At the end of May, Honor presented a new series of smartphones formed by the Honor 20 Lite, Honor 20 and Honor 20 Pro. The new smartphones stand out for a very striking holographic design, a full-screen front with a perforated hole for the front camera and a good number of rear cameras.
The Honor 20 Pro comes with very interesting features as it has a 6.3” LCD screen with Full HD + resolution, Kirin 980 processor, 8GB of RAM, 256 GB of storage, quad rear camera (48MP standard + 16MP super wide-angle + 8MP zoom 3x + 2MP macro), 32MP front camera and 4,000 mAh battery with super-fast charging.
I have had the opportunity to test the Honor 20 Pro thoroughly for several weeks and then I bring you my in-depth analysis.
Design and Construction of Honor 20 Pro
At the end of last year, Honor launched the Honor View 20, its first smartphone with a front camera perforated on the screen itself. The new Honor 20 Pro follows the same steps and also has a front that is all screen without a notch.
As in the Honor View 20, the circular cutout of the Honor 20 Pro is located in the upper left corner and has a diameter of 4.5 mm.
I would have liked to see a reduction in the size of the camera since the black hole is quite visible. In any case, it is something you end up getting used to. The location chosen for the front camera hole is not accidental.
By holding the smartphone horizontally, the hole is relegated to the lower-left corner and, therefore, does not interfere with the top bar of the games – something important in a smartphone aimed at young people and possibly game fans.
Even with everything, we may find games with controls or other elements placed in the place occupied by the camera, but, in general, it is usually a space that is free.
In addition to having removed the notch, Honor has made the frames around the screen quite narrow. They are not the narrowest frames we have seen, but Honor has done a good job.
As a result, we are faced with a smartphone with good use of the front with a screen-to-body ratio of 91.7%, although this value decreases up to 84% according to the GSM Arena data. Some high-end smartphones exceed this value, but we cannot complain at all.
The use of an elongated 19.5: 9 screen ratio makes the Honor 20 Pro not too wide and therefore quite manageable in the hand.
However, as with all phones of a similar size, it is not easy to reach all areas of the screen with the thumb when holding the phone with one hand. Luckily, Honor has incorporated one-hand operation functionality.
Although not visible to the naked eye, Honor has included a notification LED on the front, next to the earpiece. It is appreciated that Honor has included this element since many manufacturers have removed it from their devices.
If you look at the back, we find a striking back cover that, in the words of the company, has a “dynamic and multidimensional holographic glass cover.”
Honor has used Triple 3D Mesh technology, which uses a two-stage process. First, create a depth layer using nanotechnology to record millions of miniature prisms and, at the end of this process, the assembly of glass, color and depth layers continues.
As the light passes through the prisms in the depth layer, the light is reflected and refracted in all directions. As a result, bright colors are appreciated as we move the phone.
It is not easy to capture with a camera the effect that light produces when it hits the rear surface of the Honor 20 Pro, but satisfy it to say that it attracts a lot of attention. Now, this finish presents a problem: it tends to get dirty very easily, so you will have to clean it often to keep it spotless.
The sides of the back of the Honor 20 Pro are curved to the sides, which gives it a touch of elegance and also helps it look thinner than it really is. In fact, with an 8.4 mm thickness, it is not a particularly thin smartphone.
The Honor 20 Pro is available in two colors: Phantom Black and Phantom Blue.
Although many manufacturers are incorporating fingerprint reader on the screen even in economic models, Honor has chosen not to include the fingerprint reader on the screen, but the reader is on the side power button.
We saw this solution a long time ago on Sony Xperia smartphones, but, for some reason, it has not become popular among other manufacturers. Although we will talk later about the operation of this reader, we can affirm that Honor has chosen well by placing the reader in this position. The power button is at a good height, so the gesture of unlocking the phone is very comfortable.
Perhaps some users would have preferred to see a fingerprint reader under the screen, but this would have forced Honor to use an OLED panel, which would have made the phone more expensive.
If you look at the back, three cameras are located on a strip that protrudes significantly from the surface of the phone. This means that the phone dances when you press on the screen while resting on a horizontal surface. It is not serious, but it can be annoying if you use the phone on a table.
The macro camera and the flash are placed to the right of the main module, under an inscription with the camera features.
Next, we will check the sides of the phone to see what buttons and connectors we found.
The Honor 20 Pro does not have a 3.5mm headphone jack, so you will have to use a USB-C headset, use a Bluetooth headset or use a 3.5mm adapter.
Finally, the Honor 20 Pro is not waterproof, so we must be careful not to get it accidentally wet.
The screen of Honor 20 Pro
The Honor 20 Pro has a screen with a diagonal of 6.2 ″ and an elongated ratio 19.5:9, as usual in smartphones with large screens so that they are not uncomfortable to hold in your hand.
The resolution of the panel is “only” Full HD + (2340 x 1080 pixels), but, even with everything, it has a very high pixel density of 412 dpi. This means that the Honor 20 Pro’s screen is very sharp, with individual pixels that are indistinguishable to the naked eye.
The Honor 20 Pro includes a mode called intelligent resolution that is enabled by default and automatically lowers the battery resolution to save battery power. We can also reduce the resolution manually to HD + (1560 x 720 pixels) all the time.
The Honor 20 Pro screen is of the IPS LCD type. This type of panels is characterized by good brightness and wide viewing angles. However, many high-end smartphones have OLED panels, which offer greater chromatic amplitude, greater contrast, and lower energy consumption.
The sub-pixel matrix of the Honor 20 Pro is RGB, as is usual for LCD panels. On RGB screens, sub-pixels are organized one after the other in rows red-green-blue (RGB).
Compared to the OLED panels with the Pentile matrix, the LCD panels with RGB matrix offer more sharpness at equal resolution and, therefore, the Full HD + resolution of the Honor 20 Pro looks very sharp and no more resolution is missed.
To analyze the quality of the screen several tests have been performed with the professional software CalMAN Ultimate and an X-Rite i1Display Pro colorimeter.
The Honor 20 Pro offers two screen modes: Normal and Vivid. The normal mode is designed to offer more realistic colors, while the vivid mode offers more intense color and is the one that is activated by default.
The maximum brightness of the Honor 20 Pro is around 458 nits with the maximum brightness in manual mode, but it increases up to 521 nits when, while in automatic mode, it is in a very intense light like the sun.
This brightness value is not high for a high-end phone, especially to have an LCD panel. This means that, in bright conditions, for example in the sun, it does not look as good as other smartphones with more brightness.
The black color is not too deep (0.43 nits) and, consequently, the contrast offers a somewhat low value, around 1,300:1, although this is common on LCD screens. The colors turn somewhat grayish when looking at the screen from an angle, and the brightness level is reduced when the phone is rotated.
One aspect worth mentioning for the most detailed is that the screen looks darker at the edge near the screen frames, as well as around the hole in the front camera. This darkening is especially noticeable in those applications with a white background and, although it is not a serious problem, it is something to consider.
Honor has incorporated a reading mode that is equivalent to the night mode we see in other smartphones. In this mode, the light is filtered to relieve visual fatigue. It can be activated manually or, if we prefer, program the start and end time.
Finally, Honor has not incorporated the functionality of turning on the screen with a double touch, something that is quite comfortable when we have the phone resting on the table, nor does it have an Always Active Display, but it is possible to make the screen turns on when you lift the phone from the table.
The hardware of Honor 20 Pro
Processor and RAM
The Honor 20 Pro arrives with a Kirin 980 processor, a chip that debuted almost a year ago with the Huawei Mate 20 Pro and is present in all flagships of Huawei and Honor.
The Kirin 980 features interesting improvements in performance, efficiency, and Artificial intelligence capabilities. It is manufactured in a 7 nm process, which means that it consumes less energy and is more powerful than the previous generation of 10 nm processors, such as the Kirin 970.
The Kirin 980 has eight cores: two powerful Cortex-A76 high-performance 2.6 GHz cores, two high-efficiency Cortex-A76 cores at 1.9 GHz and four Cortex-A55 cores with extreme efficiency at 1.8 GHz.
A highlight of the Kirin 980 is the presence of a Dual NPU (Neuronal Process Unit), which offers 134% more performance and 88% more efficiency than the Kirin 970 processor when performing Artificial Intelligence tasks.
The processor is accompanied by a Mali G76 GPU. This GPU, which debuted with the Kirin 980, offers 46% more graphics processing power with 178% improved energy efficiency compared to the previous generation. Now, Mali GPUs have never managed to live up to the Adreno GPUs found in Qualcomm chips.
The Honor 20 Pro has a graphene cooling sheet technology, a new thermal solution that can dissipate heat efficiently and, thus, maintain performance at an optimal level. Graphene offers greater heat conductivity than other materials – 1.5 times greater than copper.
Next to the processor, we find 8 GB of RAM, which are more than enough to have several applications open at the same time and enjoy a good multi-task experience.
Huawei uses the Extendable Read-Only File System (EROFS) to greatly improve the reading speed of storage devices.
The Honor 20 Pro has obtained good results in performance tests, but far from the values, we see in recent smartphones with Snapdragon 855 processor or last year’s star smartphones with Snapdragon 845. However, it is above the performance of Snapdragon 600 or 700 processors that usually mount other smartphones of a similar price.
In the day to day, the Honor 20 Pro interface moves smoothly and I have not suffered any problems of slowness or stoppages when using popular apps like WhatsApp, Twitter, Telegram, Facebook, Instagram, Netflix, Google Maps, etc.
I have only suffered a small break and lack of response in the Camera app, which sometimes does not capture the photo at the first press of the button, but you have to insist, but I attribute it more to a software problem than missing of performance.
Nor have I had problems with the multi-task, since the Honor 20 Pro with 8GB of RAM can run several applications at once without noticing that they close in the background.
In terms of graphics capability, the Honor 20 Pro comes with GPU Turbo 3.0 that reduces processor power consumption by 10 percent and optimizes system performance when playing.
The secret of GPU Turbo is the creation of a specific neural network model for each game and device. To do this, the behavior of the game is analyzed for thousands of hours and a model is created that allows anticipating energy/performance requirements. In this way, it is possible to optimize all the elements (CPU, GPU, and Memory) to achieve a high and, above all, stable FPS rate.
Honor has expanded the list of games that benefit from GPU Turbo and, in version 3.0, covers all these titles: Fortnite, Knives Out, Battle Bay, Crazy Taxi, Real Racing 3, Into the Dead 2, NBA 2K19, Dragon Nest M, Duel Links, PES2019, DRAGON, BALL LEGENDS, FIFA Mobile, Free Fire, Minecraft, Helix, Plants vs. Zombie Heroes, Subway Surfers, Brawl Stars, Speed Drifters, Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, Vainglory, PUBG, Arena of Valor, Rules of Survival and NBA 2K18 .
The disadvantage of GPU Turbo is that the optimization only works with these titles and, therefore, in other games, we will not see any improvement thanks to this technology.
Speaking of games, if you are fond of Fortnite, you’ll be glad to know that with the Honor 20 Pro you will get an exclusive skin called Fortnite.
When analyzing the graphic power, the phone has obtained good results, but below a good number of high-end smartphones.
In the graphic performance tests, the GPU has obtained benchmark results below other high-end smartphones.
To check the actual graphic performance in 3D games, Asphalt 9, Dead Effect 2 and PUBG, in all of them, the gaming experience with the Honor 20 Pro has been very good despite the fact that only PUBG is among the beneficiaries of the GPU Turbo technology.
Like all smartphones, the surface of the Honor 20 Pro is heated when subjected to a high workload, especially in 3D games.
In the case of the Honor 20 Pro, the temperature measured is 42ºC in certain areas of the back surface after playing ten minutes to Asphalt, so the phone feels quite hot in the hand.
Honor incorporates an application called Optimizer that analyzes the state of the phone and offers various ways to optimize the operation of the phone.
Among others, this application can propose to close certain applications to reduce energy consumption, delete large files or applications rarely used to free up space or disable Bluetooth if there is no device to link.
This same application also allows you to block calls and messages from certain users, restrict the use of mobile data / WiFi by apps, reduce data consumption by limiting background connections, control applications that can display floating notifications or in the Notification center, search for viruses, and manage battery consumption.
The Honor 20 Pro comes with 256 GB of internal storage, which we cannot expand using a micro-SD card (nor with one of Huawei’s new NM Cards), although with this amount you probably won’t miss any more storage.
In the connectivity aspect, the Honor 20 Pro is compatible with WiFi 802.11 b / g / n / ac at 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz, Bluetooth 5.0, 4G / LTE and NFC. It also has an infrared port, but I have not found any pre-installed remote control app.
The USB-C connector is only USB 2.0, so file transfer is not as fast as other high-end smartphones.
The Honor 20 Pro offers Dual SIM functionality and allows you to insert two nano-SIM cards.
In the tests, the network speed for both Wi-Fi and 4G has been satisfactory.
In the absences section, we cannot ignore that Honor has not included FM radio, something that many users will miss.
As I mentioned earlier, the Honor 20 Pro comes with a fingerprint reader on the side power button, which unlocks the phone extremely quickly with a small touch, without the need to press the button.
The position of the power button makes it very convenient to unlock the phone when you grab it, as well as when it is resting on the table. In my opinion, it has been a success of Honor to incorporate the fingerprint reader in the power button and I don’t miss the reader integrated into the screen itself.
The use of the fingerprint not only allows you to unlock the device but also makes it easy to protect applications and multimedia content (for example, photographs) from unwanted looks, as well as access to a private space.
Honor has also incorporated a facial detection system called Face Unlock that allows you to unlock the phone with your face just by lifting the phone and placing it in front of your face, without even having to press the power button. It is possible to have fingerprint and face detection activated at the same time, so you can use one or the other interchangeably.
Face Unlock is reliable and fast, but it is not as safe as the fingerprint. In my tests, I got another person to unlock the phone in less than five attempts, the maximum allowed by Honor before blocking, with a simple mask with my face made from a photograph.
If you use Face Unlock, you can activate a smart lock screen that makes notifications only show when the phone sees you.
The battery of Honor 20 Pro
The Honor 20 Pro’s battery has a capacity of 4,000 mAh, an amount sufficient to power a smartphone with this screen size.
In a test of autonomy of PCMark 2.0, with the screen calibrated to 200 nits, the phone has given a result of 10 hours and 53 minutes. This result is excellent.
In the day to day, the autonomy of the Honor 20 Pro is excellent and you will not have problems to reach the end of the day with a sufficient amount of battery remaining (around 30%), even if you make quite intense use of the phone.
If you need to further squeeze the battery, Honor has incorporated an Ultra Energy Saving mode that only allows access to Calls, Messages, Contacts and three applications of our choice, as well as an Energy Saving mode that limits the activity of apps in the background, it disables system sounds and automatic mail synchronization and reduces visual effects.
Another option that we find is the possibility of lowering the screen resolution to 720p to reduce energy consumption, either manually or automatically.
Honor also offers a maximum performance mode that optimizes the settings to work at maximum power. As a result, the battery consumes more quickly and the device heats up more.
A useful functionality to save battery power is the possibility to select for each application if it can be started automatically, started by other applications or run in the background. The phone also indicates which applications consume a lot of energy so that we know where we will get the greatest benefits.
Finally, the Honor 20 Pro can perform a phone status analysis to optimize energy savings by suggesting various actions. For example, the application indicates which applications consume energy with the screen off and what settings we can modify to reduce power consumption: lower screen brightness, disable vibration, disable synchronization, etc.
The Honor 20 Pro features the Honor SuperCharge 5V / 4.5A fast charging system that should charge your phone quickly.
In tests, the entire charging process has taken a total of 1 hour and 28 minutes. The load is faster up to 90 percent and then slows down to 100%. 50% is reached in about 25 minutes.
Unfortunately the Honor 20 Pro does not have wireless charging, a functionality that is increasingly present in high-end smartphones, but that Honor does not incorporate into its devices.
The software of Honor 20 Pro
The Honor 20 Pro’s operating system is the Android 9 Pie and, above the operating system, Honor incorporates its own customization layer Magic UI 2.1.0.
Magic UI is the name that honors its adaptation of the Huawei EMUI layer. It is a software layer that greatly modifies the appearance of Android and adds many additional features.
Like that of EMUI, the aesthetics of Magic UI does not quite convince me since the icons have a somewhat outdated appearance and the configuration options are somewhat upset.
A unique aspect of EMUI is that the lock screen can alternate between different wallpapers that are automatically downloaded by the phone.
In the lower right corner of the lock screen, we have access to the camera. If we slide our finger from the bottom up, there are shortcuts to the recorder, calculator, flashlight, stopwatch, and notes.
On top of these shortcuts, we have some controls to interact with the wallpaper of the lock screen. By clicking on the icon on the right, we can access the Covers section where we can subscribe to thematic wallpapers of Honor, Leica Photography, Travel, Transportation, Famous People, Style, General, and Sports.
The Honor 20 Pro comes with a theme manager that allows you to change the look of the phone. It is even possible to customize each particular theme by altering the style of the lock screen, the lock screen background, the background of the main screen and the style of the icons, but not the font used for the typeface.
These themes also affect the color schemes of the applications included as standard on the phone. The phone arrives with several pre-installed themes and it is possible to download many more.
By dragging the screen from the center down while on the desktop, the Magic UI search opens that allows you to locate content in applications, contacts, messages, etc. and even suggests some apps. This is a very useful functionality that is increasingly present in more smartphones.
By default, the Honor 20 Pro shows all apps installed on the desktop but allows you to retrieve the application drawer so that the icons are all gathered in one place.
It also allows you to set the main screen with a simple style, where only a few large buttons are shown. It is an option indicated for children or the elderly
While on the home screen, we can scroll to the left to access Google Feed, which shows the latest news on topics of your interest.
The device does not have physical buttons, but it shows a lower navigation bar with the usual virtual buttons – Back, Home and Tasks – which are customizable since the phone allows you to choose between four combinations.
It is also possible to activate the use of the interface through gestures, which are quite intuitive and which I have used during my time with the phone.
The notification area has five shortcuts at the top, which expand to many more if we drag the screen down. Below these accesses, we find the screen brightness control (which does not include a button to activate the automatic adjustment) and then the latest notifications.
Magic UI offers some curious features such as automatically aligning icons when removing an application. We can set different transition effects between the desktop screens, as well as choose the size of the grid: 4 × 6, 5 × 5 or 5 × 6.
Magic UI allows you to choose if we want the icons to show a symbol (a color point) that indicates whether there is a pending notification or an unread message or even choose it individually for each app.
One of the aspects that I like about Magic UI is the possibility it offers to individually manage the permissions of each application for different purposes since it allows:
- Adjust the permissions of each application to show notifications and their location.
- Choose for each application if we want the symbol to be displayed in the upper right corner of the icon when there are notifications or messages.
- Adjust the permissions of each application to continue running once the screen is turned off.
- Adjust the permissions of each application to use the WiFi or mobile data connection in the foreground, in the background, and in roaming, and know the data consumption for each type of connection
In this way, we can have absolute control over the applications, and adjust their use to our needs. For example, we can decide that Twitter cannot run in the background to save battery power, or that a game cannot make use of the mobile data connection under any circumstances.
The Honor 20 Pro offers a voice control function. If you can’t find the phone and know it’s close, or if your hands are busy and you need to make a call, you can use voice control to find the phone and make calls.
The default voice command will be “Dear Honor“, but we can also record our own activation phrase, although Huawei warns that recognition may not work as well.
Honor incorporates functions by gestures that allow you to flip the phone or lift it to silence the ringtone or lower the volume, lift the phone to activate the screen, bring the ear to answer an incoming call or change from speaker mode to headset mode, or capture the screen by sliding three fingers down on the screen.
For some reason, we do not know, Honor has eliminated some gestures that we found in previous smartphones such as opening applications by drawing letters with the knuckle fingers or dividing the screen with the knuckle.
Honor offers an interesting functionality called Twin Application that allows you to log in with two different accounts in the same app at the same time. This is useful for apps like WhatsApp that do not allow you to configure multiple accounts.
Another useful feature is Private Space, which creates a new desktop where you can keep apps, photographs, videos, music, and any other content away from other people’s eyes.
Honor allows you to associate a PIN and a different fingerprint to this space so that if we use them on the lock screen, we access this desktop directly.
If we only want to restrict access to one or more apps, we can make use of the Application Lock, which allows access to an application to be protected by a fingerprint or facial recognition. It is also possible to create a Safe to protect access to certain content such as images, videos or files.
Magic UI also incorporates a Password Manager functionality that allows you to store usernames and passwords locally on the smartphone and access them using the password on the lock screen.
Another interesting functionality is Huawei Share that allows you to share files between two Huawei devices without using mobile data, as well as with Windows or macOS computers connected to the same WiFi network. It is also possible to print wirelessly.
Finally, Huawei Beam allows you to transfer files such as images, videos, contacts or URLs to another NFC-compatible device. To activate Huawei Beam, simply bring the two devices near the back and press on the screen.
Honor has incorporated an application called Health that, as its name implies, allows us to control our physical activity. The application allows you to set goals for daily steps and weight, record when we are going to exercise, and keep track of the number of steps walked, the distance traveled and the number of floors climbed.
The application can connect to external data sources such as Google Fit to better track our physical activity.
Honor incorporates its own web browser that incorporates a night mode, the ability to block images (to save data), force desktop mode or browse private mode. It also incorporates an advertising filter, the possibility of blocking pop-up windows and a filter for malicious websites.
Another one of the applications that it incorporates is App Gallery, a store that recommends games and applications, but that does not contribute anything in front of the Play Store except to download the own apps of Huawei. Something similar happens with the Honor Store app, which simply opens the Honor website in your country.
To facilitate the migration to your new Huawei device, the company has incorporated Phone Clone, which allows you to transfer data such as contacts, call logs, messages, calendar events, WiFi networks, multimedia files, applications, browser data and more to a device from Huawei.
Huawei also makes it easy to make and restore backups using an app called Backup.
This app allows you to make a copy in external storage (memory card, USB device or shared folder on a local NAS device) or on a computer (via HiSuite application or via USB). It is possible to backup contact data, messages, call logs, calendar events, photos, audio files, videos, application data and more.
Honor has preloaded a few third-party apps such as Booking, Amazon and the Fortnite installer. Luckily all apps can be uninstalled if you are not going to use them.
The Honor 20 Pro incorporates a single speaker at the bottom of the phone, next to the USB Type-C connector, so it is quite easy to cover it with your hand when using the phone horizontally.
The sound generation of the Honor 20 Pro is good when it comes to playing music, watching videos or playing since the speaker emits with enough power.
It doesn’t sound as good as other devices that have stereo speakers, but it should be enough to play or watch exclusive videos.
If you usually listen to music with headphones, you’ll be glad to know that Honor includes a 3D audio technology.
This technology allows you to enjoy various playback modes through headphones: automatic, 3D audio, natural and standard.
The Honor 20 Pro also incorporates a ten-band sound equalizer with several predefined modes.
In practice, the sound is heard very well with headphones, although my poorly trained ear does not appreciate a substantial improvement over other high-end smartphones.
The Honor 20 Pro incorporates its own music playback software with an interface that allows you to view songs by title, album, artist and folder. The application offers several interface design options, as we can see below.
The app allows you to create playlists and mark songs as favorites, as well as access the sound settings from the app.
The music player is not able to download covers automatically from the Internet nor it is possible to play the music that is stored on other network devices. An application called Online music service appears in the application, but when you click on it, a message appears saying that the service is not available in the region.
The Gallery application is used to view and play the photos and videos stored on the phone. The new app incorporates AI capabilities to create Memories (dynamic albums based on date, time and location of photos) and Discover (automatically sort photos based on content).
The application also allows you to edit images using various basic tools to crop, adjust color, modify contrast, etc. Nothing new that we have not seen before.
Honor has included a specific app for video playback, and the phone is able to play smoothly compatible files smoothly thanks to its processor.
The Honor 20 Pro is Widevine L1 certified, so it is possible to watch HD content from streaming services such as Netflix – some smartphones stay in Widevine L3 and only play the content in SD.
The Honor 20 Pro comes with a rear camera with four lenses that offer great versatility as they cover a wide range of focal distances.
Below we can see the details of these four cameras.
On the lock screen, there is direct access to the camera, but we can take a capture even faster in just over a second if we press the volume down button twice quickly. The phone barely has time to focus when taking one of these ultra-instant photos, so the capture is not always perfect.
If we open the camera in the usual way, by clicking on the desktop app icon, the boot is almost instantaneous.
The main camera features a Sony IMX586 1/2 ″ size sensor with a resolution of 48MP. By default, photographs are taken with 12MP resolution by combining 4 pixels in 1, which helps reduce noise from captures. We can also manually choose the full resolution of 48MP if we wish, as we will see later.
The f / 1.4 aperture of the main camera is the lowest we have seen on a smartphone to date. This opening not only lets in more light in poor lighting conditions but also offers a faster shot. In addition, this large-aperture helps make the background blur effect when taking a portrait more natural.
Focusing on the photo quality of the main camera, here are some pictures were taken with the Honor 20 Pro in automatic mode.
It is possible to take photographs using the full resolution of the sensor, 48MP, as well as using a 48MP super-resolution mode that takes a few seconds to capture the photo.
According to Honor, the super-resolution mode uses the Dual-NPU and the Dual-ISP of the Kirin 980 chipset to combine details of several photos in a «Super 48MP photo» with a quality superior to that of normal 48MP images.
The use of the ultra-wide-angle lens is a very interesting addition that few cameras can boast. It allows you to take photographs that include a greater number of elements – photographs that, with the standard camera, would force you to take a panoramic photo or get away from the photographed element.
The ultra-wide-angle camera very useful since you get photographs of landscapes, monuments, buildings or interiors much more spectacular than with the normal camera.
The use of the telephoto lens with 3x magnification allows us to get closer to details that would otherwise be impossible to capture through the main camera.
As with the telephoto lenses of all smartphones, the magnification is fixed. In the case of Honor 20 Pro, this extension is 3x, so any extension we make between 1x and 3x is done digitally. For this reason, a very high zoom is not always the best option since sometimes you don’t need to get so close.
Although the lens aperture is quite small (f / 2.4), the presence of optical stabilization is very helpful for taking pictures in low light.
The fourth camera is the macro lens, a very rare addition since there is no other smartphone that has a dedicated macro lens.
To activate the macro lens it is necessary to select the Super Macro camera mode, which is somewhat hidden in the More menu of the Camera application. I would have preferred that this mode be activated automatically when we approach an object a few centimeters away.
The quality of the photographs taken by the macro lens is limited by the resolution of its sensor (only 2 megapixels) and its poor aperture (f / 2.4), which causes the resulting image to have enough noise.
The macro lens of the Honor 20 Pro allows you to take pictures only 4 cm. away. Now, the Huawei P30 / P30 Pro can also capture macro photography with the ultra-wide-angle camera without the need for any dedicated macro lens and also at a distance of only 2.5 cm, so I don’t see the need of a dedicated camera.
The Camera application offers recognition of scenes through Artificial Intelligence that we can easily activate from the camera interface by clicking on the IA icon.
The Honor 20 Pro applies camera settings to enhance the image based on the detected scene. For example, if it detects that you are taking a picture of a plant, switch to Vegetation mode that enhances the green tones. If you take pictures of food, boost the colors of foods to make them seem more appetizing. The use of AI also activates the HDR mode when it detects that it is necessary.
If you don’t want to use the proposed shooting mode, you can easily disable AI mode. However, it is not possible to deactivate the effect afterward in the Image Gallery – which would have been an interesting addition, at least as an option.
The Honor 20 Pro offers several special shooting modes in the Camera app menu – Opening, Night, Portrait, Photo, Video and More. Under the More section, we find options such as AR Lens, Professional, Slow Motion, Panoramic, Light Painting, HDR, Fast Camera, Motion Picture, Filter, Watermark, Documents, Super Macro and Download (the latter to download more modes of Shooting).
The Night mode takes a photo in low light with an exposure higher than usual without the need for a tripod. To do this, the camera captures multiple photographs, which are then intelligently combined.
Honor has incorporated a Portrait mode that blurs the background of the image to recreate the bokeh effect of SLR cameras. Unfortunately, it is not possible to select the degree of blur afterward, so we play it to make the picture go well.
Honor has also incorporated an Opening mode that, like the Portrait mode, allows you to blur the background, but offers the possibility of editing the degree of blur afterward in case the result is not desired. It is possible to take pictures of both people and objects.
In addition, photographs with the Aperture mode are taken by default with the 3X telephoto camera, so the resulting image does not present the typical barrel-like distortion (“fisheye”) that is obtained when taking a portrait with the wide-angle camera.
Photo fans will appreciate the presence of Professional mode. This mode shows various options on the right of the screen such as ISO sensitivity level (Auto, 50 to 204,880), exposure measurement zone, shooting speed, exposure compensation, focus mode, and balance of whites.
Honor also offers HiVision mode, which allows you to read QR codes and barcodes, translate text in real-time, find products to buy them and identify food, buildings, famous paintings, etc.
According to the company, it is able to identify up to 100 types of food and provide caloric information on it. The camera is also able to identify up to 300 landmarks and 100,000 works of art from around the world.
As for the video recording of the rear camera, the Honor 20 Pro can record video at 4K at 30 FPS (but not at 60 FPS) and 1080p at 30/60 FPS. In all video recording modes, electronic stabilization is present. It is also possible to record video in super slow motion at 960 FPS with 720p resolution.
It is possible to select if we want to save the videos in the traditional H.264 format or in the more modern H.265 format, which reduces the size of the videos without decreasing quality, but you may have compatibility problems when sharing it.
The videos present a stable image with good quality.
The front camera has a 32MP sensor with f / 2.0 aperture, but apparently lacks autofocus, so, depending on the distance, the image may be somewhat out of focus.
We can activate the shooting of a selfie without touching the screen by means of the voice (saying «cheese» or talking loudly to the camera), smiling at the camera or waving with the palm of the hand to the camera.
The images captured with the front camera offer a good sharpness and color. The only drawback is that, if the background is very bright, it looks somewhat burned.
Honor has incorporated a beauty mode with 10 levels of touch-up that, as usual, softens the skin and makes it more perfect. Luckily, the result is not too aggressive, although, personally, I prefer to keep it off.
The Honor 20 Pro also offers a Portrait mode on the front camera that, through software, is able to blur the background of the selfie.
The voice quality is correct and you can be able to perfectly hold conversations in moderately noisy environments without difficulties.
The Calls and Contacts applications are the same, with separate tabs for the dialer, contact list, and favorites.
Price of Honor 20 Pro
The Honor 20 Pro can be found for $ 645 at the time of writing this analysis.
If you are looking for a smartphone in this price range, here are some interesting competitors.
The Huawei P30 ( $ 554.99 on Amazon ) comes with a 6.1 ″ Full HD + AMOLED screen, Kirin 980 processor, 6GB of RAM, 128 GB (expandable via NM Card), triple rear camera 40MP + 16MP + 8MP, front camera 32MP and 3,650 mAh battery with fast charging.
The Samsung Galaxy S10e ( $534.00 on Amazon ) has a 5.8 ″ Full HD + AMOLED display, Exynos 9820 processor, 6GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, dual 16MP + 16MP rear camera (ultra wide-angle), 10MP front camera and battery of 3,100 mAh.
The Pixel 3a XL ( $ 479 Amazon ) can also be interesting if you are interested in photography. It comes with 6″ Full HD + OLED display, Snapdragon 845 processor, 4 GB of LPDDR4x RAM, 64 GB of storage, 12MP rear camera (same as Pixel 3), 8MP front camera and 3,700 mAh battery.
Honor is a brand focused on the youngest public and, therefore, I was not surprised that the Honor 20 Pro stands out in two of the aspects most valued by this group: its striking design and its cameras.
The Honor 20 Pro comes with a front design that is almost all screen, without notches or a thick top frame. Instead, Honor has repeated the View20 formula by placing the front camera in a hole drilled in a corner and surrounding the screen with fairly narrow frames – although not as much as other high-end smartphones.
In this way, Honor has achieved a very high use of the front, around 92% according to its data.
Another striking aspect of the Honor 20 Pro is its curved glass back cover on the sides with a holographic finish that produces striking reflections when you turn the phone, although it tends to get dirty easily.
The Honor 20 Pro is available in Phantom Blue and Phantom Black colors.
While other manufacturers are choosing to place the fingerprint reader under the screen, Honor has preferred to integrate the reader into the power button. Although it is an unusual position (only Sony has used it continuously in the past), it is very comfortable in everyday life and, also, recognition is instantaneous.
Honor has also included facial unlocking (warning: it is easily fooled with a mask) in case the fingerprint reader is not comfortable or you want to combine both systems.
The 6.3 ″ screen is of the IPS LCD type and has a Full HD + resolution, enough to provide good sharpness. Color fidelity is excellent in normal mode, although many users will opt for the vivid mode that offers more colorful (but less realistic) colors and is enabled by default.
The maximum brightness of the screen (521 nits) is somewhat limited compared to other high-end smartphones and, being an LCD screen, the contrast is not so high. The screen is compatible with HDR, as I could see when watching some YouTube videos.
As was already the case with the Honor View20, the area of the screen near the edges and the hole of the front camera has a slight darkening compared to the rest.
In front of other smartphones, I miss the Always Active Screen functionalities to display notifications permanently or the double-touch display on the screen to turn it on, although it is possible to turn the screen on when you lift the phone from the table.
The Honor 20 Pro features the powerful Kirin 980 processor that debuted on the Huawei Mate 20 Pro. This processor is built in a 7 nm process and stands out for its Dual NPU to accelerate AI operations.
The Honor 20 Pro responds quickly and I have not suffered any break when it comes to moving the interface or using demanding apps.
Its 8 GB of RAM helps keep a large number of apps in memory and enjoy a good multi-task experience.
When it comes to playing, the Honor 20 Pro benefits from GPU Turbo 3.0, a software functionality introduced by Huawei that improves graphic performance in just over twenty games including PUBG and Fortnite.
Speaking of Fortnite, if you are fond of this game, you will be glad to know that Honor gives an exclusive skin with the Honor 20 Pro.
To maintain good sustained performance, Honor has incorporated a new thermal solution using a graphene cooling sheet.
As for the sound, the Honor 20 Pro has a single speaker located at the bottom. This position has the disadvantage that it is easy to cover it by holding it horizontally to play, but, leaving this detail aside, it sounds quite powerful.
If you opt for headphones, the sound offers good quality and incorporates 3D effects, but you should keep in mind that it does not have a traditional 3.5 mm headphone jack. Honor has included a 3.5mm USB-C adapter in the box.
The Honor 20 Pro comes with 256 GB of internal storage that we cannot expand with a micro-SD card (or NM Card) since, although it supports Dual SIM, it does not offer any hybrid slot. In any case, with this amount of storage, you should have enough.
In the aspect of connectivity, the Honor Pro 20 is well served with WiFi 802.11 b / g / n / ac at 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz, Bluetooth 5.0, 4G / LTE, NFC and infrared (although there is no app to command a pre-installed distance). Honor has not included FM radio, something that many users will miss.
The Honor 20 Pro has a generous 4,000 mAh battery, which offers excellent autonomy compared to other smartphones. Even with quite intense use, I have reached the end of the day with a good amount of battery remaining.
The Honor 20 Pro has a SuperCharge fast charge and the phone is fully charged in about 1 hour and a half. While other smartphones reach 50% in the first 30 minutes, the Honor 20 Pro achieves it in just 25 minutes.
The Honor 20 Pro features a quadruple rear camera , which features a standard 48MP camera (f / 1.4), an ultra-wide 16MP camera (f / 2.2), a 3x 8MP telephoto camera (f / 2.4) and a 2MP macro camera (f / 2.4).
Honor has provided the camera with artificial intelligence capabilities to recognize scenes and the photographs taken with AI have a more intense color. Unfortunately, there is no way to deactivate the AI effect afterward, so you should use it carefully.
In good light conditions, the image quality offered by the main camera is good and the captures offer good sharpness, vivid color, and wide dynamic range. By default, photographs are taken at 12MP to reduce noise, but, in good light conditions, we can switch to 48MP super-resolution mode for as much detail as possible (at the cost of longer capture time).
When the light is low, the photographs maintain high image quality with a very low noise level, thanks to the wide aperture. If we want the image to look somewhat brighter, we can choose the Night mode, which lengthens the exposure time through multiple captures without the need for a tripod with good results.
The ultra-wide-angle camera produces very spectacular photographs, although we must use it in good light conditions because at night there is a lot of noise.
The 3X telephoto camera allows us to get closer to distant details, although, at night, it also suffers from some noise.
Having a fixed magnification level, any extension between 1X and 3X is done by digitally extending the capture of the main camera, so the quality is not so good.
When recording video, we can capture 4K video at 30 FPS, but only 1080p at 60 FPS. The videos have pretty good image quality, with a very stable image recording at any resolution, even 4K.
The 32MP front camera offers good quality selfies, although the illuminated areas look somewhat burned. Also, it allows you to take pictures in Portrait mode by blurring the background of the image by software.
Honor has incorporated the Magic UI 2.1 customization layer, which is the name that honors its adaptation of the Huawei EMUI layer. Personally, the EMUI / Magic UI design doesn’t convince me too much.
The reality is that Magic UI adds a large number of interesting features that complement Android.
Some of the most interesting features are gesture control, energy-saving modes, granular control of battery consumption and mobile connections per application, an interface for one-handed operation, cloning of apps to configure multiple accounts, protection of apps and multimedia content by fingerprint, synchronized music playback between various devices, etc.
In conclusion, the Honor 20 Pro is a highly recommended smartphone if you are looking for a device with a striking design, more than enough power, excellent autonomy and a very versatile camera set, but you don’t want to spend more than 600 dollars on a smartphone.
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