensor. The resolution is not all that apparent in the shots taken but the Google Pixel 2 still makes them turn out quite detailed. Despite the rear camera’s impressive performance in low light, the Huawei P20 Pro front camera doesn’t hold much up to it.
The Huawei P20 Pro shoots video of up to 4K resolution. Since at 4K resolution there’s no image stabilization so the recommended resolution may be 1080p. The stabilization software is extremely effective at 1080p to the extent that you can practically jog while making a video and it’ll turn out pretty smooth.
At slo-mo shooting mode which is up to 960fps (32x speed), one can only shoot at 720p. These videos don’t turn out very good though.
- Android 8.1 with EMUI 8.1
- Customizable themes
- Impressive daily task performance
The Huwaei P20 Pro runs Android 8.1 with the Huawei EMUI 8.1 interface. The first time its turned on, all the apps are arranged on the home screen for the user to organize himself, much like iOS. Huawei has made some signature touches like a lock screen that cycles through a library of stocked images as standard or the settings menu that is different to that of typical android.
The Huawei P20 Pro has 12 pre-installed themes and there’s also the option of choosing themes from a themes app. The availability of themes vary according to tastes but lets you alter the phone’s look in much more ways than Google Pixel 2. EMUI’s performance is impeccable. It is extremely fast and responsive.
It also has pre-installed apps. Nothing offensive or something one would want to get rid of. Just basic utility apps. It also has a smart controller app that utilizes the IR transmitter present on the phone’s top edge, allowing it to become a universal remote.
Music, Movies, Gaming, and Entertainment
The notch wasn’t something to be too excited about especially during gaming but surprisingly it doesn’t cause much of a bother at all. As for the downloaded apps, it may not be as ignorable. As for the high-end games, they run very well on the phone without any performance flaws. Despite not having the most powerful GPU in the phone world, it still does have in store enough for an excellent display.
Huawei P20 Pro has its own music and video apps. These are basic players that let the user listen to or watch content. As for Netflix, the phone does not support Full HD streaming and is only limited to 540p. This may be a disappointment to many.
It has good speakers. A driver at the base of the phone delivers the majority of the sound and a front earpiece speaker plays an additional high-frequency sound to balance it out. Overall, the video watching or gaming experience is enjoyable. At maximum volume, the treble can be often observed to become shaky and harsh with certain content.
Chipset: The Huawei P20 Pro does not have a brand new chipset. It utilizes the Kirin 970 CPU similar to Huawei Mate 10 Pro, which was released back in late 2017. The chipset has eight cores. Four of them are cortex-A73s, designed for high-performance tasks whereas the other four are Cortex-A53s, for daily use.
This, unfortunately, puts it behind the Snapdragon 845 used in Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus, which features semi-custom Kyro cores based on Cortex-A75 and Cortex-A55 designs. These cores are more efficient and offer greater power at the same clock speed.
The Huawei P20 Pro also has lesser graphics chip than the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus. It’s a 12-core Mali G72 in Huawei P20 Pro whereas the Exynos and Snapdragon versions of the Samsung use either 18-core Mali G72 or the much advanced, Adreno 630.
Benchmarks: As for the benchmarks, In Geekbench 4, the Huawei P20 Pro scores 6,775 points which is a lot lower than its rivals, Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus which scores around 9,000 points or that of iPhone X that scores 10,000 points. However, we also need to consider that screen resolution in this as it doesn’t have as many pixels to render the other two phones. This reduces its CPU and GPU strain in many conditions.
Another feature is that the Huawei P20 Pro does not use dual-channel RAM, instead, its copy speeds are of the DDR4. Although the internal storage is pretty quick and sharp. Read speeds of 501MB/s match some lower midrange SSDs while write speeds are of 190MB/s which aren’t bad at all.
The Huawei P20 Pro was probably the company’s attempt at taking over the high-end phone market. The power dynamics did not budge much but Huawei has made its mark with P20 Pro. It has come up with the best results when it comes to handheld ultra low light photos a phone can produce. Its improved battery life and camera flexibility are worthy points.
It’s an amazing phone with a reasonable price for what it offers. It has everything one needs in a top-notch handset. With plenty of power to last for more than just a day, a good processor, and an impressive build, Huawei P20 Pro is definitely worth a buy. The TechSeer will give it an 8.4 scoring out of a solid 10.