Table of Contents
Huawei P20 Review | Introduction
Huawei P20 announced in an event held in Paris on March 27. Huawei’s new premium handset features an exclusive thin design. 5.8-inch display with 18.7:9 ratio, Kirin 970 processor, front-facing selfie 24-megapixel camera and a rear dual camera.
The Huawei P20 is the first model of the company to display the 18.7:9 ratio, thanks to a slot at the top of the screen. The new display significantly increases the screen ratio to the body of the device, so this model offers better margins than before.
At the back of the smartphone is a dual-camera array built in cooperation with the German photography company Leica. It combines a 12-megapixel sensor with an f / 1.6 aperture and a 20-megapixel monochromatic sensor. The company can now shoot slow-motion videos at 960 frames per second in HD 720p and take photos in 4K resolution at a maximum of 30 frames per second.
Under the hood, the P20 combines 4GB RAM and 128GB storage with a 3,400mAh battery and a Kirin 970 platform with an 8-core processor. The operating system that comes with the device in a built-in way is Android 8.1, which is installed on the EMUI 8.1 user interface.
Huawei P20 | Midnight Blue
Huawei P20 Highlights:
- Model: Huawei P20
- Colours Twilight, Black, Midnight Blue, Pink Gold
- Chipset: Kirin 970
- CPU: Octa-core, 4 x Cortex A73 2.36 GHz + 4 x Cortex A53 1.8 GHz
- GPU Mali-G72 MP12
- Display Size: 5.8 inch 18.7:9 LCD, (~80.4% screen-to-body ratio)
- Display Contrast ratio: 1445:1 (nominal), 3.683 (sunlight)
- Display resolution: FHD+ (2244×1080 pixels)
- Display Type: LTPS IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 16M Colors
- Built-in 3400mAh non-removable battery
- Operating system: Android 8.1 (Oreo) with EMUI 8.1
- Memory + Storage: 4GB RAM + 128GB storage
- Fast battery charging Support
- Active noise cancellation with dedicated mic
- Front Camera: 24Mp front Selfie camera
- Rear Camera 12 MP (RGB, f/1.8 aperture) + 20 MP (Monochrome, f/1.6 aperture)
- Leica optics
- 2x lossless zoom
- LED flash
- phase detection and laser autofocus
- Geo-tagging, touch focus, face detection, HDR, panorama etc.
- Video 2160p@30fps, 1080p@30/60fps, 720p@960fps
- Gravity sensor.
- Ambient light sensor.
- Proximity sensor.
- Front fingerprint sensor.
- Color temperature sensor.
- Sensors Fingerprint (front-mounted in Home Button).
- Network Technology: GSM / HSPA / LTE
- GPS / AGPS / Glonass / BeiDou Navigation Satellite System
- NFC Supported (Read Mode, P2P Mode, Card Emulation Mode (UICC, HCE))
- SIM Single SIM (Nano-SIM) or Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by)
- Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, WiFi Direct, hotspot
- Interface: USB 3.1, Type-C 1.0 reversible connector
- Bluetooth 4.2, A2DP, LE, EDR, aptX HD
- Materials: Build Front/back glass & aluminum frame
- Body Dimensions: 149.1 x 70.8 x 7.7 mm (5.87 x 2.79 x 0.30 in)
- Dust and Water-Resistant Supported (IP53)
- Weight 165 g (5.82 oz)
- 1x Handset
- 1x USB-C Earphones
- 1x Charger
- 1x USB-C Cable
- 1x USB-C to 3.5 mm Headphone Jack Adapter
- 1x Flexible Clear Case
- 1x Quick Start Guide
- 1x Eject tool
- 1x Warranty card
Just as a general note. Because the P20 sample was provided without the original product package, some items listed in package content are missing. Such as the Warranty card, Quick Start Guide, and the TPU Flexible Case. That said, all other important accessories were included as shown in the photos below.
Huawei P20 Items
Appearance & Design
Huawei invested highly in the ergonomic aspect of the P20, including its appearance as it’s classified as a high-end premium handset. The handset is composed of glass covers/plates located on the front and back of the device, reinforced with a beautiful aluminum frame. All edges of the device are curvy, which means it doesn’t have any sharp corners and can be easily slipped inside a small pocket.
Jumping into the display arena, the P20 display is equipped with an FHD+ display panel with a resolution of 1080 x 2240 pixels. The notch is clearly an iPhone X design concept that many Chinese manufacturers are now copying. It provides extra screen-to-body ratio up to 80.4 that also contributes to the 5.8-inch display appearance, giving it an elegant touch. Based on my personal impression the phone design was nothing but impressive on all levels.
Made of a combination of glass and metal materials which make the surface look glossy and very high class in design. The surface of the handset is anti-fingerprint, so users don’t need to worry about leaving fingerprint residues.
Huawei P20 Review | Full view
Huawei P20 | White Background
The P20 has a great 10-point FHD+ display (1080×2240), offering excellent viewing angles and a sharp picture with high touch response sensitivity. The brightness of the P20 display is not strong enough for using it outdoors in extremely sunny countries like Israel. Light levels make the handset more suitable for use under different weather conditions, especially in summer seasons when the sun is it’s at its peak.
Hardware, Performance, Benchmarks
Under the hood of the P20, Huawei incorporated their powerful HiSilicon Kirin 970 Octa-core (8 cores) processor running under two clusters. The device has four ARM Cortex-A73 cores that run at a maximum frequency of 2.36GHz. It also has another cluster with four Cortex-A52 cores that can run at maximum frequencies of up to 1.8GHz. The GPU of this handset uses a Mali-G72MP12 GPU with 12 clusters. It is perfect for playing high-resolution games.
Huawei P20 Review | AnTuTu Benchmark
The P20 runs under EMU version 8.1.0 UI, based on Google’s Android 8.1 Oreo operating system. The system came clean with a few pre-installed apps. Under the Top Apps section you can find apps such as Netflix, Instagram, eBay, Amazon Assistant, booking. In addition, Huawei has integrated a range of default apps and services into their company’s offerings. For example, their ‘health’ workout App that can connect to Huawei’s smartwatch/sports band product line. The App can measure running/walking steps, distance, including workout routes based on GPS location.
Under ‘Tools’ section you can find a few other apps like Huawei Wallet App that most likely most users will not use on a daily basis. Huawei also added ‘Quik’ video editing app that is also not really needed since the camera apps already include a wide selection of shooting pro modes for video and still photography.
‘Phone clone’ is also a nice addition to the phone software. This app can quickly and easily transfer data from an old device to a new one. It uses a direct WiFi connection between the devices, which is established by scanning a QR code. The only drawback of this technology is that you need to have ‘Phone clone’ pre-installed on both devices to make it workable. Another nice app included is ‘Microsoft Translator’ that is capable of text and voice translation, similar to google translator that should work in China.
Huawei P20 Review | Software
The standout features of the P20 are its exceptional photography and video recording capabilities. The handset has a 24MP front camera and a dual rear camera with a 12MP main sensor and a 20MP secondary Monochrome sensor. The shots produced by the rear camera were superb in daylight as well as in very low light conditions, without any flash assistance.
Huawei P20 Camera | Settings & Features
P20 Rear Camera | Indoor shots
P20 Rear Camera | Outdoor shots
P20 Rear Camera | Evening shots (Low Light / Streetlights)
Huawei Lossless Zoom X2 – X3.9 Shots
P20 Rear Camera | Lossless Zoom X2
Huawei P20 Rear Camera | X2 – X3.9
Lossless Zoom Feature
Huawei has added the X2 zoom feature to their devices. This feature lets you zoom in on faraway objects with minimal loss of quality. It’s similar to optical technologies used by other manufacturers. The P20 offers a wide zoom factor up to x10, but the lossless zoom is effective in the range of maximum X2. If you pick higher values, the picture quality decreases accordingly. Another point to mention. This function is only possible when the camera app resolution is set to 12MP when both sensors are used together. If you select the 20MP resolution you will not be able to use lossless zooming. After clarifying this matter, the quality of shots taken in both resolutions were excellent and sharp.
The front-facing selfie 24-megapixel produced good-looking photos with good sharpness and color saturation.
The P20 offers video recording resolutions from 720P (1280×720) up to UHD 4K Quality. Huawei added the ‘stabilizer’ for minimizing shaky videos and images. The image stabilization feature for video recording is only available at FHD+ (2160×1080) resolution or lower and not at higher frame rates. Having said that, based on my test video recording quality was excellent. The microphone was sensitive and was also able to pick low sounds when recording outdoors.
Video Samples | FHD+ (1080P) & 4K
The 3G/4G connection worked well as expected. Huawei also added NFC connectivity support inside the P20 that makes it easier to “charge” all types of smart cards based on NFC technology. For example, mobile payments, security, personal item tagging, transportation fees payment and so forth. The NFC feature was tested and worked well with the Israeli service provider ‘Rav-Kav’ travel fare smart card. Huawei should have included pre-installed apps for NFC applications to increase its popularity and usability.
Speaker / Sound Quality
The P20 has a built-in sound enhancement software by Dolby Atmos. It comes with one speaker located on the right side of the handset grill. From my impression, the sound quality and loudness of the speaker were both excellent and above average.
The microphone performed exceptionally well, showcasing a remarkable sensitivity in capturing even the faintest sounds. It was able to record the sound of the wind when recording videos outdoors.
The GPS worked flawlessly “out of the box”. Based on ‘GPS-Test‘ results, the GPS was able to use all or most of the satellites very quickly with maximum accuracy up to 2m. Also worked well with ‘HERE WeGo‘ in offline mode, with maps stored on the phone without any internet connection assistance.
The P20 comes with a built-in non-removable lithium-polymer type battery with a capacity of 3400mAh. Huawei included a supercharge adapter that operates in the 5V-2A and 5V-4.5A range. Based on my test, after fully discharging the battery it took 1h:34Min to charge it from 0 to 100%. In most cases, the average user will charge it up to 70 – 80% and not to the maximum capacity, as it can shorten battery life.
Huawei P20 Review | Charging Test
Huawei P20 Review | Battery Information
Huawei did an impressive work in extending battery life/operation time by optimizing all the software features and applications. The P20 can last almost half a day on a full charge of its 3400mAh battery. This includes 7 hours of screen time while using apps, watching videos, taking photos with the camera, and using GPS. In very minimal usage, using IM applications with internet connection enabled the handset can hold up to 22 hours of screen time.
In the security arena, Huawei embedded the fingerprint sensor within the handset Home button. The device quickly unlocked the phone as soon as I pressed the button.
Unlocking the handset worked extremely well. The face unlocking feature responded instantly in a matter of a second.
Huawei P20 | Security & privacy
I had a fantastic user experience with the P20. Huawei designed an excellent high-end handset. Offering a wide selection of camera features, packed in a well-designed elegant fashionable curvy body. Bottom line, it’s a definitely good phone worth buying.