Huawei has taken seriously his fight to dominate the mobile scene and proof of this is the new Huawei P20, announced just a few weeks ago in Paris and that comes to replace the P10. The manufacturer has passed Mobile World Congress to ensure that all the reflectors are placed on their new phones, which claim to have the best camera on the market.
After the event we had the opportunity to try out the Huawei P20, which has some of the benefits of its older brother – the P20 Pro – and which fulfills well as a high-end model. Below our impressions:
The three most notable differences of the P20 with respect to the Huawei P20 Pro are the camera, screen size and battery. Inside both have the same processor and with slight adjustments in the amount of RAM and storage that are sufficient to satisfy the demanding user.
- 5.84-inch IPS LCD with resolution of 2280 x 1080 pixels (18: 9)
- Kirin 970 processor
- 4 GB of RAM
- 128 GB of internal storage
- Double camera, 12 megapixels f / 1.8 + 20 megapixels monochrome
- Front camera with 24 megapixels f / 2.0
- 3400 mAh battery
- Front fingerprint sensor and face recognition to unlock the phone
What’s Special in Huawei P20 Design
In terms of design, the P20 has a body with glass panels and rounded edges. The volume and power controls are on the right edge, while the left is dedicated to the dual SIM slot.
The Huawei P20 does not have a 3.5 mm input to connect your hearing aids, so you’ll have to depend on the wireless options or the USB-C adapter that Huawei has included in the box. That or flat listening to your music through the speakers that do not sound bad at all thanks to a small boost in the basses.
The screen offers good definition thanks to its resolution of 2280 x 1080 pixels. The most striking part without a doubt is the small “notch” or that little by little becomes a fashion among phone manufacturers.
Unlike the iPhone X, the Huawei P20 has a smaller notch that we get used to in two or three days. Huawei has not said why it decided to include this feature that turns out to be unhelpful and in some cases generates conflict with certain applications that are not optimized
In my case I had to deactivate it from the options menu since the notch blocked certain Instagram controls. We believe that as time goes by and the trend to include notch is increasing, developers will make the appropriate adjustments to their applications.
In general terms, the P20 feels like a high-end mobile if we talk about its design. Huawei has separated efficiently Mate Series P. While the first is focused on the business user, the second is more for the young or the “stylish people” as defined by the CEO for Latin America in a small talk we had.
For many design P20 familiar, if not almost identical to the iPhone X. Huawei has inspired more mobile Apple borrowing elements as the position of the camera (complete with nub), the notch and design in general.
Huawei P20 Camera Specifications and Results
The camera is the standard of the P20 series. While the reflectors are placed on the P20 Pro with its 40 megapixel lens, the Huawei P20 is not far behind with its powerful dual camera. DxOMark says it’s the best and Huawei has gone further by implying that you will not even need a reflex.
The camera of the P20 is very good and we have been satisfied with its results, although to reach it we have had to pass a process of trial and error, deactivating some features that are implemented in the default controls.
The P20 has different modalities to take advantage of certain scenarios. While the Aperture mode simulates shots with depth of field, the Night Photography mode offers good images in low light conditions. The Monochromatic function has its own set of scenes to take advantage of the 20 megapixel camera and the Portrait mode adds artificial lighting to simulate a studio shot.
The highlight of the Huawei P20 is the support of artificial intelligence, capable of recognizing scenarios and suggesting configurations that supposedly take impressive photos. The problem is that so much automation, sometimes, takes away the taste of taking pictures and sometimes can get to despair.
The camera can take 3 or 4 seconds to offer the suggestion and change the values of the shot, but at the slightest movement the shot is reset and you have to wait for it to activate again. In outdoor captures it does not bother, but when it comes to a macro, having to deal with the constant change of zoom can be complex.
Another detail that I did not like is that Huawei suggests configurations or apply default editions without saving the original photo. To have an idea, think of those images that Google Photos edits automatically when you upload them to your library, only unlike Google, the P20 does not ask and only acts. If you like saturated photos, sharp and ready for social networks, you’ll be fine.
According to Huawei, it is the color of Leica that is in charge of balancing the color of your photograph automatically, however, it does not end up convincing us yet. The results are very processed at times from our point of view.
The good news is that most of this can be solved by deactivating the options in the configuration menu of each mode. The suggestion will be to take the photo in Professional mode, since it offers better control over the photos and allows saving them in RAW mode for future editing in Lightroom or other software.
The Rest of the Experience of Huawei P20
In general terms, the experience with the P20 is positive. Yes, EMUI is still a layer that we do not like personally and comes with the usual bloatware. Most applications are duplicated and we do not find any that invite us to use it instead of its Google counterpart. It is something of tastes.
The good news is that many of those applications can be uninstalled and you can install Nova or another launcher to change the appearance and functionality completely. At this point of the game it is almost impossible for the two major Android manufacturers (Huawei and Samsung) to decide to launch a mobile phone without a personalization layer.
In performance we do not feel slowdowns. We were able to play PUBG without problems at the highest level of detail, as well as Tekken and Need for Speed. The P20 is an extremely complete mobile. It offers the option of multiple screens, file sharing with other Huawei devices and a host of options present in other high-end Android phones.
The battery of 3400 mAh lasted for little more than 13 hours with frequent use, although the day we took it only to take photos and video was to last only a fraction of that. Fortunately, the phone has a fast charge through the adapter that is included in the box.
DxOMark says that the P20 has an incredible camera, but that is the problem of analyzing based on hard data. In terms of usage experience I still prefer other options in the high range.
However, the P20, in this version, is more accessible than its two competitors and may be a good option. As for me, I prefer to wait for the Pro version.