Huawei P20 Review: It’s all about the Camera Performance

Huawei P20 Hands-on: User opinion and review

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 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. For the first time, the company has the option to shoot video in slow motion of 960 frames per second in HD 720p with maximum support for 4K photography at 30 frames per second.

Under the hood, the P20 combines 4GB RAM and a 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 Phone

Huawei P20 Review – TOC

  1. Unboxing Items
  2. Appearance & Design
  3. Display
  4. Hardware, Performance, Benchmarks
  5. Software
  6. Cameras
  7. Video
  8. Connectivity
  9. Audio & Speaker(s)
  10. Microphone
  11. Navigation
  12. Charging
  13. Battery Life
  14. Security Functions
  15. Final Verdict
  16. Pros & Cons

 

Huawei P20 Highlights:

  • Model: Huawei P20
  • Colors 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)

 

Camera Features:

 

Sensors:

  1. Gravity sensor.
  2. Ambient light sensor.
  3. Proximity sensor.
  4. Front fingerprint sensor.
  5. Hall-sensor.
  6. Gyroscope.
  7. Compass.
  8. Colour Temperature sensor.
  9. Sensors Fingerprint (front-mounted in Home Button).

 

Connectivity:

  • 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

 

Misc:

  • 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)

 

Package Content:

  • 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

 

Unboxing Items

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 its 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 corner 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.

 

Back Cover

Made of a combination of glass and metal materials which make the surface look glossy and very high class in design. For users that might be concerned about the issue of leaving fingerprints residues after holding the handset will happy to know that the surface is an anti-fingerprint.

Huawei P20 | Full view

  • Huawei P20 | Full view 1 of 3
  • Huawei P20 | Full view 2 of 3
  • Huawei P20 | Rearview 2 of 3
  • Huawei P20 | Rearview 1 of 3
  • Huawei P20 | Rearview 2 of 3
  • Huawei P20 | Rearview 3 of 3
  • Huawei P20 | Lower Screen view
  • Huawei P20 | Upper Screen view
  • Huawei P20 Notch view | (1) Camera, (2) Notification Light, (3) Speaker
  • Huawei P20 | Bottom view
  • Huawei P20 | Top view
  • Huawei P20 | Right side view
  • Huawei P20 | Left side view
  • Huawei P20 | SIM card tray ejector tool
  • Huawei P20 | SIM card tray

Huawei P20 | White Background

Display

The P20 comes with an impressive 10 point FHD+ display (1080×2240) which provides excellent viewing angles, as well as a sharp picture with high response sensitivity upon touch. In my personal opinion, the brightness level brightness of the P20 display was not bright enough to be used outdoors in extreme sunny countries such as Israel. Huawei should have taken into consideration when adjusting default bright levels to 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. Four ARM Cortex-A73 running at a Maximum frequency of 2.36GHz and additional cluster with four Cortex-A52 cores, capable of running at max frequencies up to 1.8GHz. As for the GPU, the chipset uses a Mali-G72MP12 GPU that uses a total of 12 clusters, making this handset an ideal pick for running high-resolution games.

Huawei P20 | AnTuTu Benchmark

  • Huawei P20 | AnTuTu Results
  • Huawei P20 | AnTuTu CPU Score
  • Huawei P20 | AnTuTu GPU Score
  • Huawei P20 | AnTuTu UX Score
  • Huawei P20 | AnTuTu MEM Score

Software

The P20 runes under EMU version 8.1.0 UI, based on Google’s Android 8.1 Oreo operating system. The system came clean with few pre-installed apps, under Top Apps section you can find apps such as Netflix, Instagram, eBay, Amazon Assistant, booking. Huawei also included company default apps and services. 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 route based on GPS location.

Under ‘Tools’ section you can find 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 stills photography.

‘Phone clone’ is also a nice addition added to the phone software. If you are planning to transfer data from an old device to a newer handset this app can do it fast and simple via a type of direct WiFi connection established between both of the devices after 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 capable of text and voice translation, similar to google translator that should work in China.

Huawei P20 | Software

Cameras

Rear Camera

Photography and video recording are the P20 main highlights. On the front of the handset, you have a 24MP Selfie camera and on the rear side a dual rear camera array composed of 12 MP with a secondary 20 MP 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

Huawei P20 Rear Camera |  X2 – X3.9

Lossless Zoom Feature

Similar to optical technology seen in few other manufacturers, Huawei incorporated the X2 zoom feature that lets you zoom on objects from a distance with a minimal quality loss. 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, quality of shots take in both resolutions were excellent and sharp.

 

Front Camera

The front-facing selfie 24-megapixel produced good-looking photos with good sharpness and color saturation.

 

Video

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. This Image stabilization feature for video recording is only available when video resolution is set to FHD+ (2160×1080) 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

Connectivity

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 Israeli service provider ‘Rav-Kav’ travel fare smart card. Huawei could have done a better job by adding a few pre-installed apps designed for NFC applications and making it more popular in terms of usage.

 

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.

 

Microphone

Microphone performance was excellent with high sensitivity in picking sounds. It was able to record the sound of the wind when recording videos outdoors.

 

Navigation

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.

Huawei P20 GPS

Charging

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 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 | Charging Test

Huawei P20 | Battery Information

Battery Life

Huawei did an impressive work in extending battery life/operation time by optimizing all the software features and applications. After a full single charge of the 3400mAh battery, in moderate use you can expect the P20 to operate almost a complete half-day with screen time of ~7 Hours running apps, playing few videos, using the camera, GPS etc. With very minimal usage, in standby mode, the P20 can operate up to 2 days.

 

Security Features

Fingerprint ID

In the security arena, Huawei embedded the fingerprint sensor within the handset Home button. The response of the device from the second I placed the finger on the button was super fast unlocking the phone in a matter of a second or less.

 

Face unlock

Unlocking the handset worked extremely well. The face unlocking feature worked instantly in a matter of a second.

Huawei P20 | Security & privacy

 

Final Verdict

My user experience operating the P20 was great. 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, Its a definitely good phone worth considering on buying.

91%
Awesome
  • Camera
  • Appearance
  • Build Quality
  • Price
  • value for Money
  • Ease of Use
  • Design
  • Interface experience
  • Display
  • Battery Life
  • Sound & Speaker
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