Huawei announced in Paris the new P20 series smartphone, which is formed by the Huawei P20 Lite, Huawei P20, and Huawei P20 Pro. The three models have similarities in design, but they show important differences in power and, especially, in the photographic section.
The Huawei P20 Pro is the most ambitious model of the three as it arrives with 6.1″ OLED display with Full HD + resolution, Kirin 970 processor, 6GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, 24MP front camera, triple rear camera, and 4,000 battery mAh.
The star functionality of the Huawei P20 Pro is its innovative rear camera, which arrives with 40MP + 20MP + 8MP sensors and has been listed by DxOMark as the best smartphone camera, above heavyweights such as the Samsung Galaxy S9 +, Google Pixel 2 XL or iPhone X.
The Huawei P20 Pro is on sale at an official price of $533.00 on sites like Amazon. It is a fairly high price, which reflects its high-end condition. After having used it for more than a week intensively, then we present our in-depth analysis.
1. Design and Construction
Like most high-end manufacturers, Huawei has joined the trend of smartphones with FullView display. These types of screens have a more elongated appearance, 18.7:9 versus16:9, and narrow frames that allow better use of space.
The Huawei P20 Pro has a superior frame since it has been almost completely replaced by a «notch» similar to that of the iPhone X, although smaller.
This notch occupies the central area at the top of the screen and houses the front camera, the earpiece, some sensors, and the notification LED.
The advantage of the notch versus a traditional frame is that you can take advantage of the screen space on the left and right by showing notifications, time, battery icon and other elements of interest. In a traditional smartphone, all that space would be occupied by the upper frame.
If you are one of those who run away from notched smartphones, you will be glad to know that Huawei has incorporated software functionality that allows you to hide the notch by obscuring the upper part of the screen creating a “virtual” top frame. The advantage is that space is still being used as notification icons and other elements are still present.
The fact that the Huawei P20 Pro has an OLED panel, in which the pixels can be completely turned off, helps the notch go unnoticed when activating this functionality.
The lower frame is quite narrow but it is well used since Huawei has placed a fingerprint reader there that can act as a multi-function button, replacing virtual controls on the screen.
The frames on the left and right of the screen are quite narrow and the screen has an elegant 2.5D curve that is inserted into the shiny metal frame.
The Huawei P20 Pro features a glass-finished back cover that is available in three colors: Black, Midnight Blue, and Twilight. The most spectacular is this last color, which reflects the light in very striking violet and turquoise tones.
The disadvantage of glass finishes is, as you can imagine, that the traces and dirt are marked quite easily, so you will have to clean it regularly if you want to use it unpolluted.
The large screen size combined with the 19:9 ratio makes it practically impossible to handle it with one hand comfortably. Although it is possible to type by holding it with one hand, it is very difficult to drag the notification bar down without juggling the phone.
Luckily, Huawei has incorporated a one-hand mode that is activated by dragging your finger from left to right (or vice versa) above the virtual button bar.
Despite its large screen, the Huawei P20 Pro is not a phone that feels too big in the hand since space is very well used. Its dimensions are 155 x73.9 x7.8 mm and it weighs 180 grams. The curved edges help make the sensation tightly good when gripping it.
Next, we will review the elements found on the surface of the phone.
The front of the Huawei P20 Pro is mainly occupied by the screen, whose side and bottom frames are very narrow as we have already said.
At the top of the screen, we find the notch, which houses the ear speaker, the front camera and the usual proximity and brightness sensors.
We also found a multi-color notification LED, which is not visible when it is off.
It is a success that Huawei has included a notification LED since many manufacturers already dispense with this element.
In the lower frame, we find the fingerprint reader that, as we have said, can also act as a multi-function button instead of the virtual controls on the screen.
In the back, we find the glass back cover, which cannot be removed and, therefore, we do not have access to the battery.
The upper left corner, we find the triple camera located vertically.
While the two upper cameras are mounted on a protruding module, the third camera is flush with the surface of the phone.
The greater thickness of the module of the two cameras means that, when supported on a flat surface, the telephone «dances» when pressing on its screen.
Under the camera, we find the LED flash and, just below, an inscription that says «LEICA» and, below, the camera features.
In the lower-left corner, we can see the HUAWEI logo, which is oriented vertically.
On the right side, we find the power button and, above this button, the volume control, in one piece and elongated. Both buttons have a good touch feeling and sufficient travel.
On the left side, we only find the slot to house two nano-SIM cards.
The top of the phone has infrared emitter.
The bottom of the phone has a USB-C connector in the center. On one side, we find holes that hide the main speaker and, on the other side, asymmetrical holes that have no particular function.
In my opinion, the Huawei P20 Pro has a very attractive appearance, although it is a totally subjective opinion that depends a lot on the love/hate you have for the controversial screen notch.
The Huawei P20 Pro has IP67 certification, so you should not worry if there is a dip.